back to article Home Office preps fudgetastic ISP data rules

A Home Office official has baffled ISPs by telling them new laws will on paper require them all to retain data, but in practice some probably won't be forced to because it could cost the government too much money. The confusing policy was detailed at the Government and Industry Forum on Technology and Law Enforcement in London …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Richard Crossley

    Home knows what it's doing

    "It's left some in the internet industry wondering if the Home Office knows what it's doing,..."

    It will be news when the Home Office does know what it's doing.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh goody

    So to avoid being tracked, use a small ISP, brilliant work at the home office, make it so the ISPs have 80% of the data and no way to be sure if they have missed something really important.

  3. Alan Fisher

    So we also get a discount??

    Seeing as "The Government Pays" translates as the Tax Payer pays (we seem to be to doing a lot of that keep private business sweet these days...) do we get money off from our ISP's or do they work it out so that we only pay for the proportion of OUR data held with OUR ISP? Of course not, we bend of the table, trousers athwart ankles and take it like a good citizen.....freemarket economy indeed!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Strange Government Economics

    If the government accepts that ISPs should be paid to retain data on their behalf (which sounds reasonable, as its for the government's benefit not the ISP), why does the same government think it reasonable to charge an arm and a leg for ID cards, CRB checks etc? These too, and every other cost caused entirely by government requirement, should be paid for by the state, to ensure that only economically justifiable requirements are imposed.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No to Telecoms Immunity

    EUDRD says

    "Member States shall adopt measures to ensure that data retained in accordance with this Directive are provided ONLY to the competent national authorities in SPECIFIC cases..."

    So you depart from that, even if Jacqui assures you it's legal, then you are liable. Although bypassing Parliament to get the bill through should be a dead giveaway that it's not legal.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't actually see how any of this information could ever be of any real use... I mean my machine must make 100,000s of connections a day to different things (you should watch bittorrent light peerguardian up like a mother f---ing christmas tree, as do most websites as aids monsters run off and try and connect your ass to dodgy ad servers.)

    I mean really... at least with a phone line you normaly need to be on one end of it to make or receive a call.

  7. kain preacher

    phorm and and BT

    Does this mean that they are off the off ? Was phorm nothing more than a secret gov trial ??

  8. Eduard Coli

    Free market up, socialist down

    Funny that in this most recent time of so-called "free market" worship no one in government has what should be obvious. Why not let those who benefit most from this kind of surveillance pay the tab, why not make the music and movie "industries" pay for it.

  9. Richard Fletcher

    What if I run my own email server

    Do I count as an ISP if I have my own email server? What if I let other people use it? Who is responsible then? Please help.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about webmail?

    If ISPs must store emails and other comms, how does this work with web mail? I never send mail from my PC, it's all done through a web mail service based outside the UK. Surely they can't see my emails that way, so all they'd be getting is when I connected to the web site.

    If I were a terrorist I wouldn't be using my ISPs POP3 account and Outlook Express to plan my nefarious activities.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lip service

    Surely, this is the paying lip service to the EU until they get their £12bn uberdatabase up and running and then they will just put in data collection black boxes on to any and all ISPs and suck the data off themselves, thereby not needing any help from the ISPs and thereby generating "cost savings" in not paying ISPs to do it.

    Chin, chin, drinks all round and off to the golf course!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    If we'd had one of these a few years ago,

    1) Would we (the public, via Tony B Liar) have known up front that Iraq had no WMD?

    2) Would we (the public, via Gordon B Ruin) have known up front that the US/UK financial system was about to collapse (and with it, our mortgage-repaying endowments, and our pensions, and...)?

    3) With all this data available on demand up front, would it eliminate the need for 42day internment?

    Seems a bit pointless if it can't cope with those aspects of the so-called "War on Terror".

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what's an ISP?

    So, I host a few domains for people/companies. Is there a definition of an ISP, I'm guessing that's a loose term for 'email provider'?

  14. David Pollard

    @ kain preacher

    "Was phorm nothing more than a secret gov trial ?"

    It was certainly convenient. It showed up likely areas of resistance and tested the sensitivity of the general public to the prospect of wholesale surveillance: jolly useful for the government spinmongers.

    It would be interesting to know how many comments there were in forums opposing Phorm which included something like, "... but of course I don't object to monitoring by the government ... [to stop 'terrists' etc.]." I noticed a few and wondered if they were made by stooges or whether trolls alone are sufficient to cloud the civil liberties debate.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    More of the same...

    "who described the presentation on the forthcoming implementation of the EU Data Retention Directive* (EUDRD) as "rambling" and "incoherent"."

    Its funny, I always thought all governments required to be rambling and incoherent!

    As everything they do seems to be against the will of the people and never in their best interest.

    The bes ou can ever say about anyone working for government is they work hard for their own agenda - whatever that happens to be.

    *\. Coat, because I'm tried so I'm leaving.. bye.

  16. Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton

    Tyrannical Union.

    EU Retention Data Directive* (EURDD)

    it's lucky that the E.U hasn't been renamed to "Tyrannical Union", then.

  17. Dave Bell


    I'm confused!

    Just what sort of data are they talking about?

    And are they going to want all the Spam as well?

  18. P. Lee
    Paris Hilton

    Worried about legal exposure?

    Cost up a nice EMC array for yourself and let the government know you'll be sending them the bill...

    When you log every packet, it can get so expensive!

    Paris, she's wondering what the government are thinking.

  19. Dave Turner

    Who thought up this policy?

    Were the BOFH and PFY bored after too many pints at the pub to come up with something so convoluted?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @Alan Fisher

    trousers athwart ankles and take it like a good citizen...your discount is a right proper lubing beforehand by a former HSA monkey

  21. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down

    Is it just me?

    Or should these nimrods be strung up? It's not "totalitarianism by the back door", either - it's right up in your face.

    It should be a civic duty to sabotage by all means available, any plan Jaqui "BawJaws" Smith has touched with her fecaluric talons.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    where will it end

    next thing i'll have to set up monitoring equipment in my living room so i can send tapes of to the gov every week so they can monitor every conversation i have.

    and after that, i'll get called up to the medical center to get a counter attached to my arse to count up every shit i have... so they can bill me for waste transfer !

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder can some people read?

    The thrust of the article is that the government is saying it WONT be imposing an odious and expensive directive from the EU to retain data and you are STILL complaining of a police state in progress.

    You really can't please people.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is going to be one hell of an interesting law, "An offence has been committed if the internet service provider does not hold data on internet activity on its customers for 5 years after said activity has taken place and the gross turnover of the internet service provider is greater than 5 million pounds sterling".

    I guess the bastards will have to link the turnover amount to inflation.

    A legal f**ng nightmare.

    We need these Labour morons out.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not needed

    "TSurely, this is the paying lip service to the EU until they get their £12bn uberdatabase up and running and then they will just put in data collection black boxes on to any and all ISPs and suck the data off themselves" thereby not needing any help from the ISPs and thereby generating

    They don't need the data collection devices: they already have it, it's called NSA at RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire. It's common knowledge what goes on there, so it's believed.

    Admittedly, being able to data mine themselves would make things easier for the British government. They seem to be doing quite a good job of interceping people's internet traffic so far, look how many cases have been bought before the courts recently.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    but of course I don't object to monitoring by the government ... [to stop 'terrists' etc.]."

    Nothing wrong with monitoring for that kind of purpose, the issue is that it will be abused. Almost guaranteed. That's what happens with governments and interceptions around the world.

    And what worries me further, is requirements creep, the database is going to prove useful to a lot of government agencies when that data is combined with data from other databases. The government will claim this will never happen, but you know full well it will. And some b**stard official will allow the operators of the database to sell some elements of the data to any tom dick or harry that wants it, just in the same way the DVLA does now, to make a fast buck.

    The data will be moved around from place to place and some tosser will lose a DVD or magnetic tape of.

    The operations staff will end up being bribed into doing searches of any future would be politician/senior party official, the dirt being digged up and leaked to the press to destroy their career.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah yeah

    "The larger broadband providers typically already store the data covered by the EUDRD for billing purposes. Their extra costs will derive from servicing law enforcement requests for access. The problem, the Home Office official revealed last week, is that paying for small ISPs - who often have less sophisticated records systems by default or by design..."

    This is bollocks. I'll tell you how it will work. There will be 19" racks installed at the ISPs network centres with tons of hard drives logging all the internet traffic, or certainly URL addresses and all email traffic. The IP address will accompany it, what is then needed is the customer record details, name, address etc and the time of all IP addresses assigned to the user so that they can identify who really was accessing a particular URL at a particular time.

    The 19" rack wil will have its own fibre link to it providing a backdoor route in for government agencies to search and extract the data they need over the existing ISP's infrastructure and a high encrypted secure link. No human involvement at all.

    This isn't going to be a case of a government agency contacting the ISP and submitting a request for the information. This is the information world and it's achievable right now.

  29. C. P. Cosgrove

    I'm a terrorist - oops, wrong, paranoid

    Which ISPs are going to be exempted from observing this 'National' law ? Tell me, and I will switch my account.

    The penguin, because it's the nearest thing to ducking for cover.

  30. Tom

    I smell fudge cooking...

    Why would any ISP (Big or small) need to log URL addresses and all email traffic for 5 years "for billing purposes" ? Sure the IP address and maybe the bandwidth used but anything more is not for billing, unless they are talking about the bill to the data broker they are selling your data to.

    Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

  31. Dan Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    It's a trap!

    They'll go after BT Wholesale. Job done, all small ISPs present and correct.

  32. druck Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    We need more spam

    When EUDRD is made law, we need more spam. Deluge every ISP with more useless junk to log that it is economically capable of storing for 5 years, and let it crumble.

    Perhaps we could also come up with some giant peer to peer system that continually makes connections with random machines on email, web and instant messenger ports, just to create billions of bogus log entries 24/7.

This topic is closed for new posts.