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UK Proposing Real-Time Monitoring of All Communications 145

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the good-day-to-bury-bad-news dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In response to a plans to introduce real time monitoring of all UK Internet communications, a petition has been set up in opposition." Previously covered here, El Reg chimes in with a bit of conspiracy theorizing and further analysis: "It would appear that the story is being managed: the government is looking to make sure that CCDP is an old news story well ahead of the Queen's Speech to Parliament on 9 May. Sundays — especially Sunday April the 1st — are good days to have potentially unpopular news reach the population at large."
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UK Proposing Real-Time Monitoring of All Communications

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  • Brilliant! (Score:5, Funny)

    by defnoz (1128875) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:05AM (#39557593)
    An e-petition! Brilliant! Since their inception a few years ago they have revolutionised democracy!
    • Re:Brilliant! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spad (470073) <slashdot@@@spad...co...uk> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:18AM (#39557641) Homepage

      They allow the government to precisely target which sections of the population to ignore.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "And what are you going to do about it? Vote Labour? Hahahahahaha" - AC predicts the response from the Conservative leadership.

      • by Canazza (1428553)

        No! We're going to vote Lib De... oh wait.

        • by Pax681 (1002592)
          well in Scotland we voted a resounding SNP majority and then in 2014 we are going to vote for independence
          especially after cash fort access moron [url=http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/4704-the-cruddas-story-anonymity-and-bbc-scotlands-political-news-agenda]Peter Crud-Arse[/url] [url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-17574289]said[/url] [url=http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/scotland/scottish-independence-peter-cruddas-tape-reveals-pm-was-advised-to-be-se
    • Re:Brilliant! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 6Yankee (597075) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:57AM (#39558181)

      An e-petition against having my email monitored, but to sign it I have to give the government my name and email address. As far as I can tell, they don't want a Facebook password though. Yet.

      • Re:Brilliant! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @07:21AM (#39558277) Homepage

        As far as I can tell, they don't want a Facebook password though. Yet.

        Don't worry, they've already got it.

      • by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @07:31AM (#39558341) Journal
        I said something similar to my MP yesterday whilst using writetothem.com. It too forces you to give up your email address.

        "I sincerely hope I can trust you with my email address", my letter started.

        Justin Tomlinson (MP) is actually one of the good ones, even for a Tory. He turns up for meetings, doesn't claim for first class travel, always votes.

        Wait, I'm praising an MP for doing his job. Ignore me, I must be ill.
        • Some do (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @08:31AM (#39558677)
          Like the American political system, there are good guys and bad guys. However, they do not split along party lines. As an old lefty it annoys me that I have to approve strongly of people like Tomlinson, David Davis, John Bercow and Geoffrey Bacon (all Conservatives) while maintaining a deep loathing for most of the Labour leadership. But that's real life: people's standards of behaviour and their expressed opinions are often at variance.
          • by Dondoet (2199592)
            I would like David Davis, but he's apparently a climate change skeptic.
            • by lgw (121541)

              Surely in this day and age you can bring yourself to vote for a man who does not share your religion?

      • by iangoldby (552781)

        I signed the petition.

        I'm willing to put my head above the parapet. I hope you will be too.

  • BBC Q and A session (Score:5, Informative)

    by dredwerker (757816) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:11AM (#39557619)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17590363 [bbc.co.uk]

    What do critics say?

    Nick Pickles, director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, called the move "an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran". Conservative MP Dominic Raab said it was "a plan to privatise Big Brother surveillance" which "fundamentally changes the nature of the relationship between the state and the citizen" and turns every individual "into a suspect". Fellow Tory David Davis warned that until now anyone wishing to monitor communications had been required to gain permission from a magistrate, but the planned changes would remove that protection.

    What do internet service providers say?

    Trefor Davies, a board member at the UK's Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), told the BBC that the technological challenge of collating and storing such vast levels of data would be huge. Although a large amount of data about us is already collected for billing and other purposes - such as who we call and when - ISPs do not currently store detailed data on what websites we visit, or details about the emails we send. Mr Davies said: "The email stuff isn't straight forward, and neither is the web. Those aren't bits of information that traditionally we keep. We don't keep backups of deleted emails. Think of all the spam people get," Mr Davies added. "We delete it, but under the new rules would we be allowed to?"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The problem they have for someone running their own TLS enabled mail server and reading their email via imaps or ssh is that this warrantless interception will not work. So it's basically for petty nanny state style spying on peoples private, everyday business.

      That is, it's useless for it's stated purpose and useful for arseholes in local government (who we know will eventually have access) to harrass taxpayers. Naturally government will sell access to private concerns.

      No justification for it whatsoever.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Easy, they just ban the encryption altogether. You have nothing to hide right? Easy cheap solutions, remember? Make the sheep pay for their own surveillance/persecution is the best way, it does not cost anything! They are doing it to themselves, muhahahaha!
      • by Anonymous Coward

        TLS and imaps is based on certificates and most western governments have the ability to create their own certificates for any site. MIM would be perfectly plausible since most browsers and email clients will not complain when a certificate is changed to a new valid one.

        SSH is different however since the client starts screaming about changed fingerprints when someone tries to MIM the connection (though they could possibly force the SSH server provider to hand over their private keys and apply a MIM attack an

        • by gazbo (517111)
          If you're running your own mail server, YOU get to choose what CAs you trust. If you want to do something nefarious, you only trust the one that you and your terrorpedo cohorts set up.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Mr Davies said: "The email stuff isn't straight forward, and neither is the web. Those aren't bits of information that traditionally we keep. We don't keep backups of deleted emails. Think of all the spam people get," Mr Davies added. "We delete it, but under the new rules would we be allowed to?"

      I honestly don't know how politics is in the UK, but in America I think the costs associated with forcing ISPs to save the entire internet in its every iteration would result in quite a lot of ISPs lobbying against shit like this.

      Now, if it were up to the ISP's discretion as to what they want to save (Hello the bullshit that will be July 1st) or if the government subsidized a load of their costs, I can see ISPs going for it, but just saying "spend a shitton of money OR ELSE" legislation seems unlikely to su

      • by dkf (304284) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @05:42AM (#39557933) Homepage

        I honestly don't know how politics is in the UK, but in America I think the costs associated with forcing ISPs to save the entire internet in its every iteration would result in quite a lot of ISPs lobbying against shit like this.

        You'd do well to assume that things are relatively similar here. Margins in the ISP business are thin.

        Now, if it were up to the ISP's discretion as to what they want to save (Hello the bullshit that will be July 1st) or if the government subsidized a load of their costs, I can see ISPs going for it, but just saying "spend a shitton of money OR ELSE" legislation seems unlikely to survive.

        Right now, it's mainly a kite that's being flown by the spooks. They'll run into problems over funding it and from the privacy advocates too. (There was a Tory blathering on about how unacceptable it was on the radio this morning; I turned it off because he sounded like an annoying git, even if he had a point on this matter. Wanting to punch someone in the face before starting your morning commute isn't healthy!)

        Of course, if this does get implemented (a sad day if it comes to pass) then it becomes important for all spam headers to be sent on as well, including all the stuff that a responsible ISP would normally filter. Ideally, it should all go to the same Exchange server that all their internal messages are hosted on. After all, Exchange is an enterprise-ready solution! ;-)

      • by julesh (229690)

        Now, if it were up to the ISP's discretion as to what they want to save (Hello the bullshit that will be July 1st) or if the government subsidized a load of their costs, I can see ISPs going for it

        You're describing basically the situation as it is now. Most of the UK's ISPs adhere to a voluntary code of conduct where they keep logs of web requests for 3 days and email "traffic information" for 3 months, and will reveal it with a court order. They do this because the government offered to pay their reasonable expenses in implementing the system. If the government were offering to pay for this extension of the monitoring, then the ISPs would mostly be quite happy with it. But something tells me tha

    • You require people by law to retain all comm for N years on their own machines at their own expense. You require them by law to install a tool which indexes and reports the info back to the command center. You make versions available for Windows and Mac.

      Then you just imprison anyone who doesn't comply (terrorists). Problem solved.

      • You require people by law to retain all comm for N years on their own machines at their own expense. You require them by law to install a tool which indexes and reports the info back to the command center. You make versions available for Windows and Mac.

        Then you just imprison anyone who doesn't comply (terrorists). Problem solved.

        What about linux? ;) You are now a terrorist if you have linux or some other operating system.

    • by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:45AM (#39558143) Journal
      What does the general population say?

      Read "All comments" on there. Filter the highest first, then the lowest first. The modding is unual on there - I had a +17 (insightful!!!) yesterday, but I can't even find my post today (clearing history is not always a good idea).

      People get it. The majority understand exactly what's happening. They have read some history and know the Stasi quotes, the American interment, the whole shitbag.

      The UK goverment has been a real twat over the past few weeks. Taxing the elderly more, taxing warm food, letting the rich off tax, phone hacking(!!) scandal, petrol panic buying, cash for policies and more. We've all had enough of it.

      I'll leaving you with one quote from our delightful Prime Minister. He said this last week after helping his rich elite besties over dinner:

      "I live in a little flat, a very nice flat, actually, above number 11 Downing Street up there. But what I get up to in there, that's private."

      Private.

      What a fucking twat.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Time to move... but to where?

    • SEALAND!!

      Oh...wait...
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Nope. Time to protest just before the Queen's Speech. Make sure this is headline news.

    • by mSparks43 (757109)

      I'm confused.

      Why are they pretending they can't and aren't doing all this already?

      • by sixtyeight (844265) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @05:21AM (#39557881)

        I'm confused.

        Why are they pretending they can't and aren't doing all this already?

        Because to do it in secret means they have peoples' information.

        But to be able to act upon it systematically, they must publicly admit that they do it. Hence, "We're going to start doing [foo]".

        They can also pick up Governmental Power-Up Bonuses from it because the citizens will become too intimidated to dissent once they've implemented it openly.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mSparks43 (757109)

          They can also pick up Governmental Power-Up Bonuses from it because the citizens will become too intimidated to dissent once they've implemented it openly.

          If that is what they were thinking I reckon they will get something of a shock. There is no better way to militarise subversives than to actually threaten them.

          • by sixtyeight (844265) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:29AM (#39558091)

            Kidding me? The Empire's been suppressing dissenters and subversives for centuries. Where do you think the Punk movement came from? You take the poorest people who are on the dole, you get them to network together to become an astroturf movement [wikipedia.org]. As proof, you make the trappings of the movement thoroughly degrading and abusive (just like the more official representatives of The System are). And you bribe the more knowing and corrupt people within the scene to report dissidents back to you, at which point they "coincidentally" get arrested for whatever forms of vice or minor crimes they partake of with your agents. Deep cover can be had on the cheap, when everyone involved is on welfare to start with.

            At that point, good luck forming a subversive network when you never know who's a sell-out. Sort of like the cloak-and-dagger sell-out kids planted within the Occupy movement, that have been spotted on YouTube.

      • Why are they pretending they can't and aren't doing all this already?

        The answer to your question read literally, is because all governments are terrified of the People - and rightly so.

        But at this point, they evidently feel that they've managed enough bluff and bluster and control to turn the screws on them, with only negligible resistance.

        • by mikael (484)

          Typical Marxist strategy is to have so many rules, regulations, by-laws and other bits of legislation that at any time someone is always breaking something. Then they can drag any opponent through the courts, give them a criminal record as well as confiscate their property.

          Look up the lyrics to "The Ostrich" by Steppenwolf.

          • by Ash Vince (602485)

            Typical Marxist strategy is to have so many rules, regulations, by-laws and other bits of legislation that at any time someone is always breaking something. Then they can drag any opponent through the courts, give them a criminal record as well as confiscate their property.

            Look up the lyrics to "The Ostrich" by Steppenwolf.

            Not sure why this counts as Marxist, I am fairly sure Marx did not come up with this as a good way of running society.

            It does sound very similar to the UK legal system though as we do have a series of law saying the many things we cannot do, but no bill of rights to say the things we can do.

            • Marx wanted the State to "wither away". He believed that if people were sufficiently educated and brought up to understand the idea of community, there would be no need for a State. Take away the "educated" and the "community" and you have the US Republican far right.

              However, in reality this is all a bit paranoid. Most of this is the Praetorian Guard of MI5, the Home Office and the Met panicking about how they can protect themselves and their political masters from the London mobs, of any creed or colour yo

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Not Marxixt, authoritarianist. The facists are just as bad as the communists in this regard. You think Italy had freedom under Mussolini?

            Look up the lyrics to Steppenwolf's "Monster".

            • by mikael (484)

              I'll agree with that. Whatever British political party is in power, they always want more surveillance. Which political party is out of power, they will oppose the introduction of new powers.

              It's been like that since the 1980's at least. They used to comment in Usenet that the British public were like frogs being boiled slowly. They wouldn't notice the slow erosion of their rights until it was too late.

    • Re:Where to move to? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sixtyeight (844265) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:50AM (#39557783)

      Time to move... but to where?

      Stay right where you are, and start a social movement. Governments aren't land masses; they can only exist by the consent of the governed. If things get bad enough, joining such a group would become a no-brainer and you'd have de facto government reform by a collective choice from all the citizenry. They'd just pick a form of government, select their political representatives, start making policy and wait for support for the old regime to fall away entirely.

      It's more or less what BitCoin is doing to the old dominate-through-control-of-the-money-supply regime.

      The People always have a choice - that's just the nature of politics. The problem has only been that the choices the People have been making have been in support of the old guard.

      Posit: The War for Independence never ended, they just quit shooting. Britain started using bribery on public officials and began to chip away at the society that had formed, until the Union was indistinguishable from the tyranny that it left. The point was to get them to stop making their argument for individual sovereignty; if they'd kept making it, it would have spread back to England where large swaths of the folks there would have been demanding it. Britain would have lost a lot more than a few colonies, because it was a very sound idea. Valid ideas are always a threat to tyrants, and sometimes the best way to stop people from making their argument for them is to let them think they've already won.

      Your concept about running out of continents to go off and colonize is quite right. It's time to stop running. The only other alternative is to just roll over, close your eyes and er... "think of England".

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:43AM (#39558135) Journal

        It's more or less what BitCoin is doing to the old dominate-through-control-of-the-money-supply regime.

        You mean, it will be used by organised crime, totally unworkable on a large scale, and ignored by anyone with any influence?

        • by xtal (49134)

          Sounds like a description of drug prohibition. :)

        • It's more or less what BitCoin is doing to the old dominate-through-control-of-the-money-supply regime.

          You mean, it will be used by organised crime, totally unworkable on a large scale, and ignored by anyone with any influence?

          No, I mean it will gradually and meekly attain a large a large demographic following because it's fairer than the existing system, while a concerted effort is made by the status quo to demonize and denounce it whenever they must discuss it at all. See also, Ron Paul's presidential campaign.

      • by dintech (998802)

        Stay right where you are, and start a social movement.

        It's not just Assad in Syria that calls that kind of thing "terrorism".

        • Stay right where you are, and start a social movement.

          It's not just Assad in Syria that calls that kind of thing "terrorism".

          No argument there. Governments call it that all the time. However, that only underscores their illegitimacy.

          That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

          When a government struggles to demonize the very rights guaranteed by the documents that created it, there really isn't an argument left to make for keeping it.

          What, did you honestly imagine that we were meant to wait for permission from our government to reform it?

  • I have a proposal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:15AM (#39557633) Homepage Journal

    Of-course this proposal concerns all those, who are concerned about the real-time communications of everybody.

    The proposal is this: all of those, who are so concerned about the real time communications and all other forms of communications and thoughts and actions of other people, the concerned need to be protected.

    The proposal is to protect those, who are so afraid and are looking for protection, because obviously, there will never be enough done, in their eyes, to protect them. Clearly real time monitoring of all communications is not enough. Eventually everybody will have to have devices built into them, that can monitor everybody's real-time activities, and eventually read their real time thoughts with the long term goal of projecting thoughts in real time into everybody, so that nobody could ever even think something that the concerned individuals would be afraid of.

    So the proposal is to protect these poor souls from the rest of us by isolating them into a well guarded facility, where they could really have real time monitoring of all communications that are internal to that facility and monitor each other (I suppose they are paranoid enough to want to do that).

    For those, who believe it is not enough protection, they should be isolated within that facility from the rest in well suited, very well protected rooms (and they should have extra set of locks they could use from the inside), and all of them need to be given all sorts of weapons they need to keep safe as well.

    I believe it is at the point right now, where those, who believe they are in need of protection and will not stop until everybody is a mechanised food processor without any original thoughts, that these people need to get the protection they so desire so that the rest of us can carry on, having terrible thoughts and killing each other they way we do - left, right and centre.

  • Coming to a pub near you!

  • Beyond privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:36AM (#39557719) Journal

    Western countries have an interesting dilemma, how do you reconcile an open world with any form of control. The issue is this, people have gained an unprecedented amount of freedom to travel and communicate. Take the recent French shootings, the terrorist had traveled all over the world with ease at a very low cost. This simply wouldn't have been possible a century ago and even 50 years ago it would have been costly. Mean time, during all those travels he was in constant contact with the rest of the world in an instant.

    It means that those who wish to do wrong have far more capacity to do so then before.

    There is a relatively new BBC program "Angels and Saints" that takes a look at benefit fraud. It is an odd program for the BBC as it shows a very negative picture of immigrants. (BBC is rather liberal usually) A lot of the criminals in it are immigrants, either permanent or temporary, using the ease of travel and communication to create multiple identities. The way to combat is to link all the different administations together and run matches across them to see that a person with the same parameters is getting benefits in multiple places. PRIVACY!

    There are three solutions:

    • No benefits, since someone might abuse it, nobody gets it.
    • You accept that in a permissive society, there will be abusers but that is a price you are willing to pay.
    • You introduce measures to allow investigators to detect abusers at the cost of privacy to everyone.

    Pick one. All of them are electoral suicide. The first would just lead to a hellish world in which out of control capitalism would be warm fuzzy memory. The second survives right up until the moment the tax man comes around (and gosh, won't it be hard to collect all the needed taxes to pay for all the abusers if the taxman has no investigative powers)

    And three... well that is what this article is about and it doesn't seem to popular.

    Greece has run with the number 2 option and it didn't and doesn't work. They have been on the dole for generations and the rest of Europe has grown tired of feeding their relaxed nature to tax collection.

    How do you run a modern country western country anyway? Note that in EVERY single god game, taxes just show up by magic. Not a single game I ever played ever had the population lying about their income. Imagine Civilization with a Greek setting, build a granary, food production mysteriously drops while some fat cats get richer. Would be rather hard to win the game right?

    • Re:Beyond privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jez9999 (618189) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:48AM (#39557775) Homepage Journal

      (BBC is rather liberal usually)

      Except when it comes to the drug war, the monarchy, police powers, free speech...

      • Re:Beyond privacy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by WillHirsch (2511496) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:12AM (#39558035)
        The BBC's approach to neutrality is generally to take the status quo, incumbent position or majority view, whichever exists in this order, and to present it with counterpoints. This inevitably gives a perception of bias in whichever areas you're most opposed to the prevailing position, but you try coming up with a fairer way than that to discuss things. Of course they don't do a perfect job but it's hard to think of any of their peers that even comes close.
        • by gman003 (1693318)

          Agreed. I'm an *American*, and I listen to the BBC far more than any of my own news services. *Especially* for American politics - they don't seem to have an agenda they're pushing, unlike Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and whichever other ones I forgot.

          The only downside is a constant slightly-condescending tone. You could probably end each report on the US elections with "Silly Americans, thinking they know how to form a system of government." and it would fit perfectly.

          Curiously, Xinhua, the government-sponsored Chines

          • by Raenex (947668)

            I'm an *American*, and I listen to the BBC far more than any of my own news services. *Especially* for American politics - they don't seem to have an agenda they're pushing, unlike Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and whichever other ones I forgot.

            NPR is pretty balanced when it comes to presenting issues, though there is a clear undercurrent of liberal bias.

    • Re:Beyond privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever.nerdshack@com> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:58AM (#39557805)
      Bit of a false dichotomy going on here. There is a lot of continuum between "no benefits after the first person steals a twinkie" and "removing benefits from proven abusers," between "lie on your tax forms with impunity" and permitting certain abuses to the extent that attacking them has negative cost-benefit ratio, and between "allowing investigators to invade anyone's privacy at a whim" and "not allowing investigators to do anything."

      The way to properly run a modern western country is, as usual, a compromise between privacy and the need to investigate fraud and crime. Between social safety nets and not rewarding failure. Between openness and fighting abusers.

      Anyone who claims to have a simple answer to a question so vast either a lying charlatan or a fool for believing such an obvious lie.
    • by mapkinase (958129)

      >with "any" form of control

      Here is your problem buddy. You pose absolute question, all or none. How about a grain of common sense?

      That's the part that has been missing from Western democracy for ages, and you just noticed the attack on privacy?

      • The west is ruled by democracy and for the UK and the US at least that has resulted in a two party system (oh okay, the brits got the liberals) who seem to be fighting each other as if there are only absolutes.

        Anyway, what is common sense? We can't even agree on a common sense maximum speed limit, how do you agree on a common sense level of privacy? Or is what you really mean "My sense"?

        Another poster above also talks about common sense as if that is so simple. The moment it affects YOU, common sense goes o

    • This is a straw man argument. You present the solutions as if there are no other options. The real problem with No 3 is that it fundamentally changes democratic freedoms in a way that makes it very easy to slip into a dictatorship. When those with the reigns of power have the ability to silence its critics then it is only a matter of time before they are abused. I agree that this is a hard problem to solve, but if your number 3 is the route to follow then a further step is needed. In order to maintain de
    • Complain as you like about the BBC but count yourself lucky, their news coverage is better than most of the cruft here in the US. Their world news is far outstrips most if not all US new sources, and the coverage of the US is by far more in depth and less editorialized than our new sources. About the only place they lack is in their local US coverage but then I wouldn't expect them to cover that which is why I get my local paper.
      • I wish I had mod points to give you on this.

        I know it's in style currently to slam Fox News, but if one takes a good look at ALL the US news sources, there is far too much editorialization of stories to bring the "wow" factor. Unfortunately your average person picks the news "side" that they agree with, then take all of their words as gospel, instead of actually seeing the huge amount of opinion and hyperbole written into the stories.

        BBC is not innocent of this, but they at least seem to be less guilt
        • As I don't live in the UK I don't know how much editorializing the BBC does for "local" stories (I don't really bother reading the UK section unless there is a story that peeks my interest) but as they don't have a horse in the race here they tend to be more objective in their reporting. I actually don't have a problem with editorials so long as they are presented as being opinion pieces (I love to read Mardell's America) and not hard news but most us new has more editorial than news even in news stories, e
    • Note that in EVERY single god game, taxes just show up by magic... Imagine Civilization with a Greek setting, build a granary, food production mysteriously drops while some fat cats get richer. Would be rather hard to win the game right?

      Pure gold.

      Now, seriously, maybe a biometrical solution would be enough? Not every lose of privacy is bad or unacceptable: I just have an issue with i if other people can tell what I do or where I'm going. I would certainly give my biometrical data away if it helps me prove I am me.

  • This is part one. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by naich (781425) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:46AM (#39557767) Homepage

    This is part one of the process of introducing a draconian and unpopular new law. First you come up with something completely over the top and unacceptable. Then, over a few months you water it down here and there, chopping little bits, amending others, until you end up with something that is draconian and unpopular. But it'll be accepted because it's not as bad as the original plan which, by then, will be falsely seen as the alternative. It's a flaw in human logical thought that has been exploited by politicians since they first crawled out of the sewer.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Yes for generations the political class where told not to harm the mastery of quality info - from pre ww2 Soviet embassy codes, ww2 German codes, post ww2 global SIGINT.
      Just let it flow and plan. No court, media, books, public spy ring trials- just sell the world cheap information technology and enjoy been one of the best with breaking, sorting and understanding.
      Now the old problem of "we can use this in court" seems to have finally won over in the UK.
      People will slowly feel they live in some 1960's War
    • by aiht (1017790)

      This is part one of the process of introducing a draconian and unpopular new law. First you come up with something completely over the top and unacceptable. Then, over a few months you water it down here and there, chopping little bits, amending others, until you end up with something that is draconian and unpopular. But it'll be accepted because it's not as bad as the original plan which, by then, will be falsely seen as the alternative. It's a flaw in human logical thought that has been exploited by politicians since they first crawled out of the sewer.

      Politicians crawled out of the sewer? When did that happen? I guess the poor lawyers are on their own now.

      • by Ash Vince (602485)

        Politicians crawled out of the sewer? When did that happen?

        When the UK stopped paying for the politicians second homes unless they actually lived in them? They stopped renting them out and moved out of the sewers then I think :)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd be in a constant state of fear if I knew that every time I wanted to simply read some material relating to alternative political views about distant and not so distant places and mentally keep up and refresh my skills from the times of the service, I would be logged in some system producing a probabilistic estimate of my level of radicalization resulting an automatic denial of employment. I would be feel the same for others even if I wasn't the one wanting to read the alternative political viewpoints.

    • by scsirob (246572)

      You do know what the people behind this kind of legislation would say when you are in this state of mind?

      Indeed. "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @05:26AM (#39557901)

    The point is to initially study who people are talking to, right? That can be used to determine (un)reasonable suspicion. Random thought:

    What if, say, hundreds of thousands of people were to sign up to a single service. Each day they posted their messages to that service, plus some garbage, to make a nice constant number of daily "posts". Each day everyone downloaded ALL messages posted to that service. The messages are, of course, each encrypted for the intended recipient, and people never download individual public keys - only everyone's or no-one's.

    When a computer has downloaded the message batch, it tries to decrypt all of them, but will only be successful with messages actually intended for the recipient.

    1) Is this already used?

    2) If not, is this technically feasible?

    3) I am assuming that a man in authority would be able to listen to all network communications or retrieve all server content and logs. Will it be possible for them to establish who was communicating to whom?

    I understand that there are other options which rely on obfuscating routing between particular destinations. This method relies on not having any routing at all - more like listening to a daily broadcast in the style of the old "numbers stations".

    So the system must enforce a service user's lack of choice on what to download and whether to upload (even if you just upload garbage). Anyone reading IPs in a similar "broadcast" service's access logs (e.g. Twitter) will have a good idea who is receiving what - which I think is what this law is taking advantage of(*) - but what if the service's logs were open for all to see, law enforcement or otherwise, because the logs revealed nothing useful?

    The practical questions would be concerning whether the idea scales, i.e.

    1) how many messages can everyone download at regular intervals (multicast?) before there'd be a need to split the batches?

    2) is it feasible to attempt (part) decryption of all these messages to identify which are for you?

    (*) The proposed law isn't afaict demanding warrantless "wiretapping" (i.e. of content), but denying privacy of association. This seems to be the route the EU has tried to go down, and mirrors recent legislation in Canada.

    Thoughts?

    • by MrKaos (858439)
      This is an interesting idea. ahhh for some mod points
    • by coofercat (719737)

      I've always wondered if we couldn't just build up a network of "trusted VPNs". That is, let's say I'm running a mail server and I want to send an email to a Yahoo mail account. I set up a private VPN to Yahoo, send my message, and then tear down the VPN (or leave it open for a period of time, I guess). Then, when I want to talk to someone I don't know, I can either setup an untrusted VPN, or else send in the clear, or else pause and wait for me to exchange keys with the remote and do it securely.

      Originally

    • by biodata (1981610)
      A couple of limiting factors seem to be bandwidth (do you really want to pay to download the whole world's interpersonal communications all the time?), and processing power (do you really want to pay for a computer to decrypt all said traffic all the time?).

      In the old days ISTR there was a company which proposed broadcasting all of usenet as a satellite feed. Maybe broadcast might be a way to go - the bandwidth is only paid for once (by the transmitter), and you might imagine a dedicated hardware stack to

    • What if, say, hundreds of thousands of people were to sign up to a single service. Each day they posted their messages to that service, plus some garbage, to make a nice constant number of daily "posts".

      You mean like Facebook? ;-)

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:13AM (#39558037) Journal
    See the guys with the British accents *are* the bad guys.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:26AM (#39558085)

    They *already* obtain the records of internet sites visited, phone calls made, and location.

    What Theresa May is doing is requiring that the ISP's index all this stuff ready for searching in a distributed database. Once that is done, it is then a simply matter to run queries against that. The upfront cost has already been paid, it then becomes difficult to justify NOT using something that has been paid for.

    Warrants are not needed under RIPA (or rather a request for info from a senior officer is renamed a 'warrant'), they just ask for it. Since there are > 3 million queries under this supposed anti-terror law, it is being misused. With the real time queries, it will be seriously abused.

    None of the people whose data is indexed have a suspicion at that stage against them. This pre-criminalizes people in order to justify the surveillance.

    Already the police are the bigger than the courts, bigger than the political system. It's so bad that we can't even freely discuss the details of this up-coming law. Cameron is a coward, he's backed down on every issue related to the police, he's scared of them and it shows.

  • No not the "English" real-time monitoring...

    But us Scots wanting independence!!

    The bloody referendum can't come quick enough!!!

    • by Colin Smith (2679)

      There's still oil. You're not getting independence.

    • by itsdapead (734413)

      But us Scots wanting independence!!

      Can the rest of England join you please? The people left behind in London should be OK - what with all those nice velodromes and swimming pools they've been building - they could always plant potatoes in the long-jump pits. A few years ago I'd have said that we needed the money generated by the City, but these days they seem like more of a liability than an asset. Just make sure that the wall goes up while Parliament is sitting (preferably debating their next pay rise or expenses package, so they all turn

      • Most Londoners would like to join the new country of Southern Scotland as well please ...they didn't vote for the current Government ...

        • by itsdapead (734413)

          Most Londoners would like to join the new country of Southern Scotland as well please ...they didn't vote for the current Government ...

          Nobody voted for the current government: they either voted for the Conservatives or the Lib Dems, not for a coalition which combines the social conscience of the Tories with the experience and fiscal prudence of the Lib Dems.

  • by Coppit (2441)

    Everyone knows that in order to spy on every conversation there is, you just do it. You don't need any legal basis. Instead you claim your executive authority to protect the people from terrorists. If a whistleblower or leaker reveals what's going on, you tell The People about how you're listening to conversations involving The Terrorists -- being very careful to never say "only The Terrorists". That will placate the people, while you ram through the laws needed to make your actions legal, which is easy sin

  • by amoeba1911 (978485) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:43AM (#39559237) Homepage

    I see it this way: They keep knocking at your door trying to knock it down. It's not that you're doing anything illegal, you just don't want government in your living room while you're courting your wife. But they keep knocking and you tell them not to enter but they continue knocking. All it takes is one moment of distraction and you will be distracted long enough for them to barge and start monitoring for illegal activities.

    It's an invasion of privacy, what you do in your private quarters is your business. Your communications with a third party is private between you and the third party. The government has no business trying to get pry itself into your privacy unless they are charging you with a crime.

    A government needs to fear its people, not the other way around. The government needs to be punished for knocking and asking for this. You wouldn't let your government get away with trying to pass a law legalizing prima nocta, yet they try to pass this sort of invasion of privacy and all we do is give them a light slap on the wrist and say "no, not now". There needs to be stronger repercussions for this type of deviant behavior.

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