What is a "communication" (was Re: sorry, but ...

Charles Lindsey chl at clerew.man.ac.uk
Mon Aug 13 11:07:20 BST 2012

On Sun, 12 Aug 2012 00:08:12 +0100, Peter Fairbrother  
<zenadsl6186 at zen.co.uk> wrote:

> Maybe we are on different pages - I am, initially at least, just saying  
> that in order to filter traffic data from the stream he has to look at  
> the stream, in order to filter it.

Plod is a person. The bot running his filter is not. So if the  
(sufficiently smart) bot can remove the non-traffic data from the  
communication data before Plod gets to look at it, then it has not been  
"made available to any person". Yes, the bot writer (aka root) could log  
in and change the bot to divert it otherwise, but we have been around that  
one before, and I don't think it washes. If you follow that line of  
reasonong, then every router everything passes through is guilty of  
interception, because its operator "could" peek at all passing traffic.

All reasonable steps have been taken to prevent Plod seeing what he should  
not see, and a court is likely to be satisfied with that.
> Whether a computer filter or a human does the filtering, the raw  
> unfiltered feed has to be looked at. Plod cannot filter it without  
> looking at it, it is impossible.

No it's not. Plod does not filter it. Plod comes after the filter.

Whether a practical filter could be constructed by a person familiar with  
the algorithms used by Facebook, or whoever, is a separate issue. For the  
purposes of this discussion let us assume it is possible.

> Another question here, is traffic between me and mywebsiteserver a  
> communication?

Yes, you sent a communication to your websiteserver and it returned  
information of use to you. The identity of your websiteserver is traffic  
data. The actual query and its response is not.

> Between the webcam I set up in the PM's toilet and my computer?

Ditto, but there are plenty of better places in RIPA which they could  
catch you with in that situation. And the location of your webcam probably  
counts as traffic data, and a warrant to access what your webcam is seeing  
would surely follow in short order.

Charles H. Lindsey ---------At Home, doing my own thing------------------------
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