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Remember J Edgar Hoover and his grip on politics and politicians.

I have just switched over to BBC Parliament and the screen is dark! At the time of typing this (15:22) there is no live link. Very odd.

Perhaps the men-in-tights thinks a server is someone who hands around the canapes...

lol Douglas!

The Wilson Doctrine was first laid out by Prime Minister Harold Wilson on 17th November 1966. It followed a spate of scandals involving alleged telephone bugging of MPs during both his government and previous governments.

The PM declared:
"I reviewed the practice when we came to office and decided on balance -- and the arguments were very fine -- that the balance should be tipped the other way and that I should give this instruction that there was to be no tapping of the telephones of Members of Parliament."

"I felt that it was right to lay down the policy of no tapping of the telephones of Members of Parliament."

There was an argument then, as now, that matters of security might need to take precedence:

"But if there was any development of a kind which required a change in the general policy, I would, at such moment as seemed compatible with the security of the country, on my own initiative make a statement to the House about it."
Successive Prime Ministers have adhered to the doctrine and in March 2006 Prime Minister Tony Blair was asked by Sir Swinton Thomas, Interception of Communications Commissioner, to abolishing the doctrine. Mr Thomas was highly critical of the doctrine saying:

"The doctrine means that MPs and peers can engage in serious crime or terrorism without running the risk of being investigated in the same way as any other member of the public,"

"It is fundamental to the constitution of this country that no one is above the law or is seen to be above the law. But in this instance MPs and peers are anything but equal with the rest of the citizens of this country and are above the law.

'In this instance MPs and peers are anything but equal with the rest of the citizens of this country and are above the law'
Sir Swinton Thomas, Interception of Communications CommissionerHowever Tony Blair decline Mr Thomas' arguments and said in writing:

"I have considered Sir Swinton's advice very seriously, together with concerns expressed in this House in response to my written ministerial statement on 15 December. I have decided that the Wilson Doctrine should be maintained."

There have since been successive calls from MPs in the house to clarify the exact nature of the Wilson Doctrine - expressed at the time to ban telephone bugging - and how far it extends in today's world of emails, faxes, PDAs and more general covert surveillance.

Back on now - obviously Gremlins!

Doesn't suprise me - they have taken away a PC so probably now know the details of how to access it.
So speaker is now saying that they won't be allowed, but that doesn't really stop them getting in without a warrant - didn't physically, so why not virtually.

As I was Just blogging this all seems to be about control of information.
The IWF are telling ISPs to block some text on wikipedia who are lying and saying it's not found - the govt had bullied the ISPs to use the list - the way this is done means no-one on the ISPs can edit wikipedia anonymously.
The other alternative about getting information to people is MPs, but everyone is now going to be worried about contacting them save the communication is intercepted or read by police.


I think we probably have to accept the Speaker's statement at face value. That is not to say that Norm may not be right about the possibility of remote access!

Sally, if Gorbals Mick told me the time, I would check my watch.

For the timebeing Sally, for the timebeing!!

Well yes, the Speaker has shown last week he is lacking in morals (blaming others etc.) and like the register was saying he probably doesn't know what he's talking about, so I'll take it with a pinch of salt.

Perhaps someone could ask what encryption is used on the Parliamentary Server?
Then if an individual MP is required to divulge emails, that process is controlled by Parliamentary staff, not the robust actions of outsiders.

And this statement came from a Speaker who did not know the police made an illegal search, did not know whose office was going ot be searched, or what the Hell was going on.

Oh, yes. I am sure his statement is to be trusted.

If the police have the passwords of anyone who used the office of Mr Green, as far as anyone could tell, it would be that person accessing the HOC server and not some PC, PC...

Not saying that I think what the speaker says is gospel, but unless there is direct, clear evidence he is wrong the matter should be dropped.

Glad to see that the article on Cameron is still riding at the top of the BBC News website. No idea how it's being reported on the TV though.


If the police took Damian Green PC's from the office (presumably to search for documents/data) then why wouldn't they search areas of the server to which he had access to at least to the same extent?

It would be daft to search his pc, but not to search there too wouldn't it?

If they had usernames/passwords then would the 'men in tights' even know?

The point is, though, that the police DID have access to the private correspondence of an MP and his confidential constituents records. With no legal basis for that.

Douglas Hogg said it all when he charged Zanau Labour with “concealment, duplicity, whitewash, and cover up” My worry is how much lower can we go? With a stupid electorate and these vermin in power things look grim .
At least both Conservative and the Liberals had nothing to do with this sham of a committee.
In question time tomorrow if Broon does not answer questions there should be a mass walk out.

1.What are the safeguards against the police using their access to the HofC server for "fishing expeditions"?

2.Is the Home Secretary using her powers over the police to gain access to the emails of members and are the contents being used for political purposes?

It would be daft to search his pc, but not to search there too wouldn't it?

Exactly... what do we know about their computer system anyway? .. could his PC could just be a dumb terminal/thin client affair anyway which the only reason to take it away would be to make a show and to make his job harder.

I have an image in my mind of them walking out with the PC, monitor and keyboard.

While I appreciate no one round here is going to apologise any time for calling British policemen Nazis (or woeful, Zanuliebour/Stalinist/Big Brother/Charles I etcetera), surely there must be some amongst you who feel just a little shame-faced at your hysteria this afternoon?

No-one has called them Nazis - we know Godwin's law and don't want to fall foul of it.

But are you saying that making comparisons with other countries, regimes and historical events shouldn't ever be made.

Everyone tuts when bad things happen in other places or can be shocked by events in history but just don't think it will happen to them - even when it is.

I can see, ACT, that in this thread, you are the only person who has mentioned Nazis.

The fact that the Labour Party have intimidated opposition spokespeople and are still trying to not disclose their part in the whole tawdry affair puts them in direct correlation with the practice of ZANU PF so I would imagine this is not something that anyone should apologise for.

If anyone wants me to go through the tedium of trawling through CH threads for the scores of posters who have *explicitly* compared British policemen to Nazis, I'll unhappily do so. Just say the word. Though the lowest points by far were the astonishingly tasteless invocations of Pastor Niemöller.

But just so we can be clear: no one, not one of you, feels even slightly ashamed of your part in today's baseless hysteria?

The whole theory of checks and balances is that people know their remit and try not to exceed it, no matter how tempting that maybe.
In authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, the Govts of the day try to make those remits as wide as possible for them and as limited as possible for everybody else (Does this ring any bells with anybody here, look at this incompetent Govt's approach to legislation (Make it as loose, vague, all-encompassing and far-ranging as possible) and when that fails then don't bother the limits and just ignore them.
This Govt certainly passes test 1 for non-democratic Govts and seems to be well down the path for trying to pass the second test.
Pointing this out before they pass both tests is not only legitimate, it is imperative before it is too late.

"If they had usernames/passwords then would the 'men in tights' even know?"

Let's hope their usernames/passwords were better than the one(s) employed by Ms Harperson - Username: Harriet, Password: Harman!!!

Sadly, the GBP (Great British Public) don’t give a tinker's cuss about this. Yes, I know that they should but they really don't.

They DO care (roughly in sequence) about:

1. The Economy (particularly as it effects themselves and their families)
2. Their Mortgages
3. Football
4. Celebrities and the Pop world
5. The NHS (but only if someone they know is ill)
6. Crime (and the generally useless invisible Police “Service”)
7. Immigration and its obvious implications for crime and jobs, even if we are generally not allowed to talk this
8. Transport (they don’t like delays)
9. The loses suffered by our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq
10. The latest “It’s terrible in Africa Report” by Fergal Keane and the BBC

But not much else and certainly not be relatively minor inconveniences (as they see it) suffered by a Tory MPs of whom they had never previously heard.

So, my advice to you Tories is to drop it, at least as a major item, and to concentrate on the economy where Tory policy is, at best, incoherent or, more realistically, non existent.

A Sinister twist?

Parliament has more that its share of lawyers, perhaps that is why the law sometimes appears to be written by someone with degree in Gobbledegook. There are enough lawyers there to recognize the strictures that apply in PACE Code of Practice B52, but somehow it seems to elude them. I wonder why.

It can be seen from the code that the search can only be applied to certain specifics of which those giving consent must be made aware of by police:

Code B52 of the codes of practice state - "Before seeking consent the officer in charge of the search shall state the purpose of the proposed search and its extent. This information must be as specific as possible, particularly regarding the articles or persons being sought and the parts of the premises to be searched. The person concerned must be clearly informed that they are not obliged to consent and anything seized may be produced in evidence. If at that time the person is not suspected of an offence the officer shall say this when stating the purpose of the search."

Must be "as specific as possible". MUST BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE. Get it?

Perhaps those that consider they are above the law might well question what Boris "Amnesty" Johnson was doing talking to Green after he had been briefed by police. I understand that someone from the London Assembly has made a complaint

I am not interested in the ongoing squabble about "Privilege", only that due process be observed, otherwise change PACE and give Parliament a special status that a warrant be obtained on all occasion and "consent" be deleted (thereby making MP's being treated in a different manner to the rest of us under the law - to which I object)

"In question time tomorrow if Broon does not answer questions there should be a mass walk out".

Posted by: Dominic | December 09, 2008 at 16:49

That would have an impact; conversely, can the speaker make the PM actually answer a question? I suppose, David Cameron could use his first question to ask Brown: "How are you today?" If he answers, Cameron could claim that to be the first answer he has given.

I suspect the public are more interested in their pockets right now - but that doesn't stop parliament/democracy this being of interest here...

Parliament (as a whole) is above the law - which is one of the best reasons to worry about it being hi-jacked/usurped/by-passed by the executive (or anyone!).

"I have just switched over to BBC Parliament and the screen is dark! At the time of typing this (15:22) there is no live link. Very odd."

I had this sensation after the Damian Green arrest. I was trying to read Cameron's article for the NOTW and I just kept getting a 404 error. I was thinking "Oh my God. They've done it. Police state".

It seems paranoid and a few years ago I would have thought it was silly, but then I learned about how socialists/Marxists/Trots/facists infiltrate organisations in order to "turn" them. It's not fantasy, it has happened historically, and many of our current leaders have roots in such politics.

I have been thinking recently if I was a Marxist in the 1980s how would I go about creating an organisation with the ultimate aim of subverting a democracy.

I would not set up a union or a party because that's too easy for opponents to spot and challenge. No, I would need something benign like a charity then if I was criticised I could claim innocence and paint my opponents as nasty.

But charities lack clout so I would register it as a company as well then get corporations on board. I wouldn't have a formal membership scheme because that could be used as evidence. I would target slightly vulnerable people in positions of authority and "groom" them.

I used to think such things couldn't happen in Britain but now, really, I'm not so sure.

As the saying goes, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance and we've been caught on the hop. We were complacent. We took our eye off the ball.

You're worse than barking mad. Indeed, you're worse even than being boring. You're genuinely, grossly offensive to people who have actually suffered from the lack of freedom. That you self-evidently have so little imagination that you can't work out what that's really like sadly makes you all too typical of the loons 'Greengate' has flushed into the open.

The server would hold all the emails due to the nature of the OSA.

All MP laptops and desktops would be encrypted (or have a portion of the disk encrypted) as well as all outgoing and incoming e-mails. All encryption keys are secret to the sender but are given to the recipient to decrypt any sent information.

All e-mails for security are sent to a central server to prevent any interception and hacker attack on the sender or recipient. The server would trussed up like Fort Knox instead.

This is known as Pretty Good Privacy (does what it says on the tin) and a key requirement to handling any government sensitive documents.

If a warrant was issued then e-mails would form an excellent source of prima facie evidence.

Also keys would need to be surrendered.

The police do not undertake fishing trips. However, Mr. Greene is accused of a rather broadly defined offence.

The fact the Police have not searched the e-mail system would point to two things:

1. The police are not interested in prosecuting.

2. Something more sinister is going on.

If the Speaker can issue a warrant for a search of an office for such a leak of 'sensitive' information, I would imagine under OSA legalise, another warrant might not be needed.

One thing the cash for honours showed though, is the Police are very good at leaking information to apply pressure.

Apologies for the anonymity, however, yesterday's news regarding searching the homes of IT services employees working on sensitive government projects on suspicion of leaks has utterly terrified me.

"You're worse than barking mad. Indeed, you're worse even than being boring. You're genuinely, grossly offensive to people who have actually suffered from the lack of freedom. That you self-evidently have so little imagination that you can't work out what that's really like sadly makes you all too typical of the loons 'Greengate' has flushed into the open."

Ah-hah! If I were to stumble accidentally on the truth, paint me as boring, mad, sad and offensive to make me feel bad so I give up trying.

Well done ACT!

I am none of those things, I had no interest in politics at all until a couple of years ago when I joined the Conservatives because I was getting a bad feeling that things were going wrong with my country and the Damian Green affair has just confirmed in my mind that things ARE going wrong.

Yeah, you've stumbled accidentally upon 'the truth' - you're a regular Richard Hannay. Beware the man opposite your front window, smoking a cigar and twirling his moustache: he's an enemy of freedom. You barking mad loon.

And as for Mr Anon - God knows, "IT services employees" certainly don't need invigilating without cries of 'tyranny!' I mean, it's not as if they've lost vast amounts of hugely sensitive data in the last few years. Oh wait . . .

I had no interest in politics at all until a couple of years ago

I did the same... I didn't want to be involved in politics but they were making my life harder and/or worse by the day so couldn't stand it no more...and can't!

Unbelievable. On a connected note, have just raised a petition on 10 Downing Street to get either John Major or Paddy Ashdown to perform a review of the decline of the democratic process. If you are offended by the Damien Green affair, please sign up. http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Lenthall/


ACT @ 17.02,17.36,91.27&19.49

What on earth has happened to you, YOU sound stir crazy! I know you are a regular blogger, but I can't remember whether you are one of our 'lefties' or not. If you are, that explains most of your comments, if not ???

For a start we have as much right to discuss what we want, and in the way that we want to as the Editor chooses to approve of!

It seems plain to me that you haven't a clue how democracy in this country stems from parliament - not oafish MP's shouting like football hooligans which happened on one side yesterday afternoon; but the process, principles and procedures of parliament. THAT if followed in a straightforward manner is what upholds our freedoms, NOT Prime Minister Brown, or Blair or any other prime minister.

And that is what was being disregarded in an arrogant manner earlier this month.

Apparently, you don't give a stuff about this, why should you - at the moment! Disregard one ruling, then another and another... and you will be affected. If you even live in this country of course!

Why were the Labour Whips so busy yesterday on a non-Executive matter?
As the Executive of an Authoritarian-inclined Govt, I suggest they were trying to suppress internal dissent so they could then ignore remit boundaries.
Rise up before you drown.

"Perhaps those that consider they are above the law might well question what Boris "Amnesty" Johnson was doing talking to Green after he had been briefed by police."

As Boris knew -as should have the police, incidentally- that their raid was illegal, he was aware that any 'evidence' of any non-crime would not have been admissible in a court of law.

Or are you implying that a mayor can't talk to an MP? Even one who is subject to an illegal search and dubious arrest?

We need the text of the Speaker's denial.

"Access to the server" is not necessary to recover emails. Conventionally, servers are backed up. The backups are separated physically from the servers, generally stored off-site. Access to the email server is sufficient but not necessary for access to the text of emails, which may be obtained via access to the backups alone.

conspiracy theorist - to be fair I did then say a few minutes later that the screen had come back and it might have been "gremlins" - so I wouldn't worry too much - yet!!

As for ACT - I do wonder if the initials stand for Alistair Campbell Troll?

ACT Ever since gaining power this Dictatorship has been guilty of concealment, duplicity, whitewash, and cover up. The Green affair has been the last straw.
Your political masters could not run a bath they have introduced measures that have made us the most uncompetitive in Europe. In the last few years have introduced HIPS which not one lender is interested in and introduced full rates on empty commercial property. They have given powers to Councils to use every conceivable method to spy on ratepayers and if they did not have the BBC working on their behalf many interviews would reveal the idiots and vermin they are.
. They are now presiding over the worst recession that this country has ever been seen in this country and try and blame it on America. They hate every thing British and many many of my friends will be leaving our shores if they win the next election as the next term it might just reach a Stalinist regime Act do you know all the words of the Red Flag?

Thats a thought Sally!! I hadn't occurred to me, and one could imagine AC not wanting to let go of his identity in picking a tag!

Sorry! That should have been 'IT hadn't occurred to me!' I often don't occur to me!

Enough of this thread :-(

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