back to article GCHQ was rebuked for ignoring spy law safeguards as pandemic hit Britain

Former foreign secretary Dominic Raab rebuked GCHQ for secretly halting internal compliance audits that ensured the spy agency was obeying the law, a government report has revealed – while just 0.06 per cent of spying requests made by Britain's public sector were refused by its supposed overseer. GCHQ's unilateral decision to …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    No penalties so above the law?

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Law? What law? Laws are only for normal people. We are not normal people, we are spies!

      And remember, short-term memory is just that; short term. Nobody cares anyway.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    [obligatory latin quote]

    1. The Bobster

      Re: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      The Coastguard?

      [obligatory Simpsons reference]

    2. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      Is that "Who keeps The Guardian"?

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

        "Who has custody of the custodians" or generally rendered in English as "Who watches the watchers?"

        1. batfink Silver badge

          Re: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

          Yes I know, but thanks anyway - it's probably good to have the actual translation for those who might not.

        2. cupplesey

          Re: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

          The Police....if and when they decide to...which they don't unless its the common folk

    3. genghis_uk

      Re: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      People called Romanes they go to the house?

  3. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    EUROPOL

    Not just GCHQ, EUROPOL is in a bit of trouble too:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/10/a-data-black-hole-europol-ordered-to-delete-vast-store-of-personal-data

    "The EU’s police agency, Europol, will be forced to delete much of a vast store of personal data that it has been found to have amassed unlawfully by the bloc’s data protection watchdog. The unprecedented finding from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) targets what privacy experts are calling a “big data ark” containing billions of points of information. Sensitive data in the ark has been drawn from crime reports, hacked from encrypted phone services and sampled from asylum seekers never involved in any crime."

    It seems that acquiring data is addictive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EUROPOL

      Quote: "...will be forced to delete..."

      Ah....I've heard this one before.....

      .....so....."delete" what exactly?

      .....the "ordinary man in the street" reads this and thinks that the live data (in a master database) will be gone.

      .....but fails to realise a number of worrying salient facts:

      1. Probably not one database....probably many databases, some of which are small fragments held on thousands of departmental servers and PCs

      2. And that in turn means that there are also thousands of BACKUPS of all this stuff.

      3. So....the spooks clean up one central database as best they can......and probably EVERYTHING is still available somewhere!

      4. And of course there is no INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION that the so called "delete" is done either.

      Quote (William Burroughs): "The paranoid is a person who knows a little of what is going on"

    2. HildyJ Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: EUROPOL

      We all know acquiring data is addictive, just ask Suckerberg.

      At least Europol has ordered the data deleted. Whether it is or not remains to be seen (or unseen).

      I see no evidence of such an effort by the UK or the US whose "rebukes" seem to be either tut, tut or tsk, tsk.

  4. monty75

    Foreign Secretary unaware

    Given that Raab was unaware that Dover-Calais was a significant trade route it's no surprise he didn't know what was happening at GCHQ

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Foreign Secretary unaware

      It's one of those unsolved philosophical problems: does a politician who doesn't know what they are doing cause more or less damage than one that does?

      1. Blitheringeejit

        Re: Foreign Secretary unaware

        Either way, there's unlikely to be a problem with any amount of draconian law-ignoring under the current foreign secretary...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Foreign Secretary unaware

      'Red Sea' Rab (as he is now known in some circles) also didn't know that the sea between Wales and Ireland is named the Irish Sea, not the Red Sea. During an 'Exiting the European Union" Select Committee he described it as the 'Red Sea' and there was no context in referencing this to the Labour Party as some sort of joke. He was just clueless.

      I'll cut no bones...in a word, we really do have fucking idiots in charge.

      I'd love someone to put him on the spot during a Q&A and ask him where the Celtic Sea is.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Trollslayer

    I had an interview there once and it is worse than I expected.

    My mistake - it was worse. The little people in some areas had their pension contribution stopped 'because of budget issues'.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    More of the Same Guarantees More of the Same. Time for an Intelligent Fortunate Exchange.

    The abiding problem which just keeps on giving continual strife and bankrupting disorder is the mad decision and pathetic compliance which has resulted in the likes of a MI5, MI6, GCHQ and A.N.Others who really should know better and more, not constantly comprehensively monitoring and mentoring publicly elected members of Parliament and their guaranteed to be well enough paid from the bottomless public purse, Civil Service Servers and Servants, who might appear to imagine and protest that they are subject to some sort of crown type immunity from such intelligent monitoring activity thus to confuse them into thinking they can act with impunity and escape accountability and responsibility for all manner of crimes and misdemeanours whereas the reality is that to pay them peanuts begets monkeys only fit for the jungle and a life indebted to behaving like primitive gibbering baboons.

    The SMARTR Future demands most everything be at least different, and ideally a great deal better too than anything either recently or currently presented for thoughtless acceptance via remote virtual delivery with attractive stealthy instruction sets. Don’t stand in ITs Way or try to block any of ITs Paths is sound advice if one wants and deserves to survive and prosper rather than perish and fade away into the lonely darkness of interminable nights.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    Complaining about something that you have approved 99.94% of the time

    Is that called CYA or what ?

    OK, it's not CYA, it's just a politician trying to get brownie points.

    But still . . .

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Police are using GPlay call recrding apps then they will be using Google Lens Facial Recognition.

    Saying it twice doesn't make it right either.

    If Police are using Google Play call recording apps they will also be using Google Lens Facial Recognition, without any proper oversight. In word, they will be using any App on an Android phone that 'helps' them do their job at the local level, without any overview context of how this affects democracy at the abstracted level.

    Many forces now have phone access to remote Cisco IP Camera footage and screen grabs.Linked with Facebook content, in a word, it's their form of monitoring utopia and they want such use to remain under the radar, without any Journalists drawing attention to grubby data methods.

    We really have moved from having a Police force that were there, to primarily protect from harm to one that primarily monitors and goes on fishing expeditions, creating a somewhat hostile environment regarding every step you take, and fines for very minor indiscretion, because it's such an easy cash cow.

  10. F0ulRaven

    So the UK and the west are just as corrupt as every other country, but, unlike smaller countries, have a process in place to 'prove' they are not corrupt!

    Who'd have thought?

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