Feeds

MI5 head calls for comms data access

It's the national security, stupid

Security for virtualized datacentres

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.