Friday, 16 November 2012

CCDP questioned in House of Commons.

Cameron is in Mexico at the G20, so Foreign Secretary and former Conservative Party leader William Hague stood in for him for Prime Minister's Questions.

Hague is a superior rhetorician by far to any of the new school (Cameron, Clegg, Balls, etc.), so PMQs was at least moderately entertaining this morning. Towards the end, Labour MP John Cryer brought up the CCDP, which he referred to as the snooper's charter, and asked how it was different from Labour's proposal from 2008, which the Coalition parties had shot down on the grounds of privacy.

Hague's answer was bullshit. He stated that the CCDP is very, very different to the IMP, and the reason he gave was that the IMP would have stored all digital data on a central government database, whereas the CCDP will require ISPs to store all the digital data themselves (which government will be able to access at any time).

As I found out when writing my original post on the CCDP, it is in fact the same programme as the IMP, just with a new name. Both the IMP and CCDP were put forward by a paranoid spook at the Home Office named Charles Farr. Hague could only differentiate the two by referring to the practical issue of data storage, and it turns out he was wrong on that anyway:
In 2008, Labour proposed a central database of communications data. However, in 2009 this proposal was dropped and it was not part of the Government’s consultation on communications data.

Indeed, the Information Commissioner references this in his response to the plans, saying: “The Information Commissioner welcomes the fact that the consultation document rejects the proposal that all of the additional data collected be kept in a single database, held by the Government or a central agency.”

The Coalition’s plans resurrect the plans consulted upon in 2009, while also including provisions for a filtering function that would allow the same functionality of a central database, while leaving private companies responsible for protecting and securing the collected data.

So anyone who says that Labour didn’t propose a system of databases maintained by service providers is either deliberately trying to mislead or has a very short memory.
So before it even became the CCDP, the IMP already had provisions for requiring ISPs to retain all the data themselves, rather than it being stored in one central government database.

Hague went on to refer to CCDP as "a criminal's nightmare" rather than a snooper's charter, Theresa May nodding like one of those dogs you sometimes see in the back of cars. These people have no clue whatsoever about technology - organized criminals are just going to use proxies and VPNs.

More to the point, the CCDP being a criminal's nightmare, and the CCDP being a snooper's charter are not mutually exclusive statements. It could well be both. But even if it does make it easier to catch some criminals, that does not justify snooping on innocent people.

- Mojo

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