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Posts tagged ‘CCDP’

Jenny Woods at Reading Geek Night

The draft Communications Data Bill proposes draconian changes to the monitoring and storage of our internet browsing and communications records. Challenging it led one Reading resident into the world of Whitehall and parliamentary process. Will the application of plain old fashioned smarts win out and save the day for privacy, security and innovation?

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The four main problems with the Draft Communications Data Bill

I was kindly given a hard copy of the Draft Communications Bill, the Snoopers Charter, yesterday evening by the inestimable Dr Jenny Woods. A brief review of the contents suggest four main problems: the foreword, the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Yes, it’s that bad. As a first reaction, here’s a key point from each section to highlight the authoritarian, statist thread running through the document. Read more

The Snoopers Charter: Out in the open

As expected, plans to gather more personal information than ever before collected on free British citizens were announced in the Queen’s Speech. Let the legislative battle commence!

The nonsensical idea that the concern was a central database has been scotched. The next stage is to get past the details of technical implementation, to argue the principle at stake. There’s any number of ways to look at the problem. Here’s one way: considering how people communicated before the digital revolution, to how we’ve started to communicate after.


The Royal Mail was founded in 1516. For almost five centuries, it has never been seriously considered that to remain a free and safe country, the government should track every single letter, parcel and postcard that we send to each other.

By every measure of quality of life, things have improved over these 496 years, and the ability of free people to write to each other in private has been one principle by which this has happened. There’s no need to overturn that principle now. Read more

On being a good advisor

It was worrying to read Jonathan Calder’s “unsolicited advice” to Nick Clegg a while back. Apparently on a conference call regarding the CCDP Snoopers’ Charter there was a political advisor, of whom Jonathan says, “How shall I phrase this? – I am not wholly convinced that this person can be relied upon to offer Nick the best political advice on a consistent basis.”

Well, I don’t know who this advisor is or what advice they were giving. While fighting an election, I didn’t want to say anything (not that many people read my blog; it’s just good discipline). But if it is true as I suspect that this advisor had a role in the car crash weekend the Lib Dems suffered on the  CCDP (internet snooping programme), then I’ve some unsolicited advice on being a good advisor.

I’ve never been a spad, but I have been a technical consultant in sales and marketing for a decade or so at a decent level. By all accounts, the call was what used to be my bread and butter. Frankly, the Lib Dems seem like they could do with a bit of professionalism, so with those elections out the way here’s some tips as the CCDP debate continues:

First of all, when (as was clearly the case) you don’t really understand what’s going on, avoid lines like “current reports .. are complete nonsense”. Immediate credibility destroyer. Someone somewhere reduced Lynne Featherstone – a woman I admire tremendously – to just another condescending government mouthpiece. I hope she’s bloody furious about this. Read more

The CCDP: the many ways in which it is mistaken

When I heard fellow Reading Lib Dem Jenny Woods was making a trip into Gt George Street to talk about the Communications Capability Development Programme PR snafu, I used my morning commute to send a few suggestions her way. It had been bothering me that the reaction to the leak over the weekend was strong, but perhaps not precise enough on the substance to make a full case against the CCDP proposals. She said it was useful (hopefully not just to soothe my ego).

So with a bit of tweaking for readability in my afternoon coffee break, here’s the email in all its sleep deprived glory:

First of all, let’s come right out and say that the messaging makes us look stupid, and leaves us open to all sorts of criticism. Whoever is advising Lynne Featherstone has just taken a huge whack out of her credibility; her email reads like the run-of-the-mill political parrot speak of an MP repeating lines fed to them by a dissembling back office advisor.

Second, I’d point out what a disservice they are doing to their loyal supporters. Stephen Tall’s post perfectly illustrates what was making me uncomfortable yesterday. Because the first wave of protest was mostly emotional and instinctive, it is far too easy to respond to it by saying, “I’m not going to get emotional, I’m going to stay rational – so here’s a nicely written rationalisation of the policy being handed to me”. By feeding loyal Lib Dems bad lines, they’re really just making it easy for good activists to dig themselves a hole.

(Edit: OK, I’m grumpy first thing in the morning. A bit harsh on Stephen there. But the whole “being rational” thing often annoys me; anger and rationality are not always mutually exclusive.)

With regards to the substance of the matter at hand, three points spring to mind that I’m not sure are being talked about:

1. Law is about principles, not technical implementation

2. INFORMATION Technology vs. Information TECHNOLOGY

3. Culture and confidence Read more