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The emergency surveillance legislation will make us safer

11 July 2014

9:24 AM

11 July 2014

9:24 AM

Isabel wonders whether it is a good thing that all main parties allied in passing emergency surveillance legislation into law yesterday. While it’s true that legislation passed without any significant political objection can be bad news, this is one case where that rule does not apply.

There are a number of reasons why the legislation was necessary. One was the European Court of Justice verdict from earlier this year that meant that this country and a large number of internet providers were at risk of entering a legally grey area. Far from being an ‘extension’ of powers, this bill is about the retention of powers which had been accepted until the European Court ruling put this into question. The retention of large amounts of data by service providers and their giving of access to them, under warrant if requested, is not new but is necessary. What the bill does is provide primary legislation to allow British agencies and service providers to do exactly what they were doing up until now.

Obviously, post-Snowden, this has become a highly emotive area. There remain vast swathes of people who somewhat flatter — as well as mislead — themselves by thinking that the NSA or GCHQ would ever wish to monitor their every move. They do not.  As the Prime Minister said yesterday, the type of people whose communications might be of interest are only those who would seek to do us harm. There is no sane reason why GCHQ would wish to find out what type of John Lewis dining table I have favourite-ed online. All that happens is that those tasked with protecting the British public seek now — as they have done for centuries — to find and disrupt the activities of people who seek to do us harm.

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It is striking that (presumably because of the focus on data retention post-Snowden) there has not been so much focus on the other portion of the bill — that to do with intercept. In many ways this is more important. What the legislation does is, again, to make legally watertight something which had entered a grey area. The bill allows intercept powers to be co-operative and extra-territorial. It should be better understood what this does and does not entail.

It means that if you are a communication service provider and there’s external traffic coming through your servers that is relevant to the UK, then you are subject to a warrant being served from the UK under existing law. In the not very distant past a need to intercept would have involved the Post Office or BT. But now people’s communications can be done through any number of providers, including companies outside the UK. This legislation allows the government to serve warrants on such companies and compel them into cooperating. This is something which, apart from anything else, allows the providers to clarify their legal standing and to explain to any doubting customers that, in such extreme cases, they are simply cooperating with a country with the rule of law, going through the legally correct procedures. I suppose there are alternatives to this, but it is hard to imagine many that don’t involve either encouraged illegality or anarchy.

As for the claim that this bill was rushed or a ‘predicable emergency’, it seems completely sensible to get such an important bill through before recess in order not to lose precious months (delay after recess would have meant the bill being passed in September or October at the earliest). And it is hard to see that a bill which has taken months to compile – and which needed political buy-in from all parties – has been in any way rushed. Key Liberal Democrats have given the bill their assent and I think it’s safe to say that building a political consensus like the one we saw yesterday need not be a matter of ‘rushing’ but rather one of politicians of all parties understanding the appropriate concerns and the need to act on them when faced with the facts.

In any case, anybody who is seriously concerned about all this can take some further solace from the fact that there is of course a sunset-clause on this act. In late 2016 the House of Commons will come back to this legislation. At that time they can see whether the system has been working up to then, renew it if has been and either alter it or scrap it if it has not.

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Show comments
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  • Bonkim

    I have no problem with the new legislation. The only ones that will fear this legislation are potential terrorists and criminals. In any case don’t use electronic media if you don’t want the system to save it.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, you socialist nutters enjoy totalitarianism, as we know.

  • David Prentice

    The boot stamping on the human face takes incremental steps on the path to complete domination. These powers are not needed and will be abused – if not by this government, imagine what the likes of Miliband, Harperson and Cooper will do with the power to pry.

  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    Is a predictable emergency tantamount to an accident, waiting to happen?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Almost everyday I find justification for flying Police State UK all those years ago. Guess I saw the writing on the wall before you jokers in UK even realised there was a wall.

  • BoiledCabbage

    Especially as “people who seek to do us harm” are from a well-defined, but fast-growing, minority group.

    • Bonkim

      Do the Japanese allow infinit freedom to terrorists?

      • allymax bruce

        I had a dream last night that Japan was going to disintegrate and sink into the ocean!

    • Lorenzo

      From far off America, it looks like the problem was letting them in and, by bending over backwards to accommodate their beliefs and customs, encouraged non-assimilation and aggressive behavior. Your government might watch them, but does it have the guts to deal with the behavior? My guess is that those in charge are so paralyzed by political correctness that they they will do nothing.

      I hope I’m wrong.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Exchanging freedom for security? Good luck with that.

  • Winston Burchill

    Funny how all our governments favour increasing surveillance. British people have been the most spied upon people on earth now for many years have we seen an end to extremism, illegal immigration. Does anybody seriously believe there will be fewer paedo crimes with increasing surveillance? It’s all about nothing more than keeping us law-abiding types under constant watch bureaucrats love it.

  • MalcolmRedfellow

    There remain vast swathes of people who somewhat flatter — as well as mislead — themselves by thinking that the NSA or GCHQ would ever wish to monitor their every move. They do not. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, the type of people whose communications might be of interest are only those who would seek to do us harm.

    Yeah, right.

    Was that the case with the News of the World? Or did their private operators troll every contact they came up with? All, moreover, on the odd hundred thousand quid. Why should GCHQ, with infinitely greater resources, be less diligent?

    Nor are we clear against whom this weapon is to be used. Cameron’s definition has ended up as “paedophiles, terrorists and criminals”. Which, to me, is mission-creep. For, by the way: a “criminal” is one who has been legally tried and incriminated. Not just a mere passing “suspect”.

    But in the securocrat’s judgement, we all all suspect.

  • Roger Hudson

    When I first read ‘1984’ as a young teenager I used to wonder who all the watchers of the telescreens were and who watched the watchers, the numbers didn’t seem to add up. Then we learned that the STASI had co-opted a large number of local spies plus the new technology of data processing, punched cards etc., still the job was too big to keep the lid on dissent.
    The NSA has been building a huge data center in Utah and the ‘5 eyes’ have been tapping cables and hoovering up internet traffic manically, so much that giga-zetabytes of storage is too small.
    Although the British ISPs are only storing metadata it is still going to stuff the computing power of GCHQ/NSA.
    It was written that if they really are also scanning emails,tweets, instant messages etc. then everybody only has to slip a word like ‘bomb’, ‘plutonium’ etc. into every message to ram the spooks throats until they burst.
    There is such a thing as too much data but not enough intelligence.

  • Amir

    Read this article to find out more about this legislation:

    http://www.casualpolitics.co.uk/2014/07/is-snoopers-charter-a-privacy-breach/

  • davidbfpo

    This very short bill ( 5 pgs) is not an emergency. The European Court of Justice decision can hardly have been a surprise to the UK government, particularly the Home Office and it was a decision given in April. We are now in early July.

    I cannot see why this bill could not have been published before this week, even as a ‘Green Paper’ to enable scrutiny and consultation outside the Westminster-Whitehall “bubble”.

    Yes there are two parts to the bill, one over data retention – after the ECJ ruling and the second is a longstanding issue over non-UK communications providers enforced legal cooperation with the UK government. Including these matters is not an emergency. Indeed their inclusion has alarmed many observers.

    Parliament has hardly been busy with considering legislation this year, indeed had an extra week’s Easter holiday as business was sparse.

  • Smithersjones2013

    After further thought my biggest problem with these pointless obsolete machinations by government is that it does not address the primary issue here which is that foreign courts and ill-designed ‘human rights’ legislation (not forgetting our porous immigration policy and disasterous foreign policy) are now damaging this country’s national security policy and the government have no intention of do anything about it.

    Basically this is a pathetic attempt to cover-up the massive flaws and shortfalls in the government’s intransigent adherence to a globalist view of national concerns and in doing so unnecessarily sacrificing individuals privacy (as I do not believe for one minute that this will remain purely the domain of the security services) to boot.

  • John Mitchell

    It’s perhaps an exaggeration to say that legislation like this is a UK style Patriot Act. I do feel however that the UK Government is taking the people down that road. National security is given as reason for invading everyone’s privacy. I don’t accept the argument that if you’re doing nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to hide. Targeted surveillance with a legitimate reasoning or warrant is far more sensible than a blanket based approach.

    Nobody really asked for a surveillance state and the way this bill is being rushed through parliament without any real debate makes it all the more worse.

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin.

    • FrenchNewsonlin

      “Targeted surveillance with a legitimate reasoning…”
      …as is profiling at airports and elsewhere where terrorists are a concern. But profiling generally means searching the beard&burqa brigade more often than little old ladies in wheelchairs — inducing fits of apoplectic PC rage from the usual suspects.

      • John Mitchell

        I wouldn’t feel that overzealous profiling at airports is warranted. I would describe the current setup towards airport security as excessive as it is in other areas.

        My objections towards airport security would revolve around body scanning equipment and the general heavy handed approach the TSA uses in the United States as an example. To clarify, I’m not objecting to the principle of airport security itself but instead how it is implemented.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Utter corporatist statist garbage. Such tracking can easily be subverted by anyone who feels the urge largely for free and worse government has broadcast it loud and large so those who may have malicious intent know to take precautions. The only people whose privacy will be invaded will be the innocent and the stupid.

    Obsolete measures by an obsolete establishment .Petty posturing peddled by puerile powerless politicians (I love alliteration)

    The sinister thing is that these bankrupt impotent politicians think using such measures for propaganda purposes is acceptable……

    • HookesLaw

      ‘the stupid’? You had better change all your passwords then.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Ah Hooky. Has your shift as the Downing Street doormat started already then? Come to give GCHQ a laugh with all your pathetic ravings again have you?

        The irony is I could go off for 15 minutes, come back as a completely seperate identity start insulting you and neither you or my ISP or GCHQ would know that it was me.

        That you are no longer chuntering about 2006 to me and have resorted once more to childish insults demonstrates once again that you know I’m right!

        Oh by the way I don’t need to change my passwords (I follow Internet best practice wherever possible) as all my passwords are different but I did have to change one when eBay went and had millions of people’s data stolen!

        Have you any idea what would happen if these ISP data stores fell into the wrong hands?.

        • Alexsandr

          of course. the tech savvy will get round it. all they will catch will be the idiots.

  • HookesLaw

    A sensible post from someone who puts the measures in their context – unlike Ms Hardman (or indeed the thick Nick Robinson on the BBC last night). Focus rather should be on Clegg who rabbited and gurned on about safeguards when in fact the legislation only mirrors what was previously in place Europe wide courtesy of his beloved EU.

    It should come as no surprise that labour support it because they enacted the same legislation in 2006. I imagine that they, the labour govt, were active in framing the legislation and getting the rest of Europe to comply, all in our own best interests.

    As it is now it shows we can frame our own legislation which will not unfortunately be Europe wide and of course this gives the lie to those who say we do not govern ourselves. We clearly do.

    • realfish

      ‘It should come as no surprise that labour support it because they enacted the same legislation in 2006’

      Which makes Tom Watson’s sudden concerns seem typically opportunistic.
      I note that in response to the Guardian leader, this morning – which might have been written by Edward Snowden, Watson seems to have spawned a hundred identikit quotes (‘stitch-up’) from the handwringers that infest that site. If the Guardian says that the legislation is wrong…it must be right.

      The only civil liberty that counts is to live our lives freely and not be blown to bits by a terrorist’s bomb. It the State continues to have at it’s disposal the mean to identify and disrupt wrongdoing – so be it.

      • HookesLaw

        Oh I agree – I saw Watson on the news. Pathetic bit of lying. Another one. I have not read anything other than the odd headline but I get the impression that both Guardian and Independent are lying about the measures.

        • realfish

          A complete misrepresentation, as was Chanel 4’s* report last night (there was a brief, almost subliminal, acknowledgment that this was the continuation of existing legislation) and the Newsnight dog’s breakfast of a debate
          Jon Snow and his hypocrites at C4 wring their hands and cover their mouths with masking tape in solidarity with their fellow ‘professional’ journalists locked up in Egypt…but in reality they themselves are seriously lacking in journalistic integrity.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

        Franklin, 1755

    • Denis_Cooper

      You seem to have forgotten that if the ECJ has jurisdiction over an EU law and can declare it invalid then it also has the same jurisdiction over a domestic law in the same area. I see nothing in the draft DRIP Bill to say that it is being passed notwithstanding Heath’s European Communities Act 1972 and that it shall be binding in any legal proceedings in the United Kingdom. So we will await the court case in this country when the judge points out that the ECJ has already found against the kind of legal provisions that have been incorporated in the Act and refers the case to the ECJ for its final decision.

      That is what you want, isn’t it, that the ECJ should be our highest court?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      It comes as no surprise that any of you LibLabCon clones support this, lad, especially you socialist Camerluvvies .

  • Donafugata

    It may be more practical and reassuring if the surveillance was to focus on those who are known to be a likely threat.

    Perhaps the security services are doing this but prefer not to make it known.
    To specifically target people of a certain persuasion wouldn’t be fair, would it?

    • HookesLaw

      Yes a while ago it was those of an Irish persuasion

  • dado_trunking

    EMERGENCY???
    Will you ever so kindly FAQ off. The only ’emergency’ here is that you civil service muppets left it till last minute, again.

    • HookesLaw

      As the article said the legislation has been being framed for some months and it was needed to consult Labour. The need for it only came into question since last April – a matter of less than 3 months ago.
      If you reflect for a moment you will realise you have spouted a load of cobblers and apologise.

      • Denis_Cooper

        The need for it only arose from a judgement of the ECJ, which you are happy to have as our highest court.

        • dado_trunking

          A highest court ‘ruling’ (pah!) that is now overturned by a bunch of wise men here, just like that?
          The nonsensical cracker jackery really does not get any better than this. You are completely lost in your own little world, making it up as you go along – as ever!

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …perhaps he should join you in your own little sockpuppet world, lad.

          • Denis_Cooper

            You should read the Explanatory Notes to the draft Bill before you shoot your stupid mouth off.

            • dado_trunking

              I shall not declare here whether or not I have read such a thing. I shall declare here that three puppetmasters sit down in Engerland and play ‘democracy’. Is that not what you call it?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …well no doubt your army of sockpuppets trumps a measly three puppetmasters, eh lad?

      • dado_trunking

        You callin’ Tom Watson a liar?
        😉

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …well, let’s ask the goat, lad.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …well, your army of sockpuppets should be able to help you catch up, lad.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    Internet is a historical document, once on internet, for ever. The inherent weakness of internet is the IP number. Mr. Cameron’s totalitarian measures will initiate developments such as “Tor” and new encryption methods. The costs involved for Mr. Cameron’s endeavors are substantial.

    • ButcombeMan

      Those who regularly use TOR & use unusual encryption methods, perversely, draw attention to themselves.

    • HookesLaw

      Really? Explain then why they have been successfully in use since 2006? The number of people talking out of their backsides on this board is increasing exponentially

      • the viceroy’s gin

        When confronted by the US Congress, the spy nannies failed to support their claims that their snooping foiled dozens of plots. There was arguably 1-2, and perhaps not even that, and this as confirmed by Obama’s partisan political mates.

        Obama and company lied, in other words, to include the NSA and uniformed military officers:

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/2/nsa-chief-figures-foiled-terror-plots-misleading/

        The thing about authoritarianism is, the only certainty is that freedom and liberty is destroyed. They can guarantee nothing else, other than the additional cost to enact their authoritarianism and spying .

        All socialists love it, however, especially you Camerloons.

  • Andrew M

    Douglas how long do you think it will be until something you might say about the religion of peace in a private conversation, makes it in front of a magistrate as evidence of hate speech?

    You’re surprisingly trusting.

    • In2minds

      Andrew M is only half right when he says Douglas Murray is “surprisingly
      trusting”. For Murray is well and truly wrong on so much. Murray
      writes –

      ‘All that happens is that those tasked with protecting the British public
      seek now — as they have done for centuries — to find and disrupt
      the activities of people who seek to do us harm’ –

      For the fact is those tasked with with protecting us have failed to stop
      the Islamification of the UK. Let’s face it we cannot even keep
      schools in Birmingham in line, so what hope is there?

      Dominic Cummings has described the governments ant-extremism measures as “a joke”, and he’s right. The much vaunted ‘Prevent’ policy could not have been given a sillier name. An unknown number of young men and women are now on Jihad and it was the parents who alerted the
      authorities as they did not know this.

      • BoiledCabbage

        What could be done to stop such “Islamification” short of internment or some other difficult non-starter?

        • James Lovelace

          “What could be done to stop such “Islamification” short of internment ”

          Have schools teach the truth about islam and Mohammed – he was a mass-murderer and islam was the earliest form of fascism.

          Have the media tell the truth about islamist terrorism — Mohammed was the founder of islam and the first islamist terrorist.

          Let the British people know the truth. That will stop any converting to islam. And it will make them start to demand/support a government which will stand up to islamification. The media would not get away with their support for “the Palestinians” if it was known that in the 1930s “the Palestianians” were allied with the National Socialists in Palestine and were massacring jews there years before the concentration camps started mass executions.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I think he’s a socialist authoritarian, and none of this would be surprising. Most likely, those types would celebrate the hypothetical you mention .

  • Alex

    I’m open minded on this issue, interested to read a view supportive of the legislation, but this section is nonsense …
    “There remain vast swathes of people who somewhat flatter — as well as mislead — themselves by thinking that the NSA or GCHQ would ever wish to monitor their every move. They do not. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, the type of people whose communications might be of interest are only those who would seek to do us harm.”
    Yes Douglas, people have privacy concerns only because they have massive egos. That’s so right. You just keep telling yourself that.
    As for the last sentence; who determines who “seek to do us harm”? Politicians? No danger there, then.

    • Donafugata

      It is difficult to understand the privacy concerns of people who regularly offer information and images of themselves, families and friends on social media sites.

      They are attention seekers who then complain that the security services are invading their privacy.

      What privacy?

      • ButcombeMan

        Precisely.

        Many of those people have given much more privacy away to untrustworthy commercial organizations. Those organizations use it.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          They choose to give away information. You authoritarians want to take it from them. Again, you’d do well to understand the difference, lad.

          • ButcombeMan

            You have struggled all day with these concepts. Take more water with it.

            I propose to humour you no longer

            • the viceroy’s gin

              You have struggled all day with these concepts. Take more water with it.

              I propose you authoritarians be harshly exposed and shunned.

              • ButcombeMan

                Nurse,…… Nurse….

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …yes, you’ll be needing that. Most paranoid authoritarians eventually succumb.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Your strawman is acknowledged, lad.

    • ButcombeMan

      The sentenece you quote was actually spot on.

  • Mynydd

    With much legistration

    • ButcombeMan

      The 3 months period was used to have discussions with providers and reach all party agreement on what was to be done and, with the providers, what needed to be done to give them the comfort of legitimacy.. Since it is essentially continuity and has a sunset clause, the hysteria is misplaced.

      Whenever Shami and David Davis get excited, they are both (usually) wrong

      • HookesLaw

        Davis is being his usual pathetic self. The other answer to Mynydd is that all that is happening is enshrining in UK law the same legislation that Labour agreed to as part of a Europe-wide EU Directive. So the issue of timing and examining is not relevant.

        Reply

        • Alexsandr

          redwood was good on this on toady yesterday. We dont need the EU to have any competency over criminal law. He demolished the useless limp dem.
          anyway this is giving powers to brussels. why no referendum? I thort we got a referendum if we gave more powers to brussels?

          • HookesLaw

            How is this giving powers to Brussels? We are framing our own legislation which replaces a Europe wide EU directive which labour were instrumental in framing and bringing into place in 2006. The fact that it was Europe wide was a good thing for our security.

            • Denis_Cooper

              And the court which traitors like you believe should be our highest court, the ECJ in Luxembourg, struck it down.

            • Alexsandr

              like the european arrest warrant? so someone could be arrested for something that is not a crime in the UK on the say so of a foreign plod, with no judicial procedings to ensure their is a case to answer. How is that right? (The US extradition arrangement is wrong too.

        • ButcombeMan

          I like DD on a personal level. I would rather have a pint with him than with Cameron.

          Sadly he has got a few things very wrong, he was absolutely correct on the absurdity of 90 days, but wrong to resign and cause a by election.

          I think he listens too much now, to Shami and maybe relishes, too much the role of trouble maker for HMG.

          Sad..

        • Mynydd

          Without a detailed examination of the bill we don’t know if it’s the same legislation, word for word, that Labour agreed to as part of a Europe-wide EU Directive. Now we only have cast iron Dave and Clegg the pledge word for it. You might trust these two, I don’t.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Yes, and it is important for you socialist Cameroons that EU Directives are obeyed without questions, eh lad?

      • allymax bruce

        You epitomise a strange and destructive Imposition-war between those supra-national ‘bodies’ vying to overthrow National Governments by forcing degenerating laws on us, and National governments trying to counter said supra-national ‘bodies’ laws with even more destructive & forever invasive laws. I don’t want neither, but because this is an ever-decreasing forum of Individual Rights, I want the Democratically National elected government to hold power of the Nation. But this strange circumstance is fuelling an ever-increasing synclastic destruction of Individual Rights.
        You see one as necessary because the other exists as a threat. Ghandi utilised this metaphor when he said ‘Eye for an eye’; we will all be blind’. We must get out of this situation; not try to fight it by being like it.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Er, they are ‘providers’ not owners. The data belongs to their customers hence the court ruling. For the government to agree this without consulting the real owners of the data is high-handed but rather typical. Corporate Britain holding board meetings to decide law.

        • ButcombeMan

          You are splitting hairs.

          In the jargon of the industry they are “service providers” who gather information on the services they provide.

          Like all such service providers it is THEIR data. They own it, they are free to discard it once it has outlived usefulness to them. They do not need to ask the people you think own it because you are wrong on the fundamentals.

          That is why legislation is required to ensure it is kept for a certain period and, subject to appropriate permission and access control , may be legally shared with other parties, up to and including the Courts.

          Of course because the service users are affected by the release of personal data, it is possible they might have right of action against a provider who wrongly and illegally provided the data to a third party or otherwise misused it.

          THAT is why this MUST all be covered by laws.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I disagree. I think that is precisely against the spirit of the European ruling which was about actual ownership of the data.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No, it is not “THEIR” data, any more than the private overnight delivery provider owns the data in the envelopes and packages he delivers. You’re confused.

            You’re confusing access with ownership, it seems.

            And that access might very well be removed from them, by the very same legal practices that you’re using to further intrude on the owners’ data.

            • ButcombeMan

              You are wrong. The provider can exercise ownership by causing the material to be destroyed, without reference to the customer. It is their business record.

              The customer is of course entitled to expect privacy, as with any other commercial transaction, except under legal provisions. Which is why the law is needed.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You are wrong. The provider can exercise standard business practice, and dispose of transient records as it sees fit. It cannot claim or delegate ownership. That is solely the customers’. That is precisely why the companies are begging you authoritarians to provide authoritarian diktat here. Absent that, they are vulnerable and they full well know it. They know they are to be considered in civil and perhaps criminal violation if they claim the rights you mistakenly claim they have.

                You authoritarians are demanding via typical authoritarian diktat that massive amounts of data be illegitimately made available to you authoritarians. Business would never do that, absent authoritarian diktat. It is not and would not be standard business practice to retain transient business records as you authoritarians are demanding.

                You don’t quite understand what you’re talking about, lad. You are unclear on about all of this, which is ironic because you’re shrieking hysterically about how dumb everybody else is.

                The “law is needed” because it’s what authoritarians always need, and for no other reason. You types favor Big Brother, and you will take and take, always. It’s a one-way ratchet with you types. You despise freedom and liberty, and always have .

                • ButcombeMan

                  Having been caught out and made to look very stupid, , you now rant.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re quite amusing, lad.

                  You don’t have an argument, but you’re amusing.

      • Mynydd

        It is not only three months it is also the time the court took to come to its decision. Knowing that the decision could go against them, a government, on top of its game, would have had a contingency bill in place, to allow an in depth examination.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, and proper debate and discussion is surely a sign of “hysteria”, as you say.

        • ButcombeMan

          In your case apparently, Yes.

          Like so many you understand very little, even the terminology, yet are bombastic and noisy, defending a view which lacks full comprehension.

          It is hysterical, because a position is taken by so many without any real understanding, or worse, no attempt to engage or understand.

          THAT is why I said some time ago, a real debate is so difficult.

          There might be agreement on some issues if you would engage
          .

          • the viceroy’s gin

            In your case, proper debate and discussion is impossible, lad. You’re an authoritarian. Like all authoritarians, you find that the plebs are beneath understanding, and thus you are obligated to press forward with your actions, as a necessity, with or without proper debate and discussion.

            It’s what marks you as an authoritarian.

            • ButcombeMan

              Attacks on the person rather than the arguments are often the characteristics of the scoundrel.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Which is exactly what you’ve been doing in here from the start, laddie, shrieking hysterically how ignorant everybody who disagrees with you is.

                You’re a hypocrite in addition to being an authoritarian. You best quit while you’re behind.

  • Colonel Mustard

    I have very grave concerns about the way this was done and the potential unintended consequences regardless of the underlying case for necessity. I don’t want to give up actual freedom from government control in exchange for pretend freedom from terrorist risk.

    Besides, as others have pointed out, those risks arise mainly from previous government decisions and/or negligence.

    You can justify this as much as you want but I don’t have to like it – and don’t. Thin. Edge. Wedge.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Not even that thin:

      http://news.sky.com/story/1298590/emergency-data-retention-laws-deeply-worrying

      “Having looked through the draft law and its explanatory notes – recently published – there are a couple of further points.

      First, buried in Paragraph 43 of the notes are the purposes for which communications data can be looked at.

      Along with interests of national security, and in preventing crime, there is this: “For the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department.”

      That seems pretty broad – not just collecting, but assessing, and by any government department. Yikes.”

      • telemachus

        As your precious PM said
        “the type of people whose communications might be of interest are only those who would seek to do us harm”

        • telemachus

          As a great libertarian posted in this great blog

          http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2012/12/theresa-may-weak-argument-communications-data-bill/

          “This is not party political
          I am a libertarian but even I can see that people who are not paedophiles or terrorists have nothing to fear
          Those opposing this are mischievous or have other agendas”

          • Colonel Mustard

            You forgot the response to that particularly unconvincing boast:-

            “I am a libertarian

            Hahahahahahahahaha ROFLMFAO

            And they say socialists haven’t got a sense of humour.

            After what your rotten Blair/ Brown Governments tried to do that is the most shameless piece of misrepresentative propaganda one could produce about anything to do with Labour (well except claiming that they are economically competent that is). Nobody who supports Labour has a hope in h*ll of claiming they are ‘libertarian’. They can barely get away with being considered ‘socially conservative’ given the dictatorial and illiberal intolerance they continue to display.”

            Indeed. An avowed admirer of Stalin a libertarian? Pull the other one.

            • telemachus

              Those opposing this are mischievous or have other agendas”
              We know the mischief but I continue to wonder about the other agenda

              • Colonel Mustard

                The only mischievous one with an agenda around here is you as you have proven in umpteen “comments”.

                I’ll ignore the sly innuendo which your sort always descend to in order to intimidate dissent.

              • ButcombeMan

                You are right, for once.

                Much of the opposition is financed by convicted (in France) fraudster, George Soros

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’d do well to recognize who is it that agrees with you in here, lad.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            “I am a libertarian…”

            .

            BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !

            You are either the biggest liar or the greatest satirist alive, lad!

        • Colonel Mustard

          The definition of “harm” being moot and open to a deal of interpretation not just now but under future governments of unknown persuasion and intent.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Yes, I raised that concern when this Bill was first mooted. It goes way beyond terrorist threat and into levels of petty bureaucratic control that are mind boggling. But the thing that stands out is that despite all the previous opposition to it (from the so-called Lib Dems too)m Cameron’s pre-election promises and concerns over the misuse of surveillance powers by non-security services this re-heated concoction now gets whisked through without a murmur but with a lot of florid and unconvincing justification.

        • telemachus

          Hear your respected Foreign Secretary on this

          “if you are a law abiding citizen of this country going about your business and your personal life you have nothing to fear, nothing to fear about the British state or intelligence agencies listening to the contents of your phone calls or anything like that.” In addition the intelligence agencies were doing good work “to stop your identity being stolen, and to stop a terrorist blowing you up tomorrow. But if you are a would be terrorist, or the center of a criminal network, or a foreign intelligence agency trying to spy on Britain, you should be worried because that is what we work on”.

          • Colonel Mustard

            But it’s not just ‘intelligence agencies”. That is the issue. It is a whistle blowing justified thin edge of a much larger wedge. Yet another misrepresentation of much broader implications.

            Besides I don’t respect him. I think he’s a prat.

            • telemachus

              A warrant is needed
              And Will Hague is the one honest man in an Administration of “?prats” whatever they are

            • ButcombeMan

              It never was “just” Intelligence Agencies.

              • Colonel Mustard

                That’s the problem. Other government agencies should never have been given powers to spy.

                • ButcombeMan

                  The other agencies you complain about (other than the real spies in SIS, Box 500 & GCHQ) are the Police, Benefits Agency, the NCA and HMRC.

                  All of these four responsible for real serious crime investigation and actually, through the criminal trial process, the trial disclosure rules etc, subject to far more outside oversight of the most testing kind, than the “spies” proper.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Has the definition of ‘designated public authority’ under 21(1)(e) been excluded then?:-

                  “any public authority designated for the purposes of this Part by order of the Secretary of State”

                  And collection:-

                  (e) in the interests of public safety,
                  (f) for the purpose of protecting public health,
                  (g) for the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department,

                  The Bill also refers to local authority as:-

                  (a) a district or county council in England,
                  (b) a London borough council,
                  (c) the Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as a local authority, or
                  (d) the Council of the Isles of Scilly

                  All far too wild, wide and woolly.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …it never is, lad.

          • allymax bruce

            He’s referring to the ‘British’ Jihadis; that The Labour Party flooded our Islands with, and gave them free reign to rape our white girls, then go abroad and murder innocent civilians of foreign countries.

          • Alexsandr

            but the surveillance laws were brought in to counter terrorism. but were used for frivolous things. that’s why this isn’t trusted, apart from the fact the data will leak because the government is rubbish at IT

          • Smithersjones2013

            You mean the worst Foreign Secretary in 50 years?

        • Denis_Cooper

          Well, he’s talking about the draft of the new Bill not the old Bill:

          https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/328939/draft-drip-bill.pdf

          https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/328940/draft-drip-notes.pdf

          Which is supposedly intended to maintain the status quo:

          “There is a need to legislate in order to clarify the legislative framework for certain important investigatory powers. Firstly, this Bill provides the powers to introduce secondary legislation to replace the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 (S.I. 2009/859) (the 2009 Regulations), while providing additional safeguards. This is in response to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment of 8 April 2014 in joined cases C-293/12 Digital Rights Ireland & C-594/12 Seitlinger which declared the Data Retention Directive (2006/24/EC) invalid. The 2009 Regulations implemented the Directive in domestic law.

          Secondly, legislation is required to clarify the nature and extent of obligations that can be imposed on telecommunications service providers based outside the United Kingdom under Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (“RIPA”). This Bill ensures that, as the original legislation intended, any company providing communication services to customers in the United Kingdom is obliged to comply with requests for communications data and interception warrants issued by the Secretary of State, irrespective of the location of the company providing the service. Both components of the Bill are designed to strengthen and clarify, rather than extend, the current legislative framework. Neither component will
          provide for additional investigatory powers.”

          • HookesLaw

            All this is in response to the ECJ ruling on the various EU data retention directives. We are clarifying and making our own law to replace them.
            Which is good.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Why so hastily? Is good law made in haste without scrutiny and proper debate in parliament? We are rapidly descending into an executive form of government that ignores its manifesto promises, ignores proper debate and merely rubber stamps what it thinks are “good ideas” for obscure or not properly explained and justified reasons.

            • Denis_Cooper

              “All this is in response to the ECJ ruling on the various EU data retention directives.”

              Which I pointed out and you denied in your blatherings yesterday.

            • Alexsandr

              we are framing our laws on a ECJ ruling, not on what is good for the UK. that is wrong.

        • ButcombeMan

          You are ranting. I suggest you look up MTIC fraud

          • Colonel Mustard

            Not ranting at all just expressing an opinion. The existence of crime does not justify treating a whole population as suspect.

            • ButcombeMan

              The whole population is NOT being treated as suspect.

              If intelligence is the art of identifying a needle in a haystack, the haystack has to be secured.

              Because you cannot get your head round this, it occurs to me that you have been over promoted.

              • Colonel Mustard

                There is no need for the ad hominem and I can get my head around it. I have reservations about it and I think they are justified by experience.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, to the authoritarian, all haystacks are to be “secured”.

                All of them. All of the time. No matter what.

                The aim of the authoritarian is to surveil all, at all times. That is the holy grail, for them. All else is secondary, particularly civil liberties and true safety and security. The authoritarian grades himself by his own standards.

              • James Lovelace

                “If intelligence is the art of identifying a needle in a haystack, the haystack has to be secured.”

                Snowdon says that the American secret services had all the information to stop 9/11. And they didn’t because they had too much information to see it.

                • ButcombeMan

                  Snowden is a corrupt spy and a crook. He has no special skill in intelligence work. His statement is meaningless and deliberately provocative to justify what he has done and said and to deliberately mislead the gullible.

                  It is true, absolutely, that very little crime or terrorism is carried out by absolutely “clean skins” and that post an event, it is likely that one or more participants/instigators are at least “known” to the investigative agencies.

                  That is not an argument against “securing the haystack” as you seem to imply, it just serves to illustrate the difficulty.

                  Knowing an individual may have had evil intent is very different to having enough intelligence to point to dropping the mass of other intelligence balls being juggled and concentrating on the one, within finite resources.

                  Actually it is an argument for more intelligence, with better analysis tools, not less.

                • James Lovelace

                  “Actually it is an argument for more intelligence, with better analysis tools, not less.”

                  The attack on WTC on 9/11 was not the first attack. Muslims attempted to bring down the towers with a massive bomb in the underground car park in 1993.

                  Moreover, the Jewish Task Force in New York was broadcasting on their public radio station between 1993 and 2001, warning Americans that muslims would try again to bring down the WTC. If they understood islamic terrorism sufficiently well to blast out public warnings, there was no need for any additional surveillance.

        • In2minds

          “but with a lot of florid and unconvincing justification”

          Indeed, and from Douglas Murray too!

      • ButcombeMan

        Nothing new there. That provision against serious financial crime against the State has always been there.

        It is not about parking penalties, it is about multi million tax & duty fraud. We also have a duty to police this under the Aquis

        • Colonel Mustard

          The Bill doesn’t exclude parking penalties. Don’t confuse what is intended with how it is used in future. The record so far of the misuse of surveillance powers is far from reassuring. There is also the context of Cameron’s rather woolly definition of ‘extremism’.

          • ButcombeMan

            Doubtless you will be able to evidence your third sentence?

            • Colonel Mustard

              Certainly, from the horse’s mouth:-

              “Mr Cameron told the Westminster reception: “There were those on the last government and before that who seemed to think it was ok to tolerate extremist language, extremist rhetoric, extremist mindsets as long as you never tolerated violent extremism. It’s almost like saying it’s ok with the BNP, it’s only Combat 18 (a neo-Nazi organisation) you have to worry about. We don’t accept fascists in this country so we shouldn’t accept that argument when it comes to Islamic extremism in our country. And I think it’s absolutely vital that we make this argument and win this argument as comprehensively as we have over the economy.”

              Not tolerating ‘language’ or ‘rhetoric’ let alone ‘mindsets’ (how one wonders does Mr Cameron intend to probe our ‘mindsets’ in order to ‘not tolerate’ them? Given all that waffle, his support of UAF (who in my view are also extremists) and his rhetoric about UKIP, yes indeed woolly by definition. What he seems to really mean by extremists is those who might hold opinions he does not care for and who dare to express them.

  • Denis_Cooper

    I was watching Sky News last night and I was staggered to hear Cameron put paedophiles before jihadis as a serious threat to our security.

    I couldn’t believe it and rewound several times to check that he had actually said it, and now I’ve found the clip here:

    http://news.sky.com/story/1298294/new-snooping-law-needed-to-keep-uk-safe
    From 25 seconds in:
    “We face real and credible threats to our security from serious organised crime, from the activity of paedophiles, from the collapse of Syria and the growth of ISIS in Iraq and Al-Shabaab in East Africa … ”
    Has he gone mad? Would that be Rolf Harris who might blow me to pieces?
    That is precisely the sort of thing that causes public concern, that instead of restricting these powers of surveillance to carefully chosen and trusted personnel in units specifically charged with defeating terrorism and with stringent safeguards their use gets extended to personnel and areas where it is not justified.

    • Colonel Mustard

      It’s whistle blowing of the most facile kind. They increasingly treat us as children to be duped into compliance by bogeyman scares. Be good and do as we say or the nasty men will get you.

    • ButcombeMan

      But it has not been “extended’. The definition of serious crime still applies.

      Are you suggesting such data should NOT be available for some kinds of serious crime/

      • Denis_Cooper

        So do you agree with Cameron that the activity of paedophiles is a threat to our security comparable to the activities of jihadis?

        • ButcombeMan

          Nope, if that is what he intended. (Which I doubt, as any sensible person surely would).

          Much more likely he misspoke, got his order wrong, because peaedophilia has been so much in the news.

          • Denis_Cooper

            That is why I rewound and listened to what he said several times, which you can do through the link I have given.

      • HookesLaw

        I don’t think he knows what he is suggesting.

        • ButcombeMan

          Indeed. Cameron misspoke. Obvious, but some people are too stupid to understand that.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Listen to it yourself, if that was Cameron “misspeaking” then it might be better if he shut up.

      • Colonel Mustard

        There is serious crime and then there is the woollier question of ‘extremism’.

        • ButcombeMan

          Exactly, you say the agencies who deal with serious crime should not be included but you recognize that what is proper to them is more clearly defined.

          I think you have become a bit confused but you do have a point about what IS extremism.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I have never said the agencies who deal with serious crime should not be included although I dislike the term ‘agencies’.

            • ButcombeMan

              Dislike away, but the NCA has “Agency” in its title.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Probably because it’s more management organisation than disciplined service, full of criminology graduates steeped in left wing academia and diversity training rather than collar feelers.

                • ButcombeMan

                  A bit of truth in that, at least going that way.

                  Too many ex spies, feeling collars is dirty and difficult work, causes problems.

    • allymax bruce

      Denis, Cameron is using a rhetoric tactic of utilising the most abhorrent issue before placating the most sought-after issues. Basically, he wants to introduce this law to stop the Jihadi nutjobs The Labour Party invited into our Islands, but can’t put the issue first & foremost because of Labour’s ‘Political Correctness’!

    • HookesLaw

      You are really scraping the barrel now.

      • Denis_Cooper

        How come? By highlighting that your idiot Prime Minister reckons that paedophiles present just as much of a threat to our security as jihadis?

  • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    “There is no sane reason why GCHQ would wish to find out what type of John Lewis dining table I have favourite-ed online. ”

    There is every reason for the secret services to want dirt on newspaper editors, senior police officers, the judiciary etc. We’ve seen that during the last 30 years stories which should have been published have been suppressed, we can only guess at the reasons why .

    • allymax bruce

      Let’s be honest about this mate, you’re not a ‘Free Press’ anymore; you take your orders on what you ‘cover’ from your Editor, of whom, takes his orders of what is ‘covered’ by the owners, of whome get their orders from The Fifth Column Zionists; of whom, are all vying to overthrow National Governments all around the world. You’re an idiot, or facetious if yout think you can con us anymore.

      • HookesLaw

        Well you have certainly given away what a stark staring bonkers loony you really are. All credit though, ‘The Fifth Column Zionists’ is a new one on me. I note the capitals – are they listed in the telephone directory? Presumably they are otherwise you would not know of their existence.

        • allymax bruce

          Try this-lot here; Barclays Brothers; about to be fined ‘billions’ by said Zionists.
          You know what keeps you happy; what you don’t know you fear.
          Thanks for the insults, shows you know nothing but fear.

          • HookesLaw

            Is that the Fifth Columnist Zionists? Or another lot? How many are there?

            • allymax bruce

              Ask the Barclays; I’m sure your early retirement will come sooner than your next paycheck.

              • HookesLaw

                I do not care tuppence for the Barclay Bros and would rather eat my own liver than converse with them.
                I’m asking you.

  • Alexsandr

    2 issues with this

    a) the government are useless at IT, and also IT security, so eventually this data will leak out.
    b) a lot of this data will be stored outside the EU so not subject to EU data protection laws, so again its vulnerable to leakage or attack. Imagine if google or facebook were to decide to put their servers in a flaky Asian country cos its cheap?

    • ButcombeMan

      This sort of data has been around a long time and actually, as far as GCHQ goes, they have been relatively succesful at containing their data (until the US allowed Snowden to rampage around).

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Fortunately, you authoritarians sent goons down to smash computers in that Snowden den of vipers, and stole memory sticks at the airport from Snowden associates.

        Even though all data associated with those smashings/snatchings were still available elsewhere for the Snowden types involved, apparently it was important that you authoritarians showed everybody who’s truly in charge, and that property can be stolen and smashed on a whim, extra-judicially … just because.

        Freedom and liberty? What’s that? You are a member of the lesser classes, and we decide matters, plebs.

  • Hippograd

    There are a number of reasons why the legislation was necessary.

    There’s one reason: the treacherous decision of Britain’s elite to permit mass immigration by vibrant enrichers from the Third World.

  • Damaris Tighe

    This is what happens in a multi-cultural society where we can’t trust our neighbours.
    Multi-culturalism can only be sustained by ever-more invasive legislation.

    • telemachus

      Balderdash
      Were Burgess and MacLean subject to your crazy theories on multiculturalism

      • Colonel Mustard

        Same motivation. Marxism and the creeping authoritarian socialist state.

        • telemachus

          In fact these two started as patriots doing their best to counter fascism and sadly were blackmailed by the current societal conventions into uncomfortable positions

          • Colonel Mustard

            Er, they were simply soviet spies motivated by Marxism. If they had not been exposed and had lived long enough they would no doubt now be the CEO of a quango or fake charity.

            • telemachus

              No
              In a different age of civil tolerance they would have sold not one secret

              • Colonel Mustard

                You cannot state that. You do not know. It is just your own wishful thinking, rather repulsive soviet romanticism and egotistical insistence on how the country should be, which seems to be requisite on a single party state.

      • Smithersjones2013

        No I suspect they were subject to socialist academic teachings at Oxbridge…….

    • ButcombeMan

      Multi culturalism, in this context, is a silly red herring

      The Krays, Richardons, and their type, etc all British

      • HookesLaw

        Christie, Sutcliffe, West, Haigh, Nilson, Shipman… Campbell, Watson, McBride.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        No doubt, you authoritarians don’t need an excuse. You’re always up for a bit of Big Brotherhood.

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