This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but all the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't pay my salary.


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Friday, April 17, 2009

Big Half-Brother

Last week Dan Collins mused about whether police/public service bloggers would ever have started if the EU Directive about Internet data storage had been in place.

I can't speak for all bloggers, but the Directive doesn't concern me, for the following reasons:
  1. Internet data has always been stored, for about six hours. So if my force knew who I was and had it in for me, they could get some hard evidence anyway.
  2. In order to access this stored information, a force will have to fill out a RIPA application. This has to be signed by an inspector, certifying that the information is needed in order to investigate crime. I wouldn't be blogging if I thought I were committing a crime.
  3. I blog using Blogger, an American company not covered by the Directive, and I email using Yahoo, likewise. This causes all kinds of problems for anyone investigating.
  4. In order to ask for my Internet records, the force investigating would have to know what ISP I use to log on. I don't plan to reveal this deliberately.
  5. Any investigation is expensive. It takes up man-hours, and potentially involves paying fees for information to be disseminated or experts to decode it. You should see the arguments Blandshire Constabulary has just over who is going to attend a car crash on the Blandshire/Midshire Border, let alone who is going to investigate the matter of a lorry stolen in Northshire, driven through Blandshire and found abandoned in Westshire, having committed robberies in Eastshire on the way. No police force is going to launch an investigation into me unless they already know I work for them.
  6. If my computer is seized, there is an eighteen month waiting list for hi-tech crime to decrypt it. Plus I've interspersed blog-related files with a lot of illegal porn, just to confuse everybody.
  7. Finally, if I am uncovered, I'll survive. I wouldn't be doing this otherwise.
I don't really consider myself to be a whistle-blower, because I've never named my force and anything I expose isn't a secret anyway, not really. But it may not be long before it is the government that employs me, rather than my own force. The new police regulations make it misconduct to discredit "the police" as opposed to just my own force. Looking ahead, it is likely that individual police officers will end up accountable to a central body with the power to hire, fire, and invoke RIPAs to investigate us directly.

The prospect is frightening. We are heading towards state-run police, where officers are less and less able to raise concerns, challenge bureaucracy, or even blog about it anonymously. The good news is, the state will be so mind-bogglingly incompetent that it won't even be able to enforce its own autocracy.

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'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

It was both interesting and sad to read NJ's views on the matter. For what my opinion may be worth with regard to internet use, pseudonyms were destined to be pointless exercises in anonymity.

17 April, 2009 11:32

 
Anonymous smallBob said...

the internet is a huge threat to those who seek to control us.

Whatever your viewpoint on the current debacle regarding the G20 coppers, the importance of the internet in those events can't be denied.

Which is why it must be controlled, otherwise in the same way coppers are being exposed, the ruling elites will also be exposed. Which is also why it mustn't be allowed to be controlled.

http://www.frankfisher.org/?p=17

17 April, 2009 14:13

 
Anonymous PC MIchael Pinkstone said...

Things would snap long before such a thing ever came to pass, but I agree that the prospect is frightening.

Besides, any "investigation" into a police blogger, for example, would be a majestic farce because all of the information is in the public domain and the argument would be whether or not "the police" have been discredited as a result of it, and whether the regulations have thus been breached.

Mind you, disobedience and non-compliance are punishable by death under NuLab, so I guess we should all wind our necks in and start behaving properly.

17 April, 2009 15:43

 
Blogger Virtual Supply said...

Interesting article.

1) Point of origin can be fudged, or obfuscated. In other words, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and IP (Internet Protocol Address), when viewed from the networks perspective, can be something other than that which you are using. You can log in at a million hot spots and use a re-routing methodology to hide your origin. This is playschool technology and many net savvy kids do it to hide a million facts.

I have expanded on this so as not to abuse your Blog, my work can be found here: http://virtualsupply.blogspot.com/

VS

17 April, 2009 16:17

 
Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

Many years ago when I was a young keen fresh faced PC the papers were full of left wing people accusing the police of being out of control and that they should be bought under the direct control of the Government and local(preferably left wing) politicians.This was because we went around being kind to kittens arresting criminals and telling politicians of all shades to wind their necks in.The left then got VERY angry when the police decided that large gangs of people driving around the country in vans attacking people who would not go on strike was not acceptable(AKA The Miners strike).Wnen Labour were elected in 1997 they immediately set about politicising the control of the police which reached its zenith under David Blunkett,one of the loudest police critics in the /0s along with Jack Straw Harriet Harman numerous commentators like Polly Toynbee and beardy social worker types et al.As a result we now have a police force that monitors its citizens to the nth degree where police leaders are appointed by politicians left wing demonstrators are given a leathering and the first arrest of an opposition MP for criticising the government has come to pass.All this because the left got their wish to have the police under political control.The moral of this story is---Be careful what you wish for

17 April, 2009 17:00

 
Blogger Hogday said...

My last MP quit after a `rent boy` scandal and the one before the one before him died in a bizarre sexual fetish accident. But at least the rent boy bloke was the Home Affairs spokesman. Phew!

17 April, 2009 17:47

 
Blogger Paul said...

I'm in one of those industries that are traditionally viewed as busybodies (CCTV) but as far as privacy is concerned the tech simply doesn't exist to abuse.

We cant find the villain half the time let alone the good guy being indiscreet.

The main thing is the there still is a hand at the helm and they are generally people just like you and me who really don't care that much about the everyday life of a member of the public.

17 April, 2009 22:46

 
Blogger PC Plastic Fuzz said...

I genuinely get chills when I think about this.

18 April, 2009 00:56

 
Anonymous Hibbo said...

Governments, particularly in Europe, are absolutely shit scared about not just blogging, but the whole was the internet has made so much information available to so many.

I am not a conspiracy nut, but when you read what is going on in Brussels with regard to political blogging, and then see our own government so keen to monitor and record internet traffic; you have to be a bit cynical.

Bloggsy, when I was in the RAF the catch all offence was "Bringing the Air Farce into disrepute", I assume the police have something similar. Now, can you still be found guilty of such a thing if all you've done is pass on information? For example a police blogger posts something along the lines of "my force are idiots because they've done X Y & Z". If they were done for this, but the X Y & Z were absolutely 100% correct, how would that go? Has their reporting of X Y & Z brought the police in to disrepute, or the fact that X Y & Z happened?

18 April, 2009 09:41

 
Blogger Sgt. Custerd said...

I'm not terribly concerned. Part of my job involves investigating eBay frauds, nuisance messages on Facebook & MSN, and even a 'romance scam'.

Trying to trace IP addresses, contact ISPs, verfiy details of various accounts is fiddly, time consuming, and often fruitless. At the end of the day - can anyone prove 'beyond all reasonable doubt' who typed all this?

Only I know for sure, and I'm not telling...

So NuLabour can go and feck themselves, and I know that the Professional Standards Department have bigger fish to fry.

18 April, 2009 22:23

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Retired Sgt said....Be careful what you wish for. Very true Sgt.

I have carefully considered ny "wish", that I now submit in an act of "Cosmic Ordering".

1. I wish that the tyrant in No10 is removed from office, sooner rather than later, because he has made some huge mistakes, unforgivable ones.

2. I wish that the mess this country finds itself in, due to the meddling of incompetent NuLabour politicians, will be put right, sooner rather than later, and that includes telling Brussels to "bog off" with their control freakery and petty rules.

3. I wish, oh how I wish, for better understanding between people and tolerance of differences, more compassion for those who are suffering under an unjust regime, and a judicial system which effectively deals with the evil ones who blight our society.

Not a lot to ask for, is it?

The more government tries to monitor and control the good people, and suppress the truth they wish to express, the more determined the good will become, to overthrow the tyrants who do this country no favours.

Bring on the revolution......

18 April, 2009 22:40

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Checking isn't necessarily directed at particular individuals; it is done starting at the various ISPs, rather like a fishing expedition.

The EU directive only makes the expedition easier, keeping the information available for longer.

Once whoever is doing the checking finds the information they want, it is quite easy to backtrack. Your IP may be dynamic, but it is quite clearly allocated to you for specific periods of time which are recorded. These records are kept.

Even if you use a proxy, your ISP still knows who you are. In fact, no-one knows more about your online persona than your ISP.

Be good.

Michael

19 April, 2009 10:11

 
Blogger staghounds said...

Oh, you so underestimate the hate of the incompetent for someone who exposes them.

What would happen for the investigator who cracks the multi-shire van case? Something nice in his file.

But the investigator who goes secretly, directly to the Chief Constable of Blandshire, and says, "I thought you might like to know who she is, here's the proof. Oh no, I haven't told anyone, and I won't. Thought you might like to know, that's all."

THAT clever yet discreet constable is noticed, and owed...

19 April, 2009 12:15

 
OpenID inspectorgadget said...

Bloggsy - please tell us more about this porn you have.......

19 April, 2009 14:03

 
Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

Gadget
If you want to see something really disgusting go "The Daily Mash" website and search for "Trixie Beaver"-WARNING-Keep small children and animals away from the screen.
If I woz clever I could put a link in bit I am not so I carnt!!!

19 April, 2009 16:10

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Hibbo - what a good point and one I will save for my tribunal...

19 April, 2009 19:04

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gadget is such a "bloke"....anything to do with sex and his ears twitch and his interest is sparked enough to comment. Down Boy!

Bloggsy.... Why anyone would want to grass you up, for writing a blog which expresses the truth of your opinions, just would not make any sense at all. It is not a crime to speak the truth, is it?

Come to think of it, Aaaarrrggghhh!
....We are going through rather strange political Orwellian times at the moment. Where the government, sorry I mean the tyrant, tries to say that black is white, and that white is in fact black. It's all so topsy-turvy, it makes me feel quite dizzy......

You'll be alright Bloggsy. And what could the bosses do to you anyway, for having an opinion or two? Nowt!

20 April, 2009 00:05

 
Anonymous Mac said...

It is NuLabour's obsessive desire to 'monitor' everything and everyone that has corrupted police work over the last 12 years and lead to the need for Blogs like Ellie's and IG. If you were a government that wanted to monitor as many of your citizens as possible but knew mandatory requirements to submit information would be a vote loser, you could:
1. Introduce thousands of new offences, very of few of which actually target anyone a reasonable person would class as a 'criminal'. (And those that do are just repackaging of existing laws in order to sound tough).
2. Introduce a system (NCRS) forcing the police to record each and every allegation made, removing all discretion to apply common sense at the outset. That way you ensure that all your new offences drag people into the 'system' and don't get ignored.
3. Force a perfomance culture on the police that grades a detection for one of your new offences exactly the same as for a murder/burglary etc. or anything else that would be difficult to solve.
4. Bring in a law that makes it mandatory to take fingerprints and DNA from any person arrested for ANY offence (including all your new spurious ones) regardless of whether they are charged or not, AND KEEP THEM FOR LIFE.

Thus you can criminalise a whole raft of people who you otherwise would have had to leave alone, but the police get the blame.

Alongside this you can fuel fear so that initially people can't get enough CCTV cameras, in fact they'll beg you to allow more intrusion. As this proliferates you then arrive at a point where any case against a real criminal is devalued in the eyes of CPS/Magistrates/Juries if there is no CCTV regardless of how many eye witnesses there are. In fact eye witness testimony becomes a thing of the past because due to all the aforementioned spurious arrests no one wants to help anymore, especially as the defence will be able to cross examine you on your previous heinous criminal history. So the need for CCTV to act as 'witness' gets greater and greater....

Once you've achieved this, then you can start attacking media like the internet so you can prosecute people for their thoughts.....

The downside is that you alienate all the people whose votes you needed to swing to gain power in the first place.

Cameron has a chance not only to win the next election but ensure NuLabour never get elected again, but watch him get just as attached to all that power....

20 April, 2009 11:03

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Staghounds. I sooooo DON'T underestimate the hatred of the incompetent AND corrupt, for those who expose them. I know only too well, the extent of their hatred, which in fact will only destroy their own souls in the end, and not myself, nor my soul.

As a child special constable who was abused by men who really should have known better, I sooooo "blew the whistle" on them, to the Home Office, via a relative at the age of 6-7 years old.

I know exactly how much "they" hated me for doing my duty, as a child, who was expected to know my place, put up and shut up. No way!
So they lied about me and sneared my name, sabotaged my life and all my important relationships. They threatened my life and that of my mother and other family members, to scare me into silence. NO WAY!
Those who are evil may well "hate" those who oppose and expose them for what they are.

But EVERYONE LOVES A REBEL! And I know that I did the right thing by saying NO to evil and all its works.

Spot on MAC..... You put that so well, so clearly, for all the world to read, and hopefully take some notice of. Cameron would just be "more of the same", but is well matched to debate with Brown and challenge him when others will not.
The "House" needs a thorough spring clean and transformation.

21 April, 2009 00:59

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That should have read "smeared" my name, but they sneared too....

21 April, 2009 01:01

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't RIPA make it an offence to withold passwords from the people who need them to convict you or did I imagine that bit?

I'd be inclined to keep my computer unencrypted lest it encourage people to pay too much attention (not that there's anything worth looking for on it),

Hiding stuff just makes you look more guilty. Far better to obfuscate by interspersing it with large quantities of porn as you say...

21 April, 2009 08:48

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HELLO POLICE FAMILY, the media and the public..... I have just heard some utter nonsense on Sky News, as they were reviewing the newspapers.

Jacqui Smith is laying out the Home Office [Gordon's] plans for the "Communications Database", which will invade everyone's privacy, by keeping a record of EVERY phone call, text, email and web browse, made by EVERYONE.

Jacqui Smith, sadly, MISLEADS the public, and the House of Commons, by falsely claiming that this outrageous snooping on us all, is necessary in the interests of "National Security", as part of their counter terrorism strategy.

This is a BLATANT LIE, a deception, and is in fact a disregard of previously proven, credible Intelligence ALREADY held by the S.I.S. - Operation Beelzebub - codename Lawrence 1958 - 2009 - Royal Protection Officer - documented Intelligence.

Now, either the S.I.S are withholding this Intelligence from the Met and government. Or the Met are withholding the Intelligence from government. OR, more likely, this Orwellian TYRANT, is ignoring the accurate, proven Intelligence. Simply because it does not tally with HIS "Grand Vision" for total citizen and World domination.

WHISTLE BLOWING...... This, already proven to be accurate Intelligence, strongly warns that we must AVOID going down the road of a Big Brother State, government databases, and extreme over surveillance of the whole population. BECAUSE it will lead society in a wrong, and rather unpleasant direction. The NHS database was warned against, so too the database which they planned to place the details of every child in this country. Because of a foretold "abuses of power" against ordinary people, especially against children, the frail and infirm, the disabled and the vulnerable.

The DNA database storing the DNA of those NOT convicted of a crime, was also warned about, as the wrong road to go down. Along with the recent ripping up of the Magna Carta fundamental principle of, Innocent Until Proven Guilty.

The "tick box" culture of labelling people and an assumed negative expectation of them.....For example, the Health and Social Care "Alice in Wonderland" system which makes negative assumptions about people, their character, their state of health, their childhood experiences, and whichever "boxes" they may have ticked one day on a government snoopy form they filled in!

This system, despite ANY evidence to support their theory, treats ALL victims of child abuse, physical and/or sexual, as "probable" abusers themselves. Which is an insult to the many survivors of childhood abuse who grow up determined to do their best in life, and towards their own kids and others. Didn't NuLab make it illegal to INSULT people?

A database which will store the details of EVERY COMMUNICATION we all make, is another huge insult to the majority of law abiding people. This unelected TYRANT in No10, is treating everyone as if they are criminals, the police family included! We have a basic legal right to NOT have our privacy intruded upon, by the State wishing to snoop into personal and private lives, like some sort of PERVERTED PEEPING TOM.

The Intelligence held by the S.I.S gave a very clear warnings, that these government databases are NOT in the best interests of the people of this country. They are also NOT necessary, not for the public's safety, nor its well being, and certainly NOT necessary for any "counter terrorism" strategy. The S.I.S already KNOW who to target for surveillance.

This government have LIED, time and time again on the issue of what is actually necessary to "protect" the people of this country. The public need to be protected from THEM.......

This government have "cherry picked" the already proven to be accurate and credible Intelligence records. It even suited them to claim the credit for having foiled numerous terror plots in recent years, including plots against both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

The government did NOT "foil the plots", but the police and the S.I.S did succeed in doing that, because of the Intelligence recorded in the Operation Beelzebub documents! This record also contains THE strongest warning of all, and that is...that humanity MUST abolish all forms of Nuclear, power and weapons. NOW, to avoid a global catastrophy in the future. And what did Gordon Brown do about THAT warning?

Someone, somewhere in government, and/or the S.I.S, and/or the Met, has a great deal to answer for.

What is the point of having an Intelligence and Security Service, if the Prime Minister et al, takes no notice of the credible, proven Intelligence warnings, given to save us from going down the wrong path? The Intel warned to NOT get the U.K. politically tied to, and under the control of the E.U.

The people of this country, and the House of Commons, have been blatantly deceived by Gordon Brown, et al, over very serious matters. There was also a warning about this global recession and financial crisis, in the Intelligence documents. Gordon Brown KNEW it was going to happen. Yet he and others, like Dr John Reid try to claim on the TV news channels that, "nobody in the world could have predicted it", which is a bit of a half truth.

It was "predicted" alright, along with the fact that Gordon Brown and his close allies, would lead this country to total ruin and disaster; due to arrogance and a total disregard of what IS actually in the best interests of this country and its long suffering people. And that does NOT include the total mess Gordon Brown has made, and it most certainly does not include databases, I.D cards and the extreme monitoring of, and snooping upon the whole population, and most of all, Nuclear power stations and weapons. He screwed up and he isn't that "sorry." He just carries on regardless, without any remorse, nor any shame.

In my one of my previous incarnations I WAS James Keir Hardie - a fact which makes me feel ashamed of what the Labour party have turned into, and especially so considering what they have done to this country, and what they appear to be HELL BENT on doing to it in the future.

The people of this country DO NOT want to live dominated and controlled by Gordon Brown's Big Brother State, snooping and prying into every corner of our lives. Leading us recklessly, without due care, to a future of DESTRUCTION by Nuclear power stations and weapons. Another broken election promise

In this life - Police and Security Service Officer.

25 April, 2009 02:36

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the good news IS.....That Jacqui Smith has decided that the government's planned communications database is not what the public want. And the not so good news IS.....that private companies will just snoop on us all instead. As you say Bloggsy, A Half Big Brother, being intrusive.

29 April, 2009 04:58

 
Blogger rich said...

you lot make me laugh... you dont have a clue about 'being watched' ...

Police in my force (opps service...) will have GPS chips in thier radio- and will be tracked constantly- good safety... an will make us more efficient?

and soon- we will have 'ambient listening' where 'an authourised person' will soon be able to listen to anything in the range of a personal radio -even if the radio is not being used...

would many mops be ok to have someone listen to anything said at work- even in the toilet?

welcome to our world..

12 May, 2009 19:27

 

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