Ian Batten igb at batten.eu.org
Tue Jun 19 09:57:09 BST 2012

On 19 Jun 2012, at 08:47, Francis Davey wrote:
> That is why I have said that the bill is almost entirely about clause
> 1. Sure, there are lots of bits and pieces in the rest, but it is
> clause 1 that gives sweeping and almost entirely unrestricted powers
> to government to do almost anything (but not "interception" whatever
> that may mean) to make sure that communications data can be got hold
> of. Nothing in the rest of the bill really takes anything away from
> that and is, to a great extent, a red herring.

As I've said, I think that's the basis for the "filtering" provisions: with those in place, there is at least plausible deniability that content interception is taking place, when what is being extracted is communications data.   It almost takes us back to the old question about whether virus and spam suppression is interception.  If a device takes some content, performs a computation on that data, and outputs something for which there is legal authorisation, does it matter that the data involved in the computation was not within the scope of that authorisation?   I think the bill (specifically the filtering provisions) say that's legal.  

If you assume, arguendo, that processing unauthorised interception product in order to yield authorised product _isn't_ the purpose of the proposed legislation, then why does this legislation exist?  Without the ability to extract communications data from content under communications data authorisations, all the proposed bill offers is a bit of data retention which, in practice, the ISPs have signed up for already.  If after the legislation is passed you still need a HomeSec warrant to intercept a World of Warcraft sessions to see who's receiving in-game messages, then the bill hasn't really advanced matters for law enforcement beyond RIPA.  They get data retention they already de facto have.  LAs lose the ability to do reverse DQ, as if anyone outside the tabloids really cares.  Beyond that, what?  Where's the beef?  If the beef isn't extraction of communications data from content data without an interception warrant, what is?


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