back to article Cops to step up use of phone and net records

Detectives will be required to consider accessing telephone and internet records during every investigation under new plans to increase police use of communications data. The policy is likely to significantly increase the number of requests for data received by ISPs and telephone operators. Just as every investigation …


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  1. Michael Fremlins

    So let's get this straight

    Even where there is no evidence of a crime being committed using telecommunications, the police will start a fishing exercise after every arrest.

    What a waste of time and money.

  2. The Original Ash
    Thumb Down

    Right then.

    Sandboxed VM configured to connect through Tor / VPN for using VoIP / web browsing / email / accessing online storage, then.

    Encryption will get you some truncheon love, so just keep your PC squeeky clean except for the VM and some iPlayer logs.

  3. Inachu

    Every day become more and more like the movie TERMINATOR

    Better to stay off the grid

  4. Anonymous Coward


    So does this mean. if I was having an affair and I was attacked by my missus. I reported her for assault. The police will look at my SMS's and EMail's to find who I was having an affair with?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Great way to increase Police Corruption...

    ...when they don't need much of an excuse to find out who you know and what you earn.

    Corruption puts the bent plods straight in the hands of their masters, who are in the pockets of government, in the same way the mafia recruit.

    Before you know it, your country is in a very scary place indeed.

    Getting my coat as I leave the country.

  6. Bacchus

    Are criminals really that thick?

    Encryption? Scrambling?Proxies? Private VoIP networks? Even Snail Mail?

    Somehow I don't imagine this is going to increase the pitter-patter of enormous feet heard in the land.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They might look for an email saying "I'll trump up an assault charge to get rid of the missus."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIPA 2000

    "The plans have been developed by senior officers in anticipation of the implementation of the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), the government's multibillion pound scheme to massively increase surveillance of the internet by storing details of who contacts whom online."

    They got authorisation to do mass surveillance from RIPA,

    RIPA was in 2000 *BEFORE* 9/11. All they need is authorisation from the Home Secretary "In the interests of national security, for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime and for the purpose of safeguarding the economic well-being of the United Kingdom" to perform invasive surveillance. Even mass surveillance of internet traffic can be authorized under RIPA.

    The telecoms data they don't even need permission for, a senior officer can simply approve it with a template letter. Like the search power they so freely misuse in London.

    IMP was just the budget and the equipment they needed to expand that invasive surveillance to everyone in an automated fashion. The permission was already there.

    Looks like they want to ramp it up to a level where a judicial process can't be put in place and ISPs will require the process automated. That IMP distributed database that Jacqui Smith was so keen to push forward with.

    You can't justify recording info on 60 million innocent people for just 200 serious investigations, but if you can claim you need it for millions of investigations, then it is more plausible that the system needs to be automated, and the equipment bought, the giant databases built and IMP approved.

  9. Anonymous Coward



    I suppose the would use it to establish her motive or somesuch.

    I guess we should go back to writing letters again...forcing them to actually have to do some police work.

    @The Original Ash

    Using encryption is good for the technonerd/criminal but what about masses? You can't apply that to mobiles very easily anyway. No more errotic texts to the misses :(

  10. Frank Thomas


    'She predicted always considering communications data will lead to a 20 per cent increase in the productivity of CID teams.'

    ok, why is this a good thing? the police's goal should be to reduce the number of arrests/convictions, not to increase them. They won't be happy until everyone who is not a cop, has been removed from society 'for our protection'.

    what the heck is wrong with the UK these last 5 years?

  11. spodzone


    What they're saying is that, despite years of calling for more draconian powers and laws, an awful lot of the police are still unable to handle digital investigations.

    Perhaps they should put their *own* house in order first before carpet-bombing the rest of us?

  12. David 105
    Big Brother

    Did anyone else interpret...

    "Detectives will be required to consider accessing telephone and internet records during every investigation under new plans to increase police use of communications data"


    "Detectives will be required to use communications data in cases that don't need it so that their politico overlords can claim that the IMP has been a remarkable success, even though 99% of the naughty people would've still been caught without it?"

    or am I just being overly paranoid?

  13. Frank Bitterlich
    Big Brother

    How long?

    I really start to wonder how long you UK folks are willing to put up with becoming more and more of an Orwellian police state.

    Hint to the UK gov: East Germany failed. And not because they couldn't build a decent automobile...

  14. Anonymous Coward


    At the moment our local plod couldn't find their way out of the police station. They can't even manage to turn up to talk to you about crimes commited against you on time. Imagine letting people like that loose on communications information.

    Are they really going to use computer communications in ALL investigations? Even the ones against the little shits round here who cause vandalism. I wonder if they all send text messages arranging times to smash up the phone boxes or slash car tyres.

    All in all it sounds like another excuse to sit in the warm police station drinking tea and filling in paper work rather than get out and catch the scrotes.

  15. Bacchus

    @Frank Bitterlich

    ... although let us not forget that even the so-called "engineers" of British Leyland/Triumph/BSA/Norton/Reliant/AC/etc. never made a vehicle that sucked like the Trabant :).

    My favourite end-of-east-germany story is what happened to the redundant Vopos uniforms. Seems that some highly dubious gay fetish emporiums in East London bought them, and they became quite fashionable in the more extreme London-based gay clubs for a while.

    I wonder if the same thing will happen in reverse with our redundant customs officers and passport control officers uniforms?

  16. Nebulo

    That's the panopticon set up, then.

    Their little piggy hearts must be jumping for joy.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    fuck em' ....

    Im legally entitled to live here, i work, i pay taxes and my fingerprints are not any any computer. Ive done nothing wrong so i will use file encryption, i will use an unregistered pay-as-you-go sim, i will encrypt my emails and i will encrypt my IM programs.

    Then, when i flag up as a potential terrorist because i do actually give a damn about my privacy, then can investigate what they like, only thing they will learn from my emails is that i need a bigger nob and what i want our lass to fetch from the butty shop round the corner from her work place. So go on, feel free, waste the taxpayers cash...

    Utter fucktards the lorra 'em...

  18. Anonymous Coward

    @Michael Fremlins

    No, it isn't so they can simply find evidence for the crime you might get arrested for, it's so they can find evidence of crimes you've committed in addition to the one for which you were arrested.

    Nothing pleases prosecutors more than having a list as long as your arm to charge you with. It gives them leverage when they take into the back room to strike up a deal.

    "We'll drop the extreme porn charges if you cop to the shop lifting charge and accept the 3 month prison sentence."

    Don't even talk to me about the legality of scanning through your private communications in order to find things to prosecute you for, legality has very little to do with gathering evidence against someone the police want to prosecute. Remember that successful prosecutions lead to promotions for everyone involved, especially if they are anything to do with a political hot topic or give support to a bill trying to make its way through Parliament.

    This is what we signed up for when we re-elected New Labour. And we'll get even more of the same if we elect Old Conservative. The Conservatives are even more in favour of the stripping away of our civil rights, as anyone who was around during the Thatcher years can testify to.

    Take a look at who is arguing against these sorts of laws, who is standing up in Parliament and demanding ID cards, new investigative powers and other civil liberty violations are struck down and you'll find who you need to vote for next time round. If they aren't from your constituency, then vote for the new guy. It doesn't matter what party they belong to, just always vote for the person that is against these sorts of laws. The more of these people we have in Parliament, the less likely these laws will survive. As for the others, it'll only take 2 or 3 elections before these people realise we're replacing them every time they go back on a civil liberty promise or are otherwise in favour of turning Britain into a surveillance state.


  19. Paul Randle


    This is a blatant attempt to justify surveillance of our every move, thought and fart, and the humungous, uncapped costs that this will entail, to store, retrieve, analyse, adminster and "protect" this data. Anyone who thinks this will increase police efficiency is away with the fairies. Our best hope is that, having wasted so much of our money on failed banks, train and car companies, there will be no cash left in the coffers to pay IBM, M$ etc, to do their dirty work.

  20. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Charge them for access.

    It seems that *some* kind of market is the *only* way to cripple this "give us everything. We don't know what we need but we want it all" mentality.

    The *huge* chunk of info the want *all* CSP's to link together despite very few actual people involved should not be produced on demand.

    Despite what MP's and other who cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality this is not an episode of CSI.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    can you say "ripe for abuse"?

    Who trusts these wankers....anyone?

  22. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    @David 105

    Yep, that's what I thought too, just as we keep being told how "successful" the use of DNA is in criminal investigations, even though in many cases the perp would have been caught without it.

    Still, why let the facts get in the way of a good bit of spin...?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    naughty naughty

    Ooops! Bad plod.

  24. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    There must be money in it

    We've just been told about the big clandestine bonuses awarded to some police officers by police authorities. We've been told that police numbers may have to be reduced in the spending cuts which are not going to happen under NuLabour.

    And now we're being told that coppers will spend more time finding out what we say and do online.

    What is it with these fuckwits? The public knows that in order to catch crims we need coppers ON THE BEAT to pick up real intelligence. But they consistently refuse to do this. There's obviously not enough money in it for the bonuses.

  25. P. Lee

    re: Every day become more and more like the movie TERMINATOR

    I seem to remember an el reg article where the police accused someone of being a terrorist because they were off the grid.

    Didn't use a mobile? Its Belmarsh for you, sonny boy!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As Cardional Richlieu Said

    “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him”.

    It is indeed carte blanche to launch fishing expeditions to see if there are any 'suspicious' patterns if anyone gets arrested for anything.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As my grandfather told me when I was but a nipper, the secret to being a good police officer is being on friendly terms with people in the local community. That way when they see you walk past, out on the beat they come up to you and tell you about any dodgy dealing that they've seen.

    It's obviously very different in the city than it is in a small rural village but the principle is the same. If the police are seen as a benevolent and helpful organisation then people will talk about their concerns.

    It's much better to hear "I thought I heard my neighbour planning a bank robbery" than it is to hear "Your job is to trawl the phone records and emails of this list of subjects to find out who else may have been involved in the bank robbery last night"...

  28. Jimmy 1

    Ivory tower thinking

    Deputy Assistant Commissioner Janet Williams asserts that this new approach to policing will increase CID productivity by 20% which in normal circumstances would be regarded as a very good thing if it meant 20% more real criminals were banged up.

    What Janet fails to explain from the comfort of her ivory tower is how she is going to accommodate these so-called dangerous individuals in a prison system that is already bursting at the seams to such an extent that really dangerous people are being released early onto the streets under license in the care of an underfunded and under resourced probation service who have just had to admit that they don't know the location of various child sex offenders, rapists, and violent socio-paths

    The real world is on the streets where young kids are running around stabbing and shooting each other and children are being imported into the country and pimped on the streets. Get off your arse Janet and down on the street with some real cops instead of talking NuLabour gibberish.


  29. Cucumber C Face


    >>even the so-called "engineers" of British Leyland/Triumph/BSA/Norton/Reliant/AC/etc. never made a vehicle that sucked like the Trabant :)<<

    Surely you can't have forgotten the Austin Ambassador...

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