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Queen's Speech shows British government still intent on... something to do with communications surveillance

In her speech earlier today outlining the British government's plans for the next year, the Queen stated:

My government intends to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses.”

In other words, the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) in some shape or form will be put before Parliament. But we are no clearer on what precisely - or even vaguely - it will entail. We don't know whether there are plans to install black boxes at ISPs. We don't know how they intend to deal with encrypted content, or what (if anything) they will demand of Facebook and Google. We don't know how much the whole thing will cost. DeHavilland have published a short briefing on the draft Communications Data Bill, but without any clear information from the government, the author has been reduced to describing the motivations for the bill rather than what it will actually contain, and making liberal use of the word 'updated'. 

When the Home Office finally decides to lay their cards on the table, we will hopefully see the worst excesses of the original proposals excised. Vigorous parliamentary debate would ideally further limit the scope of the government's ambitions to what is legal, ethical and technically feasible. But in the meantime, we can only wait and wonder...  


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