Does CCDP maintain or extend snooping powers?

Information Age reports:

The Home Secretary told MPs today that the Communications Capability Development Programme simply maintains the status quo in the face of technological progress

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee today to answer questions on the government’s proposed changes to legislation to allow enforcement agencies track and monitor electronic communciations.

May reiterated that the changes, known as the Communications Capabilities Development Programme, would not allow agencies to access any more of the content of communications than current rules. Currently, law enforcement agencies can only access data such as when telephone calls were made, or who emails were sent to.

Instead, May said, it simply adds to the number of communications channels they can monitor to include social networks and Internet telephony services. She framed this as maintaining the current level of surveillance in the face to technological progress.

“The proposal that we have is very simple,” she told MPs. “It is to ensure that we can maintain the capability that has been in existence for a number of years for the law enforcement agencies to access certain data about communications which enables them to catch criminals and terrorists and others.

Video of Mrs May’s appearance is available via the Parliament TV web site (starts at 13:47:15 – note that the stream can take 1-2 minutes to start).

Government revives plan for greater data-sharing between agencies

Alan Travis writes in The Guardian:

Ministers are planning a shakeup of the law on the use of confidential personal data to make it far easier for government and public-sector organisations to share confidential information supplied by the public.

Proposals to be published next month by the Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, are expected to include fast-track procedures for ministers to license the sharing of data in areas where it is currently prohibited, subject to privacy safeguards.

The development will raise fears among civil liberty and privacy campaigners that sensitive personal information supplied by citizens to a doctor, social worker or police officer for one purpose could be used arbitrarily, without the consent or knowledge of the citizen, by another agency of the state for a different purpose.

The proposals are similar to “database state” legislation abandoned by the last Labour government in 2009 in the face of fierce opposition. That legislation was intended to reverse the basic data protection principle that sensitive personal information provided to one government agency should not normally be provided to another agency for a different purpose without explicit consent.