General warrants, thematic warrants, bulk warrants: property interference for national security purposes
This paper considers the powers of property interference under the Intelligence Services Act 1994 as they have been employed for the purpose of ‘equipment interference’ or ‘hacking’. It discusses in particular the granting of ‘thematic warrants’ under the relevant provisions, considering them in the specific context of the common law jurisprudence on ‘general warrants’. It argues that the national security context has seen the traditional common law suspicion of property interference evaded but shows that that the implications of that fact are felt also outside the national security context. It then considers these matters in relation to the new powers of equipment interference found in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.