Tag Archives: interception modernisation programme

Why doesn’t Theresa May want mandatory tracking of all cars?

Because it is an absurd idea may well be your answer to that question even before you’ve reached the end of it. But bear with me a moment.

Imagine a government policy to have mandatory tracking devices in all motor vehicles, which would record all the journeys and store the data. The data would normally be private but could be accessed by the police and others if they subsequently discovered a reason to suspect someone. (You may be able to guess where I am going with this…)

It would cost a fair …

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The technology that will defeat the government’s online monitoring plans

Following the Queen’s Speech it is becoming a little clearer – although only a little clearer – what it is that some parts of the Home Office want to achieve by pushing for the Communications Capability Development Programme (CCDP, aka Online Snooping Charter).

One scenario is this: the law enforcement authorities start having solid grounds for suspecting someone is up to no good. Currently, they can then get access to the history of that person’s phone calls – who they rung and when from their landline or mobile. Getting such retrospective data for some forms of internet-based communications is possible, albeit …

Posted in Humour and News | 4 Comments

Opinion: Why parts of the government want to store your entire internet history

On Monday I arrived back in the United Kingdom after a visit to Georgia – a beautiful country, but one with an authoritarian government. Imagine my surprise when I picked up a newspaper at Heathrow and read claims that the government was proposing to monitor and store all internet communications in the country.

We have since attempted to play down the scale of this proposal, but I am incredibly concerned that it would be far wider than is generally believed – and this is because of the technical difficulties of interception.

A key distinction that has been put forward is that these …

Posted in Op-eds | 20 Comments

Why RIPA is flawed

Greg Callus’s excellent post dissects in documented detail some of the problems with the RIPA regulatory mechanism – and why therefore simply extending the range of data that can be accessed under RIPA would be extending the range of data that can be accessed without proper control.

In particular:

Sometimes, there isn’t time for a written request because of an imminent threat to life and limb, and so the Urgent Oral procedure kicks in – the SPoC will normally be rudely awoken by a police officer explaining they have (eg) an urgent terrorism/kidnapping situation, and they need a notification to be

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Clegg faces revolt over ‘putting identity of party at risk’

So reads the headline on the front page of today’s Independent, reporting a letter to Tim Farron, Lib Dem party President, revealed here yesterday:

More than 150 Liberal Democrat activists have warned Nick Clegg he could destroy the party’s liberal identity if he backs government plans to allow the authorities to monitor online activity.

The unprecedented grassroots protest, in which some members have threatened to tear up their party cards, will put the Deputy Prime Minister under pressure to extract more concessions from David Cameron over the controversial “Big Brother” proposals.

You can read Tim Farron’s reply to the letter …

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Tim Farron replies to Lib Dem members’ letter: “Britain must be more liberal and free as a result of Liberal Democrats in power, not less”

Earlier this afternoon, Lib Dem Voice published An open letter to Lib Dem party president, Tim Farron: Concerns over our liberal identity and mission in government following recent suggestions the government would seek to increase the authorities’ web surveillance powers. Signed by more than 150 Lib Dem members (with many more adding their names in the comments thread) it urged the party’s ministers “to heed our call – block these illiberal proposals and lead the charge for reform of RIPA to ensure our citizens enjoy the fair, free and open society we seek to build and safeguard.”

Tim Farron has sent us this response:

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An open letter to Lib Dem party president, Tim Farron: Concerns over our liberal identity and mission in government

The following letter, written by Martin Eakins a Lib Dem councillor in Manchester and co-signed by more than 150 fellow party members, has been sent to party president Tim Farron:

Dear Tim,

We understand that the leaked policy on RIPA internet surveillance is now being reviewed more thoroughly, rather than rushed into the Queen’s speech. As such we would like you, as our president, to convey the following thoughts to appropriate Liberal Democrat ministers.

The Home Secretary wrote in the Sun on Tuesday that “Only suspected terrorists, paedophiles or serious criminals will be investigated.” This is akin to saying “if you’ve

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Opinion: Time for a deal on surveillance

Like many of my fellow Lib Dems I have had steam coming out my ears these last few days after reading over the weekend that the Coalition was considering the mass, unchecked surveillance of the entire population’s emails, telephone calls, texts and tweets, as well as messages sent through Facebook and through games consoles like the Xbox.

Initial attempts at comforting growing rage amongst Lib Dems – the fact that there was to be no central database and that the contents of communications would still only be viewable with a …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

Party groups unite against increased surveillance

Yesterday Mark Pack summarised the current state of play on the snooping row (“The wheels are coming off the online monitoring wagon”).

This topic has generated more emails, blogs and tweets from angry Lib Dems than anything I can remember. Party members seem to be united in their opposition to increased monitoring, so much so that statements from the so-called right and left of the party are virtually interchangeable.

From the Social Liberal Forum:

Any furthering of the already-extensive powers to interrogate peoples’ communication, especially in the absence of proper oversight, would constitute an ineffective and illiberal intrusion of our civil

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The wheels are coming off the online monitoring bandwagon (UPDATED)

Item one: A letter tomorrow in The Guardian from 15 Liberal Democrat MPs setting out their opposition to illiberal monitoring plans.

Item two: More Conservative MPs joining with David Davis in speaking out against widespread online monitoring, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Item three: The Times reporting, Cameron forced to retreat on snooping powers .

Item four: a subtle, but significant, choice of words by Nick Clegg in a media interview this lunchtime presaging a major change of course from the story given to the Sunday Times at the weekend. Clegg signalled (as does The Times report) that the Queen’s Speech will not include a Bill …

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Opinion: 1984 and all that

If you wanted to pick an issue guaranteed to unite the whole party – protecting our civil liberties has to be it. So the last 48 hours have been a frenzy of claim, counterclaim, the candyflossesque spin of internal briefings and Lib Dems across the blogo/twitto/facebooko/forumosphere reaching dangerously apoplectic levels of disquiet.

Mark Pack, in his inimitable unflappable style offered an informative briefing via LDV – taking the optimistic view, reassuring us that “what the Home Office proposes is not the same as what Parliament will legislate. No matter how flawed the initial proposal put to Parliament by Theresa May are, they put the RIPA rules on the table – giving the opportunity to get them changed to meet what a liberal approach should be – as little intrusion as possible, only for the most serious of offences and with rigorous, independently verified safeguards”.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 23 Comments

“Reports about plans to snoop on your emails are complete nonsense” – Lynne Featherstone writes to Lib Dem members

Lib Dem members received this email from Lynne Featherstone at around 5 o’clock this afternoon:

I wanted to write to reassure you that the current reports in the media about Government plans to snoop on your emails are complete nonsense.

Liberal Democrats have always been, and will continue to be, opposed to a centralised database that allows government to monitor your internet activity at will.

That is not going to happen under these proposals and never will happen in a government that includes me and the Liberal

Posted in News | Also tagged | 39 Comments

Julian Huppert MP writes… Safeguards to control state surveillance

Stories came out yesterday, leaked as ever from some unknown source, which have led to justifiable outrage about proposals to capture all our online communications. We all know that one shouldn’t entirely trust what is in newspapers, especially when the security services are involved and there is a palpable lack of detailed announcements, but liberals everywhere are rightly anxious.

I’m extremely concerned about the extension of state surveillance, and have fought hard to stop it. Since I first got wind of the proposals in 2010, I’ve had a series of meetings with industry experts and others about it. I asked the Prime Minister about it in October 2010 and, while the details remain cloaked, I have some idea of what might be proposed.

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The web snooping plans: time to get campaigning

The Queen’s Speech will contain legislation on the interception of communications. Should Liberal Democrats (and indeed liberals) be alarmed?

I treat this question with some initial caution because in one respect many liberals have been – rightly – calling for more use of interception by the government for many years. That is in making intercept evidence admissible in court, so that more cases of alleged terrorism and the like can be brought to court , curbing the (claimed) need for legal powers to allow people to be restricted or restrained without a court case happening.

The other reason for treating the question …

Posted in Op-eds | 31 Comments

The Independent View: Social media – no longer an easy target

Open Rights Group, alongside 9 other human right groups including Amnesty UK, Liberty and Index on Censorship, yesterday wrote to the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Theresa May MP. We were responding to the Prime Minister’s comments that the Government will “look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality”.

The letter was written to coincide with a meeting that took place at lunchtime yesterday between the Home Secretary and Twitter, Facebook and Research in Motion, to discuss what that …

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Interception Modernisation Programme: no, it’s not coming back

There’s been quite a lot online and in some traditional media in the last few days about how the government is supposedly resurrecting Labour’s plans for online snooping (the cuddly sounding Interception Modernisation Programme). Zoe O’Connell has covered this story well on her blog so here are a couple of quotes followed by a link to her full stories:

I dropped a note to the Home Office contacts I had, such that they are, asking if what has been announced as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review was in fact the Interception Modernisation Programme. For those who

Posted in News | Also tagged | 8 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoeB 17th Oct - 12:41am
    I never failed to be impressed by the sheer energy of Merlene and hats off for taking a crack at breaching the edifice that is...
  • User AvatarJoeB 17th Oct - 12:09am
    A wag once commented "It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future." In 1798 Thomas Malthus predicted that population growth would bring famine...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 16th Oct - 10:10pm
    Democracy needs more consultation and representation of mainstream opinion.
  • User Avatarsuzanne Fletcher 16th Oct - 10:08pm
    Well yes, Mark, but I was thinking of all the work one person had to do as well. radical idea - post them all on...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 16th Oct - 9:54pm
    Suzanne, I entirely see your point, but can see an advantage to having them all in one place, especially for non-Liberal Democrat readers and those...
  • User Avatarsuzanne Fletcher 16th Oct - 8:53pm
    Dear Mark, but if the press office sent to people who asked for them ( and I presume someone at HQ is clever enough to...