Feeds

UK.gov's phone and net snooping hits record high

We have ears everywhere

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The expansion in official snooping on communications records has continued with a record number of requests last year for details of who is talking to whom.

In the 12 months to 31 December, authorities made 525,130 requests to phone companies and inernet providers for communications data, the Interception Commissioner Sir Paul Kennedy revealed in his annual report.

The figure is up on 504,073 requests in 2008, and beats the previous record of 519,260 requests in 2007.

Sir Paul said the increase was due to more demand from police forces.

"I cannot give a precise reason for this but there is evidence that more and more police forces have to investigate Internet related crime, including paedophile rings and the requirements to obtain communications data in these types of cases can be quite extensive," he said.

"In other words one police investigation can generate a large number of requests for data."

The relevant data describes the who, the how, the when and the where of communications, and authorities do not require external approval to access it. The interception of the content of communications is legally separated and requires a warrant from the Home Secretary or Scottish government.

Communications data is meanwhile available to dozens of public authorities, including local councils. The government has announced a review to remove some surveillance powers from local authorities..

A total of 661 errors were reported to Sir Paul last year, with public authorities responsible for about three quarters, and communications providers the rest.

"I am not convinced that any useful purpose would be served by providing a more detailed report of these errors," the Commissioner's report says. It includes the same line every year, while assuring that none were due to "wilful or reckless" misconduct.

Offical use of communications data seems set to increase despite the coalition's pledge to to end the storage of phone and internet records "without good reason". Home Offical officials running the Interception Modernisation Programme are trying to square that political statement with demands from the intelligence services for communications providers to be compelled to retain much more data from the internet. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.