back to article ISPs slam CEOP bid to rewrite RIPA

ISPs have hit back after the boss of the UK's online child exploitation police branded the costs of accessing data on their subscribers "ridiculous". Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, said yesterday that ISPs should waive the costs of assisting investigations when children …

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So presumably...

...the police will also complain that Shell and BP charge them for fuel. How dare they charge for fuel? It should be their duty and pleasure to assist in the fight against crime.

Back in the real world, there needs to be a cost involved in retreiving ISP records, to prevent the police going on fishing expeditions just for the hell of it. They should have enough suspicion to justify a significant cost of investigating. Otherwise they'll just ask for everyone's data.

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Quite right ...

... that ISPs can charge for the service. There is a cost associated with all law-enforcement, and the police don't get other forensic services services for free - it costs money to provide the service. If officers had to retrieve the data themselves there would be a direct cost to the police, even if just for the time used. Why should ISPs (and therefore their customers) be expected to pay for a service normally provided in all other respects by the state? It's a bit like Ford drivers being expected to pay for the cost of investigating crimes by other Ford drivers - well, no, all drivers (or at least all taxpayers) do.

On the other hand, there probably should be an agreed cost structure that applies to all ISPs so they all charge the same for the same service.

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Anonymous Coward

yeah

Yeah they agreed, but only to get the legislation through the door, now it's in they shall remove the pesky requirment.

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Well....

if the Police charge football clubs (and many other events) to police matches and areas around the ground (i.e get paid for doing their job) ,seems only fair that ISP's charge the Police...

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Anonymous Coward

Just over 3%

So all those requests for information and then a few arrests. So either they've done a lot of multiple requests for one single arrest or they are doing a lot of investigation that never gets anywhere. I suspect its more likely the second reason and so you have to ask yourself why are they making so many requests and then not following through? Are they chasing something that is much smaller than they claim?

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Won't somebody think of the children!!!!!!

Why on earth should the police have to pay for the requests they make to ISP's when they are trying to protect children!!!

What are the ISP's thinking?? That if it is free the police will start making spurious requests left right and centre to check on anybody and everybody.

We know that they will only check on people that are really suspected of harbouring sick images, and they won't go after your average Joe Bloggs who may have received that Simpsons e-mail a while back and not managed to remove it from thier hard drive well enough to prevent it coming back when some phorensic recovery techniques are used on it (then again maybe they should lock up those sickos as well).

They should suck it up and charge us consumers even more money to make the world a safe place for children if more money is needed, I know nobody but dirty paedo's would object to that!!!

I for one welcome our new internet log file overloards who will stamp out every perversion known to man and lock up anybody suspected of doing anything even slightly wrong, at last the world will be a safe place for children everywhere!!

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Anonymous Coward

Half a million child pervies

Half a million requests for comms info were made last year. The only check on the growth is the cost.

When you gave the rozzers the anti-terror law to bypass the restrictions, we all became terrorists, even MPs, even foreign countries like Iceland.

If you give them a free request for comms data, the number of requests will skyrocket and we'll all be classed as kiddie diddlers because those requests are free.

It's all very Bush/Cheney thinking .

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Agree with the above (aside from Mark).

It does cost ISPs money and time to process the requests from the Police, so it would be totally unfair for the service to be free.

If there were no costs to the Police then there is no consequence to them flooding an ISP with requests and eventually they would be out of business.

It's a totally unreasonable request when looked at in any detail.

ttfn

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@teacake

Already asked. http://www.openrightsgroup.org/orgwiki/index.php/Intercept_Modernisation

I think that the forensic scientists should all work for free, too. Let PC Doorstop collect DNA samples from a heavily contaminated scene while maintaining sample integrity. I'm sure he's more than qualified and capable.

Idiots.

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EEJIT!

I'm sorry but this guy is taking out of his arse.

Obvoiusly the ISP needs to be compensated. It takes time to gather the records and provide them to the police, and probably costs the ISP more than that average £18.

And I do not agree there should be a fixed price structure. It will cost some ISPs more to provide the data than others. A small ISP may not have the infrastructure to automate it all, so have to manually pull data from the logs (I dont know this for certain, its just an example of what could push costs up).

Also, the sheer quantity of requests from this unit is stagering, especially considering only 3% the number of people were arrested. Looks more like they are just going straight to the ISP in the first instance in the hopes of finding something, rather than doing their job.

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won't someone think of the children?

I personally think that abuse of children is wrong and reprehensive, and as such I think that PC's should work for free when covering such cases. It is incredible that the UK police would limit the amount of investigations they can perform into cases of child abuse by demanding that the Plods in question get paid.

If they were willing to work for free on all investigations into child abuse then we would finaly get to the bottom of these things, even it if means Pc Plods standing in line to get free soup and a bit of bread.

As per the title, etc.

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Why are kids special?

Surely any crime has an investigation cost associated with it, whether private or public purse?

Oi nob-head, ISPs are running a business not a bloody charity, not a free organisation just for the benefit or feeding porn to the masses. The ISP is a tele-comms business, they make money and they can charge for any damn thing they like, whether you like it or not!

I don't see British Gas giving free energy to hard-pensioners, do you? No! It's "Well, tell you what dear you can have it now, but you make sure you pay us the £1500 back in the summer when you don't need the gas or we might have to send the big men with the sticks round, OK?"

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Alert

On the other hand

I know the team that set up this unit from scratch, they were given software, hardware, utilities etc free by some large multi's, to assist the govt set-up costs....bet they'd have been so over budget otherwise to be another UK IT disaster, so dont blurt on about 170k, they saved over a million in donated services.

I suppose CEOP investigate free of charge to foreign units too eh? dont charge companies for checking people against the lists of known offenders? do councils get their CRB's free?

Wake up CEOP, all information costs, from the roadside check to the primeministers secretary, everyones checks cost money in time and labour, for collection and retireval, you spent more than 100X that on the humiliating failure Op Ore turned into.

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Huh?

The police have to pay for any other "experts" they need to solve a crime, why should ISPs provide it for free?

Heck why do the police pay these officers? How DARE these offices charge for hunting down internet perves!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just over 3%

"So all those requests for information and then a few arrests."

You've misunderstood the figures. The article states "9,400 requests have helped in 297 arrests". I've worked in an ISP and gathered the data for some of these requests. A large amount of the time there is little or no data to send back to police and so obviously this wouldn't have helped in an arrest. This doesn't mean, however, that the subject of the search wasn't arrested due to information/forensics gathered from other sources. It is possible, although unlikely, that all the subjects of these searches were arrested for the crimes being investigated.

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Fair is, as fair......

The correct response from the ISPs here should be: "Of course we'll be delighted to do any work in connection with child abuse cases for free, as soon as everyone else involved does as well."

Then wait and see if Captain Arsehat and his minions at CEOP see the value in getting paid sod-all for doing *their* jobs.

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Boffin

What we really need...

Is a massive database of all electronic communications made by anyone, of any nature, kept forever, that Plod can have free access to...

Oh.

Bugger.

"Welcome to NuLabouria. Papers please Citizen!"

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Stop

Re: Agree with the above (aside from Mark).

"If there were no costs to the Police then there is no consequence to them flooding an ISP with requests and eventually they would be out of business."

More likely the ISP will allocate minimal resources to processing the requests and the in tray will grow bigger and bigger. Eventually the response time will become so long that the data will be obsolete before the police receive it.

Both the DPA and FOIA allow a charge to be levied for requests. Unlike these two acts I don't think RIPA specifies any response time limit.

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@Paul Murphy

The above post by me should taken with a healthy dose of sarcasm, I personally think the guy is a raving loony and probably needs to spend some time in the real world.....

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Re: Just over 3%

"So either they've done a lot of multiple requests for one single arrest or they are doing a lot of investigation that never gets anywhere."

I suggest the former.

IP addresses that change with each DHCP lease, but all one person.

Data relayed through innocent third-parties.

Contact with innocent people.

Those phone calls and emails to Brian who works in a garage could have been about kiddie pictures but they also be about getting the breaks fixed.

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Go

I hereby request...

...that Jim Gamble, and his successors, are bestowed with the honorary El Reg title of "Paedo Finder General".

(like Kevin Warwick ---> Captain Cyborg)

'cos he made about as much sense as requiring people to do their jobs for free.

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shudder

"It should be their duty and pleasure to assist in the fight against crime."

that is another sort of phrase that chills my blood

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Jim Gamble

So Jim is going to work for free to find these predators of our children, then.

And the rest of the police involved.

Yes?

No?

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Black Helicopters

What we really need to know.....

...is, out of the 9,400 requests, how many provided the data that helped in those 297 arrests, and then how many of those arrests resulted in a conviction that was obtained due to the requests made?

At that point you have enough information to determine whether the £170,000 spent was value for money or not, and by analysis can determine which requests are likely to result in useful results and which are not. Then you don't make the type of request that is known to turn up diddly-squat.

But of course that approach won't work with CEOP, because a) they want to know everything anyway and b) they need to keep inflating their budget to seem more important.

I'm in favour of trying to prevent harm to children of this nature, but not in turning over the entire fabric of everyone's existence so the po-lice can examine it all for their own pleasure.

Posting as AC because, well you all know I'm sure.

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Linux

We all pay

Whether by taxes, or higher ISP charges. Personally I would see them pay the ISP's as it makes it more transparent how many requests they are making. Imagine if they got it for free, it would be more Carte Blanche snooping.

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So thats why we dont investigate burglaries...

Hmmm... so given it is the business of the banks to bring in customers (etc, subst other parts of this persons statement), then when plod is called to investigate a crime committed against a bank, or on a banks property, the bank should pay the old bill for it.

Hang on, I've just realised why burglaries are not investigated; we haven't paid for it. Its our busines to live in our house, etc etc, so its only right when a crime is committed on our property, we should pay for it to be investigated.

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How about a fair compromise?

Maybe the ISPs could refund the charge *if* someone ends up being convicted.

I'm sure most wouldn't mind bearing *that* cost, just as the police surely won't mind bearing the cost of all the requests which turn out to have been unnecessary.

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We pay either way but....

I'd rather, as a taxpayer and ISP customer, pay for this through my taxes than via increased ISP costs, give Plod free reign and we could expect the number of requests to rise exponentially, if the accountants make them use their search budget carefully we can reasonably expect the searches to only be used where necessary.

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ACPO in search of another free lunch at Whacky's

It's worth contemplating that under Tory proposals, the cosy luncheon club between ACPO Ltd and the Home Office would shut up shop. The Home Secretary would in the first instance then be dealing not with a self-selecting corporate cadre of policemen, but with democratically elected representatives to whom police in each area would be separately responsible. An elegant political solution to a troubling problem.

It could also explain why the boys in blue are acting out coded messages for the benefit of Tory MPs that involve turning up at their offices in the House of Commons.

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Flame

Easy fix

Give ISP service to those Police in charge of the investigation but give them static IP and special priveldges for that IP address alone So they are behind the firewall with full read access only to account holders and what ever web cache history.

Anything beyond that is pure draconian.

What would you do if the poor bloke under secret investigation had a hard drive failure.

Would you take him to court for destruction of data? Blame third part spyware/malware/trojan makers for that if his pc dies because of that type of infection and let the spyware makers pay for the investigations.

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Anonymous Coward

Few arrests

The reason for such a low number of arrests is probably due to the information recovered from the ISPs being given to other police forces across the UK who then go on to arrest the suspect.

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Anonymous Coward

Bank charges

If my bank can charge me £40 for sending me a automatic letter when I'm temporarily overdrawn then £18 for this seems an absolute bargain.

Another comparison to throw in: how about the recent story about mountain rescue paying for radio bandwidth?

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Free PCs

Why should coppers receive monetary gain investigating these cases 'where children are involved'. They should offer their services for free 'for the children'. Men and women profiting from the investigation of pervo crimes. It's just not on.

But coppers have living expenses!!

Well, so do ISPs. They have operating costs. Different name, but essentially the same thing.

If ISPs didn't charge, then the number of data requests would be so great that the the only cost effective way to manage it would be to give law enforcement agencies\councils\social workers\bin men\grave diggers etc.. full and complete access to the database of all internet activity.

Call me cynical, but this smacks of another 'for the children' emotive way of getting at all te data with popular public support.

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Charity?

I take it everyone working for CEOP is an unpaid volunteer who can requisition anything they need from any business in their pursuit of the evil-doers, then?

No?

But, My God! Why not!? Isn't they thinking of teh childrens!

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Gambles Gamble

Having worked with UK Law Enforcement in a former life at an ISP, the numbers do stack up, investigations rely on multiple items of evidence, so multiple requests leading to a single conviction will be common. If its 3%, fair enough.

Jim is gambling on the assumption that Joe Public (invoking the SUN who are keen to show off the assets of nice young ladies but expect us to PAY:-) will assume charging equates to profit. BS and then some, no UK ISP makes a profit, the free time, good will and equipment given is more than a match for the few quid a month the scum bags hands over.

Sadly, Jim seems more on a mission to promote himself than do a good job (and he is perfectly capable of doing a very good job however big a prat he's just made of himself), and he's in danger of spoiling a very effective partnership between ISP's and the vast bulk of plod who work bloody hard to get the real nasties behind bars and well in harms way.

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Flame

Or to put it another way ...

What Peado Finder General Gamble is saying, essentially, is that it isn't worth £18 of his departmental budget to protect one child from abuse.

What price the safety of a child ? (etc, etc, dear Daily Mail).

Spin it that way and looks a bit different. Bearing in mind that we pay for it either as consumers or taxpayers and the only difference is how it's disbursed.

Ahem, BURN HIM!

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Paris Hilton

£170k since 2006

Another thing to consider is that the costs being bandied around are *since the launch of the Centre*. So when Mr Gamble claims that this would have paid for two full time investigators, he must be surely be mistaken.

CEOP was launched in April 2006, so his figures cover 32 months-ish. Crudely, that equates to £63k per year. If you assume (conservatively) that the fully loaded cost of an employee is about 160% of their salary, then those two investigators would be earning just under £20k a year.

According to http://www.police-information.co.uk/policepay.htm#constable, a newly minted PC just finished training earns £24,039. London weighting is just over £2k.

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Black Helicopters

Tax Email

Emails might be used to transmit details of Child abuse/porn. To fund the police inspection of such email the ISP's should be forced to charge a 2p fee per message.

It has also been noted that digital cameras may be used to take photographs of naked children. The providers of such cameras should provide the manpower free of charge to the police to inspect any potential risky photograph. The cost of this can be easily accommodated by a tiny 25% increase in camera purchase price.

It is also known that Child Molesters sometimes use buses for transport to and from their activities. To assist to police the bus companies should be forced to record and make available to the police details of each passenger trip and the identity of each passenger. "What do you mean they have already done that? Oyster Cards? No way."

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@ teacake

Teacake said: "there needs to be a cost involved in retreiving ISP records, to prevent the police going on fishing expeditions just for the hell of it. They should have enough suspicion to justify a significant cost of investigating. Otherwise they'll just ask for everyone's data"

Absolutely!

Well said.

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Jim Gamble's Salary

I think it needs to be made public exactly how Jim Gamble is earning.

Why is he able to demand payment for his investigative work, but ISP's aren't.

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@ teacake

"Otherwise they'll just ask for everyone's data."

wait ........

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Ga Ga Gamble

Jim Gamble seems to have lost the plot. The ISP's are private organisations who's goal is to make a profit.

If ISP's are to be forced to help "for the good of society" then when are they gunna stop their misleading adverts and start delivering on products? Not soon I'll wager.

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Seems fair...

The Sun is a free newspaper, then?

Because if their business is providing eyeballs for their advertisers, then the advertisers are carrying the whole cost, surely...!

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RW
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@ Dennis

Quite correct!

If the ISP's aren't reimbursed, you can be sure they will deploy minimal resources and take minimal care in handling these requests. Even with reimbursement, it's only via the ISPs' good will that reasonable care is taken today

One would be tempted to wire up a fast printer and divert all logging to that, so when the plods appear, they're handed a pallet full of paper to search through. By hand, using a magnifier to read minuscule 4 pt tpe. What, the toner cartridge failed and it wasn't noticed for three days? Oh, dear, how very, very sad. [Apologies to the Register readership for lapsing into sarcasm.]

At a slightly deeper level, this proposal is simply totalitarian. (As is typical of everything NuLabour proposes.) The concept behind it is "we are the state, you *will* do what we say".

Sounds a little like the old Soviet Union squeezing internal enemies.

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Costs

"The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) entitles ISPs to charge police reasonable costs for data retrieval."

Yes, because I can tell you first-hand (I work at a webhosting company) that data retrieval from backups is a time-consuming process and takes money to do. We charge fees to any customers who want to use our backups, from the basic restore to a regular backup service.

I don't think the ISPs should be turning a profit in this scenario, but paying to cover base expenses seems reasonable, doesn't it?

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Just Jim Rattling The Tin (again)...

Of course, if Mr Gamble and his cohorts felt they actually had a suspect (or, in Mr Gamble's parlance a 'predator' - a word he seems very, very fond of using at every available opportunity) worth pursuing one would imagine, given that CEOP are part of - and very much empowered as - the Police Force, he could just apply for a warrant and do things the usual way. Why on earth are they 'investigating' these things with requests for infomation from ISPs? Surely he and his friends aren't engaging in speculative 'fishing trips'..?

Gamble and Co are looking for their next round of funding about now. CEOP is a public-private concern (Mr Gamble being it's CEO) and whilst it gets very generous public handouts from a wholly uncritical government on behalf of taxpayers who have no say whatsoever, it also relies on private funding. I think last year's annual budget ran to around £5million+. I'm not sure what proportion of that was private industry money (oh yes, Microsoft are very close to Mr Gamble - ever wonder what all those automatic updates do?), but one can safely assume that this is nothing more than Mr Gamble banging the drum, rattling the tin and getting himself some precious air time from those ever-hospitable jobsworths over at the Beeb.

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Flame

More Police hypocracy

Just try to get a copy of a Police accident report after you've been the victim. The Police do everything in their power to stop you exchanging details with the other driver then charge you for providing a copy of their accident report. Last time it happened to me, admittedly several years ago, I had to pay £40.00 for the priviledge of a photocopied report, seems that their time is a lot more valuable then anyone else's. Hypocrites the lot of them.

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Gates Horns

It is very rich......

of Gamble, a member of the Police ,a body most renowned for wasting millions of taxpayers money using American Express cards that Ian Bliar gave them ,who are paid massive wages and pensions ,to say that the ISP's should work for free because children are involved. In that case Gamble you are a HYPROCRITE because you run your car on the backs of abused children, you EAT off the back of abused children , you play golf all day off the backs of abused children, so why Mr Gamble do you now instead work for FREE as well ?. The reason is because you ,like the

rest of your organisation, and all of Labour Govt think you are better than everyone else and more deserving. Sorry Gamble but you are NOT.

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@Just over 3%

Well, now, if they had put in a request for info and the subject had later been arrested they would have listed this in the 297 to make themselves seem effective. It only says 'helped in' not resulted in and as Columbo likes to remind people, it's a process of elimination, a negative response is still helping.

The correct figure is probably less than 1% but then people would get downsized in a recession.

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