BBC News - 'Fresh proposals' planned over cyber-monitoring

Roland Perry lists at
Thu May 23 22:43:59 BST 2013

In article <519E6D76.8060203 at>, Ben Liddicott 
<ben at> writes
 >>And if every request required the police and the telco to physically 
 >>attend court (which is likely to be some distance from the telco's HQ) 
 >>and then be required to respond to a non-urgent request in a week 
 >>rather than a month, then the costs would spiral out of control (for 
 >>all parties involved).
>Well, that's a good summary of the argument, but not actually a good 
>reason, and it's not actually what happens.
>It's not what happens because the vast majority of such requests are 
>for things which could perfectly well have waited to the next working 
>day and been dealt with in bulk.

Of course the vast majority can wait until the next day (or even the 
next week), but the other aspects remain. Unless you think it's a good 
idea for these court orders to be issued without any comment from the 
telcos about the practicality, and any more than a rubber stamp from the 
judge regarding the necessity.

>It's not a good reason firstly because there is no technical reason why 
>a court order has to be slow. IANAL, but AFAIK a court order or warrant 
>can be given by telephone, fax or email if need be - I don't believe 
>there is any legal requirement for the judge to be in the same room as 
>the petitioner - and if there is, why not just change that rule for 

You seem to be wanting a special "telecoms court" to deal with these 
things both quickly and by remote participation. The volume of enquiries 
(which are overwhelmingly reverse-DQ) would be challenging to 

>If the police are able to persuade the telco that it is an emergency, 
>then there is an exception in the DPA for that

There's no DPA 1998 exemption for "life at risk/preventing injury", 
whereas DPA 1984 had 34(8). It was also initially overlooked in RIPA (I 
think it was amended fairly recently), because the police were only able 
to get information if investigating a crime, and being in danger isn't a 
Roland Perry

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