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Queens Speech Confirms Expansion of UK CCDP Internet Snooping Law

Posted Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 (11:59 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 913)
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As expected the UK government has used today’s Queens Speech (State Opening of Parliament) to outline the revival of a £2bn plan to expand the reach of existing ISP based internet snooping laws (data retention) to log a much bigger slice of your online activity (e.g. Skype and Facebook access); regardless of whether or not you ever committed a crime.

It’s critical to point out that the current Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and EU Data Retention Directive already requires ISPs to maintain a log of your internet website and email accesses (times, dates and IP addresses [sender / recipient]) for 12 months, which is only accessible via an interception warrant. But this does NOT include the actual content of your communication.

The Queen Said:

My government intends to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses.”

The new Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP), which was originally called the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) under the previous Labour government (before a backlash of criticism forced it to be shelved), seeks to go a lot further by extending the current requirement to include real-time access to logs for social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), online video games (e.g. World of Warcraft chat logs), Instant Messaging (e.g. MSN) and internet phone services (e.g. Skype).

Furthermore the new rules also threaten to log the address (URL) of your website visits too (it’s unclear whether this will include full URLs or stop at the domain name), which is highly controversial because web addresses can contain sensitive personal data like names and phone numbers (e.g. http://example.com/signup.php?name=bob_riley&phone=12345); this would normally occur as part of a private process but could still be logged by the government’s system.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group (ORG), said:

These plans will turn the Internet into a vast surveillance tool. From a beacon of freedom, the net could become an instrument of creeping control.

The plans treat every citizen as a suspect, and then ask us to trust that government employees will do no wrong.

We expect the plans to endanger whistleblowers and journalists’ sources. We need stricter safeguards, not easier access. Police sign offs for data access is simply too weak.”

The security services (MI5, MI6 etc.) are understood to have lobbied hard for the revival of these measures, although the changes will at least be “subject to scrutiny” (debated) and a warrant is still required to access the content. As already known, there will also be no central government database. Instead ISPs will be responsible for maintaining a local log of such activity, which might require new kit to facilitate the stricter requirements (the costs of this could be at least partly funded by the government).

More details should be revealed when the full Draft Communications Bill is released. Meanwhile criminals will probably adopt more effective VPN and encryption methods to avoid detection.

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5 Responses
  1. DTMark

    When I offered hosting services I ran a network of five dedicated boxes. That was years ago when this idea of “recording all activity” was first mooted.

    Doing the maths, the price rise I would have had to implement would have been drastic, IIRC, prices would have more than doubled for website and email hosting thanks to the need to set up scheduled procedures (to copy site content into a backup, as it changes) and perhaps NAS storage devices to keep the backups.

    Then, since it’s legislatory, having an offline backup to backup the backups offsite.

    In this manner, every email, every upload of a page over FTP would be captured in perpetuity. But the cost… and that’s just for the storage. In the event of an investigation into one of my clients, I’d have presumably had to wait for the court order or sanction before releasing the files, and the information demands could be of any order. So if I take £500 from someone to host their ecommerce site for 12 months, just one “investigation” would more than undo any profit.

    Has this really been thought through?

  2. Deduction

    quote”Meanwhile criminals will probably adopt more effective VPN and encryption methods to avoid detection.”

    Dont even need to go that far… IM client with random username if needed and use an open wifi connection to communicate their naughty deeds.

    Another internet related thing dreamed up by a bunch of old coffers that have no clue how things work.

    Quite how they are going to monitor content of email anyway when any even legit business dealing with sensitive information encrypts it by default anyway is anyones guess.

    Combine just those 2 examples with a VPN which Mark mentions or worldwide proxy tunnelling, and they aint gonna catch any criminal with half a brain.

    Or if they are really naughty and think their email messages are going to be read they will all just use an unregistered PAYG mobile phones. With a free Gmail or similar account…. Good luck finding the person doing that.

    Government once again = Idiots. This country is fast becoming one of the worst so called “free” and “democratic” places to live on the planet.

    • dragoneast

      Welcome to the Third World UK. Creaking infastructure; ruled by a petty dictatorship supported by an obsequious bureaucracy and a domineering (but incompetent) intelligence agency.

  3. Deduction

    Indeed dragoneast :) you forgot though the UK is not only a dictatorship but one with so little intellect they still think they are a democracy that have any right to beehatch at countries like China and the rights or lack of them that country enforce on its citizens.

    The only difference between us and them is they at least have the balls to admit they rule with an iron fist instead of trying to convince everyone they are all fluffy.

    The UK is nothing more than a police state, i actually felt sorry for the queen a little as she had to sit there reading out a bunch of latest BS the bureaucratic idiots have invented.

  4. Unquestionably consider that that you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to be at the web the simplest thing to bear in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed at the same time as folks think about concerns that they just do not recognise about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thanks

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