The Coalition Government has again re-affirmed that the WIlson Doctrine still applies.
Asked by Lord Strasburger
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Wilson Doctrine on the interception of MPs' telephone calls still applies; whether it covers internet-based communications; and whether it applies to members of the House of Lords.[HL1217]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Though it has been the longstanding practice for successive Governments not to comment on surveillance or interception operations. I can confirm that the Wilson Doctrine still applies, and applies to both Houses I refer the noble Lord to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair's written answer to Norman Baker MP on the terms of the Wilson Doctrine on 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 367W. and his subsequent confirmation that it continues to apply on 30 March 2006, Official Report. columns 95 and 96WS. His earlier written reply to a question by Norman Baker on 4 December 1997, Official Report, column 321W, made it clear that the Wilson Doctrine applied to telephone interception and to the use of electronic surveillance by any of the three security and intelligence agencies. This is still the position.
Strangely, this Written Answer mentions Norman Baker MP and the then Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair's re-affirmations of the Wilson Doctrine, but does not mention the more recent ones by Labour's Gordon Brown or by the current Conservative coalition government Prime Minister David Cameron.
Is this because Lord Stasburger , Lord Wallace (Government Whip) and Norman Baker (now a coalition Transport Minister) are all Liberal Democrats ?
Constituency emails between you and your Member of Parliament
If like Spy Blog, you have emailed your Member of Parliament, on constituency related or political matters, in the last 18 months or so, whilst Project Tempora has allegedly been in operation,according to Edward Snowden's revelations in The Guardian etc. using an email service based in North America, it seems very likely that your emails have been copied and stored for at least 3 days and the Communications Data stored for at least 30 days.
How does this square with the Wilson Doctrine claim at all ?
RIPA and ISA Warrants and Certificates
Foreign Secretary William Hague claimed in the Commons on 10th June (
HC Deb, 10 June 2013, c31) before the Tempora revelation,, that all GCHQ operations are legal.
Therefore GCHQ's Project Tempora must be covered by a Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Warrant or Certificate and / or by an Intelligence Services Act 1994 Warrant, all of which need to have been signed by a Secretary of State, usually but not necessarily always, the Foreign Secretary for GCHQ.
However, if the Wilson Doctrine remains in force and since there has been no statement to Parliament saying that circumstances are such that it no longer applies wholly or in part, no Secretary of State can have signed any such Warrant or Certificate authorising snooping on Parliamentary constituency emails.
So who is lying and how should they be punished ?
Resist the newspeak - "collection" is really interception
Neither the public , nor Parliamentarians nor the press and media should allow themselves to be fouled by any attempt to use the the weasel worded Orwellian newspeak which the National Security Agency and the Obama government in the USA have tried.
They have tried to pretend that "collection" of the contents of emails is somehow not "interception" until a human analyst reads it, rather than an automated system. By that false logic,no crime is committed if someone plants a computer virus or hacks into a system and copies your credit card or internet bank details and passwords, until they actually read them and use them
There are other dangers to our freedom and liberty if securocrats are allowed to get away with such evasion about automated data trawling, especially if they decide to automatically share the results to travel or financial blacklist databases or even to automated robotic killing machines like missile armed drones, without any human intervention and sanity checking.