Feeds

Snoopers Charter is for 'incompetent criminals, accidental anarchists'

Data chief says gov spynet would snare only dunderheads

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.