back to article Home Office accused of sexing-up mobile phone rescue

The Home Office is once again under attack for the standard of the evidence it uses to support its policies, this time over plans to harvest much more communications data. When the government published a summary of responses to its consultation on the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) a week ago, it included a series of …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

Policy-based evidence making

They want something, so stories are either adapted to fit the requirements or are quietly ignored. Typical behaviour of several government departments. Just think of all those people desperately trying to get an ID card.

0
0
Bronze badge
Grenade

Facts

What are they?

Never needed them before in politics...

0
0
Stop

45mins from Weapons of Mass Destruction

Who remembers this little gambit.

Well this story is true from a certain point of view. Remember everything can be true depending on what you want to achieve.

If you don't vote you can't complain. So VOTE

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

"The use of telephone communications data was essential to finding this man"

Unfortunately the Home Office couldn't find its own arse with both hands and an atlas...

0
0

But but but

1) They rescued him without this legislation

2) He should have had a phone with GPS / compass* if he wanted to randomly walk around unknown routes in bad weather.

*Yes, an actual compass and map would do as well.

What's the point acting surprised that politicians will twist things and make things up so they can do what they want?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

How can you tell when a politician is lying?

His/her lips move (or electronic equivalent).

0
0
Paris Hilton

In the news today

Home Office makes up evidence to justify its policies

Bear craps in wood

Pope outed as Catholic

Official: Sky is blue and water is wet

Paris, not as predictable as the home office!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

blah blah blah

Can people stop commenting about the pope's Catholicism and bears crapping in the woods on almost every article? Being obvious/predictable/typical in one person's view doesn't mean news shouldn't be reported.

0
0

Cell phone data

Just because the cell triangulation wasn't used in this particular case doesn't mean it isn't useful. I've been involved in three rescues this year in which cell-phone triangulation was either the main factor involved in finding a person or greatly reduced the search area/time. I, too, live on an Island and, whilst it's common not to have the required three cells for an accurate location (due to, pretty much always, being near the coast) two towers will give you a pretty good idea where someone is - combined with local knowledge.

Of course, none of that requires the recording of data. In both the case presented here and the ones I have been involved in, the data was taken from the moment a request was made (along with a fecking huge charge from the telecom provider - batards!) . Historical data was not required. Actually, in one case it would have been very useful but we got lucky and managed without.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Case Study 2

A man is in a shopping mall, and snaps a photo of what could be a view up the skirt of a woman. She complains to mall security. The man has left the mall. The police are called, the man was on the phone at precisely 10:40am according to mall CCTV.

The police dig into their big database to locate who the man was and where he is now. They send a few cars around to go lock him up and confiscate his phone. While they're at it, they raid his house and seize his computer. They also know this from the location logs of his phone.

The phone does not have a picture on it, but perhaps he has deleted it, so they seize it and send it to forensics for checking. A sort of blurry photo of some legs is found, and he receives a caution which he accepts.

He is then put on the sex offenders register as a threat to society and he is banned from working with small children.

There, now that shows how important it is to log everyone all the time.

---------

Case Study 3

A woman claims expenses for a 'second home' the employer thinks she is fiddling and calls the police, who track her telephone logs and determine that her home is really up in Reddich where she claims is her 'second' home.

The police arrest her for fraudulantly claiming expenses, and seize her computer, well you never know, perhaps there's a bomb making plan on it, or something.

Another success for mass surveillance!

----

Case Study 4

Mrs Miggings, one of the new 'amateur police helpers' see some bottles in the bins of Mrs Mumtaz and suspects a terrorist bomb. She reports it to the MET, who grab all the internet and phone traffic for that house.

It appears the woman has been looking at a website which is written in some foreign squiggle writing! Must be Jihadist material!

So they raid her house and seize her computer, and phones, and the Home Secretary puts her on a control order, so she can't work, have a bank account, or live without his permission.

Another success for mass surveillance!

----

Case Study 5

A German man comes as a tourist to the UK, carrying 15000 euros spending money. The money blows away and his receipt showing he withdrew it from a bank in Germany. The police immediately suspect he is a German drug lord smuggling money in from far off scary foreign land.

They grab his phone, and track who he's called in Britain. RIPA raids follow, and lots of computers are seized. This is still pending, but thank god we have the police to protect us from the scary monsters under our bed!

0
0
Silver badge

Also...

This example is no justification for logging and retaining the information.

It's only a justification for using it real time as it occurs, and with the callers permission.

For many years this has happened with mobile calls to the emergency services. Last time I rang 999 from my mobile I spoke initially to an emergency operator on the mobile network, then I heard them hand me over to the "real" emergency operator and give my number and approximate position before dropping out of the call and connecting me through. So that when I said the name of the road I was reporting the incident in, the operator didn't need to know the postcode or town name (which if you were a bit lost in strange parts you may not actually know reliably) as they were already on the correct page of the map thanks to the location info the mobile operator had passed over.

I thought it was rather cool use of technology at the time and didn't feel at all intruded upon or spied on. Although why they couldn't send that information in digital data form instead of spoken words is a little more concern to those of us familiar with Heath Robinson!

I'm sure that any day now the "think about the children" line will be thrown in, saying that missing children could be traced by this system (because everyone is a paedo, rapist or murdered these days don't-you-know). Which of course will be instantly defeated by the villain in question when he checks his victim for a mobile phone (which I'm sure they would do anyway) and throws it out of the car window.

How about we set up a test study group... Like say all the MPs. Then we will study the movement log information and decide if it is of any use... Who knows, it might detect fraud, dubious meetings, or where they go instead of attending parliament and representing the views of the people. That is their job isn't it?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@ irish donkey

Who you gonna vote for?

Take up Arms! If you don't revolt you can't complain!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Nothing new...

Home Office data is a bit like the Nigerian Scam. However dishonest the perpetrators, it's hard to feel the slightest sympathy for those who allow themselves to be misled. Much of the time, the public propensity to accept dodgy figures at face value almost certainly encourages the cause.

Perhaps it's just the case that our politicians and gutter media know the Great British Public only too well?

0
0
Big Brother

NEVER, EVER let a good story get in the way of the truth...

Isn't that Mr. Murdoch's high-line on his papers' mastheads?

Oh, it's the HO's.......

0
2
Badgers

people..

What's the point being lost in the mist with a mobile phone if they can't serve you up with targetted ads? Cold, lonely.. why not try singles.com where single people are waiting to chat to you right now. No? Well, how about being cheered up with an unskippable advert for your favourite tipple, the duck and the fox one never fails to amuse. What's that you say, something for the dog? We have just the thing.. animal porn!

THAT is why we need IMP. First to figure out if you should be saved (reference various terror cell databases, check all your taxes are paid, read some dissident newsletter mailing lists), then to figure out what you'd like to see whilst you're in the process of being saved.. and finally.. salvation! Note your saviours reserve the right to sell your story to the highest paying advertiser for future advertising campaigns.

Just think..next time you need saving, you could see yourself in an advert! Wouldn't that be nice!

0
0

@john 186

Great British Public - X factor - nuff said !

0
0
WTF?

Lol

Why the anonymous suit in the picture, guise?

You love us still, right?

0
0
FAIL

I require MOD clearance to do my job...

and I won't be applying for one of these. I don't need to give my biometric data to pass as cleared in the MoD's eyes, so why do I need to give it to the big brother?

AC in case they find me. Oh sh

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Case Study 6, another Tony Blair victory for freedom!

The police cross reference the ANPR cameras to the phone logs to locate people who may be using their phones while driving.

The first test case fails, the driver may not be the person in the car using the phone, so the police demand full recording logs including voice, and Home Secretary Alan Stampy Johnson, says no, but does 'yes'. Also removes the need to show the car was in motion at the time, and not parked on a drive, gives the right of person to appeal if they can prove their car was parked at the time.

Nobody appeals, nobody can prove they were parked, Alan announces this as a success for modern policing!

Another success for mass NuLabour surveillance!

-------

Case Study 7

Local Authority wants to see who is claiming to be living in the catchment area of the school while spending most time away. Uses their new search/seizure/ripa power to get the phone logs for the phones quoted on the school application paper.

When asked to justify the expense, it claims that people are committing 'fraud' to get into the school and so must be fined to pay for the costs of the Local Authorities fishing expeditions.

Another success for New Labour and their New Thinking!

-------

It was Tony Blair that demanded the EU do this, after using the phone to track a terrorist suspect to Italy. It turned out he had already prepared the case for it, and had waiting for an incident that he could use to drive it through. He also didn't need it, they had LOCATED the person, where the person was in the past wouldn't have helped!

The EU gave him his law, and so he could then bypass Parliament with this measure. He could have implemented this with a UK law, but he didn't think he could get it past Parliament.

Another victory for Tony Blair, manipulative deceptive dishonest Tony. The man who should be EU President so he can spread freedoms like this right across Europe!

0
0
Flame

Dearth of Credible Cases?

Is this mobile phone nonsense evidence of a dearth of credible cases? Or are the Home Office just laughing at us?

If there's a real need for this IMP stuff and the like, surely there's already plenty of cases that genuinely show a real need for what the Home Office wants. And yet, instead, we've got nonsense like a rescue that isn't even relevant.

It's like with retaining innocent people's DNA profiles. Mark Dixie keeps getting given as an example, even though there was no need to retain his DNA profile in order to identify him as a suspect in an existing, unsolved murder case. It's a nonexample of the usefulness of retaining innocent people's DNA profiles, but significant for being used in place of real, credible examples. It's as if the real credible examples don't exist.

Just what are the Home Office trying to tell us by using nonexamples where proper examples would be expected? Are they actually lacking the real, genuine cases they need? Or are they taking the flipping mickey out of us all, laughing at us for swallowing their lies of irrelevance?

I'd like to nominate Mark Dixie as the patron sinner of irrelevant nonexamples.

0
0
Unhappy

Not fit for purpose.....

... the home office that is. They haven't been for at least the last 15 years.

Splitting into Justice/Home offices has merely allowed them to pass the buck. UK citizens still see abysmal service/standards.

Totally unfit for purpose.

0
0
Silver badge

Of course it's essential.

Without it Labour cannot monitor you 24/7.

Why do Labour want to monitor you?

To keep you safe from those who would speak out/act against Labour...err...this great nation.

Ergo the infomation is required.

What do you have to hide, citizen?

0
0
Thumb Down

even if

what the home office says is true, it's quite an expensive way of rescuing one man and a dog from Barvas. The money would be better spent keeping stockbrokers in new BMWs

0
0
Gold badge
FAIL

Not justified

[QUOTE] Just because the cell triangulation wasn't used in this particular case doesn't mean it isn't useful. I've been involved in three rescues this year in which cell-phone triangulation was either the main factor involved in finding a person or greatly reduced the search area/time.[/QUOTE]

The cell cos should have support for triangulation and AGPS when possible for emergency calls -- which, it seems, they already do, since you indeed got the location info to use in these rescues. In the US this data comes through to the emergency services dispatchers as soon as you dial 911 (give or take a few seconds...), and I assume in UK as soon as you dial 999. This is entirely different from being able to tap calls, record calls, locations, etc., throw them into a huge database for "The Man" to dig through at their leisure, which seems to be what the Home Office wants. Having data for rescues doesn't justify any new legislation, since it already is available for use in rescues.

0
0
Thumb Down

Yes...

...we expect this sort of thing from politicians, but we can vote them out.

The real problem is that the same civil servants inhabit the Home Office no matter how the electorate votes. And then ... by a strange process yet to be fully exposed ... the elected politicians mysteriously come to adopt the policies that the Home Office espouses.

Our democracy is really rather broken, isn't it?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Actually...

...isn't the flaw in their argument much, much simpler than all that?

How is having my mobile phone log for the last 5 years going to help if I wander up Snowdon and get stranded? Is knowing I was in Bournemouth last week really going to help the mountain rescue locate me?

0
0
Silver badge

@Actually..

Simple - even if you forget your phone then the all seeing/all knowing benevolent leader will know that while in Bournemouth you purchased a guide to Snowdon and by analysing your recent purchases at Tesco they will know that with the number of pies you eat you will probably be stranded.

Admittedly they will then go and tazer a sheep - but the theory is sound.

0
0

@ AC 16 November 2009 19:18GMT

"And then ... by a strange process yet to be fully exposed ... the elected politicians mysteriously come to adopt the policies that the Home Office espouses."

Of course it's been fully exposed - there were fantastic documentaries about the process decades ago... what were they called again...?

Ah, of course.

It was Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.

Excellent fact finding documentaries they were.

0
0
Megaphone

Its time for a new political process....

this one doesn't work any more.

0
0

More lies..

So, the home office being able to capture and store this information is helpful. How?

Storage of the info is irrelevant. The emergency services wouldn't have needed to know where he was last week, they needed to know where he was when the call was made. Which, as noted earlier, would have been provided by the operator anyway.

Also, knowing which cell he is in probably wouldn't help much. Cells can cover tens of miles in rural districts. So, knowing which Cell he was in wouldn't actually be that much more helpful than he was.

Not sure if they can do some sort of A GPS thing and log his position relative to several cells (assuming he is in range of several cells).

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums