Feeds

MI5 head calls for comms data access

It's the national security, stupid

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.