New DATA SLURPING diplomat to push US telcos to share more subscriber info

When a DRIP becomes a flood

The British government has appointed a senior diplomat who will act as a go-between on overseas data access jurisdiction issues, to push communication providers - particularly those based in the US - to share more information with UK spooks.

The new post, created by Prime Minister David Cameron, comes after Whitehall pushed what it said was "emergency legislation" through Parliament in July this year.

At the time, Cameron convinced MPs that the rushed Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Act was needed to "preserve" surveillance tactics used by intelligence agencies and police forces in the UK.

Late on Friday, the PM said that Sir Nigel Sheinwald had been handed the role of special envoy on intelligence and law enforcement data sharing.

Sheinwald is used to glad-handing our American cousins, having served as a senior diplomat and ambassador to the US from 2007 to 2012.

Whitehall said:

Sir Nigel’s overarching objective is to lead discussions with governments, other key international partners and Communications Service Providers (CPSs) on ways to improve access to and sharing of law enforcement and intelligence data in different jurisdictions. Sir Nigel will seek to identify ways to take forward the British government’s relationship with CSPs and explore how new formal arrangements could improve data access and sharing in both the short and longer term.

In July, Cameron expressed frustration with US communications providers for "severely constraining" the work of spooks in Blighty over jurisdiction issues, by citing a conflict of legislation between US measures and UK law.

Sheinwald will report directly to the PM and be based in the Cabinet Office.

Among other things, the senior diplomat is tasked with working with the US government on "strengthening arrangements and ensuring reliable access" through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty systems as well as other potential legal or political workarounds. ®

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