"We are confident that we can get to this point through the conversations we are having with the Home Office and the CSPs, but filtering is a big issue," said Stewart. "Who is going to take responsibility for it? There are different views amongst the service providers. I suspect that regardless of whether they do anything or not we will still need to filter ourselves but that's an issue that still needs to be resolved. There is cost associated with that."
Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police Service, said: "We are law enforcement and we need to use these powers in a digital age. More and more people aren't communicating with calls and texts, they are communicating online, and that is creating problems."
"We understand that this is intrusive stuff. But privacy and security is an issue for Parliament. Our job never was to comment on the Investigatory Powers Bill," Basu said. "To use any intrusive technique our investigators have got to justify necessity and proportionality and we also have to explain what collateral intrusion will occur."
The bill as it stands proposes a "double lock" for oversight, where any intercept warrants will need ministerial authorisation before being put forward to a panel of judges, who will be given power of veto. This panel will be overseen by a single senior judge, the newly created Investigatory Powers Commissioner.
Home Secretary Theresa May has come under scrutiny many times during the passage of the bill, particularly regarding privacy concerns.
Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham told Parliament in March: "The Home Secretary said [privacy] was hardwired into the bill, but I see them as more cosmetic changes and haven't directly answered the concerns of the joint committee." Burnham asked that the bill takes a "presumption of privacy".
One interesting topic that came up during the discussion was the so-called "request filter".
This is a piece of software the NCA wants to build - probably using system engineers from the Home Office or external companies, according to Stewart - that would pull these internet connection records from all of the relevant communication service providers. This would essentially allow the authorities to query all of the records at once.
Despite recognising that this is an extremely powerful tool for snooping on the public, the NCA's Pauline Evans attempted to provide some reassurance. "It just allows us to ask the question," Evans said. "We still have to go through our process and authorisation for necessity and proportionality. It doesn't give us access to the CSP's databases."
Source: Computerworld UK
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