During the Cold War, every nuance uttered by the Soviet Politburo was analysed for what it "really" meant by pundits versed in the black arts of "Kremlinology". Similar techniques need to be applied to the utterances of Home Secretary David Blunkett i.e. "Blunkettology".or "HomeOfficeOlogy"
Home Secretary David Blunkett made a speech today to the Police Superintendents? Association Annual Conference in Warwick.
He mentioned Yet Another Initiative, the Policing Bureaucracy Gateway to attempt to counter the seemingly inevitable red tape and form filling which the Home Office and Police seem to be so fond of. He claimed that there were some 7,000 different forms in use by the 43 Police forces in England and Wales (there are actually more Police forces than this if you also count those in Scotland, the UK Atomic Energy Police, the Ministry of Defence Police, the British Transport Police etc.)
Will the Policing Bureaucracy Gateway simply send out more forms or questionnaires asking about the number and types of forms and questionnaires which each police officier or civil servant has to fill in ?
Presumably the use of the word "Gateway" in this context is Home Office NewSpeak derived from the Her Majesty's Treasury Office of Government Commerce Gateway Reviews TM of major projects. So "Gateway" is now meant to be misunderstood as an "OGC Gateway Review" style process, not to be confused with a legislative "Gateway" which is the legal authority for Government Departments to abuse our privacy by sharing otherwise private data between each other e.g. Inland Revenue tax data etc. brought in by the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 etc. The results of such OGC Gateway Reviews are invariably kept secret from the public and even from Select Committees of Parliament.
This "Gateway" should not, of course, be confused with the Government Gateway which is an e-government registration and neutral transaction gateway/portal between different Government Departments, and with some of the General Public. N.B. the Compulsory Biometric ID Cards that David Blunkett is so keen on will not be sufficient for you to pay your taxes online etc. via this Government Gateway, since Biometrics cannot be trusted via the Internet, and the Home Office has failed to to understand the concept Digital Certificates, which are part of modern ID Card schemes in other countries e.g. Belgium or Sweden.
David Blunkett specifically mentioned the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, as generating a lot of red tape, and implied that he would be making it easier to keep known criminals under surveillance, presumably by weakening the existing accountability and safeguards which exist under this horribly complicated legislation.
The complexities of RIPA are entirely the fault of the Home Office, under the direction of Jack Straw, David Blunkett's predecessor as Labour Home Secretary. Some of it is so complicated and unworkable, that for example, Part III, which deals with the forced seizure of encryption keys etc. still has not been brought into force 4 years after the legislation was passed into law.
Combined with David Blunkett's apparent approval of plans to use CCTV surveillance spy cameras to watch potential fox hunting routes in the countryside, and his ruminations about allowing the use of telephone intercepts etc. as evidence in court (something which the Home Office expressly forbad when it drafted the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act). our guess is that RIPA is likely to be amended in this Parliamentary session.