Saturday, 5 October 2013

Has anyone heard from the Home Secretary?

Communications Data Bill? Unnecessary. That was the question on the DMossEsq blog on 7 July 2013. And the answer. Judging by the Edward Snowden revelations, we don't need this Home Office Bill. The security services already have all the tools they need to try to keep us secure against terrorism, the Bill adds nothing.

Six days before, on 1 July 2013, the (London) Evening Standard published an article by John Kampfner which includes this: "Plans to introduce the Communications Data Bill or “snoopers’ charter” have been put on hold thanks to determined resistance by Nick Clegg and others ... Now we know they didn't really need the legislation – they've been doing it anyway, without bothering to recourse to the law".

It's not just Mr Kampfner and DMossEsq. Hugo Rifkind had an article in the Spectator the other day, 28 September 2013: "Six months ago we were tying ourselves in knots over the Snooper’s Charter – all about what invasive powers the state required into our digital data – and never was it admitted, even in passing, that our security services had the capacity to do all this stuff anyway, whether granted the new powers they desired or not".

So that's three of us. Including the son of Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC MP, the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

And d'you know what?

Not a word from the Home Secretary.

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Updated 6 October 2013
Communications Data Bill, June 2012, Foreword by the Home Secretary, "serious and growing risk":
... communications data from new technologies is less available and often harder to access. Without action there is a serious and growing risk that crimes enabled by email and the internet will go undetected and unpunished, that the vulnerable will not be protected and that terrorists and criminals will not be caught and prosecuted. 
Communications Data Bill, June 2012, Introduction, p.2, "neither feasible, necessary nor proportionate":
Nothing in these proposals will authorise the interception of the content of a communication. Nor will it require the collection of all internet data, which would be neither feasible, necessary nor proportionate.
A little deceitful?

Unpublished:
From: David Moss
Sent: 07 July 2013 01:15
To: 'dtletters@telegraph.co.uk'
Subject: Charles Moore, 5 July 2013, 'Edward Snowden is a traitor, just as surely as George Blake was'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet-security/10162351/Edward-Snowden-is-a-traitor-just-as-surely-as-George-Blake-was.html

Sir

Charles Moore argues that everyone already knows that the security services intercept our communications to protect us against terrorism. For the past year, the Telegraph has reported on the Home Office's attempts to promote the Data Communications Bill, desperately needed according to Theresa May to protect us against terrorism. They can't both be right. Which is it?

Yours

David Moss

Unpublished:
From: David Moss
Sent: 01 October 2013 16:41
To: 'letters@thetimes.co.uk'
Subject: Kaya Burgess, 1 october 2013, MI5 playing into hands of ‘twerps like Assange’

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article3883536.ece

Sir

We have it on the authority of Dame Stella Rimington that the security services can intercept any of our internet-based communications.

Two points.

Firstly, the implication is that there is no such thing as a secure website. Secure websites are like unicorns.

Second, the Home Office have been promoting the Communications Data Bill on the grounds that, unless we provide the security services with the tools, they can't defend us against terrorism. The implication was that they don't have the tools needed. As it turns out, they do, and the Home Office were deceiving us.

Yours

David Moss
Updated 7 October 2013
The GuardianCabinet was told nothing about GCHQ spying programmes, says Chris Huhne:
... Huhne also questioned whether the Home Office had deliberately misled parliament about the need for the communications data bill when GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping headquarters, already had remarkable and extensive snooping capabilities ...

"Throughout my time in parliament, the Home Office was trying to persuade politicians to invest in 'upgrading' Britain's capability to recover data showing who is emailing and phoning whom. Yet this seems to be exactly what GCHQ was already doing. Was the Home Office trying to mislead?

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