The (Proposed) Communications Data Bill……

13 Dec

The Proposals of the Draft Communications Data Bill……

The UK Government is currently considering a new Communications Data Bill.  It deals with electronic communications; predominantly emails and text/SMS messages.  The proposal will compel Internet Service Providers to store all email communications that pass through it’s servers for one year.  There are approximately 295 billion emails sent each day and regardless of their content the Communications Data Bill will require all are saved……

Human Rights……

The proposals raise many concerns for human rights.  The Government’s line is, as always, the prevention of ‘terrorism’ and the Police would need a warrant to access the data.  However, on numerous occasions in the past different agencies of the state including HMRC and the MoD have lost sensitive information about individuals such as their names, date of birth, national insurance numbers and bank details.  This is a case of using a hammer to crack a nut.  Yesterday the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill criticised the bill saying it was ‘too widely drafted and significant changes and safeguards are required to prevent abuse.’

In a pre-electronic communications era the Bill would be the equivalent of asking the Post Office to photocopy all letters and postcards and hold them in a file for a year.  Under Article 8 of the EU Human Rights Act (EUHRA):  ‘Everyone shall have the right to respect and protection for their identity’ and ‘Respect for privacy and family life, reputation, the home and the confidentiality of correspondence, irrespective of the medium, shall be guaranteed.’  Note the ‘confidentiality of correspondence’ and the phrase ‘irrespective of the medium’ which the Communications Data Bill would violate.

Unfortunately, we do not have a written constitution and bill of rights unlike the United States.  The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights states that: ‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized’.  Again, note that a person has the right to be secure in their ‘papers’ and this right ‘shall not be violated’ but ‘upon probable cause’.  Article 8 of the EUHRA is the equivalent of the Fourth Amendment but the UK Government has made clear its disdain for EUHRA and its willingness to disregard it when it suits them……

Should we have Faith in our Government……

The UK Government has been complicit in the ‘extraordinary rendition’ of ‘terrorist’ suspects.  It has held people in detention for extended periods of time without charge.  It stands accused of allowing the torture of British citizens having handed them over to foreign governments.  It continues to supply military hardware to dictatorships with proven human rights violations.  It continues to trade with nations known to mistreat its own citizens.  It has covered up incidents like the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, the shooting of John Charles de Mendez and exonerated the Police of any blame in cases like that of the death Ian Tomlinson, the innocent bystander assaulted during the G20 protest.  It has now acquired remotely operated ‘Drones’ as used by the US for the extra-judicial execution of alleged ‘terrorists’ inside the boarders of sovereign states with whom they not at war, although what the British Government intends to use them for is unclear; the list goes on but the point is obvious.

We cannot and should not trust our Government with our personal data.

And Hypothetically……

I am not a criminal mastermind tasked with carrying out acts of terror on British soil.  But if I were and needed to get around the Communications Data Bill I would employ two very simple tactics.  Firstly, I would send my communications from Wi-Fi hotspots, using a different one each time and, secondly, I would send my messages with 2048 bit DHE encryption key which, with all the power of every computer on Earth working in unison, to decrypt my message would take a billion years.

The Communications Data Bill is intrusive, unnecessary, ineffective for the purposes for which it is designed and an infringement on our basic human rights.

liberty_logoTo make your feelings known and add your voice to the growing opposition to the Draft Communications Data Bill join Liberty’s campaign by following this link.

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2 Responses to “The (Proposed) Communications Data Bill……”

  1. Alan Brownlee August 6, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    We do have a written constitution. It is not codified (brought together as one document). Parliament thinks it has changed It is not possible chapter 37 of the 1225 reissue states any changes to this document are for naught. The changes are not valid. OK a number of its articles about releasing hostages and laws for knights and lords treating tenants fairley are no longer applicable (not many lords or knights own estates where they need to deal with tenants)
    Most of the articles removed from the MC have returned with the European Human Rights Act.; without the not applicable any longer articles.
    These rather important articles below Parliament tried to ditch. But EUHRA has brought them back

    (39) No Freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.

    (38) In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.

    This last is significant. How do the police detect who was accessing the sites. They cannot produce witnesses. they are not in your house. No police officer can put you on trial on his word alone. Even if a second officer is watching the first, he cannot claim witness as they are words on a screen the source can be anywhere, or anything.. They cannot get a valid warrant (apart from the need for a jury) Information on their screens cannot be traced to a single person.
    Because of data protection act police can only be provided with your ISP usage records, if you let them or they have enough use you are down/up loading is against the public good. So porn/racist/terrorist traces to your computer can get a warrant. Greedy entertainment companies/authorities not against public good. Tell ISP not to give private information to anyone. Police cannot get a warrant when it is not for public good reason. If they turn up with a warrant ask what reason have they got the warrant for unless for against public good offence, ask for badge numbers, names and name of issuing judge. Inform officers they have breched FOI act and you will be complaining to Police Complaints authority. Inform them they have an illegally obtained warrant and refuse then entry. Speak to lawyer If they dont leave

    • Steve Walker November 29, 2014 at 9:27 am #

      Agreed, they changed the part about repaying a debt to a Jew from your estate, to: We’ll spend your money paying a selected group and they’ll get to carry on producing, nothing tangible, nothing useful, just pushing rich people’s money around to create more money, and they don’t even need it… And you have to pay for it… Steve

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