Government monitoring requests rise for phone, email

Roland Perry lists at
Wed Aug 4 15:09:23 BST 2010

In article <C6F343320DAC194BA010FD66AD493623392471 at home.usermgmt.local>,
David Biggins <David_Biggins at> writes
>?The Interception of Communications Commissioner has revealed that
>police and other agencies made 21,000 more requests for citizens'
>communications data in 2009 than the previous year.
>?Sir Paul Kennedy disclosed in his annual report that in 2009, public
>authorities made 525,130 data requests to ISPs to view people's phone
>and email records. That figure compares with a total of 504,073
>requests in 2008.

        3.41  During   the   period   covered   by   this   report   131
        local   authorities   notified me   that   they   had   made use
        of   their   powers   to   acquire   communications data, and
        this is slightly more than last year. A total of 1,756

Which is about 0.3% of the total.

        ... were made for communications data and the vast majority were
        for basic subscriber information, although 24 Councils reported
        that they had acquired some service use data under Section
        21(4)(b) of the Act.

It's good to see a reference to the different categories within 21(4),
because they were introduced specifically to provide some graduation in
the ability of public authorities to request data (and ultimately in the
ability to report it). I think (although Sir Paul clearly disagrees)
that mentioning how many of the 525k are requests for simply "reverse
DQ" would be a help in understanding the impact of the legislation.

Although "reverse DQ" [type (c)] is admittedly classed as "comms data",
it's not really "viewing phone and email records", as suggested by
ZDnet. And as Sir Paul points out later on, even the access to type (b)
data is limited to *outgoing* phone bills (not incoming calls) and *no*
IP related transactions at all, for the majority of public authorities.

And in other news... I see that RIPA is being misreported again, in the
Poole school-snooping case, as an Act that gave councils powers. When in
fact it's quite the reverse - as this Tribunal case shows, in fact it's
regulating (and slapping on the wrists when misused) the surveillance
activity which has always taken place.
Roland Perry

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