back to article Britain’s snooping powers are 'too weak', says NCA chief

Keith Bristow, head of of the National Crime Agency (the UK’s FBI), is arguing Britain’s snooping powers are “too weak”. In an interview with The Guardian, the NCA’s director general said police need new powers to monitor data about emails and phone calls. He admits many don't see the police case for comms data snooping while …

  1. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Big Brother

    Sounds like a race...

    ... to finish putting bars on the windows before everyone wakes up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think the problem is that NSA funded Cheltenham

      keeps all the (our) data, in a crypto-Tolkien-way "it's mine my-precious". OK maybe we shares it with partners: 5EYES + 9 other 2-tier plus 127 other 3-tier national IC, but UK plod doesn't actually get enough product that they would like.

      having been told in a pub by a drunk spook once just WHAT you can hear on GSM nowadays

      "innit, outside the house now, innit, yer wants the Blue Beemer or the Black Beemer?" (Yes, they nicked one - live!) and the compromat "no mate, the wife-swap meeting is every Tuesdays at the White Hart Inn, Lemington" (followed by a list of participants & cash needed) - there are rather a lot of idiotic crims who still think of GSM as encrypted.

      but UK plod doesn't actually get enough product that they would like! STRAP 13

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Re: I think the problem is that NSA funded Cheltenham

        Turkish: Yeah, that's perfectly clear, AC, yeah. Just give me one minute to confer with my colleague.

        [Turns to Tommy]

        Turkish: Did you understand a single word of what he just said?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I think the problem is that NSA funded Cheltenham

          from the article with the clear strapline: ":*Cough* Ripa *cough*... *Cough* Drip *cough* Hand us a lozenge, would you?" I did confusingly bring in Tolkien a) because his wife was from Cheltenham, b) he wrote military secrets to his wife from WW1 trenches in code that got through the censor and c) because the claimed Christmas card from GCHQ to their peers featured the ever seeing eye of Mordor - with the meme that you see everything....

          translating for you: GCHQ (which is paid for by NSA) proudly intercepts all communications, this becomes their data product but it is actually our data.

          however GCHQ doesn't share the product with the police because the product is too sensitive and cannot be discussed nor even revealed in court, not even with parallel construction. THIS SERIOUSLY HAMPERS the UK judicial system. its a widely overlooked point.

          a casual listen to GSM (using your preferred method) will indicate that there is still a whole load of criminality using GSM

          Police know this and would like the intelligence product, today if possible, for solving crimes, saving lives even, avoiding riots.

          one solution is to accept that Police/Law Enforcement have a right to intelligence and share it with them, after all the backdoors in all the Telecoms systems were put there 'for the purposes of helping Law Enforcement' The backdoors were all negotiated with interior ministries/Home Office & manufacturers- not with the MOD's.

          I understand that GCHQ is a world leading military establishment run on matrix-management by at least two sovereign governments, they feel that "you can own your own product," but some people without the IC world would like that some intelligence is regular shared with the Police, to solve the random crimes, arrest 'the usual criminals,' arrest the white collar-crims, solve the massive increase in fraud & online fraud, even eventually arrest the political crims but that doesn't seem to be the GCHQ mission!

          I appreciate that the great war on terror is the priority of the american funding for the GCHQ establishment, and that they would probably like it to continue for decades/perpetual-war but think of the poor Police!

  2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Blithering idiot. We had a well-organised, well-funded terrorist organisation just a hop across the Irish Sea from us for most of the latter half of the 20th century but they were mostly kept at bay without all of these powers the police and "security" services are demanding now. The ones that got through were almost entirely because reports of potential activity were ignored by the same kind of people now demanding all these extra powers.

  3. Edward Clarke

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

    Benjamin Franklin, 11 NOV 1755

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

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

      Who would probably (if the British Govt had the powers it's sock puppets Minsters keep being told they must ask for) been hanged as a terrorist.

      1. Number6

        Context

        It's also interesting to research the context of the quote. It was regarding the US government giving up privileges, not a comment about the individual against the government.

    2. king of foo

      Malcolm X, 1965

      Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it.

      Also, The Prodigy, 1994, nsfw, courtesy of the pootube

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it was necessary to win the public consent"

    NO, NO, NO, NOW FUCK OFF KEITH!

  5. i like crisps

    Belt & Braces

    Its about getting retrospective laws passed to keep the plod and the gangsters running this country, out of gaol.....in other words 'Covering Their Arses'.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Belt & Braces

      I can only assume they want to retcon snooping message and call content into law, since they've already got every piece of harmless and useless metadata you could possibly think of.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Belt & Braces

      Hmm, straight from the dictionary:

      ter·ror·ism noun \ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm\ : the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal

      By that definition, the NCA Chief is a terrorist.

      He's just using the violent acts of others (terrorist or not) to try to achieve his political goals.

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    There's a germ of a good idea here...

    One of the big problems with Ripa and related legislation is creep - it's introduced to crack down on paedorists, but then the rozzers use the same powers to investigate littering.

    But, if there was one agency/police force that could only investigate paedorism, and the normal peelers couldn't investigate that, then it would be easier to introduce special powers (subject to judicial authorisation, of course) that could only be used by the anti-terrophile plods, with reduced danger of mission creep.

    Still no justification to store 'meta data' on all emails and phone calls. Get a warrant from a judge and then they can start recording data for specific accounts/phones.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: There's a germ of a good idea here...

      >paedorists

      1st time I have seen this "word" used in an article on El Reg. Outside of it's origins I think it quite well analogizes contemporary media techniques of disinformation and infobaiting.

      +1

    2. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: There's a germ of a good idea here...

      How long before those strict definitions of paedorists get stretched to encompass other areas? Not long enough.

      Personally, these snoops can go fuck themselves if they want more powers. They have too much as it is.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's a germ of a good idea here...not

      One of the big problems with Ripa and related legislation is creep - it's introduced to crack down on paedorists, but then the rozzers use the same powers to investigate littering.

      Actually, it's not the germ of a good idea at all, it's the germ of an exceptionally bad idea. Mission creep is enabled either specifically because control freak politicians want it to occur, or because shithead civil servants along with shithead politicians allowed really poorly drafted legislation to be laid before parliament and then rubber stamped by a toothless parliament.

      Until you can stop parliament from allowing the statute books to be loaded with thousands and thousands of pages of pure shite, the problem will persist. I would guess that nobody thought that European rules of freedom of employment would result in freedom of Latvian murders to come to Britain and murder schoolgirls, but that's in affect the legislation they passed. The last government defined illegal extreme pornography in such a way that the same scene is completely legal as part of an entire "artistic" work, but completely illegal and punishable by prison if somebody edits out the good bits for their own entertainment. The many abuses of the ECHR or our overly generous asylum system are well known, but I doubt the MP's who rubber stamped it thought that they were giving a free meal ticket to people like Abu Hamza and his mates.

      WIth law making such a vile mess, a supine parliament that doesn't read or think about the nonsense that they squeeze through the sphincter of Westminster, you will never get the sort of outcome that you want, or precisely, carefully thought through legislation that balances the rights of the individual versus the needs of society.

      As you say, they should get a warrant, and if they do that then almost everything the police need is already on the statute books. It's just the fuckers are too lazy to get warrants, I must assume.

    4. JohnMurray

      Re: There's a germ of a good idea here...

      The bigger problem; is that none of the anti-terror-anti-paedo laws were ever introduced to deter, or catch terrorists or paedophiles. They were just the excuse. Mission creep does not exist when the mission was always to snoop on people, in case they decide to wander into parliament and seriously club 650 heads to pulp.

      As said, the real terrorists exist in parliament and law-enfarcement (sic)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...it’s not as easy as finding a door that we can kick in"

    That's a form of expression guaranteed to get the public on-side. Isn't it?

  8. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Truth hurts

    “The [rogue NSA sysadmin Edward] Snowden revelations have damaged public confidence in our ability, ......, to access and use data in an appropriate and proportionate way,”

    Well, if you'd accessed and used the data in an appropriate and proportionate way in the first place, then no rogue sysadmin's (or anyone else's) revelations could have damaged public confidence in your ability.

    1. Vic

      Re: Truth hurts

      Well, if you'd accessed and used the data in an appropriate and proportionate way in the first place, then no rogue sysadmin's (or anyone else's) revelations could have damaged public confidence in your ability.

      He's wrong, too - no-one has any doubt about their ability to use data in an appropriate and proprtionate way.

      Their desire to do so, however, ...

      Vic.

  9. Chas
    WTF?

    Here's an idea...

    If you want to snoop on people, get a fucking warrant like you're supposed to, you lazy bastards!

    =:~)

    1. JohnMurray

      Re: Here's an idea...

      Or just roll-out more anpr units......there seems to be one in every village around here, and Northants is surrounded by an anpr ¨ring of steel¨

  10. Stern Fenster

    Public confidence?

    No, plods, the Snowden revelations have not "damaged public confidence in our ability... to use data in an appropriate and proportionate way"; you did that yourselves, very thoroughly. Snowden only showed us what you were doing. If you'd had nothing to hide, you'd have had nothing to fear.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Public confidence?

      While all you down voters will be out in force let us have a quite moment to think. Sadly the recruitment processes that resulted in Snowden getting recruited also allowed an unknown number of other half wits into the bit barns with the dire results we have seen. Vast amounts of money and effort wasted with little apparently to show for the expenditure.

      OK Snowden went one way and the others stayed put and did, probably continue to do what they had in common with him. Not doing their jobs the way they should.

      I have been involved in data screening a long time back and nowhere that has hit the headlines. We collected a whole data data set. Then using specific 'data incidents' from known problem sources checked to see if anyone else shared the same interests as those known samples. The process was tightly controlled and had limited data output. Frankly if there is too much output it would end up on the floor and thence a bonfire with no one to sweep it up.

      Where things went wrong in the Snowden case it appears that no one was filtering for needed data possibly; because they were of too low a calibre to know what they should be doing. A few sniffy diplomatic mails may make embarrassing reading for some, How many of you think the Chinese, Russians and other misfit lead perverts do not do the same? A shame I cannot read Russian or Chinese.

      Frankly I don't care if my grocery order might get read, but I do care if some bunch of psychopaths are aiming to blow me up.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Public confidence?

        Relax - no ones down voting you because you were so incoherent we don't have a clue what your point was.

        1. Richard Jones 1
          WTF?

          Re: Public confidence?

          I guess what AC was saying was that we need a skilled group who are able to sort out the threats from the non threats, then get the threats neutralised.

          Instead there appears to be a bunch of misfits who do not know why they are there.

          The old saying was pay peanuts get monkeys but in this case I doubt that they were paying peanuts, but they still appear to have got unreliable chimps.

          The tax payers did not get a bargain.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Public confidence?

        Oh well three would rather be blown up than risk having their grocery order read. Any choice of terrorist cell?

        What a strange world.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Public confidence?

          It isn't just my grocery list. It is every innocent but private thing I and every damn body else on the planet does. The creeps aren't just reading my grocery list. They are reading any little messages you send your wife (or girlfriend or boyfriend or whatever) that contains nothing of use to any supposed hunt for terrorists, but which may be very private (hey, hubby, hurry home - I've got my frilly red knickers on.) That stuff does fuck all for stopping terrorists, but provides a gold mine of info for anyone with an evil intent.

          If the spooks had done nothing wrong, then they wouldn't have had anything for Snowden to have revealed. Simple as that. Isn't that what they keep telling us? If you have nothing to hide then why are you worried about what may be revealed?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Public confidence?

          > Oh well three would rather be blown up than risk having their grocery order read. Any choice of terrorist cell? What a strange world.

          It's a false dichotomy. It's not a question of either have your grocery list read or get blown up.

          Surely, in the western world at the moment, it is far more likely to get killed by a goat than it is getting blown up by a terrorist? I just wish you could hear yourself from my perspective.

          Check this out for some reality:

          http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/youre-nine-times-likely-killed-police-officer-terrorist.html

          The most telling statistic is the one about getting killed by the police, at least in one place. 9 times more likely.

          1. Graham Marsden
            Facepalm

            @AC - Re: Public confidence?

            > Oh well three would rather be blown up than risk having their grocery order read. Any choice of terrorist cell? What a strange world.

            What a strange world *you* live in, where, because *you* can't see the dangers of having the State snoop on everything we do and everything we say and know about everyone we talk to, you are quite happy to give away *our* Rights and Liberties which people fought wars to protect.

            Oh and do you not see the irony of you posting as AC either...???

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Public confidence?

          Looking at the news for abuse of RIPA within last week I can see journalists and whistleblowers list.

          If those are your groceries you are shopping in a very strange place. I have not seen those in Waitrose...

        4. Captain DaFt

          Re: Public confidence?

          "Oh well three would rather be blown up than risk having their grocery order read. Any choice of terrorist cell?"

          Why just a terrorist cell? Why not killed by lightning strike or drunk driving a car?

          Both are way more likely than 'terrorists' to get me.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Public confidence?

          Oh well three would rather be blown up than risk having their grocery order read. Any choice of terrorist cell? What a strange world.

          The fact you hold this view suggests you don't have any understanding of why the absolute freedom to have thoughts that you keep entirely to yourself is vital to us, both as individuals and as a society. It doesn't matter that it's as trivial as trivial as a grocery list, because if that's being read, nothing else can be considered truly private either.

          Perhaps you don't you need that privacy yourself, but for most of us its essential to our wellbeing. I'd far rather have that freedom than the illusory safety you offer in return for my agreement to give it up, not least as that safety is being offered by people I just don't trust. Whatever you choose for yourself is fine by me, but please don't presume to know best on my behalf.

      3. Ilmarinen
        Thumb Down

        Re: Public confidence?

        Some Anonymous Coward wittered "the recruitment processes that resulted in Snowden getting recruited also allowed an unknown number of other half wits into the bit barns" to which I replied:

        Nope, don't think Snowden can be described as a half wit. He clearly understood that his government had gone rogue and the risks of exposing what was going on. I think better descriptions would be brave, public spirited and patriotic (as someone upholding his country's constitution when his government was trashing it).

      4. JohnMurray

        Re: Public confidence?

        Time off from GCHQ to troll El-Reg ?

        1. Vic

          Re: Public confidence?

          Time off from GCHQ to troll El-Reg ?

          They've been recruiting lately. Probably for this.

          Vic.

  11. JimmyPage
    Stop

    through the looking glass

    30 years ago the state attitude was that "terrorists are criminals".

    now we seem to have made a mistake in logic and say

    "criminals are terrorists" ...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: through the looking glass

        I guess that means we're all terrorists.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a similar note.....

    ..my Proton mail account is now active (yes I know it's not perfect).

    Can we have a FU Icon?

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: On a similar note.....

      Here's a link to FU.

      http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=%22house+of+Cards%22+BBC&FORM=HDRSC2#view=detail&id=64D2901F086BC65F5674506CFE4D045F21398571&selectedIndex=1

  13. Bernard M. Orwell

    Correction...

    “Some of our thinking is challenged. Very significantly challenged,”

    There. Fixed that for them.

  14. batfastad

    I agree

    I agree. The Wilson Doctrine needs to be repealed. It's not really appropriate for MPs to enjoy the presumption of innocence when I, as their employer, do not.

    What is this National Crime Agency anyway? A UK equivalent of the FBI? Either way it's an incredible statement by a government to admit that the police is no longer fit for the purpose of solving crimes. I guess the role of the police is now officially restricted to just beating up students and ethnic minorities.

    Anyway. I'll leave my front door open, take all my money in a bag to the treasury and collect my new national workslave number and uniform.

    "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

  15. Desk Jockey
    FAIL

    Humint

    Or maybe you could do it the old fashioned way and actually try to penetrate those suspect organisations that want to do 'bad things' using humans? When not having children with the greenpeace hippies they might actually be able to give you valuable intelligence of the sort you cannot get from intercepts? There is a reason why the Russians and the Israelis are considered to have the best domestic intelligence agencies in the world and it isn't because they rely on expensive high tech to do it.

    Policing used to be about people. That is why Peel was so adamant it had to be part of the community, not shut away in buildings dealing judgement from afar. Seems like those in the police and at the top have significantly lost sight of that.

    1. Red Bren

      Re: Humint

      Wasn't there a little too much penetration when Plod went undercover with the hippies?

      http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/oct/23/police-spy-tricked-lover-activist

  16. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Wrong way around

    No, Mr Bristow, what's too weak is the accountability and responsibility of the government and its agents.

    Do you remember when YOU worked for US ?

  17. ajberrow

    I was going to quote Ben Franklin, but Mr Clarke got there first.

    The police have shown themselves to be completely untrustworthy with the already-too-broad powers they have - even snooping on lawyers when having been told specifically by a judge not to do so.

    As for Tory politicians having control over anything - they've failed in all their promises about the economy for the last 4.5 years; how can we trust them on any other matter?

    I lived in Birmingham during the height of the IRA attacks and do not believe for a second that I'd have been any safer than I was just cos some plod was allowed to check everyone's comms metadata. The police were running around stitching-up anyone with an Irish accent, based on very, very dodgy forensic evidence. Why would their accusations based on metadata be any more trustworthy?

    We need more privacy, not less.

    Apparently, Edward Heath's biggest fear was that the UK would become a police state. The only thing he ever got right - and he was right in spades.

    1. David Pollard
      Joke

      "The only thing he ever got right"?

      Ted Heath also conducted a trial for the 'Age of Leisure'. The three day week was quite successful, though for some reason it never quite caught on.

  18. Tommy Pock

    "Britain's buses don't have enough rocket engines or machine guns attached to the front" says bus driver.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Instead of granting ever increasing powers to the security services we should create a defense of necessity to protect life or national security. This defense would only be available where it is proven that a threat to life or national security existed and not just that they believed at the time there was a threat. This gives them the option to proceed if they want to but they will need to be pretty sure that its legitimate.

    1. The Mole

      No your honour we can't tell you why it was necessary to kill that person all we can say it was in the interest of national security, contempt of court? no your honour us refusing to tell you is in the interests of national security, no your honour there's a risk to national security if we told anybody our secrets, (we may be sent to prison and then who would stop the terrorists and protect national security...)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I’m wasn’t suggesting this as some sort of catch all excuse that security services can use to justify everything and anything they do . In fact quite the opposite. The idea is to move the onus onto the security services to justify their actions when they infringe on our rights instead of just requiring us to give them up. It’s not ideal but it would allow us to remove many of their existing powers and still let them deal with a genuine threat. In the specific circumstance you describe they would not have proved the national security justification and so would not have a defense.

    2. Vic

      we should create a defense of necessity to protect life or national security

      Nope. We should create a responsibility to handle these issues appropriately.

      The ancient Romans had the right idea - in the event of a crisis, they would choose a Dictator. This Dictator had absolute power - including life and death.

      The Dictatorship would last for six months, at which time the (now former) Dictator would be taken away and tried for all his actions during his period in power. Bad Things(tm) would happen to those who treated their position without sufficient gravitas...

      I'm not sure how you'd adapt this to the current power grab; something along the lines of allowing the Police to do their snoopong, but whenever that snooping does not produce the evidence they declared it would, then the entire file is passed unredacted to the subject of that snooping with no secrecy requirements. A "do as you would be done by" situation.

      It needs work, but I'm sure you get my drift.

      VIc.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... a defense of necessity to protect life or national security

      Ahh, the Magic String that gets to just the length you want, on demand. Your proposal has no more actual accountability than any of the measures we have now, and exactly the same mixture of lies, half truths and innuendo will be used to justify whatever has been done. A warrant goes a long way to fixing the problem exactly because another set of eyes, without a vested interest, has a veto on the threats validity before the action is initiated. Not perfect, but far more likely to win the necessary public trust.

  20. Squeezer

    We've had "terrorists" (and paedophiles, and criminals of all types) in the UK for a long time, and in the old days they could communicate securely using phone calls or letters in envelopes -- unless the police had a warrant to spy on them, for which they needed (at least in theory) to supply a reason.

    Why is this any different in the era of electronic communications? The government is claiming that they need to do the equivalent of listening to everyone's phone calls and opening everyone's letters all the time so they can catch terrorists and criminals. Does anyone really think this is OK? How many people are killed in the UK every year by "terrorists" to justify this?

  21. Britt Johnston

    confession

    This is perhaps as near as we will ever get to a confession:

    - Mr Bristow's department would like to work legally

    - they would also like to help with serious crime

    neither of which is happening to any extent today.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > Even though he criticised the Snowden leaks as a betrayal,

    He lost me right there.

    It really comes down to two things: either you value freedom and the rule of law or you do not.

    He's picked a side.

    > “The [rogue NSA sysadmin Edward] Snowden revelations have damaged public confidence in our ability, whether it’s law enforcement or the intelligence agencies, to access and use data in an appropriate and proportionate way,” said the former chief constable of the small Warwickshire force.

    All he did was review the truth. If that has damaged our confidence in them, then a job well done I think.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More disinformation from state authorities.

      “The [rogue NSA sysadmin Edward] Snowden revelations have damaged public confidence in our ability, whether it’s law enforcement or the intelligence agencies, to access and use data in an appropriate and proportionate way,”

      No, the State's (illegal) abuse of European privacy legislation has damaged public confidence...

      TFTFY

      And all but 50 MPs are complicit: (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/15/emergency-surveillance-legislation-fast-tracked-parliament)

      Shooting the messenger doesn't make the message any less true.

      For the real story, see here:

      http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/07/deep-state-data-surveillance-about-power-not-safety

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't think anyone would argue against appropriate bodies (e.g. police, MI5) having the legal right to turn someone's life inside out if it stops serious crime and there is appropriate oversight (e.g. a judge agrees there's reasonable grounds for investigation).

    What I and I think most people dislike is the way the government seems to be hell bent on giving the police etc rights of surveillance on everyone with almost no oversight.

    I really can't think who I'm going to vote for next year. On the one hand we've got power crazed snoopers and on the other economic basket cases and then there's the lib dems of course. It might have to be the snoopers as that's easy to fix than bankruptcy. Not much of a choice though is it?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The trouble is...

    If you hire a witch hunter they will find you a witch to burn. Add surveillance and you'll find crimes, but won't stop those crimes - it just adds evidence after the fact. Spending money on surveillance means money isn't spent on the things that would prevent crime from happening such as education and social projects.

    Sadly, this XFactor generation loves a good witch burning in the daily fail...

  25. Graham Marsden
    Holmes

    "He admitted winning over public trust would be far from easy"

    See icon for details...!

    Oh and:

    > Bristow said he could see “advantages” if the government stripped Scotland Yard of its leadership role in the fight against terrorism, arguing that capabilities and tactics in fighting organised criminals and terrorists are often the same. The implication of this would be for the National Crime Agency to lead the fight against both terrorism and organised crime.

    Hmm, indeed. Doesn't that rather sound like someone Empire Building?

  26. Ken Darling

    Sounds like the ID Card sophestry again

    Tony Blair and his acolytes claimed ID cards would keep us safe from terrorists, yet failed to explain how. All an ID card allows you to do is identify the perpetrators AFTER the event.

    In a similar way, unless the CONTENT of our communications is records, rather than just the metadata, then there is no chance of protecting anyone from anything. The arguments put forth - paeophiles, terrorists, ne'er-do-wells - is pure sophistry.

    I don't NEED a mobile phone, I don't NEED email. Try to take my data, and you will end up with nothing. There is an off-switch. I will use it.

    1. Zimmer
      FAIL

      Re: Sounds like the ID Card sophestry again

      All an ID card allows you to do is identify the perpetrators AFTER the event.

      NO! All an ID card allows you to do is read the details from an ID card... TFTFY

  27. Someone Else Silver badge
    Mushroom

    To be fair...

    Keith Bristow, head of of the National Crime Agency (the UK’s FBI), is arguing Britain’s snooping powers are “too weak”.

    To be fair, that's exactly what I would expect someone in his position to say.

    Fuck being fair! Keep yer mitts off my private stuff unless you have a warrant, arsehole! (Since he's a Brit, I figured I'd use the local vernacular, so he can have no misunderstanding.)

  28. psam

    Sounds like the Overton Window, move the frame that covers acceptable stuff to the majority a tiny bit so that the current spying is closer to the center. But you can't make extreme movements or it gets pushed too far left or right as the majority are near enough 50/50 right and left wing.

  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    Data fetisht wants to fetishise more data.

    In other news...

    The sky is Blue.

    Rain is wet.

    One day this will be recognized as the mental illness it is. :( .

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see from Private Eye this week that the police have started going after expert witnesses that mess up their conviction rate. Yep, lets give them more powers.

  31. Spanners Silver badge
    Flame

    Good news then?

    "Bristow said it was necessary to win the public consent" means that they realise that they do not have consent to do what they want.

    It is everybodies duty to make sure that this remains the case - they don't get tacit consent to increase the powers of the state and to make sure that "they" remain aware of this...

  32. tfewster Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Afghanistan

    "Bristow expressed concerns that US and UK pullout from Afghanistan might lead to an increase in the volume of heroin reaching Britain’s streets."

    We invaded a country and trashed the place, overthrew a government that had stamped out the opium trade, and then buggered off. No matter how good our motives and justification, we shouldn't be surprised at the anarchy that follows and that opium farming is a) possible and b) the only way some Afghans have of recouping their losses.

    Not that I agreed with the Taliban, disagreed with the invasion, or approve of drugs. I'm just sayin', you stir up shit, don't be surprised what floats to the top.

    Did Bristow have ANYTHING sensible to say? Or was it just "terrists bad, drugs bad, police good"?

    1. Mike VandeVelde
      Facepalm

      Re: Afghanistan

      No kidding. Pretty much what I was going to post.

      "Bristow expressed concerns that US and UK pullout from Afghanistan might lead to an increase in the volume of heroin reaching Britain’s streets."

      No, that happened when you went in, idiot.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Afghanistan

        Well, why won't Mr Bristow then go to Afghanistan and sort that thing out once and for all? Lead by example and all that stuff...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irony

    "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt the Younger (Tory politician) 1783.

    Not something you'd hear any modern Tory defend. Or Labour. And possibly Liberals.

    It's nothing but think of the children and the terrorists these days.

    And to think Theresa May is touted as a potential future Prime Minister. Shudders...

  34. Ascylto

    They always want more ...

  35. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Wot? 2 pages in and still no word from our "favorite" apologist for state surveillance?

    Although some of those AC's in praise of police spying had a somewhat familiar tone.

    Back on the naughty step again?

  36. Amorous Cowherder
    Joke

    Well I bloody well hope they use them on November 5th this year when you lot all start celebrating and glorifying a terrorist's activities with your fireworks and your bonfires!

  37. Graham Cobb Silver badge

    Bristow is very dangerous

    Bristow is clever and comes over as very reasonable. He is also very wrong. We need to be very firm and public about not letting him get away with assertions about losing capability.

    As I mentioned last time he spoke, he is claiming he needs the power to put an electronic police tail on EVERY person, all the time, in advance, just in case someone does something bad. Collecting Communication Data is exactly the same as placing a police tail on you: the tail can't hear what you are saying but they track exactly where you go, who else is nearby, who you talk to (and for how long), what posters you stop and read, what shops and other building you go into. If the Snooper's Charter was in effect, the tail can follow you into the buildings and video everything you do there.

    This is not some power they used to have which they lost due to modern technology. Previously they might have been able to put a tail on one or two people per county at any one time. So, they had to make actual decisions, allocate actual resources, get actual permission to do it.

    Why does anyone let him get away with the claim that this is about "losing capability and coverage"? It is a complete transformation into a police state!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Bristow is very dangerous

      "As I mentioned last time he spoke, he is claiming he needs the power to put an electronic police tail on EVERY person, all the time, in advance, just in case someone does something bad."

      Correct.

      That tail is also looking over your shoulder at every web page you look at, every text message you send and the title, source and destination of every email.

      All the time, for everyone.

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