Feeds

Theresa May: No emails sniffed in web super-snoop law

'No real-time monitoring' Home Sec retorts

Boost IT visibility and business value

Home Secretary Theresa May denied today that spooks will monitor emails in real-time under her proposed web-snoop law, which is due to be announced in the Queen's Speech next month.

"There are a lot of myths out there," the cabinet minister told MPs at a select committee hearing at lunchtime on Tuesday.

May also expressed surprise when Lib Dem Julian Huppert told the Home Sec that many ISPs had little knowledge of what her proposals involved on a technical level. She said discussions had taken place with telcos but did not offer up further details.

May told MPs:

The proposal that we have is very simple - to maintain the capability for the security services to access certain data on terrorists, criminals and so on. Given that technology is evolving we need to maintain that capability.

There are new methods of communication and we wish to be able to apply what has been there with previous communications. It is our intention to bring the capability up-to-date. There has been a lot written about what this will do.

It will not be looking into emails in real-time.

Home Affairs select committee chairman Keith Vaz recommended that another session be scheduled to allow the Home Secretary to explain the proposals in more detail.

She agreed, but added "you might want to consider how it is held".

Her brief grilling by MPs came after a Sunday Times story leaked information from a senior Home Office source about the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) - some details of which were published by May's department in July 2011.

In effect the Tory-led Coalition is resurrecting New Labour's shelved Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) and many civil liberties group - like a song stuck on repeat - are again opposing any such plan.

The Home Sec's argument in favour of CCDP to MPs today reflected an opinion piece she penned for The Sun earlier this month in which she pointed out that police and spooks already gathered data from phone records to help solve crime and protect the British public against terrorist attacks.

However, when quizzed about whether encrypted pages from sites including Google, Twitter and Facebook would be compromised by such sniffer technology May seemed less certain.

She gave no answer when Huppert asked if, for example, GCHQ black boxes sitting on ISPs' networks would decrypt such information.

"I don't think it's appropriate for me to say. It's a technical detail and I'm clear what the legislation will say on access," she said. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.