Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Home Office plans for mandatory communications data storage

Guardian article

consultation paper published yesterday,

there's all the ususal stuff in this article.
a bit of European union policy washing, as these plans are the result of a European directive, but again the UK government intends to push the plans further.

"The government has already indicated that it intends to go one step further this autumn by introducing a draft communications bill which would require all the telecommunications companies to hand over this data to one central "super" database so that the police and other public authorities will be able to access it directly without having to make a request each time to the individual company holding the records."

Individual requests leave an audit trail, they can be challenged if they are thought to have no legal basis, and without making a case for the security of the private sector data controllers, it means another potential check in the system, slightly slowing down the ridiculous (leaky) data flows.

There's also a big of techno-fantasy in the plans. All UK communications data in one central database? that sounds, well, technically stupid. It's all a fantastic response to the Rose report that criticised the surveillance conducted by local authorities (bins and the like).

Communications data available to all agencies registered under RIPA apparently, so I need to check out what that entails, who's on the list currently (includes OFSTEAD apparently!) and how an agency gets added (or removed, although I'm guessing that's less likely). Because, data available to agencies, means data available to the ordinary human beings that work in those agencies - especially, if the data is directly available from the 'superdatabase'

Might be time to stop writing things down, or using email.... I'll read through the consultation document, to which I might very well write a response.

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