Feeds

UK's web super-snoop powers could be extended to councils

'We don't know what we don't know yet'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

What is it that cops want that they don't have today?

Earlier in the joint committee hearing, the HMRC and top cops from the Metropolitan Police Authority, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency gave evidence to MPs and peers in Westminster.

But when the Met's assistant commissioner Cressida Dick was quizzed earlier this week about which communications data was specifically withheld – senior spooks had described it as a "25 per cent shortfall" when it comes to current criminal investigations – she failed to provide a detailed answer.

"I'm not technically qualified and I am never myself an applicant," she said. "I can't say what data is missing."

However, when pressed on the matter, Dick added that she didn't want to publicly reveal that information because it could fall into the hands of criminals.

She further admitted that some communication service providers (CSPs) - a spurious category of online players that includes, for example, Google and Facebook - had withheld data requested by the police.

SOCA's director general Trevor Pearce told the committee that his agency had "averted 240 potential threats in the last 12 months" due to access requests to communications data being granted.

But he warned: "There are opportunities lost or not available."

Meanwhile, ACPO's assistant chief constable Gary Boatridge rejected the claims that the extension of surveillance requested within May's bill would lead to police "looking for a needle in a field of haystacks".

He said: "I wouldn't agree with that... these matters are very carefully considered."

CEOP's chief exec Peter Davies agreed, saying such an accusation "suggests speculative requests," a claim he said "goes against all my experience".

Later on during the session, Dick said that Scotland Yard took "any breach of data very seriously". She added "regretfully" there had been incidents where her officers had violated the Met's national computer database.

She insisted, however, that any access to comms data under May's proposed legislation would have much stronger protection and be more heavily controlled.

When asked about what currently happens to police staff who attempt to access comms data without putting in a formal request, the panel agreed that it would be tough for those individuals to get past the security checks in place.

Dick said it was "like different legs of a chair looking at each other".

And, it turns out, very little disciplinary action has been taken against staff abusing those powers, which according to HMRC's director of criminal investigation Donald Toon "reflects the fact that it is very tightly controlled" rather than demonstrating any incompetence among cops spying on other cops to prevent breaches. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.