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Foreign Police Forces Also Allowed to Snoop on UK Internet Users

Thursday, July 5th, 2012 (1:57 am) - Score 431
internet snooping uk

The Home Office’s revived Communications Data Bill, which seeks to expand the country’s existing internet snooping laws (data retention) and force ISPs into logging a much bigger slice of everybody’s online activity, is in trouble yet again after it was confirmed that foreign authorities will also be granted access to the data. But how much?

A lower ranking Home Office minister, James Brokenshire, revealed the news after the Conservative MP for Esher and Walton, Dominic Raab, questioned, “under what circumstances the authorities of other countries would be able to request access to data stored under the proposed Communications Capabilities Development Programme [CCDP]“.

James Brokenshire said:

Any country is able to request assistance from the Secretary of State for the Home Department in obtaining evidence located within the UK, including communications data. Such requests are considered under the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003.

28 Jun 2012 : Column 345W

Public authorities in the United Kingdom can also receive direct requests for assistance in obtaining communications data from their counterparts in other countries. On receipt of such requests the United Kingdom public authority may consider seeking the acquisition and disclosure of the requested data under the provisions of the chapter II part I of the Regulations of Investigatory 2000. The United Kingdom public authority must be satisfied that the request complies with United Kingdom human rights legislation.

In fairness it might perhaps be a bit naive to think that this wouldn’t or wasn’t already happening, especially with all those tv/spying dramas telling us exactly that for the best part of two decades. Naturally security forces need to share data on their suspects but the question is how much and whether or not the newly proposed safeguards are enough to prevent abuse.

The fact that it can only occur under the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 means that this isn’t a free-for-all level of access and the requesting authority must have a serious case to put forward first. But without further clarification such revelations could continue to cause concern.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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