Tag Archives: Interception of Communications Commissioner

Lib Dem Voice’s posts taking a look at what the Interception of Communications Commissioner gets up to.

An open letter to Jeremy Browne MP…Part 2: Problems at the Home Office

Dear Jeremy,

In part 1 I explained why the Interception of Communications Commissioner is a failed regulator and one the Home Office should be fixing, yet your civil servants have been reluctant to do so. That should give a pause for thought about the proposals Home Office civil servants keep on pushing to extend the ability of the government to snoop on what we do online.

So too should the way in which the Home Office regularly changes its views of what counts as being in the national interest or vital for the fight against crime, and indeed makes outlandish claims …

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An open letter to Jeremy Browne MP on civil liberties… Part 1: The failed regulator

Dear Jeremy

I doubt that in amongst all the ludicrously large number of issues that pass across the desk of a minister, and a Home Office one no less, you will have noticed a small victory I scored over the Home Office recently.

But I hope you’ll give a pause for thought to the implications of the ruling the Information Commissioner made in my favour over the Home Office (decision notice reference FS50469527).

Partly it’s because of what it says about the never-quite-dead proposals for a huge expansion of monitoring of our online activity. Partly it’s because of what the case reveals …

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Oh dear. Interception of Communications Commissioner does it again

I’ve blogged just once or twice or thrice about the many failings of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and his dreadful record, failing to ask the right questions, unwilling to investigate evidence of widespread abuses and ignoring questions over cost.

And now he’s spoken out over the highly controversial Draft Communications Data Bill – not against its extensive online snooping provisions or even to call for stronger safeguards (such as to remedy his own failures to look into strong evidence that …

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Information Commissioner sounds warning over Draft Communications Data Bill

An important intervention today in the debate over the Draft Communications Data Bill. The Information Commissioner has issued a strongly-worded warning about its impact if implemented:

Plans to monitor all Britons’ online activity risk uncovering “incompetent criminals and accidental anarchists” rather than serious offenders, the information commissioner has warned…

Christopher Graham said the “really scary people” could simply avoid detection by changing their behaviour…

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LibLink: Mark Pack – The Home Office has got it wrong about online snooping ‘safeguards’

The Voice’s Mark Pack has taken to the (web)pages of The Spectator to dispute the case put by Home Office Minister James Brokenshire about the Draft Communications Data Bill:

What do you do if a regulator has failed? Leave them unreformed and instead give them greater powers? That is the line Home Office Minister James Brokenshire is arguing.

The regulator in question is the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the powers relate to online monitoring. For the Draft Communications Data Bill would not only give the government far more scope to monitor what we do online, but Brokenshire also argues we should be

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Two people wrongly detained after communications interception errors

For the last decade and more, the publication of the Interception of Communication Commissioner’s Annual Reports has gone largely unremarked, even when they have contained news of copious errors or news (by omission) of a Commissioner not investigating evidence of widespread breaking of the rules he is meant to oversee (see my previous posts).

This year, however, with the Draft Communications Bill hanging over us and given a helping hand by a deft MP, it is rather different, as this sampling of coverage shows:

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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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An 8th reason why the Interception of Communications Commissioner should go

I’ve previously blogged about the catastrophic failure of the Interception of Communications Commissioner, giving seven different failures, any one of which would be damning but cumulatively make the post a good entrant for ‘most failed regulator’.

They included such failures as ignoring warning signs of widespread law breaking:

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A five point plan to reform the media post-Leveson

As investigative theatre goes, the Leveson Inquiry has been top-notch. As a route to embarrassing individuals for their past performance, it has excelled. As a way of unearthing previously secret information, it has been gripping.

But as a route for reforming the media? That’s a rather different story.

Some things have already been achieved. The Press Complaints Commission has already been sent to the retirement home for failed regulators and politicians have already been shamed into distancing themselves from newspaper moguls. It will be a long time before Ed Miliband repeats this sort of photo op, for example.

There is, however, an awful lot left to do, especially as Lord Leveson has not been looking at the underlying causes. As I wrote much earlier in the proceedings:

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The Interception of Communications Commissioner has failed

I’ve been reading through all the annual reports issues by the Interception of Communications Commissioner since the passage of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. He is meant to make sure that the powers granted to public bodies under RIPA to intercept our communications are being used correctly.

The annual reports are not a pretty read, especially when set against a modicum of knowledge about the outside world during the years the reports cover. Consider the following.

1. No scrutiny of the costs system

First, under RIPA there is provision for the government to pay communication service providers costs for meeting the …

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