Monthly Archive October 2014

Interception of Communication Data

Police are hacking into hundreds of people’s voicemails, text messages and emails without their knowledge, The Times has discovered.

Civil liberties campaigners reacted with concern to the disclosure that police were snooping on personal messages so often, without any external monitoring and with few safeguards.

Read full article here (subscription needed).

A slightly misleading article using very provocative language such as ‘hacking’ and ‘snooping’ when in actual fact, Police forces are using recognised and authorised procedures to gain the information.

A lot depends on the interpretation of the word ‘intercept’. If taken literally then it will be the interception of the communication when it is being transmitted between persons. To do so in these circumstances would require the higher authority of the Home Secretary.

In any other occasion the communication will be sitting on a server in an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and therefore is not being intercepted. Requests for these communications would therefore fall under that of a production order.

There is no hacking involved at all.

There is also emphasis placed on the fact that it is left to the Judges to decide whether to grant a production order with very little safe guards in place. Why should we be concerned with this when we accept the very same system to obtain search warrants which cover a person’s  home and not just that persons phone?

The system is controlled and open to scrutiny.

Former Head of Northumbria Police High Tech Crime Unit, now Digital Forensic Consultant at SRM, Alan B is a regular contributor to the SRM blog.

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