Feeds

MI5 head calls for comms data access

It's the national security, stupid

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
UK.gov pushes for SWIFT ACTION against nuisance calls, threatens £500k fines
DCMS seeks lowering of legal threshold to fight rogue firms
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
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.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.