Government snooping plans: why I’m not outraged, yet

Here’s the relevant part of the motion that was passed at the Liberal Democrat conference in Gateshead:

a) ensuring that there shall be no interception of telephone calls, SMS messages, social media, internet or any other communications without named, specific and time-limited warrants;

b) guaranteeing that any communications data kept by service providers in accordance with the EU Data Retention Directive are kept securely by the service providers, and that they be only released to government bodies with strict and strengthened safeguards;

c) ensuring that service providers are not mandated by law to collect communications data by any method that would also provide access to content information, unless specifically authorised by a warrant;

d) ensuring that service providers are not mandated by law to collect third-party communications data for non-business purposes by any method;

e) renegotiating the EU Data Retention Directive and changing how it is implemented into UK law, to provide a better balance towards privacy.

Even if they weren’t the party’s policy already, those five demands seem to me a good standard against which to judge any government plans for legislation in this area.

Do the proposals as reported in the media today meet them? I don’t think that question can be answered based on the media reports, as the reports are variously incomplete and inaccurate (see this post for example).

Given that three of the Liberal Democrats involved in the issue are Tom Brake, Lynne Featherstone and Julian Huppert, all with strong civil liberties credentials, there’s also good circumstantial reasons to be doubtful that the proposals will fail these five tests.

So I’ll blog further (hopefully tomorrow) when I’ve had a chance to dig out some more information on what is being planned.

UPDATE PS The current ambiguity over what the government is planning is highlighted by Nick Thornsby, who quotes the relevant government policy paper over on his blog.

UPDATE 2: Now I’ve found out more about what the plans involved, see my The web snooping plans: time to get campaigning and Why so many Liberal Democrats are angry.

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4 comments
Apeksha Singh
Apeksha Singh

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Ed Wilson
Ed Wilson

On this subject, be outraged until reassured otherwise, but autumn's motion is a reasonable starting position for red line drawing, and the leadership must be bound by that red line.

Jamie McHale
Jamie McHale

Although as a precautionary measure it's probably a good idea to be making a bit of noise on the issue.

Nick Noble
Nick Noble

well Mark, I hope your hypothesis is correct and that the devil in the detail proves to give us nothing to worry about. However if that proves to be the case then some backsides need kicked and reminded about effective communication because this story has been allowed to run with no real correction, and the few details provided ceratinly do not chime with points one to five above.

Trackbacks

  1. Stephen Tall says:

    Do read, esp the post Mark links to here » RT @markpack Government snooping plans: why I'm not outraged, yet http://t.co/uHzWWMeP

  2. sunny hundal says:

    @sunny_hundal Probably at same time as you were writing that I was writing this: http://t.co/lire4gMH ! (Expect sequel on @libdemvoice tmw)

  3. Daisy Cooper says:

    @sunny_hundal Try @markpack 's blog < "Government snooping plans: why I'm not outraged, yet http://t.co/NmMSnPzR&quot;

  4. RT @markpack Government snooping plans: why I'm not outraged, yet http://t.co/FX7NhMt8 < Blog by me

  5. RT @markpack Government snooping plans: why I'm not outraged, yet http://t.co/NcqFchgc < Blog by me

  6. Greg Judge says:

    Government snooping plans: why I'm not outraged, yet http://t.co/1q0fYOuK < Blog by me

  7. I'm on the verge of being outraged. MT @markpack: Government snooping plans: why I'm not outraged, yet http://t.co/U4oRSKyt

  8. Government snooping plans – #LibDem policy here http://t.co/viErTpWP

  9. Prateek Buch says:

    FAO @gimpyblog @bengoldacre what do u think? RT @markpack: Government snooping plans: why I'm not outraged, yet http://t.co/IYAzQKod

  10. Lon Won says:

    @Simon4Pinhoe Alarmed, but this sums up why not outraged (yet) http://t.co/WTH4icMx

  11. Stephen says:

    Government snooping plans – #LibDem policy here http://t.co/viErTpWP

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