Dear Sir or Madam,

The internet service provider TalkTalk have recently been exposed covertly intercepting the private/confidential communications of their customers, and the businesses that served them, harvesting URLs and executing a replay attack against the associated web sites.

They had neither the consent of the sender or recipient.

This espionage was conducted using equipment supplied by the Chinese manufacturer Huawei. Further to my amazement, I understand that TalkTalk claim the devices are entirely managed and controlled by Huawei.

According to the Sunday Times, MI5 warned the Government that undercover intelligence officers from the People’s Liberation Army of China “represents one of the most significant espionage threats to the UK”.

So... please disclose to me,

1) any assessment by the Home Office of the legality of the
covert monitoring of the content of private/confidential unencrypted communications by TalkTalk, harvesting URLs, and executing replay attacks, using equipment supplied by the Chinese Company Huawei

2) any advice, guidance, warnings, or words of 'comfort', provided by the Home Office to TalkTalk concerning the legality of the covert use of this technology, or the associated risk of foreign personal and commercial espionage

3) any correspondence (phone/fax/email etc) between the Home Office and TalkTalk concerning the use of such technology to harvest URLs/execute replay attacks from the content of private/confidential communications in the past 12 months

4) the dates/minutes/agenda of meetings between the Home Office and TalkTalk concerning the use of such technology to harvest URLs/execute replay attacks from the content of private/confidential communications in the past 12 months

5) confirm or deny: the interception and examination of Internet communications by TalkTalk using the Huawei system was granted an authorisation under RIPA by the Secretary of State

6) confirm or deny; the European Data Retention Directive article 5 explicitly prohibits the gathering of content data, including the phrase "No data revealing the content of the communication may be retained pursuant to this Directive".

7) confirm my understanding, MI5 have responsibility for counter-espionage in the UK.

8) any performance related salary/benefits then afforded to Jonathan Evans for his remarkably unsuccessful counter-espionage work. Given BT/Phorm, TalkTalk/Huawei, Hitwise, Nebuad, InsightReady, FrontPorch, and all the other criminals illegally monitoring UK telecommunications without consent.

In early FoI responses you told me;

"Unlawful interception under section 1 of the Regulation of
Investigatory Powers Act 2000 attracts a penalty, on conviction on indictment, of imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine, or to both. In the case of a summary conviction a person found guilty of an offence will be liable to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum. "

That being the case, please tell me where I can report concerns about criminal offences by TalkTalk. I've tried a number of times to report RIPA Part 1 offences, been fobbed off by corrupt or incompetent police officers in my local force.

Yours faithfully,

P John

P. John left an annotation ()

The Sunday Times
January 31, 2010
"China bugs and burgles Britain"

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk...

"MI5 says the Chinese government “represents one of the most significant espionage threats to the UK” because of its use of these methods, as well as widespread electronic hacking."

Dear Home Office,

please would you be so kind as to acknowledge receipt of this FoI request (sent 26 July);

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ta...

many thanks,
Yours faithfully,

P. John

P. John left an annotation ()

The Sunday Times
March 29, 2009
"Spy chiefs fear Chinese cyber attack"

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk...

"Intelligence chiefs are believed to have warned that it was impossible to say if such information-gathering had already been introduced, since they had “only limited understanding of our adversaries’ attack capability”. "

Hello Home Office,

it is the 24 August today, and your reply to my FoI request 'TalkTalk: Unlawful Surveillance of Internet Users' is now due.

I look forward to receiving the information requested promptly and no later than 20 days after it was requested from you... as is required by law.

Yours faithfully,
P. John

FOI Responses, Home Office

1 Attachment

Dear Mr John,

 

Please find attached our response to your Freedom of Information request.

Regards,

 

Information Access Team, Home Office

 

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Dear Home Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Home Office's handling of my FOI request 'TalkTalk: Unlawful Surveillance of Internet Users'.

Your assertion that the request is vexatious is absolutely false; I believe you have chosen to use that excuse to avoid responding to this request because the results would cause significant embarrassment to the Home Office.

The relationship between the Home Office and TalkTalk in this matter is one of significant press and public interest, national and even international importance.

ICO guidance states that "it is the request rather than the requester which must be vexatious". I see nothing in this request, nor any which precedes it that might be considered vexatious.

You mention Phorm in your response; my last request relating to Phorm was sent to you in March almost six months ago.

Please complete an internal review within the ICO recommended limit of 40 days.

In the meantime, I will meet with MP to complain about your handling of this request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ta...

Yours faithfully,

P. John

FOI Responses, Home Office

1 Attachment

Dear Mr John

Please find attached the internal review response and report relating to
your FOI case 15725

 

Many Thanks

 

Martin Riddle | Information Access Team
Information Management Service | Financial and Commercial Group
Ground Floor | Seacole Building | Home Office | 2 Marsham Street | London
SW1P 4DF
Switchboard Number: 0207 035 4848

 

 

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Dear Mr Riddle

thank you for your note. Naturally, I'm disappointed.

I am indeed part of what you call "a deliberate campaign by users of Phorm-related websites".

Actually, I'm part of a broad and popular public campaign against illegal communications surveillance which encompasses propositions such as BT/Phorm, TalkTalk/Huawei, Nebuad, VirginMedia/Detica CView, Experian Hitwise, News of the World Phone Hacking and many many other manifestations of illegal communications surveillance in the UK.

I have never made a secret of it, because democratic campaigning is my right.

Like many people, I'm keen to hold the Home Office accountable for the failure of the Government and Police service to act against these criminals and enforce the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (and Fraud Act, Computer Misuse Act, Copyright Act).

By apparently banning me from asking these and similar questions in future, you severely constrain my ability to hold you to account. Do you think that's a good thing?

I don't see a future for me, or my children, in a state where illegal communication surveillance by crimials is facilitated by Home Office officials.

Yours sincerely,

P. John

Leigh Park Initiative left an annotation ()

"Suggest where else the requester might find the information"

Try using the "dial-a-minister" service.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/china...

Paul Hancocks left an annotation ()

Well I am not part of a campaign. I stopped contributing to websites that were set up when Phorm was active a long time ago and yet my request for similar information has also been denied.

Quite bizarre really, in a so called democracy, and with so called open government.

My request was determined to be vexatious:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ho...

Leigh Park Initiative left an annotation ()

We were recently successful in challenging a Home Office rejection of a similar request as "vexatious".
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ma...

As a result, the Home Office confirmed that they did NOT meet with TalkTalk to discuss the malware prevention system prior to its implementation.

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