|Statewatch article: RefNo# 2946
|Statewatch bulletin, vol 10 no 6 (November-December 2000)
|The "Agencies" demand:
- every phone call
- every mobile phone-call
- every fax
- every e-mail
- every website
- every web page vsited/downloaded
- from anywhere
- by everyone
- is recorded, archived and is accessible for all least seven years
[UK Home office motto: "for a safe and free society"; the "Agencies" are the police, customs and immigration agencies plus the security and intelligence agencies - MI5 MI6 and GCHQ]
The exposure by the Observer newspaper of a "Confidential" report prepared by the Deputy Director of the UK National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) for submission to the Home Office demonstrated the unparalleled, and authoritarian, demands being made by the "Agencies". It calls for all forms of communications (phone-calls, mobile phone-calls, faxes, websites and internet activity) to be recorded by telephone companies (CSPs) and internet service providers (ISPs), archived and held for at least seven years for the "Agencies" to access at will without any form of further authorisation (see Summary). The report is dated 21 August and asks the Home Secretary to immediately write to all CSPs to retain all data pending a legal framework being adopted.
The report says this gives the UK "an opportunity to lead on achieving an international standard for data retention legislation" and:
A similar strategic outlook is being taken by other EU Member States who share the common view that, in the public interest, longer-term data retention is not negotiable.
This initiative has come out of long-running discussions in the EU and the G8 High-Tec crime sub-group and the G8 Justice and Interior Ministers meetings (G8 is comprised of USA, France, UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia plus an EU delegation comprising the Presidency, the European Commission - Romano Prodi - and the Commissioner for external affairs - Chris Patten) (see Statewatch vol 9 no 6).
The report says that Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA "have taken steps towards a statutory framework". At the G8 Conference in Paris in May 2000 the Italian delegation said that its government and telecommunications industry were proposing to set up:
a national communications data warehouse to store data from CSPs. This reflects the view expressed by some UK experts who consider the only way forward is to create a Government agency run "UK National Communications Data Warehouse"
The report says that although this might be "politically sensitive" in the UK the "Agencies" favoured this over the option of a number of private contractors as they would prefer to have just one access point.
Although the report says that "law enforcement agencies" need "statutory authority to maintain their own communications intelligence databases" this is preceded by the statement that: "Most police forces and HM Customs and Excise retain.. data obtained electronically on their own individual databases". It would seem that, yet again, these agencies are acting outside the law and now want their practices to be legitimised.
Direct and automated access, via the internet, is apparently already being given by "certain CSPs" to law enforcement agencies. The report says over the past 12 months the Metropolitan Police Force's "Single Point of Contact" (SPOC) had acquired 63,590 subscriber details and 4,256 billing accounts.
Who is behind the demand?
The report was prepared by Roger Caspar, Deputy Director General of NCIS and chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Police and Telecommunications Industry Strategy Group "on behalf of" ACPO, ACPO (Scotland), H M Customs and Excise, the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) and:
the Police Liaison Units.. in a number of leading UK Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been consulted on the proposals put forward in this paper. The CSPs involved in
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