Feeds

Spooks made 1,061 bugging errors in 2010

MI5 accidentally spied on 134 people they didn't mean to

Mobile application security vulnerability report

MI5 wrongly collected subscriber data on 134 telephone numbers as a result of a software error, according to interception of communications commissioner Sir Paul Kennedy's annual report.

A spreadsheet formatting error caused the service to apply for data on the identity of telephone numbers ending in 000, rather than the actual last three digits. "The subscriber data acquired had no connection or relevance to any investigation or operation being undertaken by the Security Service," writes Kennedy.

He adds that the resulting material was destroyed, the formatting fault fixed and numbers are now checked manually before MI5 requests subscriber data from communications providers.

MI5 also acquired data on the histories of 927 internet protocol addresses without authorisation from a sufficiently senior officer, of GD3 rank or above. This was due to an "incorrect setting on the system used by the Security Service," according to Kennedy, although the requests themselves were necessary and proportionate. MI5 has corrected the setting on its systems.

Overall, Kennedy reported that public authorities submitted 552,550 requests for communications data during 2010, and the number is increasing by about 5 per cent a year. He could not give a precise reason for the growth, but said "it is indicative of the growth in communications technology", with "certain police forces" increasing their use.

Nearly two-thirds of requests for communications data – about communications rather than contents – were for subscriber data. This was usually part of an attempt to find the owner of a mobile phone. About a quarter of requests were for traffic data.

Sir Peter Gibson, the intelligence services commissioner, also published his annual report. Having been granted powers under the Identity Cards Act to monitor use of the National Identity Register by intelligence services, he reported that he is "not aware of any acquisition, storage and use made" by such organisations before the register was destroyed earlier this year.

He collected statistics on the number of warrants and authorisations issued to the security and intelligence agencies or armed forces, but these have only been included in a confidential annex. He defended the secrecy by saying publication would "assist those unfriendly to the UK were they able to know the extent of the work" of those agencies.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'
Scrutiny committee bods probe derailed database project
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves
Big Content could get the right to order ISPs to stop traffic
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.