back to article Revealed: UK.gov's 'third direction' to keep tabs on spies' potentially criminal activities

The government has finally made public a secretive direction that requires snoop oversight bodies to monitor spies’ potential participation in criminality. The oversight instruction was put on a statutory basis as a Prime Ministerial direction in 2014. However its existence was only revealed in 2016 as a result of legal …

  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    The UK government *really* likes its secrecy.

    This is because if you tell people stuff, they will start knowing stuff.

    And they might not like you as a result.

    But then, maybe it's because you do things they don't like?

    Given how much stuff the UKG does that quite a lot of people would not like it's not really surprising they don't like being honest about this.

    That does not mean they shouldn't be honest about it.

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: The UK government *really* likes its secrecy.

      Open government.

      Defeated by Sir Humphrey in the very first episode of the first series of Yes, Minister.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just wait until news of the fourth direction begins to leak!

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Fourth Direction

      @AC

      Just wait until news of the fourth direction begins to leak!

      Frederick Forsyth's Fourth Protocol Theresa May's Fourth Direction.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Third Direction

      Another Boy Band?

      1. Robert D Bank

        Re: Third Direction

        ohhhh! It was One Direction, I always thought it was 'One Dimenion'!

    3. Christoph

      "Just wait until news of the fourth direction begins to leak!"

      No, that's covered by Section Three of the Official Secrets Act. (Which you don't know about, because it's secret.) It governs actions by Q Division of the Special Operations Executive.

      1. B*stardTintedGlasses

        Attempting to break this code of office or bring someone not cleared into the loop will trigger your Geas and/or a visit from The Auditors...

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Dummies DisAllowed and Routinely Quarantined Play no Further Vital Part in Future Proceedings

    Like it, or like it not, one will have to accept AI Command and Control which expects what happens in spy circles to stay in spy circles .... and would rejects any and all alternative lesser proposals. Such then has spies in charge of future destinations and virtual destinies for Lead Oday Trading to Stock and Bonds/Debt and Equity Markets.

    Good luck with that sinecure of an oversight, Commissioner Adrian Fulford. Money for nothing and the chicks are free if you know what you should be doing.

  4. sictransit

    Document now online

    The Direction is now available* on IPCO's javascript-riddled website. (*cunningly encrypted as a poor-quality scan of a faded photocopy of a low-res fax)

    Transcription:

    Investigatory Powers Act 2016

    Investigatory Powers Commissioner (Additional Directed Oversight Functions) (Security Service agent participation in criminality) Direction 2017

    The Prime Minister, in exercise of the power conferred by section 230 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (“the Act)[sic], directs the Investigatory Powers Commissioner as follows:

    Citation and Commencement

    1. This direction may be cited as the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (Additional Directed Oversight Functions) (Security Service agent participation in criminality) Direction 2017.

    2. This Direction comes into force on 1ˢᵗ September 2017.

    Additional Review Functions

    3. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner shall keep under review the application of the Security Service guidelines on the use of agents who participate in criminality and the authorisations issued in accordance with them.

    Signed: Theresa May

    Date: 22/8/17

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Document now online

      Is this elusive 3rd direction the bit under the "Additional Review Functions" title? Because all I'm seeing is "we shall continue to make up the rules as we go along" which isn't much of a secret, really.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Document now online

        They are openly admitting that our spies engage in criminal activities as part of their job, and that the guidelines around that function should be regularly reviewed.

    2. Kane Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Document now online

      "*cunningly encrypted as a poor-quality scan of a faded photocopy of a low-res fax."

      Something about locked filing cabinets, disused lavatories and leopards?

      Mines the one that looks like a dressing gown.

  5. Harry Stottle

    Accountability Theatre

    excuse my obligatory reference but if they will keep illustrating the problem I feel duty bound at least to try to kick off a discussion about the obvious solution...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Secret law

    To paraphrase the opening to the (excellent) film "Lord of War":

    x% of our laws are secret, the only is how do we make the other 100 - x% secret?

    :(

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