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UK Police To Step Up Hacking of Home PCs

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the must-be-ok-if-the-good-guys-do-it dept.

Privacy 595

toomanyairmiles writes "The Times of London reports that the United Kingdom's Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain to routinely hack into people's personal computers without a warrant. The move, which follows a decision by the European Union's council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state that drives 'a coach and horses' through privacy laws."

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Is this....legal? (5, Informative)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324739)

Meh. Just another excuse to snoop on people without justification. If a warrant is issued then at least there is a paper trail leading back to who applied for the warrant any why. If this law goes through then it will be a free-for-all and history has demonstrated very well what happens then.

Also, as far as I'm aware, UK security services have been doing this for some time, this simply makes it legal. Given the majority of the population are not very tech savvy their solution wouldn't need to be that complex, although I imagine its more complex than just a key logger. The only evidence I have for this is talking to people who work in these organizations. The advice to me was get using TOR (although I can never configure it right) so maybe its not too complex, or maybe they were double bluffing me. Who knows? I'm guessing the arrest levels aren't so high because they would have to arrest almost everyone under 30 who's been on a computer. Once they've got the logistics sorted I'm sure they'll happily cart us to the gulag though.

=Smidge=

Good reason to use Linux (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26324779)

Linux is so complicated, and impossible to get to work with external hardware that if you use it the police will never be able to do anything with your harddrive!!

I will /make/ it legal. (4, Funny)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324967)

Just get her to sign the treaty.

Re:Is this....legal? (5, Interesting)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324985)

The U.K. government might as well just announce that their subjects no longer have any rights at all. They have effectively all been removed in practice. To put things in perspective, this country is on the verge of banning kitchen knives to try to reduce violent crime (now that private possession of firearms has been completely outlawed). The saddest part of all is that the subjects of the U.K. support this nonsense by a large margin.

Re:Is this....legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325251)

Well, then they will continue to be subjects instead of citizens.

EU joke (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325355)

This is not the UK it is the joke EU police state.
If we don't get involved in our system it will happen here.
Don't believe the lies the slaves in the UK are not in favor of it.

Re:Is this....legal? (1)

carterhawk001 (681941) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325377)

Actually the kitchen knife ban is just a ploy by the restaurant lobby to increase profits!

Re:Is this....legal? (5, Informative)

MrPloppy (1117689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325413)

Actually the UK is NOT at the verge of banning kitchen knives. A group of Doctors suggested the ban of POINTED kitchen knives. By the way very few people in the UK actually wants fire arms to become legal. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/46266/Ban-kitchen-knives-to-save-lives-says-doctor [express.co.uk]

Re:Is this....legal? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325551)

Firstly, you sound like one of those fucking gun-fetishist yanks. "Poor people without guns, that must be why they've no rights". No. The rights come through political machinations and the broad agreement of large groups of people. Change doesn't come because some isolationist nutjobs do or don't have guns.

As an example, the UK government has to respect the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. Both these documents have regularly trumped the government in court, and didn't need a single gun pointed at the government's head to get them to comply.

Secondly, private possession of firearms has not been "completely outlawed". There are plenty of people with rifles and shotguns next to their beds; Tony Martin comes to mind. You can even have your precious handgun if you can convince the police you have a "good reason" and they sign off on your license. Good luck.

Re:Is this....legal? (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325441)

>"...they would have to arrest almost everyone under 30 who's been on a computer."

Where you been? Under-30 types don't bother with computers these days...all about texting and pushing each other's up-skirt photos directly to face/fanny-book via their cell phones.

How?? (4, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324763)

Hack into people's PC? How do they do that, and what do they get out of it?

Re:How?? (4, Informative)

Drumforyourlife (1421647) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324787)

Not entirely sure how, they probably wouldn't say anyway. The most likely explanation is that they want to monitor usage to control piracy, and monitor emails and documents for signs of terrorism. You can learn a lot about someone if you have access to what they google.

Re:How?? (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324869)

I'm more interested in how as a premise though. Mainly that these days people are behind a router that acts as a firewall.. that limits things a bit I guess...

Re:How?? (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325409)

I'm more interested in how as a premise though. Mainly that these days people are behind a router that acts as a firewall.. that limits things a bit I guess...

No way. People don't know how easy it is, with the use of out-side coordination, to initiate connections at-will. All you need is a single program running at with simple user preferences.

Windows is most vulnerable because it has the least effective security model because it will run foreign binaries, Mac and Linux are better in that, by convention and peer pressure, they will not.

Granted, for a lot of reasons, Windows is a worse case scenario, there are avenues to infect other systems as well just not as easily. Once they can get a binary running on your system, you are effectively snooped.

Re:How?? (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325503)

Just out of curiosity - what do you mean when you say 'Linux won't run foreign binaries'?

If someone sends you a binary as an attachment and you save it to your file system, chmod it and try to run it, I'm pretty sure that foreign binary will run.

Granted, not every clown can write a unix / linux binary that will do something useful at the kernel level - but if you write it and copy it to a similar system and run it ... I'm thinking it will run.

Re:How?? (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325573)

If someone sends you a binary as an attachment and you save it to your file system, chmod it and try to run it, I'm pretty sure that foreign binary will run.

Exactly, it has to first be marked as something that can be run. Windows will try to run anything that ends with exe, scr, etc.

Re:How?? (5, Funny)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324791)

Click here to win a free iPod!

Re:How?? (4, Funny)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324899)

Click here to win a free iPod!

Bummer, I didn't win. I guess the winner actually gets a link.

Re:How?? (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325031)

Cool [play-asia.com] !

Re:How?? (2, Insightful)

Lumenary7204 (706407) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325165)

One would think that since we've been living in an Internet-connected society for a little over a decade (from a "Joe Average" standpoint) that people would no longer be that gullible. Alas, that isn't the case...

John Doe sees a tempting link in his email, or one served up in a web page a'la Phorm [wikipedia.org] , and clicks on it. This then triggers the installation of "legalized" spyware which tracks the user's communications and browsing habits.

Amazing, the kind of tools and techniques that law enforcement and signals intelligence agencies are developing. Not that it would be hard: The botnet [wikipedia.org] coders and operaters have already done all the hard work for them. Simply grab a sample of the 'bot and its controller software, and tweak it for your needs. Then, ring up the antivirus and security companies [zdnet.com.au] and have them modify their security applications [wikipedia.org] to ignore the installed surveillance software.

Problem is, well-organized criminal organizations with the appropriate technical expertise are liable to discover the spyware anyway, and find a way to use it against the agencies responsible for its deployment (i.e., to send falsified "evidence" of their activities).

Not only that, it makes you wonder why governments blow huge amounts of cash on such technological "solutions" when the cybercooks can do the job for them for (essentially) almost nothing...

Re:How?? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325557)

...Or bundle it in with pre-bought systems. A lot of people keep the same OS until they go to get it repaired by some large company and then they might have to wipe it (because of a BSoD or similar) in which case they can simply but the spyware on there by the repairmen. About the only people that I know of who regularly upgrade or change their OS are Mac and Linux people the rest don't bother. Or hey, bundle it on flash drives and other removable storage. All this and no hacking required.

Re:How?? (5, Funny)

notseamus (1295248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325201)

More like: Click here to win a free Zune

It's the government, and they're terribly out of touch you know...

In other news, the Tories are now the party of the left in the UK.

Re:How?? (5, Informative)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324851)

Methods mentioned in the article include:
quietly breaking in physically and installing a keylogger, parking up nearby and breaking in via the wireless, or sending a trojan via email.
This gives them email, browsing history, local documents, and presumably other information going forward.
They also have the capability under the RIP act to intercept emails, web-traffic and other 'net use via a tap at the ISP itself.

All of this without any court oversight or warrants. But they'll only do it if a senior police officer believes it's necessary to gather evidence of a crime carrying a sentence greater than 3 years.

Well, that's alright then! as long as a policeman is suspicious of me, that's a perfectly good enough reason to remove all court oversight of police intrusion into my private life!

Jesus.

Re:How?? (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325023)

meh, court oversight doesn't do anything anyway. The courts are happy to rubber stamp any search warrant where there is reasonable expectation that evidence might be found. And if the police find nothing? Oh, there's no oversight on that. Around 1998 I had police knock on my door and seize my computers because they had obtained a warrant on the grounds that I had spoken online with someone who had hacked into a national ISP via a corporate phone conference line, running up their bills. The police had reason to believe that they might find evidence of his crime on my computers. As such, I was required to suffer the inconvenience of having my hardware forfeit for months while they investigated. In the end they found nothing and, after much harassing on my part, eventually returned the hardware. No apology, no oversight.

Re:How?? (5, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325347)

As one of the participants at DefCon said a couple of years ago when discussing the FBI's 'Magic Lantern' software, "If they want to arrest you they don't even need any evidence any more. They can just dump some kiddie porn in your browser cache and kick in the door. Good luck proving it wasn't you that put it there."

Re:How?? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325127)

Hello Jesus!

I have been a fan of yours forEVER!!!! Being the son of God must be really exciting!!! Please send me your email address so we can keep in touch!!!!!!!

The REAL MindChild

Re:How?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325291)

turn on the windows firewall that will protect you

Re:How?? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325391)

... i dont know if i should laugh at that or not anymore. begs the question hough. If the police have no moral quams about doing It why should I.

Re:How?? (5, Funny)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325521)

As long as they are quiet when they physically break in, I'm ok with it.

Invasion of privacy is one thing, but loud noise I will not tolerate.

Re:How?? (5, Funny)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324913)

I believe they crawl in through the tubes.

Re:How?? (4, Interesting)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325241)

[tinfoil-hat]The annual free tax utility software CDs from the Revenue[/tinfoil-hat]

Re:How?? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325329)

How? Well since MS is on the majority of PC computers in the UK, I would hazard a guess as to taking advantage of their failings. I am not bashing MS exactly, but man they do suck when it comes to security. That's literally how you do it. Exploits against MS.

The "How" is also fairly simple when you know what you are doing and have the resources. Interestingly enough, it is more difficult to do these things now since the punishments for getting caught are quite severe for an ordinary person. The government is beyond such influence and do so with impunity. That makes the "How" even easier.

The "Why" is simplicity itself. To gain control and power over the masses. When you can identify someone as an undesirable in society with the minimum expenditure of resources you can more effectively marginalize their influence in that same society. You can more effectively target those groups of people for increased surveillance.

Getting to the more sinister, by falsely placing evidence of crimes into their systems you can then use the same court systems you control to gain leverage over them by depriving them of their property and their freedoms. Overall, this would contribute to a great sense of fear among the public that they are being watched and "to know their place". Activists would have a lot more to fear and less places to hide. It would have a long term subtle effect on the minds of the populace.

I know some people will say I am being a paranoid alarmist twat, but the FBI in the US used a tremendous amount of resources creating profiles on political undesirables that turned out to never commit any crimes other then being undesirable to the people in power.

This can be an incredibly good thing though. This may finally provide the motivation for people to become more sophisticated, to seek out those more sophisticated, and to secure their own systems better. It is possible to do so and to make it economically nonviable for the government to penetrate citizens machines.

I would love to see this finally kick off a cold war between the citizens, open source, and the government in regards to security. A government could never hope to defeat the millions upon millions of people worldwide working against them.

The UK government would only have the option then of forcing you to install their "Sentinel" hardware that forcibly bypasses your security similar to key escrow systems for encryption. However, if it goes that far, then run to the nearest border. Don't walk, Run. Remember, it only took 12 years for Germany to go from Hitler in prison, to Hitler ruining Europe, killing millions of Jews and other people, and finally taking the cowards way out with suicide.

These events are cues and you should listen to them and take action when appropriate.

Re:How?? (2, Insightful)

ancientt (569920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325387)

The "How?" portion is an important question. The article mentions getting access to someone's hard drive, which is a very specific form of hacking. They specifically mention sending a malware email attachment and using keyloggers (hardware/software is not clear.)

The method really does make a very significant difference. If the malware email is the primary method then that limits successful hacks to those with hopelessly outdated email clients and people who open attachments that they shouldn't. Effectively this becomes a way to catch the most careless of criminals. Lets take an example, Mr. Dolt. Mr. Dolt is running an illegal gambling ring and he has to be 1.) Silly enough to use his computer to discuss it or keep records 2.) Using it in an insecure way, such as Administrator for everything 3.) Using an insecure email approach, old Outlook or clicking DancingBaby.pif from whomever sends it 4.) Using a targetable OS, Windows.
If all those things happen, then the criminal investigation may go somewhere. This makes it mostly useful as a spam type approach. They might set up a chat-bot for example and have it ask 500,000 users if they know where "he" can find some action on the next race, then spam out the malware to all responders. As with any spam system, the rate of return can be pretty low and still seem profitable, 0.15% in this example would give a headline like "Cyber-Police squad arrests 750 criminals."

In a slightly more paranoid scenario the police target 1000 suspected criminals and compromise all of those using Windows with a super script kiddie type toolbox composed of deliberately undisclosed backdoor hacks. The rate of success would be higher for compromise, say 95%, and they are able to monitor email and successfully garner a 10% successful rate of condemning evidence. This still leads to 85 successful arrests and a nice headline or two.

Then there is tinfoil-hat type paranoid where the police target 5,000,000,000 users without any reason, have a script break into all of them that it can and do a search for any probable cause type stuff, then have the resulting list be provided by informants so that they can have a good reason to investigate anybody that turns up.

Best reasonable defense against being incriminated in this manner: Use an OS that is less likely to be easy to break into (BSD, Linux) and don't keep incriminating stuff on your computer.

Disclaimer: Remember that I'm guessing based on information that may have been reported less than accurately which was in turn based on deliberate misinformation.

Linux anyone? (2, Insightful)

amoeba47 (882560) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324767)

enough said.

Re:Linux anyone? (5, Funny)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324841)

Feh. I'm in the UK and using windows. I dont think I really have anything to w

Re:Linux anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325161)

So now we have a Candlejack getting upmodded repe

Re:Linux anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26324961)

That's no solution, this attack is OS agnostic. The state should not be able to authorize a search of private property without a warrant.

Re:Linux anyone? (2, Interesting)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325011)

OpenBSD, at least on your firewall and until they make it illegal to run anything but M$-Windows.

The latter is NOT a joke, but a prediction, given how "in bed" the UK government is with Microsoft.

Re:Linux anyone? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325541)

The latter is NOT a joke, but a prediction, given how "in bed" the UK government is with Microsoft.

Look, given we are all adults here, did the you really need the quotation marks in that comment? I mean although the UK government is a bunch of old geezers and smelly codgers, we don't really think that would be physically in bed with a software corporation. Really.

Now get off my porch!

sigh (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324781)

so it seems that 1984 only got the year wrong after all. unfortunately the fear and paranoia in the public's mind is only going to fuel more of this ridiculous nonsense.

Re:sigh (4, Insightful)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325039)

Bear in mind, when the RIP act first came into force, only the police and security services had rights under it to perform such things as covert suveillance, and retrieve your email and phone records without a warrant. Now those powers have been devolved to all sorts of bodies, including local councils - which has led to a council covertly following a 4 year old to see if she actually lived in the cachement area of a local school (and so was eligable to attend), and another getting email and phone records to investigate a case of illegal rubbish dumping - all without warrants.

How long before local government and other civic bodies have the right to send me a trojan via email, or break into my wireless to investigate an accusation of some petty civil offence without a warrant?

Re:sigh (4, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325139)

1984 didn't even get the year wrong; it was a deliberate reversal of the last two digits of 1948, the year of the book's publication, and within the limits of the technology available it was all going on then.

OpenBSD anyone? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26324783)

enough said.

Re:OpenBSD anyone? (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324863)

on a sparc processer too :D

won't help (2, Informative)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324889)

OpenBSD won't help a hardware keylogger. Of course its easily spotted but how often do you check the back of your pc?

Re:won't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26324979)

My keyboard is plugged into the front of my PC, you insensitive clod.

Re:won't help (4, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324989)

Every couple minutes, just in case. Why do you ask?

Re:won't help (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325489)

No trouble telling you're an OpenBSD user.

Tell me, does Theo's dick make a better toothpick than the real thing? I figure if anyone would know it'd be you.

Re:won't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325491)

I knew there was a reason I don't dust anything! Easier to spot if someone has been touching/moving things around, since they probably won't want to be leaving any finger prints?

Re:won't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325419)

i keep my keyboard turned sideways, just in case the feds try to sneak in and give me a keylogger while i'm working

The real question (5, Interesting)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324797)

When your government is hacking you, is it illegal to lock them out?

Re:The real question (5, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324845)

from their point of view it is, in the US and presumably the UK the constitution would say otherwise but since when do any of them bother following their constitutions? They can get away with this nonsense because not enough people are fighting it and too many people think "well only terrorists and other criminals should be afraid." The thing to keep in mind is that once you can justify unconstitutional acts against criminals there isn't too much standing between that position and "lets violate everyone's civil rights."

Constitution? (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324957)

The UK has a constitution?

Re:The real question (4, Informative)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324893)

Under the RIP act, no. 2 years in jail for refusing to hand your encryption keys over upon demand, as long as the police have a reasonable suspicion that you have them. If you're accused of child-porn or terrorism offences, it goes up to 5 years for refusing to hand over your keys.

Re:The real question (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324997)

Has it occured to anyone else that with all of the surveillance and tracking going on in the UK that they might simply make certain crimes, like say identity theft, more attractive without really reducing the overall amount of crime or catching those who are actually responsible?

Re:The real question (5, Insightful)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325081)

Identity theft has risen sharply in the UK in recent years, as it has globally. A specific example include people cloning or stealing car number plates so they can drive in the London congestion charge zone without paying, and somebody else gets the fines.

Government advice? Spend a significant sum replacing our number plates with ones that break if they're removed, or pay credit-insurance in case our financial details are stolen.

I'm sure it's occured to the government that people are starting to use identity theft more to avoid detection. They just use that as an excuse to pass ever-more draconian laws allowing them to dig into your private-life ever deeper without warrants; in case, you know, you're a terrorist.

Re:The real question (1, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325153)

Jesus! So you get 5 years in the hole based purely on suspicion?

Aside from the human rights issues, how is the UK any different from China these days?

Re:The real question (3, Insightful)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325333)

We manufacture more landmines than China.

Re:The real question (4, Funny)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325357)

better curry

Re:The real question (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325415)

Are you saying your privacy isn't a human rights issue? I see no distinction between a right to privacy and any other fundamental human right.

Re:The real question (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325565)

It's not, really.

Re:The real question (3, Insightful)

Steemers (1031312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325173)

A direct consequence of this is that it only takes one (or more?) people in law enforcement to believe that you try to keep something from them to be sentenced two or five years prison.
No one will ever know it if you just forgot the password.
Have you ever forgotten a password?

Re:The real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325397)

Yeesh. I'd hope a court would demand a fairly high burden of proof for that "reasonable suspicion"... for example, a tape of me saying "I have the keys to unlock this encrypted content but I won't give them to you".

Re:The real question (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324917)

Sorry, I messed up. Yes, it's illegal to lock them out. Under the RIP act, it's 2 years in jail for refusing to hand your encryption keys over upon demand, as long as the police have a reasonable suspicion that you have them. If you're accused of child-porn or terrorism offences, it goes up to 5 years for refusing to hand over your keys.

Re:The real question (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324987)

Sounds to me like that's if you're ordered by a court. I seriously doubt that taking steps to secure your machines from anonymous intrusions would fall under that law, as the police aren't going to send you an e-mail identifying themselves along with the trojan.

Re:The real question (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325085)

Reasonable suspicion is a much lower standard than probable cause. It basically means "we're curious".

Re:The real question (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325507)

And that's why every one should have there own Linux distro that no one else can figure out how to use maybe with some auto delete function if you press the wrong key
and maybe modify open source software to use undocumented file formats as well just for good measure

Police Officer: Hand over your encryption keys or its jail for you
Suspect: Here you go officer, good luck
Police Officer: Hay this still isn't working
Suspect: Yes it is your just not using it right, Oh and you just wiped the Hard Drive, bye

Re:The real question (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325449)

When your government is hacking you, is it illegal to lock them out?

At issue is the measures by which you "lock them out." In reality, most all systems can be configured so that it is impossible to snoop.

The police have long benefited by the fact that most people inclined to seriously break the law are, on average, dumber than the detectives set to find them. When you have a brilliant criminal or terrorist they only get caught (if at all) because sooner or later everyone makes a mistake.

The phrase "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance" also applies to your computer these days.

So thats how (0, Offtopic)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324819)

So that's how my World of Warcraft account had all the gold stolen off it.

I hope they don't find my mom's stash (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324837)

They might find find c:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents\stash\Orwell\Nineteen Eighty-Four.pdf, they might send the book publisher's association after her!

Just don't use Microsoft operating systems. (3, Funny)

toby (759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324871)

Simple.

In other news, *foreign* governments are 'stepping up' hacking of UK submarines and warships installed with Windows [msdn.com] :P

Time to hack into Blair's PC (2, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324883)

Finally!
It is time we hack the cabinet ministers home PCs and publish the information in slashdot.
After all they too are "residents".

Re:Time to hack into Blair's PC (2, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325327)

You're about a year and a half too late.

appropriate... (1)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324895)

the fortune at the bottom of my page reads: "What we see depends on mainly what we look for. -- John Lubbock"

which is just the tip of the iceberg of what could possibly be wrong about these powers...

+1 Methodology (5, Funny)

TACD (514008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324897)

Police might also send an e-mail to a suspect's computer. The message would include an attachment that contained a virus or "malware".

Really? The recommended methodology of the police is the same as that used by opportunistic criminals to steal credit card information, that the police warn about?

C'mon, it's just impossible to satirize this kind of thing. It's not fair.

They Cannot Have it Both Ways (5, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324945)

It is not possible to allow the "good guys" only to have access to secure operating systems and security technologies such as encryption while simultaneously locking the "bad guys" out. The British government will have to decide what is more important, providing secure online banking, shopping, and other electronic services as part of operating in a modern economy OR hobbling the information economy with restrictions to catch a few more low-level or careless "bad guys" at the expense of even more loss of privacy for millions of ordinary British citizens and substantial encumbrance of legitimate economic activity involving computers, the Internet, and other "sensitive" technologies. If it is easy for the police to "hack in" then it is easy for the spammers, terrorists, or anyone else to "hack in" as well. The British reaction always seems to be, "We ought to have a law against that!" instead of simply acceptating that bad things will sometimes happen despite the best laid plans or intentions and moving on with "acceptable risks" in an open society.

Re:They Cannot Have it Both Ways (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325137)

You're talking about the same government that is more than happy to redistrbute wealth from one class of citizens to another to appease the masses. Given a choice between satisfying the population's need for "protect me from the ter'rists" legislation and having the economy take a hit due to the crippling of security which do you think is most likely?

Re:They Cannot Have it Both Ways (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325315)

Sorry but that's too simple. As a governing entity they will always go for the "more control" option since they wouldn't want to take the risks. It's sad but apparently democracies have to be balanced by force. They put their security on the scales and we need to throw in our urge for freedom. Since they've been piling up that security illusion for decades now it's about time someone threw them a heap of freedom. Unfortunately their plan works out very well and the average Joe is too busy playing his consumer puppet role and too convenient with his obedience that they would even see the need to act on situations like this.

Let's not forget passiveness and blind trust in propaganda for potential personal benefit is what brought my country the Nazis and that ended up being everybodies problem. Same here, if we don't stop the security fascists soon we'll all end up wearing uniforms and praising our great protector.

Calm down, people...! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26324969)

It's only a newspaper story. It's confused as to whether the Home Office are operating this power or talking about it.

There are huge problems with 'hacking' a system, or any kind of secret evidence gathering. Typically the data gathered cannot be used in a court, since the police could just as easily have placed data on your system as read it.

I would guess that this is yet one more internal push from the Security Service (who don't know the first thing about court evidence) to justify their budgets by saying that they could use burglary and hacking to gather data about criminals, in the same way as they used to do in the 1960s with Russian agents. The UK government is in awe of the Security Service (probably because they know where so many bodies are hidden) and will generally let them do anything. Bit like Homeland Security, really...

Re:Calm down, people...! (4, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325223)

It's only a newspaper story. It's confused as to whether the Home Office are operating this power or talking about it.

Just so. What's particularly suspicious is that although they have a quote from Liberty about this, there doesn't seem to be anything about it on Liberty's website -- this should be front-page news for them. In fact, the last thing Liberty has on the subject is this [liberty-hu...hts.org.uk] from last year, in which the European Court of Human Rights ruled that RIP was a violation of human rights and that the UK was obliged to add more transparency and accountability.

Re:Calm down, people...! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325339)

IANAL but I fail to see how planted data would not eventually be used in court.

Since siezed equipment can be used in court, all a corrupt police officer needs to do is plant two sets of incriminating data.

Use the first (non-evidence/circumstantial) set of planted incriminating data to get a search and sieze warrant. In the lab they find 2nd set of planted data, which is used as court evidence and voila. Political opponent receives conviction.

So the question is: (1)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26324999)

Would our society be safer or more dangerous if instead of listening to these lunatics, we barred them from politics for life for even suggesting such a disgusting measure?

Re:So the question is: (3, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325111)

it would be quite better if the resisdents of the UK did boot these scumbags out on their arse but I bet like the US at least a third of them are foolish enough to give their government that kind of power... the "only terrorists are against this massive spying" rhetoric is far too prevelant for the average joe to successfully fight this nonsense and the politicians who suggested this nonsense.

why do you think... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325013)

...they call them Subjects. [wikipedia.org]

Submitter and the editors need to realise... (1, Flamebait)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325035)

there is no such newspaper as the "Times of London", it is just "The Times" and a proper edit of the summary would be in order.

Re:Submitter and the editors need to realise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325429)

there is no such newspaper as the "Times of London", it is just "The Times"

You know how you get all hot and bothered when Slashdot summaries refer to some USAian thing like everyone else in the world should know what it is?

Well, over on this side of the pond people sometimes refer to other papers (most notably The New York Times) colloquially as "the Times", and would get hot and bothered that the submitter assumed that everyone should know which "The Times" they were referring to. To clarify which "The Times" they are referring to, they specify the one "of London". It's not "The Times of London" it's "The Times" (of London), except they didn't bother with the quotes, italics or brackets.

BTW - You're expect editing from Slashdot?

Converging world but to which focal point? (1)

K_Dallas (1237352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325073)

I am amazed as how the democratic countries are letting down their values and converging to the dark world of ... That is a shame!

Re:Converging world but to which focal point? (2, Insightful)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325279)

What democratic countries? England? Since when is a monarchy with a storefront election scham a democracy? I'm from Germany and I can only laugh at those who believe we live in democratic societies. The only ones that do it almost right are the Swiss but their referendum approach only works because the country is so small they could actually kick their governments ass.

Just the fact that the Brits monitor their citizens every move and still can't do shit about the crime rate should be enough proof that they're blind, ignorant and just plain stupid if they think this will go on forever. Fortunately your data is pretty safe with the UK government since they ususally lose the data before they can evaluate it.

The government encourages Terrorism (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325175)

It's ironic that the State always wants to encourage terrorism by making people want to revolt. There is no doubt that there will be many more home grown Timothy McVeigh's [wikipedia.org] in the future.

It Must Suck to be British (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325205)

. . . and to wake up every morning knowing your ancestors were too scared or too stupid to get on a boat.

People may complain (1)

ekimd (968058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325217)

about privacy issues in the United States, but at least we're still nowhere near anything like that yet.

The war has finally begun (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325255)

The governments don't even bother to lie to us anymore it's just plain animosities. Its about time we took back our societies and show these greedy bastards who's boss.

Them's fightin' words ... lets give it to them!!!1!^1...


Hey ... where is everybody going? F$%"& cowards.

Re:The war has finally begun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325299)

Yeah, that's right! Fight back by venting on Slashdot. That'll show 'em.

Important to stand up for your rights. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26325277)

It is important to explain to people you know, in a calm and educated sounding manner, not in a manner that makes you look like some kind of right wing nut, why these sorts of things are all steps towards a Big Brother state, and why it is important that they do their part to convince the people they know of the same. All throughout the world, we need to vote out the incumbent members of government offices and vote in new people who want to reduce the amount of government involvement in our lives, not increase it. When new laws accumulate on the books every day, sooner or later you will not be able to do anything. Therefore it is time to vote people into office who will remove laws from the books, simplify the government, reduce the government's budget (and in doing so, reducing taxation), and reduce government surveillance of the people.

European Union (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325425)

council of ministers passed such a rule? is the UK the 1st to take advantage of this newfound freedom or are other member nations also partaking?

has the UK's government done anything in the last 12 months that has fortified civil liberties? all i can think of are more horror stories of Parliament's haphazard treatment of civil liberty.

I think this is fine (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325465)

as long as they it is legal to hack into the UK Police Computers. They should have no problems, what do they have to hide?

The Fix (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325475)

Ladies and Gentelman. Time to build an industrial strength firewall/intrusion detection system. Check out pf, the innovation from OpenBSD. That'll make it significantly harder to penetrate

Re:The Fix (1)

julian67 (1022593) | more than 5 years ago | (#26325571)

Tell us again how to configure it to prevent police officers breaking into your home/business/hotel room and installing software and/or hardware keyloggers. Thanks.
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