https - hopefully not too stupid a question

Francis Davey fjmd1a at
Mon Jun 18 20:24:22 BST 2012

2012/6/18 Peter Fairbrother <zenadsl6186 at>:
> But if they are only looking for ("secondary") traffic data, then they can
> paw through all the entire nation's web traffic without it being
> interception, as defined in RIPA 2(5).

Yes. That sounds exactly right to me. Provided its traffic data they
are after then a notice under an authorisation can obtain it - though
the retention is almost certainly going to be under clause 1 rather
than under a notice.

A notice will only operate prospectively on data that does or may
exist. Since a notice will often not last very long the sorts of
systematic collation that we are talking about is much more likely to
be under a clause 1 arrangement.

Obviously for a specific operation an authorised officer might give a
notice for specific kinds of traffic data collection of the kind we
are talking about, but clause 9 is much more specific than clause 1.

> And as that's what they said they wanted to do, and I'm pretty sure it's
> what the draft Bill allows then to do, I can't see them not doing it if the
> bill passes as-is.

That sounds reasonable.

> As to who does the pawing through, it might be the ISPs under some
> arrangement where the filtering software or preferences were provided by
> some filtering organisation - or it might be some as-yet-not-named filtering
> organisation, possibly GCHQ, which does the actual filtering,
> And afaics, the ISPs could not refuse to copy ALL their traffic to such an
> organisation, if demanded.

That really does depend on what 1(4) restricts. We know that simply
saving an email message for later use is interception so surely so is
handing over the whole of the stream? It is hard to see how that
natural reading of 1(4) could work with what is clearly the purpose of
the rest of the clause so a court might be generous and read it less
strictly. Or, if the government have any sense, they'll tidy it up.

Francis Davey

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