Feeds

Criminal Law Review tears strips off RIP Act

Academics hate it as much as we do

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

The academic paper Criminal Law Review has laid into the widely criticised RIP Act, arguing that it "falls far short" of its intended aim.

In what is an unusual departure from dry objectivity, the article - called "BigBrother.gov.uk - State surveillance in the age of information and rights" - makes several damning conclusions over the legislation that was drafted to keep up with modern electronic communication.

We've been saying it for ages, but an independent review of the law also decides that the RIP Act allows for agencies to "snoop randomly and routinely" - something, it says, that may breach both the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act.

The article speaks of "substantial defects" in RIPA. The removal of judges in the approval process for tapping because it is "inappropriate" in cases of national security and economic well-being, for example, is labelled "wholly spurious".

It is "disingenuous" to set up legislation that concerns itself with the minority of cases rather than the majority, the article argues. Paranoid, more like. Or authoritarian. The fact that people being investigated are never informed of it "decreases substantially the chances of abuse ever being uncovered". The criteria enabling government agencies to snoop on people are "unduly expansive".

No backup is given to privileged material - meaning information that is protected in law, like what is said in the Houses of Parliament or a contemporaneous write-up of a court case. The Act doesn't account for all relevant examples of interception - for example foreign intelligence agencies. It "potentially empowers an alarmingly large range of public agencies to snoop... and for a rambling array of reasons".

Definitions in the Act are described as "somewhat ambiguous". Safeguards are insufficient and inadequate. Assumptions over guilt are "unfair". And the concerns that existed before the Act existed are still there after RIP "or are even amplified".

The report also gives extensive coverage to others' criticisms and concerns over what the RIP Act may enable the government, police and intelligence agencies to get away with.

The report was actually in the February edition of the journal but being a somewhat specialised organ, we haven't heard of it until now. It is well worth a read, disturbing as it is. A spokeswoman for the publication was less than helpful and suggested readers may want to go to a library to pick it up. However, we've found that the Cyber-rights and cyber-liberties boys have been there before us and got permission to offer a pdf format of the article. It's here.

Enjoy. Or, rather, worry. ®

Related Link

Cyber-Rights' pdf version

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.