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UK Gov't Proposes Massive Internet Snooping, Data Storage

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the ofsted-is-spooky dept.

Privacy 342

Barence writes "Big Brother Britain moved a step further today with the news that the Government will store 'a billion incidents of data exchange a day' as details of every text, email and browsing session in the UK are recorded. Under new proposals published yesterday, the information will be made available to police forces in order to crack down on serious crime, but will also be accessible by local councils, health authorities and even Ofsted and the Post Office. The Conservatives have criticised the idea, with the Shadow Home Secretary saying, 'yet again the Government has proved itself unable to resist the temptation to take a power quite properly designed to combat terrorism to snoop on the lives of ordinary people in everyday circumstances.'"

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I Hate British People (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591191)

Fuck you asshole Brits.

You look down your nose at me while I shove my cock in your girlfriends mouth.

USA! USA!

Re:I Hate British People (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591773)

That's OK, we hate ourselves, too. That's one of our characteristics. In fact, I'm hating myself even for thinking this, let alone typing it in and posting it.

ISP Tape Storage (2, Funny)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591195)

"Hackers of the world unite... HACK THE PANET!"... 'nuff said?

Where's the CdC when you need them?

Re:ISP Tape Storage (4, Interesting)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591325)

I wonder what would happen if somebody decided to record and archive all "incidents of data exchange" on the UK government's end, and then make that data publicly available?

I mean, obviously you'd want to avoid getting the public's data that the government is recording, otherwise they'd probably record you recording their records, and the feed back loop would cause BT workers to commit sepuku. On the other hand, would that be a bad thing?

Re:ISP Tape Storage (3, Interesting)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591589)

"I wonder what would happen if somebody decided to record and archive all "incidents of data exchange" on the UK government's end, and then make that data publicly available?"

This will include an awful lot of banking data. The most interesting banking data is doubtless that connected to gov't officials. ;)

Re:ISP Tape Storage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591637)

Ha!

I've always wanted to legitimately post this and now I can.

[clears throat]

I work for BT you insensitive clod!

Re:ISP Tape Storage (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24592135)

They'd probably just arrest you as a terrorist.

Open source it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591357)

Seriously, though, if you want to solve the problems of government intrusion, you gotta open source the government [metagovernment.org] .

The project is already underway, and they are looking for more programmers [djangogigs.com] to help.

Re:Open source it (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591617)

Seriously, though, if you want to solve the problems of government intrusion, you gotta open source the government.

To make any significant change to the deeper power structures of any large government you need a revolution. People in positions of global scale aren't going to give up that power just because you have a lot of signatures on a petition. You cannot vote high ranking bureaucrats and lobbyists out of power. But for ordinary citizens to attempt to use force to uproot those currently in positions of power would require them to be "terrorists" (gasp!) The only way to take down a large modern government without warfare is to wait for it to collapse under it's own bloated weight like the USSR did.

Re:Open source it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24592151)

Read the linked website [metagovernment.org] . They are not asking permission from existing governments, nor are they revolting. Instead, they are just creating new governments starting with the "governments" of small groups of people like clubs and teams; then seeing where it goes.

Sounds to me like an awesome way to let the internet evolve a new governing mechanism for all of us.

encryption (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591213)

use it. it won't be long before every communication is encrypted and signed

Re:encryption (-1, Troll)

phillips321 (955784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591259)

Safest way to not get caught doing anything is to not do it!
Or just connect to your neighbour's wifi :-)

Re:encryption (1)

inzy (1095415) | more than 6 years ago | (#24592013)

Safest way to not get caught doing anything is to not do it!

Or just connect to your neighbour's wifi :-)

of course, there's no possibility whatsoever for abuse of power here is there? or for someone to make a mistake and arrest me for doing something unusual but legal?

so, no. i'll keep my privacy and not have to justify it

Re:encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591385)

Code breaking 128 bit encryption is nothing more than a math problem, with a network of computers fast enough it is possible to decrypt the data using every possible encrypt key.
--
Apply directly to the forehead [youtube.com]

Re:encryption (5, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591451)

with a network of computers fast enough it is possible to decrypt the data using every possible encrypt key.

Even if that network were available today, and even if you didn't have the option of using a longer key, encrypting would still be a good idea. "A network of computers fast enough" is not free. Why not add to your enemies' expenses, especially when it costs you nearly nothing? This is an arms race that you can win. And if everyone does it, everyone wins (except the bad guy).

Re:encryption (3, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591529)

It costs them very little to hold a gun to your head and demand "Hand over the encryption keys."

Why do things the hard way when the easy way generates so much more fear in the sheep?

Re:encryption (5, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591729)

It costs them very little to hold a gun to your head and demand "Hand over the encryption keys."

I wouldn't be surprised if encryption starts becoming the norm, that all encryption keys will be required to be registered with the government. Unregistered encryption will be illegal and the public will applaud as the government sends the men with guns to drag you away, because you will be a "dangerous criminal with suspected connections to child porn and stolen credit card numbers" *
* This is how it will show up on your local Evening News.

Re:encryption (3, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591807)

fine do it. i'll give you my duress key and all you'll get is happy spans from my family holiday and a bunch of annoying hiku's i wrote.

modern encryption is robust enough to deal with anything you want to throw at me. the idea that you could compute my 27 character long pass phrase is stupid as well.

Re:encryption (1)

jinxidoru (743428) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591949)

It costs them very little to hold a gun to your head and demand "Hand over the encryption keys."

It actually costs quite a bit to do something like this. You really have to have people in your pocket to be able to pull off stuff like that. Seriously. What are they going to do once they have the gun to your head? Pull the trigger? That's when the real revolution begins. People will only accept so much.

I know that I'm going to be flamed by a bunch of libertarians by saying this, but how long ago was 1984 written? 24 years past the apocalypse and I'm still doing fine.

Re:encryption (1)

pentalive (449155) | more than 6 years ago | (#24592233)

I think it's already illegal to withold your encryption keys in england. I don't know what they do if you lie though.

Re:encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591619)

(except the bad guy).

--
Say the FBI raids a terrorist hideout and grabs a laptop with encrypted files on it. The only feasible way to decrypt the data today is to try every possible encrypt key, hoping that one will work. A small network of modern computers can try every possible 40-bit key in just a few weeks. But a technically advanced terrorist would be more likely to use 128-bit encryption. And cracking a single 128-bit key, even harnessing the power of every computer on the planet, could take thousands of billions of years. For all practical purposes, it's impossible to break such a code, because today's computers can only try one or a few keys at a time.

Re:encryption (5, Insightful)

geekgirlandrea (1148779) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591471)

Let me know when you finish building this network. It's going to be somewhat larger than the planet and will still take a few trillion years to do the job.

Re:encryption (1)

ijakings (982830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591833)

But imagine a Beowulf Cluster of these!

Ill get my coat.

Re:encryption (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591493)

To break 256-bit encryption you need about the same energy as is generated in supernova explosions.

Re:encryption (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#24592097)

To break 256-bit encryption you need about the same energy as is generated in supernova explosions.

To which the government will respond "Ok, how do we generate one of these supernova explosion things?"

Re:encryption (2, Insightful)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591507)

Maybe so, but with the amount of data they're talking about, you'd need more than a couple of beowulf clusters to get the encrypted data processed in any reasonable amount of time. Data collected will be measured in terabytes, and even if ten percent of that is encrypted traffic, the encrypted bits will take either a lot of equipment or a lot of time.

Re:encryption (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591665)

Theoretically, breaking ANY encryption (except properly used one time pads) is nothing more than a math problem. That does not mean it is currently practical.

While 64-bit keys can be broken by specialized hardware (EFF's deep crack or the COPACOBANA) or distributed networks in a relatively short time, a 128 bit key is not merely twice as hard. It's 2^64 times as hard. Each additional bit doubles the keyspace, and thus the time (or processing power) required for a brute force search.

Even dealing with an exaflop of processing power, you'd be looking at estimated-age-of-the-universe timespans to break a 128-bit key. And encryption systems using larger keys are readily available.

Re:encryption - can't defeat UBE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591857)

Oh yeh?
I just so happen to use Peter Parkinson's Unbreakable Encryption program [bbc.co.uk] - you can read about it on that BBC link.
Nobody gonna read my personal details. He uses a 2048-bit key and it comes with a slick Windows interface - even works under Vista!

Re:encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591943)

But that will be costly.
Governments thrive on bureaucracy, and those bureaucracies thrive on budgets, ergo COST.
Why make it a free lunch if they steal your bloody freedom.

Re:encryption (5, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591623)

Encryption is no obstacle in Great Britain, home of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. If the authorities don't like anyone who uses encryption, they will simply demand the keys under RIP. If they don't like what they see or no key is provided, they will lock up the individuals concerned and throw away their own key, since the law essentially deems anyone using encryption guilty until proven innocent.

Re:encryption (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591865)

it's called a duress key. you give it to them and all they see is boring nonsense you want them to see. if that isn't enough then you never had a hope to begin with and you were going to jail no matter what so it's a moot point.

Re:encryption (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 6 years ago | (#24592055)

use it. it won't be long before every communication is encrypted and signed

The UK authorities are way ahead of you on that one. If you use encryption in the UK without giving your private key to the authorities, then you're already breaking the law.

Another good reason to encrypt your data. (5, Insightful)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591217)

Most network encryption methods might not be 100% bulletproof, but if more people did it, massive data collection projects like this would be a lot less worthwhile.

Re:Another good reason to encrypt your data. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591437)

...if more people did it, massive data collection projects like this would be a lot less worthwhile.

...until governments begin outlawing network encryption, that is.

I doubt it would happen (VPN's, SSL and such being big fat obvious reasons), but I could see a government or two requiring all encryption users to hand over copies of private keys and to register their encryption tools/mechanisms with the local police department.

/P

Re:Another good reason to encrypt your data. (4, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591495)

Doesn't Britain already have a law in place requiring you to hand over encryption keys on demand??

I see that as a very short hop from "on demand" to "as required by law for all encryption users".

Re:Another good reason to encrypt your data. (3, Funny)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591563)

**Sigh

I guess you'd have to start writing in code as well as using encryption then.

Hey, can someone snurf me a baloney kargel? I looked on the stardiffel and didn't see any kegels for it.

Re:Another good reason to encrypt your data. (2, Insightful)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591697)

But if _everyone_ is using encryption, how will they know what's worth looking at to demand the keys? Demanding keys from a large number of people will (hopefully) lead to a bit of resentment, which will of course force this to be repealed, in line with the demands of the populace. A bit like speed cameras,fuel tax, alcohol tax, and foxhunting...

Yeah I'll keep dreaming

Re:Another good reason to encrypt your data. (5, Insightful)

Brian the Bold (82101) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591797)

You're right, Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act does indeed allow for compulsion in dissemination of keys.

That's why it is important not to store anything sensitive in encrypted form, but to pass it about using methods where keys are ephemeral and are never in the possession of the person targeted. If intercepted data simply cannot be decrypted, the authorities will come to understand that they are unable to seize anything of value.

Perhaps this would be enough to get them down from their insane power trip and back to sensible levels of state vs individual power.

Re:Another good reason to encrypt your data. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591861)

How much use is that though for a protocol such as SSL or SSH where the encryption key isn't kept after the connection finishes and the user never knows the key used?

Re:Another good reason to encrypt your data. (3, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591677)

That's why I advocate people using PK even when they don't have a trust path to the recipient. Yes, they can MitM you (until you get around to a secure exchange -- and then you know that someone had been messing with you earlier) but you still kill cheap passive surveillance -- you're making them MitM you. If more people did that, Big Brother would be fucked.

Get on the Wot when you can. Until then, though, encrypt anyway. Get your key out there where we can all see it. Certing can wait.

Again? (5, Funny)

puppyfox (833883) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591227)

Dupe! Oh, maybe not. I thought the UK already spied on everything? And Australia censored everything? And the US tasered everyone? And Italy ate all the pasta?

Re:Again? (1)

witte (681163) | more than 6 years ago | (#24592033)

You forgot the evil Belgians.

Let Them Try (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591241)

Humans have an annoying tendency to save things.
We fear our own demise, and we seek permanence in our surroundings and possessions.

We do the same with data.

We create far more data than we will ever be able to manage. In principle, it's a horrible idea. In practice, it's unfeasible. The only thing this will result in is harassment and inconvenience for people when the data is leaked/stolen/hax0red.

The government is NOT watching everyone - they can't. The government wants you to THINK everyone is being watched.

Re:Let Them Try (5, Insightful)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591287)

One word, "panopticon". Jeremy Bentham was a man before his time...

Re:Let Them Try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591397)

The twist: He was actually John Locke and they're going back to the island.

Re:Let Them Try (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591407)

The government is NOT watching everyone

Of course not, they just run all of the data through a bayseian filter (think spam filter) to determine whether or not you are a trrrst.

Re:Let Them Try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591663)

The government is NOT watching everyone

Of course not, they just run all of the data through a bayseian filter (think spam filter) to determine whether or not you are a trrrst.

Quite right. If the government was watching everyone, understood everything, and then acted accordingly, then we'd literally have nothing to worry about.

Hey, I was watching this new television show last night. It was the bomb. In the next episodaflj HEL++carrier lost++

Send for BOFH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591431)

They don't have to watch everyone, they just need the appearance of reliable records that they can search regarding anyone who happens to be determined a person of interest via a live decision maker or keyword search device. Once they decide to take a look then that person of interest is liable for whatever they find as they will attempt to attribute far more accuracy, security and reliability to the system then is warranted as they have with other systems. Text and other digitally recorded evidence, now what could possibly go wrong there?

Re:Send for BOFH (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591763)

The problem here is that you have to decide a person is interesting.

You can't keep all of their historical data around, then decide. You have to decide, then start keeping data.

You can have a small window where you keep all data for a certain amount of time, but there's simply far too much data for there to be any useful backlog to search through.

Deciding if a person is interesting is also very difficult. Truly interesting people will be using encryption, steganography, and disinformation. Uninteresting people will be clogging the tubes with "I'm gonna kill Bush I swear!!" The signal to noise ratio is astronomically low.

Keep in mind that the data doesn't stop - you have to be able to exceed (in storage and processing) the capacity of the entire population.

It's not possible.

Lets all use whitehouse.gov emails, NEVER saved! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591453)

GOD SAVE THE EMAILS!

Maybe we can contract out to the brits to watch our whitehouse emails, which have a funny disappearing habit. Fucking windows 95.

In fact, since we outsource spying to them anyway for "domestic interest" and spy on their citizens via contractors at their behest,
why not just have them backup everything they can get on our leadership's last 8 years, and pay them for it?

Re:Lets all use whitehouse.gov emails, NEVER saved (5, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591775)

Dear Americans.
We have gone through all the data, and we've found that your President Bush was a great guy with no faults.

Sincerely,
Tony Blair

No surprise (3, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591253)

The UK government proposing these kind of things should not be a surprise, worrisome is that other governments might see this as a great example.

The eternal optimist in me feels some will see this as a step too far.

Re:No surprise (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591415)

No, what is worrysome is they assume that everyone could be a terrorist. If we assumed everyone within a 20 block radius was a murderer, real murder cases would take forever to be solved. Same with this, if everyone is a terrorist, they look for all the people who are obviously not terrorists and try to make them be a terrorist rather then actually figuring out who really are terrorists (and no, 80 year old English grandmothers are not terrorists).

Re:No surprise (5, Funny)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591461)

80 year old English grandmothers are not terrorists

Thats just what they want you to think. then bam. tea and crumpets everywhere. oh the humanity!

Re:No surprise (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591457)

The eternal optimist in me feels some will see this as a step too far.

Oh, I would think that's a fairly safe bet. The Information Commissioner will be all over it, and the public profile of his department is rising every time he speaks these days. The courts will be all over it, since blanket surveillance is going to be just a little difficult to reconcile with article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Opposition are already all over it, since any sort of claims about adequate data protection by the government are a joke thanks to repeated media coverage of numerous major leaks in recent months. Speaking of the media, they'll love this too, as it's another good opportunity to bash the government while it's down. And all of those are before we even get to the practical issues like who is going to pay for all of this and the overheads it would impose on service providers, presumably at their own expense if historical moves are anything to go by.

Finally, of course, we have the guy in the street who gets to vote, and he's becoming a lot more aware of privacy and data protection issues at the moment. Fortunately, the government will probably be so busy looking for a new Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer after the summer recess that they won't be able to do much about this, and they're toast at the next general election anyway since it's pretty hard to find any major group of voters they haven't seriously upset lately in one way or another.

Re:No surprise (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591459)

The eternal optimist in me feels some will see this as a step too far.

Eventually something so repugnant will happen that all of this will be swept away. The shame of it is that it will take that repugnant event. In the US we went through a lot of this during Vietnam and the civil protests - eventually the FBI and CIA were raked over the coals for excessive surveillance of US citizens.

Now I think we are going through the same cycle again - and the result will be the same.

I used to feel sorry for Britain (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591263)

But then they showed how well they had learned their mistake under Blair by keeping Labor in power. Truly, to paraphrase Mencken, they are getting what they want and getting it good and hard.

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (1, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591311)

But then they showed how well they had learned their mistake under Blair by keeping Labor in power. Truly, to paraphrase Mencken, they are getting what they want and getting it good and hard.

Wow, you are truly ignorant. Of the votes cast, 37% went to labour. Reread that number. 37%. The voting system is hoplessly biased, so naturally the people that it favours will never remove this bias. So tell me, what part of 37% makes it apparent that we wanted labour?

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591401)

Wow, you are truly ignorant. Of the votes cast, 37% went to labour. Reread that number. 37%. The voting system is hoplessly biased, so naturally the people that it favours will never remove this bias. And how, pray tell, did a left-wing party that was dominated by a man who dragged your country into a war that was wildly unpopular get 37% of the vote? The Republicans were not as bad as Labor, and have gone from a fairly solid majority of our entire body politic, to being steadily ousted in each congressional election. Even long-time Republicans are starting to send a big FUCK YOU to the RNC when it comes rattling its tin cup in their direction.

Either labor is entirely supported by the dregs of British society that depend on the welfare state, or there is a lot of bullshit from leftists in Britain. Something like "OMG those Conservatives are teh fascist!" when it's obvious on both sides of the pond that Labor is the quintessential fascist party of the UK.

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (3, Insightful)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591591)

Either labor is entirely supported by the dregs of British society that depend on the welfare state, or there is a lot of bullshit from leftists in Britain.

I'd say it's more likely that their supporters are ignorant and short-sighted, fell for the war and terror rhetoric, and don't really care until it hits them in the wallet. I don't really think that that makes them left, but "New Labour" is determined to blur that distinction anyway.

The proof of this is evident: It has now hit the voters in the wallet, and Labour's support is now in the toilet.

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591641)

Labour party seats tend to be in high density council housing, while Conservative seats are in rural or suburban seats. Since the electoral commission tries to keep the proportion of the population represented by each MP at around 40,000 - 50,000, this means that Labour gets more MP's, even though a demographic map of the UK shows the majority of the country supporting the Conservatives. At the same time, Labour are encouraging the conversion of suburban housing into high density housing through the use of "garden grabbing" [gardenorganic.org.uk] .

A quarter of all families in central London are single parent mothers... Other deprived parts of the country approach 50% of the population working in the public sector. If you want to check up on the demographics of a particular area, check the Acorn map [caci.co.uk] .

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#24592075)

Less than 30,000 people voted for Tony Blair. Other people voted for other Labour MPs, and most of them did that because they are old enough to remember the last time the Conservatives were in power and it makes them shudder.

The Lib Dems are a joke, and always have been. They and their predecessor party have not so much as sniffed power in 80 years.

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (1)

Conspicuous Coward (938979) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591481)

The first past the post system used in the UK is pretty dismal, I actually think the number who voted labour in 2005 is closer to 35%; but nevertheless Labour received more votes than any other party at the last general election, in any electoral system they would still have been a major part of the government. Any way that you look at it that's still 35% of the voting public who are prepared to vote for a murderous war criminal who's been systematically dismantling civil liberties since 97. That's frightening.

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (1)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591539)

So tell me, what part of 37% makes it apparent that we wanted labour?

37% percent is more than the others got.
Don't pretend that it didn't happen.
Which after that Iraq and WMD malarkey, is a disgrace that they got that much.

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24592077)

It's even worse than that, they wouldn't have "won" at all but for their Scottish MPs. Scotland is partially devolved from the UK (as is Wales) and we English can't vote on many Scottish issues, although paradoxically and unfairly they can vote on ours [wikipedia.org] .

Our electoral system is utterly fucked. We may have been one of the first modern democracies but we didn't get it right. The Independent did a breakdown of the last general election vote under fair Proportional Representation rules, the results were completely different (iirc Labour in 3rd place behind a Lib-Con coalition.)

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (2, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591577)

But then they showed how well they had learned their mistake under Blair by keeping Labor in power.

Oh, come off it. At the last election, the Labour Party came second in England. They only took power again because of the Scottish vote, and Scotland is not affected by several of Labour's more heinous policies because of devolution. In fact, only 22% of the electorate (37% of those who actually voted) supported Labour, which makes the absolute majority they received in Parliament an obscenity.

And that was when they still said Blair would serve a full third term, not the current administration who have no legitimate mandate whatsoever.

And in reply to your later post: yes, a significant number of votes for Labour do come from scroungers who don't contribute anything and live entirely off Labour's benefits hand-outs, but that's not what got them in for the third term. The largest opposition party managed to go through about 17 leaders in as many months or something prior to Cameron, so there was the little problem of who to vote for instead of Labour at the last general election. We simply don't have any significant moderate, central parties in the country today, despite the huge number of voters whose preferences appear to support one, so the anti-Labour vote split. Until someone manages to get a moderate, centrist party off the ground or there's an upset significant enough for one of the smaller parties to pick up some momentum, everyone in that category has no-one stepping up to represent them.

And for the record, Labour have been smashed at every single election since they fluked their way back into office. It is clear what the people do want, but Labour didn't have the integrity to ask them by calling a general election when Brown took over, because their polling told them they hadn't a prayer of winning it.

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#24592123)

A centrist party would be left of all the major parties in Britain now, since politics went Thatcherite. This is why there is such a low turnout.

Every party is now about hammering the working class to give the rich a tax break. Every party is now about punishing single parent families for being single parent families. Every party wants the rest of the country to bend over and take it up the arse just to keep the City sweet.

That is why people do not vote.

Re:I used to feel sorry for Britain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591921)

Kind of like how the U.S. reelected Bush.

forgot something (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591265)

Aren't they supposed to at least SAY 'for the children' or something?

*sigh*

Not necessarily a bad thing... (4, Interesting)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591271)

I've often wondered if there is a way to make disturbing draconian legislation like this and turn it around. I think that there is - radical transparency in government. Allow every government agency access to the public's SMS and email data, but in conjunction publish the SMS's and emails of every government employee, so the public has access to them. If there is no right to privacy, and they are doing nothing wrong, they should have nothing to fear right?
On another note completely - what is the over under on how long till this is abused (and they get busted)? I have 3 weeks.

Re:Not necessarily a bad thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591603)

You don't get it...

government access to your SMS/email = stops terruh*

public access to government SMS/email = helps terruh*

* according to, you guessed it, the government

Re:Not necessarily a bad thing... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591653)

Bruce Schneier would like to have a word with you: The Myth of the 'Transparent Society [wired.com]

Snoops mining (3, Interesting)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591275)

My friend in London is being snooped upon 300 times a day already by videocams. Now that her internet usage will be recorded we can only hope that authorities attempting to coordinate the two will use the Last Hope for Freedom: Windows.

Oh come on, you know they're already doing it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591297)

At least the UK gov't has the decency to tell its citizens they're being spied on. I assume everything I do is being monitored by SOMEONE. The time is long overdue to build public key encryption into our devices.

Nothing to hide == nothing to fear (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591327)

what's the fuss about? if you've got nothing to hide, them you've got nothing to fear.

oh, as a side-point, this legislation is now required due to an EU directive and I noticed that the entire EU commission have made themselves exempt from any such troublesome monitoring.

Re:Nothing to hide == nothing to fear (5, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591399)

So you don't mind me watching you have sex (wait an anonymous coward posting shit on Slashdot, you don't have sex)? Masturbate? Bathe? Shit?

How about we set you up in a glass cage for a week in the middle of (say) Times Square?

Or, how about you read this article http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=998565 [ssrn.com] linked to by another Slashdotter at one time. You have to register to download it, but a fake email address works just as well.

But more to the point, you have got something to hide, everybody does. Who hasn't broken the law at one stage or another? Speeding? Jaywalked? Partaken of some illicit substance? Blasphemed? (You know why Mary was a virgin? She only had anal sex.) You get the idea, everyone is guilty of something, and that means everyone has something to hide from the government.

Re:Nothing to hide == nothing to fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591699)

i'll download the paper and have a look... but if you load your page, on the right hand side it has a box "people who downloaded this, also downloaded..." and refers to a research paper simply called "fuck" so i've been momentarily sidetracked.

Re:Nothing to hide == nothing to fear (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591733)

I randomly clicked the Brussels download location, and was handed a PDF without being asked for anything.

Interesting dissection of all the things we mean by "privacy".

Re:Nothing to hide == nothing to fear (1)

prettything (965473) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591475)

if its a database wi data that holds personal data then subject access requestz it :) til it breaks bring back the ponies!

Some software that you should look at (5, Informative)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591337)

http://www.gnupg.org/ [gnupg.org] - The GNU Privacy Guard

http://getfiregpg.org/ [getfiregpg.org] - FireGPG, "encrypt, decrypt, sign or verify the signature of text in any web page using GnuPG" (untested by me).
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3424 [mozilla.org] - another Firefox extension, also untested.
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3208 [mozilla.org] - another one that may be useful (untested).

http://www.gpg4win.org/ [gpg4win.org] - something for MS Windows

Remember folks, even if you aren't in the UK, this still affects you! If you communicate with people in the UK, if you have email based in the UK (I have a Yahoo.co.uk email address, in addition to my 50 other email addresses...), etc. ...

It is as simple as installing Firefox, installing GNUPG, and installing that extension that lets you encrypt text fields when you are emailing...

And don't forget TrueCrypt http://truecrypt.org/ [truecrypt.org] though it isn't strictly relevant in this case, it is always relevant.

Re:Some software that you should look at (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591851)

Except that RIP [wikipedia.org] , passed in 2000 (yes dear, pre-911) means you go to jail if you refuse to divulge your keys when asked (and if you let anyone else know that you've done so, even passively, e.g. by no longer replying to emails. Some of us protested about this at the time, and oh! how the tin-foil hat jokes flowed, yea verily even here on Slashdot if I remember right. And in real life - it was more a case of backing away carefully whilst smiling cheerfully and maintaining eye contact.

FWIW I donate to No2ID [no2id.org] and Liberty [liberty-hu...hts.org.uk] , amongst other organisations active in this area. And I may even be holding my nose and voting Tory next time, if they make authoritative statements that they'll roll this crap back... something I swore I would never, ever do. (Leftie UK readers of a certain age will know what I mean.)

Re:Some software that you should look at (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#24592171)

Don't put your faith in tories, behind each one of those old school ties beats the black heart of a fascist. They are only opposing this legislation whilst in opposition as a mercenary attempt to gain votes.

Why are we surprised? (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591347)

The Conservatives have criticised the idea, with the Shadow Home Secretary saying, 'yet again the Government has proved itself unable to resist the temptation to take a power quite properly designed to combat terrorism to snoop on the lives of ordinary people in everyday circumstances.'"

The USA already did that, just not on the same scale.

If a law doesn't say "only to be used for purpose X" then assume it will be *(ab)used as widely as possible.

*is it really abuse if the law isn't limited in its breadth?

Re:Why are we surprised? (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591801)

The difference is that in the UK there are actually figures in government who oppose the power grab.

Unfortunately it doesn't seem to stop it.

The opposition say... (5, Insightful)

catalupus (695072) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591351)

The Conservatives have criticised the idea, with the Shadow Home Secretary saying, 'yet again the Government has proved itself unable to resist the temptation to take a power quite properly designed to combat terrorism to snoop on the lives of ordinary people in everyday circumstances.'"

An of course, once they are in power, they will stop the data logging? - or will they conveniently forget and keep it going?

Time for Google Net View (TM)? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591355)

Right now you need a court order to get this kind of creepy access to data from Google. It's time to turn this around and let everyone have access to he latest cyberstalking technology.

Tunnel (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591367)

And SwissVPN [swissvpn.net] to a roaring trade from UK customers.

Not even technicaly posible (1)

kipman725 (1248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591469)

This is not actually possible. Those crazed fuckers want data on everything there is no way of storing that much data. Storing my own data for a year would be difficult probably requiring a whole Hard disk.

First Brazil, then USA... now UK (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591511)

How fast fashion moves. This new outburst of governments trying to legally spy on citizens have to stop! First it was Brazil [nardol.org] , then USA [wordpress.com] , now UK... All in about 30 days! What is this? Some sort of disturbance before the dive? Are we really going to implement a worldwide 1984-like society?

They've tried this before (3, Interesting)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591573)

A few years ago then Home Secretary David Blunkett tried something similar with the RIP Act, which would have given these kind of powers to bodies as obscure as parish councils. He said it wasn't until his son (an IT consultant) sat down and explained the problems this could cause that he dropped the plans.

Even if such a plan were possible as the one proposed it would run into massive opposition, not just from the other two parties but from ISPs, phone companies et al. With Labour as weak politically as they are now I hope this one will be a dead duck.

Bear in mind as well that these documents always over egg the pudding so that some areas can be dropped as concessions. Nevertheless I'll be writing to my old MP laying out the reasons why this is a stunningly bad idea.

It's a ploy people (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591581)

This will never happen - it's just a ploy. They'll water it down after an out-cry and we'll all say 'phew that was a close call.'

But of course the real aim was to get the slightly watered version approved in the first place. Job done government.

How screwed are we.... (2, Insightful)

rasteri (634956) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591587)

... When the fucking TORIES are the voice of reason?!?

Re:How screwed are we.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24592207)

Yeah. In a similar vein, the House of Lords have consistently declared on the side of civil liberties and saved us from a lot of other insanely draconian legislation under this "government". Ministers keep trying to get the Lords abolished or "reformed" i.e. stuffed with their cronies; on the evidence I've seen it's the House of Commons that should be abolished.

To those who say this doesn't affect the innocent (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24591659)

The government doesn't need to look at all this data for it to be a bad thing. What if you decide to speak against the local government or complain about the local police force? Don't bother trying to be anonymous because they already have enough logs to find you. Then they can either make you life hell by accidentally leaking information or simply by arresting you. I'm sure they can find probably cause inside all that data for you committing a dozen crimes and they don't need to find you guilty to make your life hell (ie: confiscate all your computers, return them 10 years later, etc.). Maybe you just went to the wrong website and are not being charge with pedophilia? If you're likely in a decade once you've had your reputation, job, personal life and so on ruined they'll drop the charges.

Governments are run by humans and humans are greedy, sadistic, selfish bastards who think they're always right. The more power they have the more power they can abuse and many of them will abuse it. They'll probably think they're doing it for the greater good and by some arguments they'd be right.

Labor party ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591703)

sounds more like the fascist party to me.

you brits need to take matters into your own hands.

pwned (1)

theCat (36907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591711)

"All your SMS are belong to us. Beotches."

WTF UK? (3, Insightful)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591781)

What the hell is up with the UK Government that they constantly are all about shitting all over peoples' rights to privacy (perceived or otherwise)? It's like every few months there's some new story about the insane ideas they've come up with most recently about how to become as Orwellian as possible or something. These tards of narrow perspective need to take a step back and stop making national unilateral decisions (or proposals) based on their power-centric views that are endlessly apathetic/indifferent towards the thoughts and feelings of "the people". Even though I single out the UK government here because it's on-topic to the story, this seems to be a trend that's just about constant with the so-called "civilized world". I can see it doing no more than alienating the crap out of the general populous.

Who would you contact... (2, Funny)

Nyckname (240456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24591831)

if your mail server ate everything and you'd like your backups from the gov't?

It is really simple, folks! (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#24592183)

a power quite properly designed to combat terrorism to snoop on the lives of ordinary people

That they aren't content with spying on just the terrorists, and leaving the ordinary folks alone, is evidence, that secret plans for "1984"-ish dictatorship are about to be hatched!!

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