Speaking in the House of Commons today, the Home Secretary said:
“Ceop … received intelligence of unique internet addresses from the UK who had accessed child abuse material,”
“Because some of that communications data was not available, nine out of 41 members of an international paedophile ring could not be traced.”
So. They had unique addresss of the UK members. The police could have secured a warrant, siezed the computers of the people identified and recover the data on their PCs and analyse it.
Alternatively, the Home Secretary could sign a warrant and they could put every one of the known people under surveillance, monitoring their internet use and watching who they communicate with.
If this was not possible, because of technical measures put in place by the paedophiles, then I struggle to see how the Communications data plans would solve the issue. Equally, as soon as ISPs are told to log extra data those seeking to use the internet for wrongdoing will take the relatively trivial steps to conceal their activity.
It is wholly wrong to say the only way of bringing these people to justice is to rely on monitoring what every internet user does.
This is exactly the same kind of scaremongering that we saw around 90 day detention, ID Cards and countless other ‘national security’ policies that were rightly rejected as being an unneccesary intrusion on privacy and ones which would make little difference to public safety. The Communications Capabilities Development Programme is such a policy.
Update: The Daily Telegraph also reports on this example, which turns out to be five years old and may have been solved today without any additional data,