How the EU-FBI telecommunications system comes home to UK

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The consultation announced by the Home Office on 29 June on Section 12 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) shows how "ENFOPOL 98" (now ENFOPOL 29) has led to the incorporation of the EU-FBI 1995 "Requirements" into UK law and practice: Home Office Consultation on Section 12 of RIPA

Please note that contrary to some reports ENFOPOL 29 although agreed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 27 May has not yet been adopted due to a parliamentary scrutiny reserve by Germany.

The Consultation report by the Home Office opens with the statement that they are:

"conducting a detailed technical consultation exercise with communications service providers regarding the interception of new telecommunications technologies. Our expectation is that this will be sufficiently advanced by the end of September to permit formulation of a cost-sharing policy."

It is possible that this "consultation exercise" will include the "informal" agreement that the government hopes to conclude with providers for the retention of data for law enforcement purposes for up to 12 months: UK "informal" agreement on 12 months data retention

The consultation will implement those parts of RIPA which originated in ENFOPOL 98(now ENFOPOL 29) which requires the issuing of an interception order for a "warranted person" or, and much wider, a warranted "premises". The standards required as those as laid down by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and providers will be expected to provide real-time interception of "the entire contents of the communication and the related communications data". Any "electronic protection" used by the CSPs must be removed though there is no requirement to meet "evidential standards". Other standards are meant to guarantee that the intercepted person ("the threat") does not become aware of any interception.

The consultation also covers the postal services which have to "operate a system of clandestine opening, copying and resealing of any letter carried for less that £1".

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