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Plods to get more dastabase powers...

pirate | 15.10.2008 16:22 | Analysis | Social Struggles | Terror War | London | World

Home Sec Jacqui Smith attempts to back expantion on database state and more powers to police. ( All done for our own good of course.. yeah right)

BBC news website 15.10.08.

You can leave your er 'polite' comments below the article...

SEE ALSO: Data powers behind the times. ( 15/10: BBC Home Affairs Corres-Danny Shaw):

Police may get more data powers

Jacqui Smith said intercepting communications was 'vital'
Jacqui Smith has set out plans to give the police and security services more powers to gather phone and e-mail data.

The home secretary said police risked losing the ability to fight crime and terrorism without new laws.

The government is considering creating a giant database to store details of every UK phone call and e-mail sent.

Ms Smith stressed the "content" of conversations would not be stored but she wanted a national debate on what new powers should be introduced.

And she warned that without increasing their capacity to store data, the police and security services would have to consider a "massive expansion of surveillance".

Plans to collect more data on people's phone, e-mail and web-browsing habits are expected to be included in the Communications Data Bill, due to be introduced in the Queen's Speech in November.

'Vital capability'

In a speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research, Ms Smith said: "Our ability to intercept communications and obtain communications data is vital to fighting terrorism and combating serious crime, including child sex abuse, murder and drugs trafficking.

"Communications Data - that is, data about calls, such as the location and identity of the caller, not the content of the calls themselves - is used as important evidence in 95% of serious crime cases and in almost all Security Service operations since 2004.

There are no plans for an enormous database which will contain the content of your emails, the texts that you send or the chats you have on the phone or online

Jacqui Smith

Analysis: Behind the times?

"But the communications revolution has been rapid in this country and the way in which we intercept communications and collect communications data needs to change too.

"If it does not we will lose this vital capability that we currently have and that, to a certain extent, we all take for granted.

"The capability that enabled us to convict Ian Huntley for the Soham murders and that enabled us to achieve the convictions of those responsible for the 21/7 terrorist plots against London."

She said the "changes we need to make may require legislation" and there may even have to be legislation "to test what a solution to this problem will look like".

There will also be new laws to protect civil liberties, she added, and she announced a public consultation starting in the New Year on the plans.

"I want this to be combined with a well-informed debate characterised by openness, rather than mere opinion, by reason and reasonableness," she told the IPPR.


One option being considered by the government is the creation of a single, centralised database containing records of all telephone numbers called, time and location of calls, websites visited and e-mail addresses used by UK citizens.

The idea has provoked concern among experts, including the government's own reviewer of anti-terror laws, Lord Carlile, who said: "The raw idea of simply handing over all this information to any government, however benign, and sticking it in an electronic warehouse is an awful idea if there are not very strict controls about it."

But Ms Smith moved to reassure people that there were no plans to monitor and store the content of all e-mails and phone conversations.

"There are no plans for an enormous database which will contain the content of your emails, the texts that you send or the chats you have on the phone or online.

"Nor are we going to give local authorities the power to trawl through such a database in the interest of investigating lower level criminality under the spurious cover of counter terrorist legislation.

"Local authorities do not have the power to listen to your calls now and they never will in future. You would rightly object to proposals of this kind and I would not consider them.

"What we will be proposing will be options which follow the key principles which govern all our work in this area - the principles of proportionality and necessity."

Lord Erroll, of the all-party Parliamentary group on communications, and the all party internet group, said he was concerned about the idea of a single database.

"I just feel if you centralise all this data in one place, people then have the power to search and could make the wrong inferences - they could draw the wrong conclusions - from some of the stuff they look at. And if they want to have a go at someone it makes it much easier to do so," said the peer, who founded the telecoms company VoiceXchange.


Should the police and security services be given the power to collect and store phone and email data? Do you work for the police or security services? How useful a tool would this be? Send us your comments using the form below:

see link to article.



Hide the following 2 comments


15.10.2008 16:36

Sorry for the openning typo's...


want to comment on the Database?

15.10.2008 20:19

then email




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