Police request right to spy on every UK phone call and email

Average Jo will be as closely monitored as a terrorist


A report by the deputy director-general of the National Criminal Intelligence Service - sent to the Home Office and leaked to the Observer newspaper - has shocked many by asking for the legal right to access records of all phone calls, emails and Internet dial-ups made in the UK for a period of up to seven years.

The proposals as they are written present a direct threat to not only the privacy of the UK population but also the data protection laws, human rights legislation and the enshrined legal concept of presumed innocence.

The document has the backing of MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Customs & Excise and the Association of Chief Police Officers, and claims that the Home Office - which would attempt to make the recommendations law - is sympathetic to its cause.

In a nutshell, NCIS' deputy director-general Roger Gaspar is asking for a legislative framework which would oblige all communication service providers or CSPs (that's everyone from BT to mobile phone companies to ISPs) to store logs of all information over their networks for seven years - 12 months in real-time and from then on archived. Currently, the need to research material more than two years old is restricted almost exclusively to murder and terrorism. Gaspar also strongly suggests that the information is stored in a government-run data warehouse.

In the report - sent to US Web site Cryptome, which specialises in such material - Gaspar lays out his case for compulsory surveillance of every UK person. In intelligence terms, it is convincing - the growth of modern communications and hi-tech crime has meant that the traditional eye-witness account can only be replaced by network data. With criminals, terrorists, racists etc etc using the Internet to bypass the police, the police will be increasingly frustrated in its attempts to bring them to justice.

One major aspect of this is that many CSPs delete data over their networks every 24 hours. Some hold the data for longer but most are fearful of the law and delete it as soon as it no longer has any commercial value. The police see this as the destruction of potentially case-breaking information.

Thus, to promote "a safe and free society", maintain "the interests of justice and fairness of our judicial process" and contribute to "saving lives", it is essential for the security services and police to know when and to who anyone in the UK has communicated with anyone else from now and for seven years. The recommendations would also go very neatly hand-in-hand with the much-criticised RIP Act, which allows the police and security services to collect Internet data without a warrant and demand encryption keys from individuals and ISPs.

This is all clearly a nonsense but it doesn't make the report any less disturbing. Since the Home Office - and Jack Straw in particular - has made it clear it is sympathetic to increased surveillance of UK residents, the security services have clearly seen an opportunity to get self-serving recommendations into law. This report - which, incidentally, contains no mention of any safeguards to prevent abuse of the system - is a stark indication of how totalitarian the government has become. ®

Related Link

The report in full on Cryptome

Related Story

Politicians line up against Euro email snooping laws


Other stories you might like

  • Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash

    Prosecution seems to be first of its kind in America

    A Tesla driver has seemingly become the first person in the US to be charged with vehicular manslaughter for a deadly crash in which the vehicle's Autopilot mode was engaged.

    According to the cops, the driver exited a highway in his Tesla Model S, ran a red light, and smashed into a Honda Civic at an intersection in Gardena, Los Angeles County, in late 2019. A man and woman in the second car were killed. The Tesla driver and a passenger survived and were taken to hospital.

    Prosecutors in California charged Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, in October last year though details of the case are only just emerging, according to AP on Tuesday. Riad, a limousine service driver, is facing two counts of vehicular manslaughter, and is free on bail after pleading not guilty.

    Continue reading
  • AMD returns to smartphone graphics with new Samsung chip for your pocket computer

    We're back in black

    AMD's GPU technology is returning to mobile handsets with Samsung's Exynos 2200 system-on-chip, which was announced on Tuesday.

    The Exynos 2200 processor, fabricated using a 4nm process, has Armv9 CPU cores and the oddly named Xclipse GPU, which is an adaptation of AMD's RDNA 2 mainstream GPU architecture.

    AMD was in the handheld GPU market until 2009, when it sold the Imageon GPU and handheld business for $65m to Qualcomm, which turned the tech into the Adreno GPU for its Snapdragon family. AMD's Imageon processors were used in devices from Motorola, Panasonic, Palm and others making Windows Mobile handsets.

    Continue reading
  • Big shock: Guy who fled political violence and became rich in tech now struggles to care about political violence

    'I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy,' billionaire VC admits

    Billionaire tech investor and ex-Facebook senior executive Chamath Palihapitiya was publicly blasted after he said nobody really cares about the reported human rights abuse of Uyghur Muslims in China.

    The blunt comments were made during the latest episode of All-In, a podcast in which Palihapitiya chats to investors and entrepreneurs Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg about technology.

    The group were debating the Biden administration’s response to what's said to be China's crackdown of Uyghur Muslims when Palihapitiya interrupted and said: “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? ... I’m telling you a very hard ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about … yes, it is below my line.”

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022