Chris Williams reports:
The Home Office has created a new unit to oversee a massive increase in surveillance of the internet, The Register has learned, quashing suggestions the plans are on hold until after the election.
The new Communications Capabilities Directorate (CCD) has been created as a structure to implement the £2bn Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), sources said.
The CCD is staffed by the same officials who have have been working on IMP since 2007, but it establishes the project on a more formal basis in the Home Office. It is not yet included on the Home Office’s list of directorates.
Read more in The Register.
Simon Watkin of the Home Office responded to an inquiry about the program on a list serv that is available on the Web:
> On 29 January 2010 1:24 PM Tony Naggs wrote:
> On 29 January 2010 12:24, Mary Hawking
<maryhawking at tigers.demon.co.uk>
> > Home Office spawns new unit to expand internet surveillance
> > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/28/imp_ccd/
> > Is this degree of surveillance legal, possible or value for money?
> It is probably legal, and may currently be theoretically possible.
Long-term followers of ukcrypto know that the Home Office has long been working with communications service providers to retain communications data, initially under Part 11 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and later under Regulations approved by Parliament in 2007 and 2009 which have transposed Directive 2006/24/EC on retention of communications data.
More recently work has been undertaken, by the Interception Modernisation Programme, to consider the implications for public protection of changing communications technologies, and the increasing distinction between network services and application layer services.
The “new unit”, the Communications Capabilities Directorate, brings these related elements together. One addressing today’s issues in a way that Parliament has approved and one considering tomorrow’s challenges
which Parliament will need to approve.
The newer work was the subject of a public consultation last year:
[9 Nov 2009]
The Minister for Policing, Crime and Counter-Terrorism (Mr. David Hanson): On April 27 the Home Office published a consultation, “Protecting the Public in a Changing Communications Environment”, which
set out the importance of communications data in helping to protect and safeguard the public; how the rapidly changing communications environment means the existing capability of the police, the security
and intelligence agencies and other public authorities is declining and why change is necessary. Today I am publishing the Summary  and Responses  submitted as part of this consultation exercise.
The consultation paper sought views on options for maintaining our vital communications data capabilities to protect the public against a background of rapid technological change. It rejected options for both a
single database holding all communications data and a “do nothing” option. Instead it proposed a “middle way” approach involving two main elements for which **new legislation** would be required.
As we develop the approach proposed in the consultation in the light of the responses received, we will continue to work closely with communications service providers in order to minimise as far as possible
any impact on them. We will also ensure that any new proposals will include strong safeguards to minimise the potential for abuse and to ensure the security and integrity of the data.
> The Home Office sadly has a recent history of being sneaky, underhand
> and untrustworthy in pursuing a surveillence society.
The Home Office has not, and is not, pursuing a surveillance society. We just have a really difficult job ensuring both that the public are protected and their fundamental rights are respected. It’s not a choice
of one or the other it’s a task of doing both equally at the same time.
> I feel that Parliament should be debating this, and publicly engaged
> with ISPs and the population at large in deciding:
> 1. What information it is practical for ISPs to be required to record,
> and how long the information must be kept.
> 2. Under what circumstances the information should be sought and
> investigated. (E.g. person caught with home made bomb should probably
> be investigated, person found driving without a licence probably not.)
> 3. A process to review the reasons for seeking for the information,
> and authorise or deny the request. Preferably involving a judge
> evaluating the request in a similar manner to authorising search
New legislation will require Parliamentary debate.
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