back to article UK ministers, not judges, to sign off on Brit spies' surveillance

Under the UK's forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill, warrants required to justify the intelligence services' snooping will continue to be signed by those in government – and not by independent judges – in spite of recommendations by an independent review into Blighty's counter-terrorism legislation. Following from a …

It's

not like this is the first independent review to be ignored.

Perhaps they should have sponsored their own, after all they know best, I prefer my propaganda to come from a previously verified source.

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Big Brother

1 - New report recommending judicial oversight

2 - GCHQ cretins lean on 'soft' Gov ministers to ignore recommendations for fear of Judiciary

3 - Gov ministers play into their hands (nice spending habits you have, shame if it became public)

4 - Report successfully ignored

5 - Immoral dataslurp and snooping continues!

Plus ça Change...

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Big Brother

Plus ça change, but ça Oswald Mosley.

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From the Sun article:

“Who is held to account by the public if a bomb gets through because they refused to sign off a warrant?”

Who is held to account for the widespread abuse we've had to put up with?

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And from that we can deduce that the home secretary signs anything and everything put in front of her, just in case?

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Hmmm....I wonder if I can slip a couple of expenses claims into the stack.....

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Unhappy

"the home secretary signs anything and everything put in front of her, just in case?"

Just like all her predecessors

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Re: "the home secretary signs anything and everything put in front of her, just in case?"

If memory serves Philip Hammond (as foreign secretary) showed a lack of knowledge when it came to what the warrants he was signing actually applied to.

Why would the home secretary be any different?

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Re: "the home secretary signs anything and everything put in front of her, just in case?"

Unless it's investigating one of her partners in crime.

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Come to think of it...

(same quote again)

“Who is held to account by the public if a bomb gets through because they refused to sign off a warrant?”

What happens when warrants *ARE* signed and the bombs still get through?

Remember 7/7? They had some of them under surveillance then too...

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Big Brother

And from that we can deduce that the home secretary signs anything and everything put in front of her, just in case?

I feel a good Hindenburg joke coming up

(It goes like this: Random story with a guy eating sammich .... when the guy in the story finishes it, a secretary will tell him not to leave the lunch paper around because President Hindenburg will probably sign it.)

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"Who is held to account for the widespread abuse we've had to put up with?"

I know its a trendy meme these days to pretend we're all victims of The Man, but just out of interest, exactly what abuse have you personally had to put up with?

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"Remember 7/7? They had some of them under surveillance then too..."

Perhaps you should look up how many plots have been foiled in the last few years in the UK. As the IRA used to say - the bombers only have to get lucky once, the authorities have to get lucky all the time.

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exactly what abuse have you personally had to put up with?

I was referring to the abuse of the systems which in turn could easily end up in the abuse of the individual or group of individuals.

In any case your question is one that can rarely ever be answered - all of these activities are highly secretive normally for good reason, making any investigation by members of the public next to impossible. Just because we don't know it's going on though doesn't make it any less of an abuse.

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Perhaps you should look up how many plots have been foiled in the last few years in the UK

And how many of those were based on half-truths, exaggerations and general twisting of the truth so that it suits them?

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/09/total-bollocks-from-mi5/

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One of the few public examples that affects all of us:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/25/gchq_tracked_web_browsing_habits_karma_police/

Spying on people indiscriminately and probably without legal authorisation. Would that not fall within the definition of an abuse of power?

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Anonymous Coward

GCHQ purposedly kept vulnerabilities in SSL undisclosed for 2 years so that they could use them for spying on our own population during which time data was stolen, systems were hacked, etc. So for a significant number of people and businesses they have suffered losses directly because 'the man' has put snooping above protecting the people of this country.

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> Perhaps you should look up how many plots have been foiled ...

Is there any evidence that the number of plots foiled is more than, say, zero. (And by evidence, I mean actual evidence, not propaganda from those protecting their own budgets.)

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"Is there any evidence that the number of plots foiled is more than, say, zero."

That raises an interesting point. The Govt. and their security minions like to frighten us "'cos terrists" and yet the few times they deign to prove how "good" they are at foiling terrorists, it's always the numpties they parade in front of us, the sort of wannabe terrorists who would most likely have accidentally blown themselves up (if they even managed to make a viable explosive device in the first place)

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You are an MP and I claim my duck pond.

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Anonymous Coward

well following this logic why not just have government ministers deciding on whose guilty and not?

Surely that will clear up loads of things, just send all the unemployed to work camps, the cripples to death camps and the foreigners to internment camps.

Also I suspect judges are far more accountable than the secret services and government... what with the whole law thing...

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Anonymous Coward

You're being silly.

You put the foreigners in the work camp also. No need for internment camps.

There. Fixed it for you.

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Re: following this logic

Worked fine in the USSR and the GDR, should work fine in the UK!

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"the Attorney General's advice was very clear. It would be totally irresponsible of government to allow the legal system to dictate to us on matters as important as terrorism. Not only would they tie things in knots very quickly, but they are not elected and answerable to nobody."

Translation: "We're above the law"

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The legal system is defined by parliament. If anybody is responsible for judges having to interpret laws it's the ELECTED politicians that didn't properly define them in the first place.

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I thought that was the idea behind separation of powers in the first place.

"Not only would they tie things in knots very quickly, but they are not elected and answerable to nobody."

No, they are not elected. But gov.uk disagrees about this anonymous government minister claiming judges are not accountable...

The principles of judicial accountability

It also talks about judges being able to act independently from the ruling party. Maybe that's the problem...

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Separation of powers? Sounds dangerous. We'd better introduce a Reintegration Of Powers Act (ROPA)

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but they are not elected

I wonder how many people would actually vote to have Theresa May as home secretary if they were ever presented with the choice? Or any previous home secretary for that matter...

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True Judges are not elected, but then government ministers are only elected to serve a short term and then they go and sit on the backbenches or right their memoirs or some such. What arrogance to think that by being elected makes them right.

To become a Judge one must have a relevant legal qualification and practiced in law for a least 5 years. Let me see a part-timer with a political agenda vs a legally trained professional - mmm!

Any time a sitting government removes independent judicial review from a legal process involving its citizens should be viewed as suspect.

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FAIL

Offensive eh?

Well, in the rather unlikely event of Plod actually asking the folk they supposedly protect, methinks quite a few folk would find the opinions and statements of Andrew Gould to be f'ing offensive, I know I do.

I mean who does he work for? Ah that explains a lot...

/surprised...

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Once again...

...it's clear that the principle of separation of powers isn't understand by those in power. Funny, that. I think there's a famous aphorism which encapsulates the situation, but I just can't bring the words to mind...

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Re: Once again...

"...it's clear that the principle of separation of powers isn't understand by those in power"

No, quite the contrary, they understand it too well... that's why they'd like to get rid of it...

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It all makes sense now

As part of our deal with China, we'll employ the same sort of snooping set-up with the same level of accountability. I wonder if Theresa May has any outfits with Mandarin collars?

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Re: I wonder if Theresa May has any outfits with Mandarin collars?

Can't really answer that.

But I am pretty sure that she has "a little list"...

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Re: It all makes sense now

Isn't Huawei making it's presence felt in the UK?

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Trollface

Re: It all makes sense now

Mind you, would you say Huawei are more or less competent than BT?

If we're going to have an ex-state owend telecoms provider who's fully in the government's pocket, why not go for the one that occasionally makes decent kit?

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Re: It all makes sense now

"As part of our deal with China, we'll employ the same sort of snooping set-up with the same level of accountability."

You got that arse about face. The Chinese are here to "invest" as cover for payment to us so we can teach them a thing or two about snooping and surveillance. They are jealous as all hell over GCHQs facilities and powers.

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Holmes

What with all the judges resigning over compulsory court fees,

Where would you find one anyway?

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Re: What with all the judges resigning over compulsory court fees,

<pedantic> I believe it's been magistrates that have been resigning, and not judges?

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Re: What with all the judges resigning over compulsory court fees,

I stand corrected, your honour.

Which ones are the notorious alcoholics, again? ;-)

Oh no, wait, that's Lords.

Sorry.

M'lord.

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Big Brother

Someone isn't familiar with the concept of "its not a bug, its a feature"

"If she is having to sign off 10 warrants a day, she can’t possibly do it with the proper scrutiny needed."

Almost like they intended it that way??

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Mandarin collars

I think that our Tressa will be using these collars more and more to hide her neck, because the neck shows true age but faces can be lifted. Alternatively proud of her brass neck so won't bother 'cos good for leadership race.

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Mature debate. OK, you abuse both the legal authority and engage in illegal activities under the McCarthyism of 'ISIS under the matress'. If you can't do your job legally, you are no better than terrorists.

Your reply please Mr. Gould?

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You just can't get quality serving staff, nowadays.

Wow, an undemocratic Parliamentary Party coup to silence and neutralise both the Lords and the masses. Go luck with that folly in search of fool support. More than that though will certainly be needed to halt revolutionary reaction and all manner of attacks, both real and virtual, on dishonourable members and administrators, methinks.

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"[...] but they are not elected and answerable to nobody."

That's right...

They don't need to lie to any electorate to become a judge -- their experience, knowledge and track record matter. Alien concepts to politicians, of course.

They don't answer to public opinion, Daily Mail, mumsnet, or indeed lobbyists.

They don't need to please our so-called political allies, either.

But the actual problem, from gov's point of view, is of course that they cannot easily be controlled; this is *exactly* why we have judges, and with them, the separation of powers.

They say history repeats itself...

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Re: "[...] but they are not elected and answerable to nobody."

Seems like Compassionate Conservatism has morphed into a Feral Federal Fascism, sysconfig, and history tells us all what happens to those in that sort of a lead whenever they cannot hide, and there are no secret places to hide away today, are there.

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Re: "[...] but they are not elected and answerable to nobody."

You know it's bad when amanfromMars1 makes absolute sense.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm nearly speechless at this.

You have judicial oversight because it makes you accountable, it makes the judges accountable because they have to explain their reasons as well, if you want to snoop on someone then you must have a reason and the judge will review and accept that in 99% of cases as long as you have good reason. To take that away is like putting it all behind closed doors with no oversight and zero accountability.

Is it just me or are we really heading for a totalitarian world? First get rid of judges powers then the house of lords leaving only the Norsefire party to rule.

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Big Brother

"Is it just me or are we really heading for a totalitarian world? First get rid of judges powers then the house of lords leaving only the Norsefire party to rule."

Judges? We've never had judges, or a House of Lords. The Party has always been in power. EastAsia have always been our allies.

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Anonymous Coward

Hope this public consultation goes better than the last one huh

You know, the one where they spaffed everyones names, emails and opinions all over the web

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