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Scrambling for Safety 6

Simon Watkin, Douwe Korff, Simon Davies and Philippe Gerard answer audience questions

The Home Office caused huge controversy last summer when it attempted to allow a long list of public authorities to access records of individuals' telephone and Internet usage. This "communications data" -- phone numbers and e-mail addresses contacted, web sites visited, locations of mobile phones, etc. -- would have been available without any judicial oversight, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Roland Perry

There has also been ongoing argument about government powers to force telephone companies and Internet Service Providers to keep copies of such communications data. Under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, the Home Secretary may require companies to store this data for long periods to allow later access by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

The Home Office is now consulting over both issues before taking further action. "Scrambling for Safety 6" brought together representatives from government, industry and human rights organisations to discuss the issues they raise with interested members of the public. This was the only such meeting during the consultation period, and free to attend. You can now read the slides used at the meeting below. We hope to make audio versions of all of the speeches available shortly. Owen Blacker has also made his notes available.

Richard Clayton, Dan Cooper, Tony Bunyan and Roland Perry answer audience questions


1.45Introduction and background, (Simon Davies, Privacy International)
1.55The current regime of data retention and access (Duncan Campbell)
2.15Presentation of the consultation documents (Simon Watkin, Home Office) [Slides]
2.35EU actions (Philippe Gerard, European Commission) [Slides]
2.55Oversight landscape relating to Human Rights (Prof. Douwe Korff)
4.00Legality of retention (Dan Cooper, Covington & Burling)
4.15Technical and economic feasibility (Roland Perry, London Internet Exchange),
4.30The European landscape (Tony Bunyan, Statewatch)
4.45Purposes of data retention (Richard Clayton, FIPR) [Slides]


The Home Office consultation documents:
Access to communications data
Voluntary retention of communications data

FIPR's Surveillance and security pages.

Privacy International's Wiretap pages.

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