Feeds

MI5 head calls for comms data access

It's the national security, stupid

Boost IT visibility and business value

Jonathan Evans, the director general of MI5, has said it needs access to communications data to strengthen national security.

In the first newspaper interviews given by a serving MI5 director general, Evans robustly defended the government's plans to allow MI5 and the other security and intelligence agencies to intercept emails and other communications which may have been sent, or posted on websites.

He told The Guardian that the threat of an immediate attack in Britain by al-Qaida inspired extremists has diminished because a string of successful prosecutions has had a "chilling" effect. But in his interview with The Daily Telegraph, Evans expressed specific concern over telephone calls made over the internet, as such services do not collect data equivalent to the billing records compiled by conventional telecoms firms. Such records show who called who and at what time.

"If we are to maintain our capability we are going to have to make decisions in the next few years, because traditional ways are unlikely to work," he told the Telegraph.

He said that individuals' communications, as well as where they had been, had revealed UK links to the recent Mumbai attacks, although not of national security significance.

The Home Office has been preparing plans, which have not yet taken the form of proposed legislation, known as the Interception Modernisation Programme to tackle the gap perceived by Evans. This could include the creation of a single database which will automatically gather and retain all communications data generated in the UK – data including the billing records of all calls made, as well as emails sent and web pages visited, although not their contents.

Such data is currently held in varying degrees by communications providers and can be retrieved by the police, MI5 and other agencies. It is often used in court cases.

Evans also told the Guardian that the public would not want a society in which the security service monitors them all the time.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.