Feeds

Snoopers Charter is for 'incompetent criminals, accidental anarchists'

Data chief says gov spynet would snare only dunderheads

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has characterised the Home Office's proposed law to massively increase surveillance of the internet in the UK as one that would only be capable of capturing stupid criminals.

Graham told a committee of MPs and peers on Tuesday that the draft Communications Data Bill as it stands would only put a stop to "the incompetent criminal and the accidental anarchist".

The information chief said he was yet to have a conversation with the Home Office about Theresa May's planned legislation to give spooks and police greater access to comms data.

At this stage, he said, it is not even clear to him what the bill means by the term Communication Service Providers (CSPs). He said he fully expected the six big telcos – Virgin Media, BT, BSkyB, Orange, O2 and TalkTalk, who together service some 95 per cent of netizens in the UK – would fall under the CSP banner. But he asked: "What of the other 5 per cent?"

He added that an international terrorist, for example, would simply avoid accessing the web via the big six providers when operating within Britain to avoid detection from government spooks.

Graham also expressed concerns about the costs to his office of overseeing any such law and described the issue as "chicken and egg" because he was yet to be fully briefed by the Home Office on the details of the bill. He said it was clear, though, that the ICO would need more powers and resources to make that happen.

The commissioner kept returning to the same point that many others have made to parliamentarians perusing the bill, saying: "We've got a proposition but no detail."

He noted that the so-called Snoopers Charter wasn't new to the Coalition and provided some colour by explaining an exchange he had with then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in 2009 when he first became the Information Commissioner.

The data chief said that before he had even started his post, Smith had written a letter to Graham urging him to recognise the importance of the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), which was shelved by New Labour in the face of massive opposition – including from the Tories and LibDems.

Graham also told peers and MPs at the committee hearing - when asked about jurisdiction stumbling blocks relating to foreign outfits that operate in the UK - that Google and Facebook were both good at conducting "grown-up" discussions about data protection and privacy. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.