back to article UK.gov agrees to narrow 'serious crime' definition for slurping comms data

The UK government has rowed back on proposals that would allow it to suck up communications data for investigations of crimes that could see someone put away for just six months – but not by much. The move was revealed in the Home Office's response to a consultation on changes to regulations relating to retention of and access …

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Gimp

The real "crime" to a data fetishist is not having 360degree access to your data 24/7/365

forever.

This desire to acquire personal data, with no limits on what is acquired, or how long it is stored simply makes no rational sense.

Because it's not a rational desire.

It's a personality disorder.*

*Unlike an illness, that can be treated, disorders have to be coped with. There is no cure for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah, yeah, yeah.... But shinny 'AI' thing

"Or more seriously, if the police start arresting people on suspicion of planning a crime solely based on a predictive model informed by a data-crunching supercomputer."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44466213

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah, yeah, yeah.... But shinny 'AI' thing

Makes a change from a predictive model based on being irish/black/muslim (pick a decade)

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Holmes

Re: Yeah, yeah, yeah.... But shinny 'AI' thing

Makes a change from a predictive model based on being irish/black/muslim (pick a decade)

Lets face it, if someone invented a truly fair algorithm that predicted criminals, it would start with bankers and CEOs, and after the first week of the computer suggesting that the police only arrest bankers and politicians, they'll make a quick tweak to the algorithms so that it goes back to suggesting irish/black/muslim/poor people instead, because obviously it's the people with no power who are the worst criminals in this country.

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Re: Yeah, yeah, yeah.... But shinny 'AI' thing

That was the success of the "Broken Window" policy in New York where they would ruthlessly hunt down every minor white collar crime. By prosecuting every minor expenses claim fraud and dodgy tax return they were able to make Wall St totally law abiding and avoid any larger damage from any much bigger crimes.

Imagine if instead they had concentrated solely on panhandlers and shooting people selling out of state cigs.

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Big Brother

I'm Guessing...

This is going back to the courts again.

Hardly a surprise as the Government's tactics seem to be grind through

any changes ordered by the respective Courts and slowly

and incrementally as possible.

They know they'll lose but want to do it as slowly as possible.

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Re: I'm Guessing...

They know they'll lose but want to do it as slowly as possible.

Or maybe they're just delaying until we leave the EU, so they can do whatever the hell they want...

Seriously, this is (for me) the scariest part of leaving. There will be noone to hold our government to account*. They will just pass whatever laws they want, gradually eroding our freedoms and rights until we have none left. Yes, there is likely to be chaos in many other areas, but the loss of oversight from an external body is terrifying!

* Before anyone says it, I know that Voters should be able to hold their government to account but, when both major parties have the same track record on privacy etc. and most people don't care enough** to let it affect their vote anyway, the government are going to have a free hand to do whatever the hell they want.

** Until it affects them directly, by which point they won't have a leg to stand on. "First they came..."

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Coat

Serious Crime

The "upskirting" bill[1], recently in the news, had a two-year maximum sentence. So would appear to be serious crime.

So can we infer this bill is all about permitting investigators to collect and use up-skirt data?

[1] A fair aim, but a bad way to go about it.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Serious Crime

"A fair aim, but a bad way to go about it."

Pretty much what I thought. I felt that extending the expectation of privacy in a public place to include not having pictures of your underwear taken would have perhaps been enough.

The issue is now that writing qualifying language in the bill makes it difficult to prosecute. Taking them "for gratification" is harder to prove than just taking them, and if you can still take them for profit you're just a low budget pap.

Icon, because the lass has to put up with professional creeps with phones on selfie sticks looking up her skirts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Serious Crime

"Pretty much what I thought. I felt that extending the expectation of privacy in a public place to include not having pictures of your underwear taken would have perhaps been enough."

No matter what is implemented to protect people from these people, there needs to be enough balance to not encroach on the right to take photos in public, I hate my photo being taken, but I would protest to keep the right for anyone to take a photo of anything they can see with the eye while in public

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Re: Serious Crime

Surely you can trust the government and locally authorities and police not to use any privacy legislation to stifle public protest. That would be like using anti-terrorism legislation to hunt journalists

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They need to get it sorted out by next March if they want to retain any sort of services industry that requires data transfers from the EU. And it does seem that there's been a recent rise in the percentage of the cabinet that realises we need businesses that are able to sell to the EU.

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And it does seem that there's been a recent rise in the percentage

That's optimistic, I think it's just a temporary lowering of the percentage of brainless cretins on the Cabinet who think it's still the 1800's.

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Anonymous Coward

Is it just me?

With all the massive data slurping going on, why is organised crime not on its deathbed by now?

Or is there something else going on?

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Re: Is it just me?

I assume London is now totally crime free given all the CCTV cameras in the capital

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Anonymous Coward

I believe there is still a small enclave in the Criminals'R'Us store

located in a small commercial establishment with postcode SW1A 0AA.

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Bronze badge

Re: Is it just me?

all the CCTV cameras in the capital

From what I've seen of CCTV in general, most of them seem to be potato-camera quality images taken by somebody's bulk-buy 2Mp webcams. Who needs pixelataion when it's built into the camera as standard?

Either that, or no-one's actually watching them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is it just me?

"I assume London is now totally crime free given all the CCTV cameras in the capital"

It is no good having CCTV in public places, if it isn't centralised, monitored and police are around to be sen to the crime locations..

I've watched crime documentaries where CCTV has saved lives and prevented rapes.

What is needed is comprehensive CCTV coverage, a reasonable maximum footage retention times, a sensible usage policy to ensure it is not abused, and finally a review of all our laws focused on protecting the public rather than persecuting them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is it just me?

I was referring more to the online electronic surveillance than CCTV.

It's hard to believe organised crime is not managed using online electronic devices, so the question remains, why are the security services not securing major convictions on a frequent basis?

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Keeping UK law in line with Europe in order to keep doing business...?

Going by this almost underhanded and measly rejig, it'll fall foul of European standards again.

Don't know why the current UK gov is bothering to negotiate with Europe for security and other cooperation on the back of equivalent legislation if they intend to botch it up by becoming the offshore extremist banana kingdom

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Then there is always the old favourite of the police for random arrests, "Criminal Damage", which carries (AFAICR) a max sentence of 5 years but can be applied to bursting the neighbors football once it lands on your conservatory one time too many...

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Pretty much all crimes except very low level stuff could in theory result in 12 months sentence. The usual threshold of serious crime is one where the case is heard in the crown court in front of a judge rather than a magistrates.

Yes the government want to now change this to basic cover all crimes by lowing the bar to 12 months.

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The usual threshold of serious crime is one where the case is heard in the crown court in front of a judge rather than a magistrates.

I would accept that as the minimum bar for a serous crime. If a crime would normally be heard in front of a magistrate, without a jury, then I would say it's not that serious.

However, I think we could deal with this by judges discretion. If the crime goes to court and the judge thinks it's not a serious enough crime to have warranted the intrusion (and that's looking at the original reason for the intercept, not anything uncovered since, as well as whether they had a reasonable enough suspicion in the first place) then they should apply something similar to the "fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine the US have: ALL evidence gathered off the back of that "invalid" intercept is chucked out. This would certainly make the cops think long and hard (teehee) about using the powers!

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Is there any crime

Where max sentence is actually less than a year?

There are sneaky things like community protection notices, Criminal behaviour orders etc (essentially ASBO replacements)

These can be applied for "antisiocial" behaviour (can only get CBO if convivcted of a crime, but this could be very low level crime e.g. heat of the moment angry tweet)

They massively infringe your civil liberties, e.g. may ban you from certain areas (the challenge of buying essentials when banned from your city centre), ban you from associating with certain people, make yoiu go to a support group etc.

If you breach any of th (often ludicrous) restrictions, as an adult the max fine is 2 years.

Thus, in England & Wales (I think Scotland may still have old style ASBOs?) , essentially a stupid restrivction can be applied that is difficult to not break (e.g. someone banned from seeing friends / family members that they have good relationship with*) - but doing this trivial thing gives a 2 year sentence.

Unless that loophole is addressed then the regs are a joke.

These rules can (and have been) used to harass legitimate protestors (if you are passionate about a cause that is anti UK govt policy and go to a few protests then don't be surprised if a CPN (nasty no max time on restrictions) or CBO (max 3 years)is applied (civil injuncytions less likey as shorter lasting so less punitive)

* There are legit uses of banning seeing someone e.g. to stop stalkers, domestic abusers etc. but often used to prevent "antisocial" person seeing those they are friendly with but deemed bad influences (young, non - white, group of lads (just pals in town centre hanging out as there's nothing else to do as all youth facilities closed down as "austerity") easily becomes a "gang" in the eyes of an aged white magistrate and hey presto, you cannot see your mates).

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Re: Is there any crime

As I (and others) predicted, they only proposed 6 months so that they could "address" the outcry and make it still a ridiculous time! We need to make sure there is still an outcry.

Make it maximum sentence of more than (not equal to) 3 years.

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