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Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Cressida Dick wants to go fishing

Lucy McHugh's murderer remains unconvicted, and Hampshire police think they know who did it. They believe there is evidence on his Facebook account, but to get it, must apply to the US courts for access. Facebook only grants immediate police access worldwide to user accounts in the event of imminent serious harm to a child, or of immediate risk of death or serious injury, for example from a terrorist act. 

Cressida Dick has waded into the debate by voicing her opinion that social media companies should give unquestioned access to the police 'within minutes' of being asked. It is the sort of fatuous saloon-bar comment that is usually the preserve of the deeply stupid, and as such is hardly worthy of serious rebuttal. But this woman, remember, is the nation's senior police officer with operational responsibility for terrorism and the most serious investigations. 

Hard cases make bad law. I am sorry for the family of Lucy McHugh but would ask them to be patient; if there is sufficient evidence to do so, police will be given access to the suspect's account. There may or may not be evidence that will secure a conviction. No one else is at risk, and immediate access cannot reverse the family's loss and grief. There is no pressing reason for change.

Cressida Dick should learn that she polices in a democracy, not in a police State. I'm sure she would like the ability to access whatever accounts are of interest to officers, and allow them to go fishing to take down opponents of the State, critics of the police and those who fight for freedom of thought and expression. If she seriously thinks we should let her, she's lost her mind. 


Stephen J said...

There doesn't seem to be much point in this exercise, Dick is probably just being thorough...

She knows he is guilty and her instinct is to chase him and shoot him in the back.

That'll learn him!

mikebravo said...

They should release the suspect. Let him wander around London for 20 mins under police observation the whole time. Wait for him to get on a tube and then blow his brains out.
There will be questions to answer then.

mikebravo said...

Bugger. No questions to answer!

rapscallion said...

I dunno why she just doesn't get her thugs, ne'er do well's, and social inadequates (aka The Filth) to go round the suspects house and murder him.

I mean, it's never stopped them before!

Cuffleyburgers said...

The idea that neither the NSA nor GCHQ can get into these accounts beggars belief.

Your instinct Radders is quite correct as so often, and Cressida Dick seems to be a crashingly stupid person (the clue is in the name); a more effective operator would work behind the scenes to get illicit access to what she needs and take it from there.

This mouth shooting off on social media is just enbarrassingly bad, stupid and counter productive virtue signalling at its worst.

Who will rid us of this tiresome high priestess of authoritarian incompetence? (actually there are several candidates for this title!!)

John in Cheshire said...

Isn't this another example of this Common Purpose graduate trying to 'Lead Beyond Authority'?

That's what she's been trained and perhaps brainwashed or blackmailed to do.

Dr Evil said...

If I was a senior police Honcho or Business Honcho or political Honcho I would make sure I have at least one or several exceedingly good hackers/crackers on the payroll who could be trusted to break into software accounts, leave no incriminating traces and who know the value of silence. I would ask for a password in this case purely as a smokescreen. This woman is just living up to her Moniker.

Nigel Sedgwick said...

Cuffleyburgers writes: "The idea that neither the NSA nor GCHQ can get into these accounts beggars belief."

For Cuffleyburgers maybe; not for me.

The biggest problem is whether any warrantless information gathering would be admissible as evidence - which seems to be a major requirement, given that the particular suspect has already been identified.

This is on top of neither organisation having a remit for investigation of ordinary crime (though they do, IIRC, have remits to provide technical expertise to other law enforcement agencies).

There are also potentially significant technical problems.

Then there is what information is required, or likely to be required. That affects whether a UK search warrant would be sufficient, or whether a USA search warrant also would be required (assuming the relevant information is stored in computers there).

Finally for us here, there is the issue of whether public domain discussion on such cyber security aspects is (overall) in the public interest.

Best regards

Cuffleyburgers said...


You didn't understand my point.

of course and quite rightly info gathered like that would be inadmissible ut once you know whats there the chances are you can use that info to nail the bastard by some other means. Names dates places car identites etc etc

Anonymous said...

@ Nigel Sedgwick and Cuffleyburgers

I think you are right that there is a distinction to be made between access and use in a British court of law where certain pretences must be perpetuated.

Try this:

Matt said...

And of course, the suspect has been convicted of 14 months in prison for a thought crime (under RIPA) of not disclosing his password. Plod pushed for this in the first place and, of course, it's the thin end of the wedge and they now want to go further.

Not sure why we can't just jail people for 10 years for not coming forward and admitting their crimes at the nearest police station.

Dave_G said...


Doesn't this blow the lid off the 'innocent until proven guilty' idea? Doesn't surprise me at all.

Raedwald said...

The benign omnipotent State says "If you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear - we own you"

TrT said...

"The idea that neither the NSA nor GCHQ can get into these accounts beggars belief."

Its not quite that simple.
"Hacking" is a lot more "Operation Takedown - The Kevin Mitnik story" than "Hackers" the Angelina Jolie movie.

Government "hacking" generally consists of locking people up until they give up the passwords, or recording enough of the encrypted transmission to brute force it.

There are no intercepted transmissions to decrypt and Dick cant lock up Zuckerberg without trial until he complies, and whereas there are margins inbetween, anyone who thinks Facebooks black hats are less capable than MI5 or 6's is deluded.
Even if they could successfully break in to FaceBooks US servers, there is the slight problem of that being a crime, and an act of war, likely viewed no differently than an SAS extraordinarily renditioning a US citizen from US soil or breaking in to a Museum and taking the Declaration of Independance

Fred said...

"The idea that neither the NSA nor GCHQ can get into these accounts beggars belief."

Knowing is one thing and having evidence that is admissible in a court of law is subtly different.

Not saying it could not be done but there may be slight of hand involved.

For example: permissions that change for no obvious reason in the dead of night to publicly reveal the private truth to the knowing eyes of Police who just happen to be watching!

Matt said...


We've lost the "innocent until proven guilty" idea. People either don't know (until it bites them in the ass) or don't care (too busy watching reality TV) but we've got a large number of Strict Liability laws now where you have to prove you are not guilty:

Smoking Scot said...


Just to vent my frustration.

Bob Carney has ever so generously offered to remain a Governor of the B of E.

The guys a congenital fuckwit with an ego even the Martians can see. His forecasts are utter rubbish and he's too close to Philip Hammond politically - an arch remainer.

We need a Brit, not this residue of the Clegg / Cameron era.

John M said...

You would think that Cressida Dick of all people would be cautious of granting Police unchecked decision powers, considering it was her police operation that executed Jean-Charles De Menezes on the London Tube because they got the wrong man.

Matt said...

@John M

Why would she be concerned? Didn't do her career any harm did it? Waxed a brazilian and no consequences - establishment protected their own.