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UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws 147

Posted by timothy
from the back-in-line-citizen dept.
beaker_72 (1845996) writes The Guardian reports that the UK government has unveiled plans to introduce emergency surveillance laws into the UK parliament at the beginning of next week. These are aimed at reinforcing the powers of security services in the UK to force service providers to retain records of their customers phone calls and emails. The laws, which have been introduced after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that existing laws invaded individual privacy, will receive cross-party support and so will not be subjected to scrutiny or challenged in Parliament before entering the statute books. But as Tom Watson (Labour backbench MP and one of few dissenting voices) has pointed out, the ECJ ruling was six weeks ago, so why has the government waited until now to railroad something through. Unless of course they don't want it scrutinised too closely.
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UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

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  • Re:"Emergency" laws. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @11:19AM (#47424419)

    What I don't get is how ANY of those groups pose a threat to anyone outside of their local areas. ISIS doesn't care about the West, their entire reason for existing is that the al-Maliki government in Iraq essentially locked out the Sunnis from representation in the country's government and they had a handy bunch of Islamic fighters in the country next door who were willing to divert their rebellion against Bashar al-Assad for a little while to try and take down al-Maliki. If anything, they'd have more reason to go after the United States (who installed al-Maliki) than they would to try something against the UK.

    al-Shabab is a localized terror group based out of Somalia. Yes, they attacked a mall in Africa, but defense analysts in the United States have said multiple times that al-Shabab does not have the resources or the manpower to mount an attack on the United States or any of its interests. I would assume that the UK, being a long-time ally of the United States, would count as a "United States interest".

    Last I checked, the UK also has existing laws on the books for dealing with pedophiles and organized crime - they were certainly able to handle the IRA before the days of mass-surveillance programs. Neither of these seem to pose any real "national security" threat that I can see, though I don't live in the UK.

    Cameron was lying through his teeth and he knows it.

  • Talking of FUD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kevlar_rat (995996) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @01:02PM (#47425151) Homepage Journal

    Similarly there's a lot of FUD about RIPA's password clause by people who haven't read the law which explicitly states that police have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone has a key before they can be prosecuted for not handing it over

    Except it doesn't.
    The actual quote from the law [legislation.gov.uk] is:

    For the purposes of this section a person shall be taken to have shown that he was not in possession of a key to protected information at a particular time if— (a)sufficient evidence of that fact is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it; and (b)the contrary is not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

    IOW the defence has to show "sufficient evidence ... to raise an issue", and then and only then does the prosecution have to prove 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. So this is a completely new standard of proof introduced into the British criminal system after 1000 years of using only [wikipedia.org] the 'proof beyond a reasonable doubt' test. How do you show 'sufficient evidence' that you have forgotten a password? Nobody knows.
    AFAIK (and IANAL) no judge has yet accepted the defence has shown 'sufficient evidence'. How do you show a negative - that you don't know something? Maybe judges think (correctly) that it's impossible to 'raise an issue', so the prosecution never has to prove anything apart from that you didn't hand over a password.
    This is what's known as the 'reverse burden of proof' introduced in RIPA. You don't have to prove 'beyond a reasonable doubt' you forgot the password, but you do have to show 'sufficient evidence', or - if you don't hand over a password - you're automatically guilty.
    What's more the Home Office code of practice [google.com] says that even if you have 'sufficient evidence' - it might not even be allowed in court 'if the person fails to raise some doubt as to whether he still had the key when the notice was given'.

    it's never happened, everyone prosecuted to date has been like the plonker in yesterday's news story who incriminated themselves for the simple reason they were actually dickheads.

    Perhaps you're assuming no judge would be that corrupt,so here's a case of someone who quite plausibly forgot his password being imprisoned [newstatesman.com]:

    A TEEN who refused to give police officers an encryption password for his computer has been jailed for four months. Evidence showed that the defendant admitted in police interviews that he had set an encrypted password of between 40 and 50 characters containing both letters and numbers using an encryption software programme and that he had had originally relied on his memory to recall it but could not recall it when he was served with the notice.
    The jury heard both the prosecution and defence case and accepted the prosecution case that the defendant must have kept a record of this very complex password, rather than relying on memory, and that he had deliberately failed to disclose it to the police. They returned a guilty verdict after 15 minutes deliberation.

    Incidentally, if you do get ordered to hand over a password - even to sometimes else's data you happen to have - you're not allowed to tell anyone [theregister.co.uk], presumably not even to ask for the password.

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