There may be pedos and terrorists going free if we restrict the police to "legal-only" methods.
Think of the children...
Thousands of innocent Brits have reportedly been mistakenly snooped on by UK police and public bodies. That claim, which involved nearly 3,000 citizens, was made in a Times report (£) on Saturday. It was alleged that "Authorities routinely use sweeping legal powers to collect phone and internet records secretly". And there …
Also there is strong link to traffic offences and pedophilia.
In a recent survey of 40 convicted pedophiles, 35 of them had got at least 1 traffic or parking fine in their driving careers.
In fact, 1 had had 4 speeding fines and 12 parking tickets.
Conclusion, police snooping on traffic data keeps these pedophiles off the streets.
without first seeking consent
I'd rather they actually obtained consent from a judge. RIPA seems to require them only to ask a senior police officer for consent, which is not really the level of checks and balances I'd expect when they're going to be rifling through people's communications records.
Vaz was a staunch enthusiast of most of Blair's "terrorism" legislation, and of NuLab crap like identity cards. He voted against an investigation into the Iraq war, and generally for mass retention of communications data. Looks like he wasn't even present to oppose the readings of RIPA, but on his own, and his party's track record he and his party should take the blame if RIPA is being abused. The man is a tosser.
I guess you may already know this but others may not...
There's a marvellous website called TheyWorkForYou (the title is presumably ironic).
Together with another website called PublicWhip, It has analysis of all recent MPs voting records, and produces a summary based on the records.
For Vaz, at
the Home Affairs section (nothing to do with Major/Currie) says among other things:
* Voted very strongly for introducing ID cards
* Voted a mixture of for and against the introduction of elected Police and Crime Commissioners
* Voted moderately for requiring the mass retention of information about communication
The details (e.g. the difference between moderately for, strongly for, etc) are on PublicWhip - there's a link from the TheyWorkForYou page.
"The Honourable Members of Parliament. Are there such personages?"
Kate Hoey? She's about it, the little rebel.
Also, Andrew Griffiths (MP for brewing capital Burton-upon-Trent) gets props for chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Beer, the mere existence of which is a cause for celebration.
"....The Honorable Members of Parliament could stop this if they wanted to." The MPs of all parties would be all over it if they believed it was an important enough issue with the majority of voters. As it is, the majority of voters do not.
".....how do you feel about the Police's role in all of this....." So first you have a claim of '3000' mistaken snooping ops - how many were police and how many were civil sevants? The second claim from the Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office mentions 195 in six months - bit of a difference. Either way, even if the police made the majority or even a few of the mistakes, there appears to be no evidence any of these were malicious or intentional and anything more than clerical errors. Is anyone claiming a false conviction? No.
As regard the specific case of Huhne and the Mail's source/freelancer there appears to be no actual evidence the police did anything the Mail claims they did. The police log entry quoted say 'Landline attributed to David Dillon for the period 14/11/2011 to 13/11/2012. Checked for contact with all numbers...’, which sound more like a check on what numbers were calling into or being called by the journo, not that every call was listened to as the story claims. Once again, metadata, not content. And again, does the Mail have any evidence of wrongdoing by the police with any of the metadata not related to Huhne's case? No, just a load of hot air and faux outrage. And in finding the source the police were investigating a different crime - the allegation a police officer was leaking the details of a criminal investigation in an attempt to pervert the course of justice. Having found the source the evidence and realised it was not a police officer as suspected, it had to be disclosed, that is the law.
In the end, Huhne and his wife both got what was coming, as did Constance Briscoe, and the police were able to clear their own people of charges of perverting the course of justice. AFAICS, a perfect result. The Mail shrieking about 'protecting sources' seems a bit rich as they are the ones publishing the freelancer's name and details!
.... of a mad world and FCUKd systems
The security services can't be trusted not to abuse the powers they already have, but the government is always ready to give them more.
They must have blackmail dossiers on all MPs ..... Red Bren
What appears to be missing in abundance in the spooky stealthy intelligences services is prime administerial leadership to any number of unfolding realities which are more perfectly micro macro managed and beautifully effectively under their own services servers virtually remote and constantly mentoring and monitoring anonymous command and control.
Maybe the new guy at MI6 will have more of a clue as to what to do/needs to be done to rule imperiously with invisible reign and intangible reins.
Or maybe Charles will charge the Palace to start doing IT right with a call for appointments of a right royal rolls royce style of cyber support and postmodernist intelligence supply.
Certainly things could be and need to be fundamentally reassessed and radically reconfigured to ensure that the lowest common denominator set aren't bungling and fumbling with levers of power.
Proof positive of certain things being fundamentally reassessed and radically reconfigured to ensure that the lowest common denominator set aren't bungling and fumbling with levers of power? ......
As of 2011, the Air Force has to process 1500 hours of full-motion video and 1500 still images every day.4 As there are not enough humans available to process the data, Michael Donley, the Secretary of the Air Force, described the situation as ‘unsustainable’.
So the US has made enormous investments into global intelligence gathering that it cannot exploit due to lack of manpower. It is recognised, as I will argue below, that machines can only replace some aspects of human cognition. But it is a reasonable expectation that there will be a massive military interest in a neuroscience that promises to make human cognition automatically exploitable. As an expansion of staff matching the expansion of data is so expensive as to be unlikely, neurotechnology will be a strategically important tool as a remedy for the manpower scarcity described by Donley. Of course, Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a major beneficiary of the US President’s April 2013 initiative to invest into brain research. .... http://lril.oxfordjournals.org/content/2/2/201.full?keytype=ref&ijkey=Q1KAdy8OVIJl713#fn-6
Give people an inch and they'll take a mile.
Want to search my house? Warrant. Want my voicemail? Warrant. Want my e-mail/browser history? Warrant. The process is supposed to be awkward, expensive, time-consuming to cut out trivial use and ensure it's only used when necessary.
A rubber stamp that any old jobsworth civil servant peon can obtain is not fair. Yet MPs are covered by the Wilson doctrine, so we have no way of knowing what they're up to on our time. Frightening.
"The process is supposed to be awkward, expensive, time-consuming to cut out trivial use and ensure it's only used when necessary."
There is no matter too trivial for an agency of the state to abuse anti-terrorism or child protection legislation to investigate. Thankfully, the Tories will address all the problems this causes by repealing the Human Rights Act so you can't complain about it.
Oddly enough I caught a bit of one of those UK Customs TV shows while channel surfing earlier. They explained they weren't allowed to X Ray suspects for evidence, but they did have to make sure that anyone detained was healthy. So off to the x ray for a "health check" the suspect went. I was stunned the practice of twisting the intent of laws is now so ingrained that bragging about it on TV is acceptable.
Bit like the traffic stops in the US which are 90 miles from the border (iirc the limit is 100 miles) and stop people *purely to establish immigration status*. That they have a large number of sniffer dogs intended to find drugs is completely unrelated to the stops because they're not allowed to do random stops to search for drugs, just to check immigration status
Keep these breaches of trust by the people supposedly protecting us in the news, in the headlines, make sure it is on everyone's mind as much as possible - eventually, there will (hopefully) be enough general public outrage, that some curtailing of their practices eventuates.
I know what's evil, and I know it's not the general public!
I don't have a problem with giving the police extraordinary powers to infringe people's privacy to tackle what they see as genuine terrorist threats. If lives are genuinely at stake then obviously that comes first.
But, and here's a big but, any abuse of those powers beyond the limited scope of what parliament granted them for should be severely punished, and any evidence so obtained should be completely inadmissable in other cases. By all means let the police intercept and read any email or other communication they feel they need to, as long as they're absolutely confident they can legitimately justify having done so after the fact, otherwise all hell will let be loose.
"I don't have a problem with giving the police extraordinary powers to infringe people's privacy to tackle what they see as genuine terrorist threats."
I have a massive problem with giving the police extraordinary powers to infringe people's privacy to tackle what they see as genuine terrorist threats.
For a start, where is the judicial oversight? Without having to at least notify some other external agency, you're giving the police carte blanche to go after anyone they take a dislike to. Down that road lies corruption and blackmail to silence critics.
If lives are genuinely and immediately at stake, it's probably too late to start snooping on emails, and if the risk isn't immediate, then there's time to apply for a court order.
"any abuse of those powers beyond the limited scope of what parliament granted them for should be severely punished"
Very often, the powers granted by parliament are not of limited scope, or are so loosely worded that they can be subverted to a completely different purpose, e.g. siezing the assets of a bank from Iceland - that infamous hotbed of terrorist extremism. As for being severely punished, when did you last hear of a senior police officer get severely punished? In the aftermath of the shooting of an innocent Brazillian electrician, the officer in charge was promoted
"By all means let the police intercept and read any email or other communication they feel they need to, as long as they're absolutely confident they can legitimately justify having done so after the fact, otherwise all hell will let be loose."
You can be damn sure the police will crow loudly about any successful fishing trip they go on, and how it justifies giving them increased blanket surveillance powers, but do you honestly expect that when finding nothing, they will hold up their hands and say "Sorry, we had a hunch but it turned out to be nothing." If they're that confident of finding something, they can apply for a warrant, otherwise, the number of intercepts that result in prosecutions will be dwarfed by the number of wasted ones, all paid for by us.
Aren't you saying the same thing as me?
Using extraordinary powers that were originally granted for one purpose (fighting terrorism) for something else (eg. seizing assets of Iceland) just because it's easy and convenient to do so is totally unacceptable. And no, no senior people (whether police, civil servants, or politicians) were punished for that abuse of these powers. I'm saying they *should* be punished.
And if the police are tempted to go on fishing expeditions looking for evidence against someone they happen not to like, any evidence so found should be inadmissible in court unless they can demonstrate they had solid grounds to suspect an offence had been committed before their intrusion. In the USA they have the Fourth Amendment and concept that illegal "fruit of the poisonous tree" evidence is inadmissible, but we have no such restriction here. As a result there's nothing to stop such fishing expeditions.
I think I'm saying almost the exact opposite of you. While we agree that extraordinary powers should be available and that there should be severe punishment for their abuse, we disagree fundamentally disagree on how they should be granted.
You don't object to the police deciding for themselves when it is appropriate to use their extraordinary powers to investigate what they consider to be terrorist activities. What if you/I/the general public disagree with their definition? One person's civil rights march is another person's rioting in the streets. I find the idea of the police making these decisions without any judicial oversight to be undemocratic and open to abuse. Unless they volunteer the details of all their investigations, how are we supposed to know when they have abused their powers?
You are content for the police to justify their actions after the fact where as I want them to provide just cause for their actions before hand. Otherwise what is to stop them going on a fishing expedition for one purpose (no matter how noble) and when finding no admissible evidence, claiming that something (possibly trivial) they did discover was what they were looking for all along, just so they can "Get the bastard for something" and justify their actions.
As for making illegally obtained evidence inadmissible in court, that doesn't address the possibility that the data collected could be used in other ways, to coerce an informer or to silence a critic. It's not illegal to have a mistress, or a prediliction for S&M, or to be a closet homosexual, but you may not want your wife, or parents, or parisioners to know it.
Extraordinary powers require extraordinary circumstances and extraordinary oversight. This manufactured climate of fear is not enough to justify turning the country into a police state.
The police can already look up anyone they want in the Police National Computer, but I'm sure they are well aware that doing something like looking up the new partner of their ex so they can snoop on them is an extremely bad idea and very likely to end them up in jail. I'm sure that everytime they do a search they will need to enter what investigation it is required for and there will be no end of internal audits to prevent misuse of the system.
One could easily do the same for investigations under anti-terror legislation. Restrict acess to officers working in counter-terrorism, insist they enter precisely what they suspect and are looking for when logging that request, all of which probably happens already, but they key difference I'm proposing is to pass a law that any information so obtained using extraordinary powers can ONLY be used for the purpose stated. And all access requests using these powers would be audited under the auspices of the independent reviewer of terror legislation, the ICO, or the relevant parliamentary committee (probably all three) to prevent use beyond their intended purpose.
".....I'm proposing is to pass a law that any information so obtained using extraordinary powers can ONLY be used for the purpose stated....." Why? Suppose the police use RIPA powers in an investigation of a charity that is suspected of secretly using donations to fund terror groups abroad, only to find they are actually just criminals conning their donators and embezzling the money instead - do you suggest the police just ignore the second crime? That would seem patently stupid.
"Suppose the police use RIPA powers in an investigation of a charity that is suspected of secretly using donations to fund terror groups abroad, only to find they are actually just criminals conning their donators and embezzling the money instead - do you suggest the police just ignore the second crime? That would seem patently stupid."
It depends how many rights they are infringing in the process. If they have evidence funds are being misused and they suspect it might for terrorism but is for criminal purposes instead then surely they can investigate that with their normal criminal investigation powers. But let's say they invoke extraordinary powers (say a hypothetical right to read all the private emails of anyone who's ever had any dealings with the charity) because they claim a threat to life "might" be imminent, and in the process discover that someone totally unrelated to the investigation was guilty of lying about who took some speeding points, then no, that shouldn't be admissible. In fact, even making enquiries or tipping a colleague in the local traffic division off about that unrelated offence should be sufficient to ensure an acquittal in any trial.
There has to be a VERY strong deterrent against fishing expeditions and using strong emergency anti-terror legislation for anything other than the very strict purposes for which it was intended.
Your point doesn't make sense. Remember that old chestnut "May the innocent man throw the first stone." ?
*as long as they're absolutely confident they can legitimately justify having done so after the fact, otherwise all hell will let be loose.*
Nobody is entirely innocent. Practically everyone of age has done *something* a bit naughty, at least. Which, in the grand scheme of things isn't a big crime in and of itself... Yet, by your statement, the police can effectively go on fishing expedition and find something either odd... "I got done for speeding last month" or "John managed to get us some wicked skank for tomorrow's party... or something what the police can claim is "suspect" like... "I fucking hate Heathrow security, man! I swear, the next time I come back from Marbella I'm gonna fucking shoot them, the ignorant, rude, loudmouthed little Hitlers."
"After the fact Justification" is called "Lucky" in any other language.
In the UK evidence obtained illegally may be used at a trial if it is in the interests of justice. The judge is the, er, judge of this. Some will be liberal activists only too pleased to give an over reaching police constable a, metaphorical, good kicking. Others will be closer to "The boys in blue can do no wrong" school. Police have been disciplined for over reaching, gaoled - perhaps not.
It would only be excluded in exceptional circumstances e.g. where it is obtained by torture, unfairly prejudicial to the accused or would compromise the integrity of the judicial process. Basically if it doesn’t interfere with the fairness of the trial its allowed
"If lives are genuinely at stake then obviously that comes first."
Well, no, not so obviously if you have any regard for privacy, freedom of speech etc and the effect of their loss on democracy, or indeed if you've had so much as a casual flick through a centurys worth of global political history. It certainly wasn't obvious to previous British governments in the 70s, 80s and early 90s during IRA bombing campaigns and I don't see what in principle has changed now.
And your "what they see as genuine terrorist threats" doesn't fill me with any confidence. The police may be good at many things, but their desire for 'easy results' seems to get in the way of many of them these days. They quite wrongly saw Jean Charles de Menezes as a threat, and were sufficiently confident in their assertion to murder him.
The rules around justice are there for a reason, usually rightly so, and the ones that have been weakened or demolished over 25 years don't seem to have improved anyones safety. There's far, far too much laziness where letting the police off their leash is concerned; they are an effective tool for some jobs, but providing their own checks and balances is a recipe for disaster.
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