latest plans to monitor internet use in the UK

Francis Davey fjmd1a at
Fri Jun 15 16:03:14 BST 2012

2012/6/15 Peter Mitchell <otcbn at>:

> I doubt the government is enacting a highly controversial bill to give
> itself new powers that it does not intend to use.

That's entirely possible, though it has happened.

My point is that it is incorrect to say that the Bill (as an Act)
would require something, rather it would enable to government to make
an order requiring something. Those are distinct propositions.

When I was involved in running the "Save Parliament" campaign we had
to work very hard with a bill which initially allowed the government
to do anything by order. We could have said "the Legislative and
Regulatory Reform Bill forces everyone to wear green trousers" but
that would have been false, even though the bill did allow the
government to order that to happen.

So the argument has to be more nuanced. Instead of saying: now this
will happen, the argument is: this could happen. The objection is not
to anything in particular but to giving the government a blank cheque
by which they could order anything in particular.

Clause 1 is extremely general and is nothing like what went before. It
can be directed at anyone and order them to do almost anything that is
rationally connected to the purpose of retaining comms data. Since
almost any comms device is a "telecommunications system" anyone
controlling such a device is a "telecommunications operator" its not
surprising they didn't consult with the post office. Anyone with a
mobile phone or television is a telecommunications operator.

Francis Davey

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