November 26, 2010 | Jim Killock

Home Office: citizens not directly concerned by interception law

ORG received a response to our complaint about the truncated, unpublicized RIPA consultation today, the day after we sent a joint civil society letter to Pauline Neville Jones.

The consultation will create new powers to fine organisations who engage in illegal interception, and decide who will investigate. Currently, this may not include the police, and the fines may be laughably small - perhaps only £10,000.

The Home Office have now published the consultation, and extended the deadline slightly, to 17 December. They continue to refuse to meet civil society groups however, saying:

We are focusing on those parties directly affected by the changes to the extent that those parties would be subject to the civil sanction or directly concerned with it, or are directly responsible, where lawful interception is taking place, for ensuring that consent has been obtained to the interception. (Full text)

On other words, the many thousands of people who have been adversely affected by illegal interception, and those who seek to stand up for their rights, are not “directly concerned” according to the Home Office.

This is an outrageous position to take. Industry will never be prime the victim of interception: citizens stand to lose hugely from weak or inadequate protection.

Please take the time to respond to the consultation.

Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous:
    Dec 03, 2010 at 03:09 PM

    what the home office is apparently doing seems to be what the conservative home office always does ( the same as the tax man recently )in that they are chatting to the people who will break the law to ensure that they (the crooks )are happy that the proceeds of any crime will far outweigh the punishment

  2. James Cutler:
    Nov 26, 2010 at 02:50 PM

    Restricting this to CSPs seems to offer blank canvas to other would be snoopers be they commercial, commissioned (outsourced) or covert; the Google collection of router details being a case in point. Also as data collected by commercial companies under PPP/PDI are not covered by open data regulations, there seems to be a rather large 'opportunity' for abuse and exploitation that needs to be covered off.

  3. Kevin Galalae:
    Jan 06, 2011 at 08:16 AM

    A surveillance and censorship programme (SAC) I have uncovered during 16 months of ongoing conflict with the British government and its intelligence agencies infringes the privacy of communications of online courses offered by Oxford and Leicester universities (and, I suspect, many other universities as well).
    SAC works by circumventing, ignoring or blatantly violating both national and international laws. Government agents operating from within and outside the country – should the course be offered virtually - are assigned to specific universities where they enrol in programs and courses as regular students, paying tuition fees out of pocket. This allows universities to play innocent should anyone cry foul and to avoid legal repercussions for violating privacy rules, expressional rights, freedom of conscience, education law and the trust of their students. Once imbedded, the spies masquerade as legitimate students while secretly collaborating with the course tutors. They gather information on every student, test the students’ allegiance to the system, assist the course tutors in deflecting and diverting the discussions away from subjects the government deems taboo when the opinions expressed by students run counter to Britain’s foreign or domestic policies, bully and coerce students into toeing the politically correct line, manufacture consent and, should that fail, provoke students to commit netiquette breaches or simply create an environment so harassing as to cause targeted students to quit their studies of their own accord. The overall effect is to brainwash the young and the impressionable to hold skewed and hypocritical views in line with the British Government’s foreign and domestic policy objectives and not to question the new world order or criticise its shortcomings and injustices.
    SAC shows that Britain secret service agencies engage in far more eggregious illegal interceptions than those discussed here. For full details see: