Form an orderly queue for snooping data

ITteamToday’s Daily Telegraph reports on the ‘rush’ from public bodies to gain access to the data collected under the Home Office’s Communications Data Bill.

According to information uncovered by Big Brother Watch, “Council staff, health and safety inspectors and even Royal Mail want to harness the Government’s proposed “Snoopers’ Charter” to monitor private emails, telephone records and internet use.”

As soon as the details of what websites we look at and who we communicate with online is stored, it’s a honey pot of information that every bureaucrat, hacker and rogue government is going to try and gain access to.

This is exactly what happened under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. The public are told the powers are essential for catching terrorists and then they find out the Health and Safety Executive have them. The fact that these organisations have been invited to make a business case for access suggests that the Home Office is more concerned about the cost than the massive privacy implications this plan entails.

This creep is an inevitable consequence of introducing a surveillance law that would pay private companies to monitor how their each and every one of their customers use the internet and who they talk to. We can only hope that as the true scale of what is being proposed becomes public knowledge people will make clear that it is not a law a civil society should be considering.”

Yesterday we outlined 15 reasons why the legislation was the wrong approach, while the Spectator highlighted the growing unease in Parliament about the plans.

As Dominic Raab MP told the Telegraph, ‘This scheme is Orwellian. Intrusive surveillance powers should be limited to pursuing terrorists, paedophiles and villains – not enabling jobsworth inspectors at the Health and Safety Executive or council busybodies from snooping into the private lives of ordinary citizens.”


The full list from our Freedom of Information Act request is:

“Public authorities were not expressly invited to apply for access to communications data. The names of those groups of public authorities who have provided further information about their requirement for ongoing access to communications data are listed below:

1. Ambulance Services
2. Department for Business, Skills and Innovation
3. Charity Commission
4. Civil Nuclear Constabulary
5. Criminal Cases Review Commission
6. Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
7. Department of Agriculture & Rural Development in Northern Ireland
8. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
9. Department Of Enterprise, Trade And Investment For Northern Ireland
10. Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland
11. Department of Health – Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
12. Department for Transport – Accident Investigation Branches and Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
13. Department for Work and Pensions (including in relation to functions formerly the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission)
14. Environment Agency
15. Financial Services Authority
16. Fire & Rescue Services
17. Food Standards Agency
18. Gambling Commission
19. Gangmasters Licensing Authority
20. Health and Safety Executive
21. Independent Police Complaints Commission
22. Information Commissioner
23. Local Authorities
24. Maritime and Coastguard Agency
25. Ministry of Justice (NOMS and Contracted Out Prisons)
26. NHS Services
27. NI Office (Prison Service)
28. The Office of Communications (Ofcom)
29. Office of Fair Trading
30. Pensions Regulator
31. Ports Police – including Dover and Liverpool
32. Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI)
33. Royal Mail
34. Serious Fraud Office
35. Scottish Environment Protection Agency
36. UK Border Agency – including Border Force