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Is your MP on the naughty list?

outoftownSeveral MPs have contacted us to ask why the Communications Data Bill is such a big deal – so how helpful that this week the perfect example came along!

The Government claims the bill is necessary to address three data types: Reconcile IP addresses, capture weblogs and to deal with third party data.

In practice, what would this mean? Well, the first data type is required to give the police “the ability to reconcile an Internet Protocol (IP) address to an individual”ITteam

So, where you have a mobile phone operator that shares a small number of IP addresses, it has to allocate these to its customers as they are needed. In a few minutes, the same IP could be used by several customers so you need to try log which customer is using an address when.

Alternatively, if you were in a big office block, you might all share an internal network. One IP to the outside world, but lots of people using it. So you need to store more data to help identify the individuals.

So, why might our MPs take issue with this?

Well, this week it was revealed Parliamentarians have been visiting an ‘adulterous affairs’ website more times in a single month than the official websites for the Treasury, Ministry of Justice and Department for Education. That’s 52,000 hits in seven months for ‘Out of Town Affairs’.

Now, currently we don’t know who in Parliament was using it. Had the Draft Communications Data Bill become law, then the ISP that serves Parliament would not only have known this, but they would have been legally obliged to store it for 12 months. This also highlights the absurdity of saying that the full URL is content (for example, http://my.outoftownaffairs.co.uk/login/?r=1&) but that http://my.outoftownaffairs.co.uk/ is communications data – it’s still pretty obvious what you’ve been doing!

In the evidence presented to the draft Communications Data Bill Committee several individuals warned about the risk of a ‘honey pot’ effect, when data is collected into any sort of database and creates an incentive for people to try and attack that data. Lord Strasburger noted that this data would be a “honey pot for casual hackers, blackmailers, criminals large and small, all over the world, and foreign states.”

This story which has raised a giggle or two certainly highlights an important issue when it comes to Communications Data. The prospect of having all of our web usage stored in a single database enabling it to be filtered and examined at a later date would seem unnerving to the best of us, never mind those tempted by an extra marital affairs.

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Home

9 Responses to Is your MP on the naughty list?

  1. John

    What a great way of bringing home to MP’s that they too are users of electronic communications and perhaps have more to lose than most from misuse of personal information.

  2. Lynn

    Good point! But I was assuming that MPs, judges, chiefs of police etc would be exempt and not tracked! How are they going to know who is using the computer for shared routers anyway?

    • anon

      If we, the public, are going to be subjected to this horrendous invasion into our privacy then MPs and others within government, public services and so on MUST also be subjected to the same. MPs and others should not be able to weedle their way out of something that involves giving up their privacy if the people they represent or govern or police cannot get out of it. This government is hell bent on damaging the whole issue of privacy which impacts on our day to day lives, our dignity (or lack of it) and our rights generally.

  3. Sam Duncan

    “The ability to reconcile an Internet Protocol (IP) address to an individual”.

    Seriously? An individual? Do they know what they’re saying?

  4. Say No To Mass Surveillance

    Guys Sign this please

    epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32400

    They’ve moved the goalposts so we need 100.000 sigs now, it closes in April and we only have 12.036 so far!

    Spread it everywhere where people will see it, we need to hit this milestone so they will kick this bill to the curb.

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  7. Alastair McGowan

    Not only would the media be interested in the results of such hacking of MPs behaviour but on a more sinister note a government might feel tempted to seek to access the databases in order to subtly nobble its opposition, a few leaks here and a few there from year to year might be all that is needed to tip the scales and subvert democracy. History tells us to be very careful when allowing power access to truths.

  8. parinaz

    I have been followed and my every move watched for the past seversl years I have ni idea what it is I have done, recently I have had my mail opened and I have complained to the Royal Mail. The man who is doing it has connection to the scurity services but I am not sure if he is doing it with the authority of the organisation he is involved with.

    I have been to the police several times they refuse to help me amd insist that they are there to deal with crimes and unless he grabbs me in the street or attacks me they can not look up his records.I have contacted my MSP but he even refused to see me, please tell me what to do?

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