Some things never change at the Home Office

The Coalition Agreement promised to “end the storage of internet and email records without good reason”. A simple and straightforward commitment that we wholeheartedly welcomed as a major step to protecting privacy online and reversing Labour’s planned ‘Intercept Modernisation Programme.’

However, buried in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Government said it plans to introduce “a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications.”

Step forward the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP), which will be proposed in new legislation in the coming months, as highlighted in today’s Telegraph.

In theory, the two objectives are not contradictory – we have no problem with the security services having the capability to monitor someone they believe to pose a risk to the public. The question is that the capability is used after a suspect is identified.

Britain is already one of the most spied on countries off-line and this is a shameful attempt to watch everything we do online in the same way. The vast quantities of data that would be collected would arguably make it harder for the security services to find threats before a crime is committed, and involve a wholesale invasion of all our privacy online that is hugely disproportionate and wholly unnecessary.

The data would be a honey pot for hackers and foreign governments, not to mention at huge risk of abuse by those responsible for maintaining the databases.It would be the end of privacy online.

The Home Secretary may have changed but it seems the Home Office’s desire to spy on every citizen’s web use and phone calls remains the same as it was under Labour. At a time when the internet is empowering people across the world to embrace democracy, it is shameful for one of the world’s oldest democracies to be pursuing the kind same kind of monitoring that has a stranglehold on civil society in China and Iran.

Perhaps when Chinese state media praised Britain’s ‘new attitude’ towards the internet, this is what they meant.


  1. barry laughton
    19th February 2012

    The controlling desires of the security services, certainly have a good PR department as far as the government is concerned. Of course the more the security services fail, the more powers are required for success. For total control, all the security commissars have to do is fail.

  2. Anonymous
    20th February 2012

    It’s called continuity of agenda. The agenda is the EU’s and the Conservative top brass are EUphiles.

    Either they didn’t know about this agenda before the GE – in which case they’re incompetent – or they did know about it and misled the public. Either way, can you trust them?

    I would suggest that with every email, we all elect to include keywords that might ‘interest’ the Home Office and ‘security’ services, such as those below. Overload their spying system and get others in other countries to do the same.


    Riot, revolution, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Anonymous, Sharia, Islam, Muslim, suicide bombers,
    infidel, jihad, Allah, bomb, kill, assassinate, president, Brown, Smith, Harman, Hoon, Osama, Obama, Sarkozy, Merkel, government, target, location, rocket, grenade, al-Qaeda, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, UK, America, guns, jets, bombs, machine-gun, terrorists, MPs, common
    purpose, pigs, troughs, nuclear, Korea, racism, anarchy, socialism, nihilism, communism, fundamentalism, fascism, rebellion, lickspittle arsewipes, Shami Chakrabati, freedom, immigration, radical extremism, Geert Wilders, Michael Savage, Lockerbie, Megrahi, Gaddafi, libertarian, freedom, liberty, tyranny, totataliamos, stalin, lenin, fabian, communist, fascist, Pol Pot

  3. Guest
    20th February 2012

    well labour may have backed down but since August, which I thought had an element of agent provocatuer,
    the coation now have the chance to return to the original policy as by
    not the shit storm about the claimed causes and alleged involvement of social media has created the atmosphere and some clamour for action – problem reaction solution – need I say more

  4. Rwolf
    21st February 2012


    Canada, Britain & U.S.
    Government want to Spy On Its Citizens’/ Electronic Communications?


    The Canadian (Commons recent Bill
    C-30) would—give any Canadian police officer without a warrant—the power to
    request Internet service providers turn over customer information (see section
    17 of C-30) cause the same loss of electronic privacy and civil liberties that
    British Government recently proposed—to spy on Brits’ electronic
    communications. Is it coincidence the British and Canadian proposals appear to
    mirror legislation U.S. Government said it wanted passed in 2011 to spy on U.S.

    Overlooked by mainstream media is that Britain and Canada signed with the U.S
    Government an array of (Asset Forfeiture Sharing Agreements) to share with
    Canadian and British Police/Governments assets seized from Brits, Canadians and
    Americans that resulted from e.g, evidence or information gleaned from
    electronic surveillance of Citizens’ communications, e.g., emails, faxes,
    Internet actively, phone records including GPS tracking.

    Compare with U.S. Government’s proposal to electronically monitor, spy on
    Americans without a warrant—with Canada’s recent eavesdropping (Bill C-30) and
    British Government’s plan to spy on its Citizens’ electronic communications.

    U.S. Government wants the power to (introduce as evidence) in criminal
    prosecutions and government civil trials, any phone call record, email or
    Internet activity. That would open the door for Police to take out of context
    any innocent—hastily written email, fax or phone call record to allege a crime
    or violation was committed to cause a person’s arrest, fines and or civil asset
    forfeiture of their property. There are more than 350 laws and violations that
    can subject property to government asset forfeiture. Government civil asset
    forfeiture requires only a civil preponderance of evidence for police to
    forfeit property, little more than hearsay.

    If the U.S. Justice Department has its way, any information the FBI derives
    from circumventing the Fourth Amendment, i.e. (no warrant searches) of Web
    Server Records; a Citizen’s Internet Activity, personal emails; fax / phone
    calls may be used by the FBI for (fishing expeditions) to issue subpoenas in
    hopes of finding evidence or to prosecute Citizens for any alleged crime or
    violation. Consider that neither Congress nor the courts—determined what Bush
    II NSA electronic surveillance, perhaps illegal could be used by police or
    introduced into court by government to prosecute Americans criminally or
    civilly. If U.S. Justice Department is permitted (No-Warrant) surveillance of
    all electronic communications, it is problematic state and local law
    enforcement agencies and private government contractors will want access to
    prior Bush II NSA and other government illegally obtained electronic records
    not limited to—Americans’ Internet activity; private emails, faxes and phone
    calls to secure evidence to arrest Americans, assess fines and or civilly
    forfeit their homes, businesses and other assets under Title 18USC and other
    laws. Of obvious concern, what happens to fair justice in America if police
    become dependent on “Asset Forfeiture” to help pay their salaries and budget
    operating costs?

    The “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” (effectively eliminated) the
    “five year statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture: the
    statute now runs five years (from the date) police allege they “learned” an
    asset became subject to forfeiture. It is foreseeable should (no warrant)
    government electronic surveillance be approved; police will relentlessly sift
    through business and Citizen’s (government retained Internet data), emails and
    phone communications to discover possible crimes or civil violations. A corrupt
    despot U.S. Government can too easily use no-warrant—(seized emails, Internet
    data and phone call information) to blackmail Americans, corporations and
    others in the same manner Hitler utilized his police state passed laws to
    extort support for the Nazi fascist government, including getting parliament to
    pass Hitler’s 1933 Discriminatory Decrees that suspended the Constitutional
    Freedoms of German Citizens. A Nazi Government threat of “Property Seizure”
    Asset Forfeiture of an individual or corporation’s assets was usually
    sufficient to ensure Nazi support.


    Under U.S. federal
    civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime
    for government to forfeit their property. Most U.S. Citizens, property and
    business owners that defend their assets against Government Civil Asset
    Forfeiture claim an “innocent owner defense.” This defense can become a
    criminal prosecution trap for both guilty and innocent property owners. Any
    fresh denial of guilt made to government when questioned about committing a
    crime “even when you did not do the crime” may (involuntarily waive) a
    defendant’s right to assert in their defense—the “Criminal Statute of
    Limitations” past for prosecution; any fresh denial of guilt even 30 years
    after a crime was committed may allow Government prosecutors to use old and new
    evidence, including information discovered during a Civil Asset Forfeiture
    Proceeding to launch a criminal prosecution. For that reason many innocent
    Americans, property and business owners are reluctant to defend their property
    and businesses against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture.

    Re: waiving Criminal Statute of Limitations: see USC18, Sec.1001, James Brogan
    V. United States. N0.96-1579. U.S. See paragraph (6) at:

    • Anonymous
      21st February 2012

      How does this differ from the USUSA agreement that has been in place for years, decades even.

  5. Anonymous
    21st February 2012

    And the brainwashed sheeple will intone “If you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear” 
    Muppets there is everything to fear from a control freak government with out of control security services.

  6. cerne
    21st February 2012

    Enough is enough.Its time to put and end to the surveillence mentality in this country.Sounds more like fascisim to me Mr CLEGG.