It is now over a year since Spy Blog commented on:
in which we noted the lack of any technical telecomms or internet or computing expertise amongst the group of Privy Counsellors who conducted it.
The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now issued a Written Statement:
12 Feb 2009 : Column 89WS
Written Ministerial Statements
Thursday, 12 February 2009
I am pleased to be able to report on progress. I am also having placed in the House Libraries copies of a progress report to my Right Honourable Friend the Prime Minister on behalf of the Advisory Group of Privy counsellors, comprising the Right Honourable Sir John Chilcot, the Right Honourable Sir Alan Beith MP, the Right Honourable Michael Howard QC MP, and my noble Friend the Right Honourable Lord Archer of Sandwell
We look forward to reading this report on "progress", eventually - if, as a Westminster insider, you already have access to a copy from the House of Commons Library, please forward it, or a URL pointer of a copy, to Spy Blog via email, or in the comments below.
So, another year has elapsed, and now the Eighth report or review on the subject has been produced (in secret), and we are still no further forward with the practicalities and safeguards regarding the introduction of Intercept Evidence into even the most highly restricted Court proceedings.
However, we have now reached the end of the programme's first phase, with work to design in detail the model recommended by the Privy Council Review, now largely complete. Work is now in hand to flesh out the detailed guidance required in advance of testing the practicalities of the model.
Surely for this second phase of producing actual "detailed guidance" involving "practicalities", the current Advisory Group comprised of a couple of lawyer - politicians, another politician and a civil service mandarin, should be strengthened by the appointment of someone with some actual technical and commercial knowledge and experience of telecommunications and computing, who will not be bamboozled by GCHQ and various securocrat claims about the uniqueness of their "methods and sources", compared with those practiced by other law enforcement, intelligence agencies, telecomms and internet companies around the rest of the world ?