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In the UK, Big Brother Recedes and Advances

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the now-get-rid-of-the-damn-cameras dept.

Privacy 176

PeterAitch writes "The UK government's Home Office has put a hold on their surveillance project to track details of everybody's email, mobile phone, text, and Web use after being warned of problems with privacy as well as technical feasibility and high costs." Four hours before the above Guardian story was filed, the BBC reported that the same Home Office insisted that it will push ahead with plans "to compel communication service providers to collect and retain records of communications from a wider range of internet sources, from social networks through to chatrooms and unorthodox methods, such as within online games."

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why? what is the point? (5, Informative)

lkcl (517947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043752)

could someone please seriously enlighten me as to why the UK government believes this has a chance of succeeding?

TalkTalk's director has already said unequivocably that TalkTalk will sue the UK Government if they proceed with policies like this, on the basis that presumably the TalkTalk director does not want to be put in jail for being ultimately responsible for implementing UK government policies that violate E.U and International Laws on privacy and human rights.

Additionally, the UK's secret service has warned the UK government that raising people's awareness of attacks on their privacy simply raises their awareness of techniques to keep their conversations private, thus making the job of snooping on conversations that really *matter* just that much more difficult and costly.

Re:why? what is the point? (5, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043802)

All right, people, I'm in charge now and we will find the terrorists. Jarvis, I want you to check for any terrorist chatter on AOL. Marley and Greggs, try searching for nuclear devices on askjeeves.com

This is the level of sophistication we're dealing with. They might catch some really, really stupid criminals. Like the ones that put their bank robbery's on youtube.
Now bearing in mind that they currently are looking at the connections between communicators, rather than the content of those communications; that's arguably even more dangerous, because it's like a giant fishing expedition combined with "guilty by association".

Re:why? what is the point? (4, Interesting)

Smegly (1607157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044080)

This is the level of sophistication we're dealing with. They might catch some really, really stupid criminals. Like the ones that put their bank robbery's on youtube

True. But yet again, the declared purpose of legislation like this and its true aim are not the same - it is never intended as a serious form of catching real "terrorist" of the strap on some dynamite and get on a bus kind. To maintain power and control you need your Thought Police [google.com] . The best weapon required is surveillance of the normal, general population - it allows the culture of fear [wikipedia.org] to be maintained, allowing the status quo to maintain power. [wikipedia.org]

Re:why? what is the point? (1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044186)

Thought police? Surveillance? Culture of fear? I thought we were discussing the United Kingdom not East Germany.

Communism is dead; Long live communism!

Re:why? what is the point? (5, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044262)

No, its dictatorship, not communism. East Germany happened to be a communist dictatorship., but there are plenty of the other kinds

Re:why? what is the point? (-1, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044418)

Typical liberal trying to defend communism, by pretending the dark ages of communism in ~10 different countries never happened. The experiment with communism was tried; it failed. It's a flawed system that is doomed to turn away from its intended goal (freedom) toward tyranny.

Re:why? what is the point? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044482)

Who the hell are you? Certain San Diego republican came to mind some time ago, but that was dead end. Now I'm wondering again..

Re:why? what is the point? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044528)

Typical liberal trying to defend communism, by pretending the dark ages of communism in ~10 different countries never happened. The experiment with communism was tried; it failed. It's a flawed system that is doomed to turn away from its intended goal (freedom) toward tyranny.

While I agree that communism has definitely failed, you seem to be missing the point. The GP isn't defending communism. He (correctly) points out that the same tools are also used in other dictatorships. Several fascist states used very similar tactics and they were definitely not communist. This type of government plans needs to be opposed, no matter the ideology they're using to justify their actions.

Re:why? what is the point? (2, Insightful)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044530)

Neither word is useful in describing the twisted new regime in Britain. They are not communists or dictators, but they are tyrannical opressive big government types.

Orwell envisioned them as socialists, but socialism run amok doesn't explain it all. It's capitalism running amok alogside that Orwell missed.

Re:why? what is the point? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044860)

It's populism. The idea that government exists to give people money. It's an idea that dates all the way back to the Roman Republic.

As for the corporation aspect, well politicians are told "it's to protect the artists", so in their mind it's still serving the people.

Re:why? what is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044884)

I think the problem is people running amok. I blame unit testing. Before unit testing hit the big time mocking was a hard manual process. Now even Brown can do it.

Re:why? what is the point? (1)

upside (574799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044998)

The GP is not "pretending" anything, he's saying "thought police", "surveillance" etc. are signs of dictatorships in general, not exclusively signs of communism. He hints that the UK is an example of a non-communist dictatorship.

Take your witch-hunt elsewhere.

Re:why? what is the point? (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044836)

>>>No, its dictatorship, not communism. East Germany happened to be a communist dictatorship

Oh sorry.

Maybe we ought to try Communism here in the US, UK, and EU? This time without the dictatorship aspect. What do you think?

Re:why? what is the point? (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044322)

The term "thought police" comes from Orwell's "1984", set in what "had once been called England or Britain", so it makes sense that it's happening here. And according to Orwell, "1984" was a criticism of the perversions of communism and fascism. Interesting that you pick up on the extreme left but not the extreme right...

Re:why? what is the point? (4, Insightful)

arethuza (737069) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044476)

Politics is circular - the actions once in power of the extreme right and the extreme left are identical. The only difference has been the lies they tell in order to get into power.

Re:why? what is the point? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044672)

That is why the concept of environmental nazi makes so much sense.

Re:why? what is the point? (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044720)

I don't think it's malice on behalf of the politicians. When you look at many prominent members of the Labour government you notice they're just not clever or intelligent people- Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, Harriet Harman, Keith Vaz, Peter Mandelson, Ed Balls and so on. I get the impression there's a few who are a bit more smart and are more malicious like David Miliband, but for the most part these people are a little dormant when it comes to their ability to think.

These people really do believe they're doing it for our own good, that it's a valid solution and that it's the right thing to do. When people like Peter Mandelson can't even keep the fact he's corrupt to the core secret, having been caught red handed about 4 times now in the middle of dodgy backhand deals, and Hazel Blears apparently can't walk down the street without getting her shoe stuck in the pavement and looking like an idiot in front of the worlds media why would anyone believe these people would have the mental capacity to pull off a power grabbing plot?

Of course you could still be right- it may not be the politicians, they could simply be puppets of those in the security services who are telling them what "needs" to be done which is plausible and probably more realistic. In general though the political problem is certainly one of incompetence rather than an inherent evil. The politicians almost certainly do believe these measures will really catch terrorists.

Re:why? what is the point? (3, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044234)

Actually they have caught people planning to blow up supermarkets who did discuss it over web email

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/6692741.stm [bbc.co.uk]

TAYLOR: They then walked round the corner to Universal Video in Slough. Again, the spooks were on the case.

CLARKE: What they did was look at an email account on which were images of devises, electronic components which formed part of remote detonation.

Heroic British SIS officers, with a little help from the NSA were able to spy on the https connection to the web email service and also bug their car

TAYLOR: Omar's friend then had a touch of the jitters.

KUAJA: Bruv, just one thing, you don't think this place is bugged, do you?

OMAR: Nar, I don't think it's bugged bruv, at all. I don't even think the car's bugged. I was saying to XXX what we talk about sometimes, what we're doing, what I'm doing, yeah, bruv, if they knew about it, they wouldn't wait a day bruv, they wouldn't wait one day to arrest me, yeah, or any of us.

TAYLOR: At night, two days later, police specialists moved in to access to neutralise the threat.

Plus they got tips from helpful members of the public

ACCESS GIRL: [on telephone] Hi, is that the police?

TAYLOR: But the spooks also needed something else, luck.

ACCESS GIRL: We've got a suspicion about one of our customers.

TAYLOR: And there was good reason for the call, and this was it, a huge bag stored in unit 1118. Now the staff at Access had got no idea what was inside, but the warning that said oxidising agent was more than enough to cause them concern. In fact, the bag contained 600 kilograms of ammonium nitrate fertiliser. That's around half a ton, and that's more than the IRA used to bomb canary wharf.

Later that night specialists from the anti terrorist branch gained access to unit 1118, the lockup where the bag was stored. They needed to establish that the substance inside the bag was ammonium nitrate ? it was. Alarm bells rang. The spooks had been hearing details of a bomb plot and now they'd found the explosive needed to make it. The pieces of the jigsaw were beginning to come together.

Re:why? what is the point? (4, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044412)


See that's a perfect summary of why I haven't watched Panorama in ages. It's become more and more like the US style of hypermentary: Tell the audience what you're going to tell them. Tell them they should be afraid / excited / awestruck. Play some bass noise. Talk in a Really. Slow. Earnest. Voice. Tell them what you're telling them. Tell them what you've told them. End forty minutes of drawn out information.

Honestly, I would prefer a nice tidy sequence of events and some more in-depth looks at the interesting parts. But I guess my aim is to get information and their target audience is those trying to fill their life with "entertainment". But I do miss being talked to like an intelligent human being.

Re:why? what is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044618)

But I do miss being talked to like an intelligent human being.

And this is why you spend time reading slashdot.

Re:why? what is the point? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044930)

See that's a perfect summary of why I haven't watched Panorama in ages. It's become more and more like the US style of hypermentary: Tell the audience what you're going to tell them. Tell them they should be afraid / excited / awestruck. Play some bass noise. Talk in a Really. Slow. Earnest. Voice. Tell them what you're telling them. Tell them what you've told them. End forty minutes of drawn out information.

Have you seen Brass Eye? There are lots of jokes about this style of presentation.

Still this particular program is interesting because it shows what MI5 and the NSA are quite capable of. In fact at one point it is clear that they could read "dead letterboxes" - the terrorists wannabes in the this case didn't actually send emails because they knew they could be intercepted. They'd all share one account and put the emails in the draft folder, read them and delete them. Now there are a lot of webmail providers. Either they can spy on all of them or they can can decrypt https and read emails even if they are only stored on the server. Or both.

The other interesting thing is how much surveillance they do on "persons of interest". With these guys they read every email and IM they read and had bugs in place for 90% of the conversations.

Re:why? what is the point? (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044980)

I always mentally read the show's title as 'Paranoia' whenever I see it.

Re:why? what is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30045178)

Bullshit propaganda.

Re:why? what is the point? (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044128)

The fact is, the Secret Service has spent time and effort keeping the populace blissfully ignorant of technology's pitfalls and it's backfired. The creme of those ignorami are now in government.

Re:why? what is the point? (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044148)

What would happen if all of the major UK ISPs sued, or outright refused to implement this monitoring system? Would they be fined? Would the Gov. be able to get them to pay?

Would cutting the UK off from the rest of the world for a day (in protest) be an effective demonstration of how costly this would be?

Re:why? what is the point? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044236)

Good luck with that. All the ISPs simultaneously refusing to implement this? That sounds very unlikely to me, especially if the government just levels an "illegal collusion" charge of some kind. Cutting the UK off from the rest of the Internet? Again, fat chance -- it would cost too much money in lost trade opportunities and whatnot.

Re:why? what is the point? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044344)

Illegal collusion? You're missing the point. How do the Gov. enforce a penalty for that, even? What length would the government go to? I have the feeling that a further day would have them backing down; That's two days of the LSE not trading.

It's really not hard to imagine.

Re:why? what is the point? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044432)

You are missing the point. What ISP is going to take the risk of having the government shut them down? The fear of losing their livelihood will keep them all in line; they are not providing Internet access because they think people should have it, they are providing it because it is a way to make money.

Re:why? what is the point? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044892)

Exactly, and the government want to drastically reduce the amount of money they make by making them inspect, analyse, log, and archive every single identifying byte of information which comes over their pipes, voice or data. As long as someone is communicating with someone else, they want it logged. You don't think that will seriously infringe on the CEO's Bentley fund?

Again, you've missed the point. The government can't afford to not have internet (and telephone) service, even for a day. The country cannot afford it. Any government which stops LSE trading for an hour will be met with investment bankers and stock brokers outside Parliament with brick and chain, and a chant of "referendum, referendunm, referendum"

If they could all agree to mount piledrivers over the UK - Mainland Europe fibre backbones, this idea would fall flat on its face in seconds. Too bad nobody has the balls to actually try it.

Re:why? what is the point? (4, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044258)

The budget for the snooping programme was allocated years ago, about £1bn ($1.6bn US) was made public - it was a nice small sounding figure, nothing heard of the scheme again for years. NOW there is an election looming where everything from lying about immigration to the politicians expenses claims have been leaked, they are claiming that the scheme is dead in the water, when the truth is anything but.

If the spies deny it, it is safe to assume they are lying to placate people
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8032367.stm [bbc.co.uk]

The UK's electronic intelligence agency has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement to deny it will track all UK internet and online phone use.

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) said it was developing tracking technology but "only acts when it is necessary" and "does not spy at will".

Known as Deep Packet Inspection equipment, these probes will "steal" the data, analyse and decode the information and then route it direct to a government-run database.

Or http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4882622.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Every call you make, every e-mail you send, every website you visit - I'll be watching you. That is the hope of Sir David Pepper who, as the director of GCHQ, the government's secret eavesdropping agency in Cheltenham, is plotting the biggest surveillance system ever created in Britain.

The scope of the project - classified top secret - is said by officials to be so vast that it will dwarf the estimated £5 billion ministers have set aside for the identity cards programme. It is intended to fight terrorism and crime. Civil liberties groups, however, say it poses an unprecedented intrusion into ordinary citizens' lives.

Aimed at placing a "live tap" on every electronic communication in Britain, it will dwarf other "big brother" surveillance projects such as the number plate recognition system and the spread of CCTV.

I will say that the politicians here like to say "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear". Strangely they don't subscribe to this maxim when you are looking into their criminal expenses claims, or government documents that are deeply embarrassing to the current government that were claimed to not exist - but exist, they just didn't want to release them. The UK police don't like the rise of photo and video cameras showing their abuses of the law, so the current corrupt UK government passes a law where is it's crime to photo / record a police officer. http://www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=839141 [bjp-online.com]

Re:why? what is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044490)

aware ness attack [hotelalsuite.com] of the privecy.can be done then and then where you need more security.but here you means something else.i think.

Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30043762)

I don't see much difference between this and Stasi? Except that this is significantly more efficient to run.

Could someone from Britain please explain why you want this? It cant be terrorists, you have had those for 50 years and never needed to compromise democracy this badly to face those?

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (5, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043806)

It's not just the Brits, it's the whole EU. It's an EU regulation that pretty much all countries accepted.
And it's for our protection, it's to stop terrorists. Erm... or what is to stop child pornography. Maybe it was to catch copyright infringes. Well, it was to stop something anyway, I think.
Anyway, the people will be more safe.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (2, Interesting)

arethuza (737069) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043978)

The only possible explanation that I can think of is based on simply following the money - who expects to gain from this? Simple: the big IT service vendors that have been getting a stream of huge IT projects from the public sector. Our politicians are a fairly gullible lot and typically have no experience of being given the hard sell before they get into office - no wonder the poor fools fall for it when the nice man in the expensive suit offers to solve their problems on a time and materials basis. Now that they have sucked the public purse dry they need fresh victims and they don't want willing customers so they need their friends in power to inflict massive IT projects on the private sector.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044606)

Our American cousins should not gloat about this .... you already have your traffic monitored, and your ISP is not allowed to tell you if it is

A case is currently going very slowly through the courts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACLU_v._NSA) on Warrantless surveillance conducted by the NSA where the ISP's were ordered not to reveal that they were assisting the NSA with monitoring or even that they had been ordered not reveal this ....

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30043844)

Quite simply, we don't. It's just that we have no say in how the country is run. Oh sure, there are those election things, but when there are only two parties and neither is any good, it doesn't really matter who is in power - both sides want to do this kind of thing.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043908)

Sadly, some of our compatriots do want it.

Some of them have a mix of just enough racism, just enough respect for authority and just enough credulity to have really, heavily bought into the "terrorists are everywhere" line. They think anyone with dark skin of arab/persian or even indian descent is probably plotting to overthrow the state and/or perpetrate some mass murder like 9/11 or 7/7. The tabloids deliberately confuse them and conflate immigration (legal or otherwise), asylum and terrorism into one big boiling mess of "those dark skinned foreigners are just evil!".
 
And so when the government tell them they are doing something, anything at all, they jump for joy. Criticism is taken as dangerous, subversive anti-patriotic and prima facie evidence of wrongdoing. They also tend to be the types that will immediately defend any action by the police because beating up defenceless protestors is somehow defending the public.

This is not some sort of "those people" thing either, this cuts across social class and geography. Hell, I'm even related to some people like this.

Now, before americans jump in here please remember that there's a big chunk of your population that think exactly the same way. They are often also the ones quickest to shout about loss of freedom when it comes to social programs.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043970)

"those dark skinned foreigners are just evil!"

the problem, is that the islamic community needs to do more to out these factions. when these communities refuse to habor criminals who blow up buses, then we might actually get somewhere. take the london bombings, there's no way the people that made those bombs had their wives/family/friends/neighbours all fooled. someone close to them would have known something was going on, and could have pretended that attack.

until you start seeing real rejection of this from islamic communities, you won't see any kind of understanding from the larger population.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (3, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044282)

Bombers are not sheltered by communities, they may be sheltered by one or two people very close to them.

It is like claiming that fascist bombers are being sheltered by the white community (there has been one who actually platned bomds, and other who were planning to until caught in Britain).

timmarhy, is that an Irish name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044604)

"those light skinned foreigners are just evil!"

the problem, is that the irish community needs to do more to out these factions. when these communities refuse to habor criminals who blow up buses, then we might actually get somewhere. take the london bombings, there's no way the people that made those bombs had their wives/family/friends/neighbours all fooled. someone close to them would have known something was going on, and could have prevented that attack.

until you start seeing real rejection of this from irish communities, you won't see any kind of understanding from the larger population.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (2, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044820)

So what your are saying is that the actions of my neighbour reflect on me. That sounds like guilt by loose association, which is one of the arguments used for the culture of citizens spying on and reporting each other in 1984.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043880)

You dumb ass. Nobody wants this.
Nobody, (well perhaps Carol Vorderman) wrote to their MP and said "Gief me digital police state pl0z!?"

Governments suck up all the power they can get, limited only by technology and democratic checks and balances. We are all in this together, because the cancer tends to spread.
Some little bastards in your own government are looking over the deployment of the Chinese firewall right now, and saying "Yeah, that's cool. That could work here too."
Regardless of race and nationality, if you like your rights online, then censorship and mass surveillance can not be tolerated to exist. Anywhere.

Thankfully god wants us to be free. Which is why he gave to Moses, a stone tablet containing reference implementations of various public-key cryptography schemes, licensed under the GPL. At least that's how remember it.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (3, Insightful)

minasoko (710100) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044020)

Simply put, we don't want this.

We already kill ourselves in large numbers each year using cars, tobacco, junk food and alcohol, without any help by religious extremists. They're not even going to make a dent.

This proposed legislation has little to do with protection of the citizenry and more to do with making sure that those in power, remain in power.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (2, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044090)

Funny thing, they're just celebrating the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall...

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044206)

Used to live in Britain, now I don't. This is one of the reasons. I actually moved out of the EU with this in mind.

I do not know anyone who wants this.

I see idiot politicians on TV and read their interviews and statements on this in the news that this will be the best thing since sliced bread, it seems to me they are trying to repeat the lie often enough for it to become perceived as truth. In the UK they blame the EU for these sort of things, whilst it appears that the UK government is one of the main backers behind this (probably because they want to have it rubber-stamped through parliament rather than have to explain to the electorate). Actually, the UK often goes for the whole hog when an EU-directive comes around that threatens the integrity of the individual. Funny that.

Re:Dear Brittish friends, why do you want Stasi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044478)

Really not interested in your view if all you did to fix the situation was bail out.

More jobs! (3, Funny)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043812)

This is good news, because it creates more jobs so that half the people in the UK can watch the other half all the time, and then they swap over every so often.

No one will be without a job then, and we solve the terrorist problem in one shot!

Re:More jobs! (3, Funny)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043842)

Dude you just used "UK", "terrorist", "jobs", "problem", "half the people in the UK" and "in one shot" in a slashdot post.

You should've posted anonymously!

If you are from the UK you are screwed bro...

Re:More jobs! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044056)

No, he's OK - I'm supposed to be keeping an eye on him but I'm on an early liquid lunch. This isn't East Germany, you know; if a thing's worth doing it's worth doing badly.

Re:More jobs! (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044314)

It's okay I'm well-armed.

Oh wait. I'm not. The UK took-away our right to resist government tyranny too. Dang. I think I'll move to Russia.

Re:More jobs! (4, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044390)

3/10. No. You can have as many shotguns and rifles as you want, just no hand guns. And if you go up against the cops with just a hand gun, you're not making a stand but an easy target.

Re:More jobs! (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044456)

"As a brit in this damn place i can tell you its not legal unless you have a licence, which covers shotguns and gun clubs, even airsoft guns are now illegal to buy unless you are a club member and skirmish. Criminals have more rights than straight ppl here now on the protecting your family front , you cant touch them if they break in your home, they can sue you for assault" - http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071014223548AAfrOyQ [yahoo.com]

"Yes you can legally own a gun if you have a permit, but you have to prove you have legitimate reason for having a gun and this is usually because its needed in your line of work - ie you are a policemen, soldier, farmer, member of a gun club etc. Its very, very hard to get a gun."

"The 2012 Olympics

Following the awarding of the 2012 Olympic Games to London, the government announced that special dispensation would be granted to allow the various shooting events to go ahead, as had been the case previously for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. However, it was still illegal for Britain's top pistol shooters to train in England, Scotland or Wales. As a result, British shooters currently spend 20 to 30 days a year training in Switzerland, and receive no public sports funding because their events are considered illegal in the UK" - wikipedia

Gun Control's Twisted Outcome (Restricting firearms has helped make England more crime-ridden than the U.S.)
http://reason.com/archives/2002/11/01/gun-controls-twisted-outcome [reason.com]

Re:More jobs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044704)

Gun Control's Twisted Outcome (Restricting firearms has helped make England more crime-ridden than the U.S.)

Shame the article is based on a completely false premise, i.e. that before the gun ban UK citizens defended themselves against criminals using legally held guns.
Virtually *no* law abiding UK citizens had guns before or after the ban. Farmers had shotguns before and after, and they did - and still do - account for about 90%+ of legally held firearms in the UK.

So any change in gun crime before/after the ban cannot be in any way related to the ban. Simple. (Oh, and BTW UK gun crime has been dropping significantly recently; the article referenced is from 2002).

But you gun nuts always have to make stuff up to justify your delusions.

Re:More jobs! (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30045074)

Criminals have more rights than straight ppl here now on the protecting your family front , you cant touch them if they break in your home, they can sue you for assault

You can act in defence of your person, or the defence of a person unable to defend themselves (a child / the frail), but not to defend property. Your property should be insured, and your loss negligible.

I'll be honest, if someone breaks into my house, my words to him will be, in as calm a voice as I can muster "My property is insured. As long as you're only here for property, I'll keep out of your way." Not only may that reduce the chance of myself being attacked, but also prevent excessive damage being caused to my home. I can only hope, anyway.

Re:More jobs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044958)

if you go up against the cops with just a hand gun, you're not making a stand but an easy target.
Just like that guy at Fort Hood? He was such an easy target that with just handguns he killed 13 people and wounded 43 others. Ok, sure most of the victims weren't cops, but it was a freaking army base -- surely *some* of the military victims had weapons?

Re:More jobs! (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30045110)

Don't you need a "good reason" to own a shotgun or rifle? (And as I understand it you can not use self defence as a reason.)

Plus (again, please correct me if I'm wrong) you are also limited in the amount of ammo you can keep.

Re:More jobs! As in Romania (1)

gink1 (1654993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044042)

Sounds like UK is taking their lead from Romania, where 1/3 of the population watched the other 2/3s. How sad that most of the news out of Britain has to do with the rapidly expanding Police State.

Re:More jobs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044730)

Great ! 6 months vacation per year !

Success rate (1)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043814)

I would be very curious to see statistics of what exactly those efforts achieved (or will achieve). How many crimes, terrorist attacks or whatever were actually prevented by those. I have the feeling that we hear a lot about new systems being set up and very little about their successes... Surprisingly.

Re:Success rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044092)

Our governments know what covert operations they've been conducting in foreign countries and the kind of payback that's coming. woohoo

Whatever happened to privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30043820)

Who wants to live under these circumstances were you are constantly being under surveillance and apparently mistrusted by your own, elected?, government?

This kingdom i not free any more, it is time to abandon these islands ..

Re:Whatever happened to privacy? (3, Insightful)

mrlarone (1288904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043856)

it is time to abandon these islands .. you mean eject the prats surely!? preferably by cannon.

Re:Whatever happened to privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30043900)

We tried already by canon, and they ended up at plymouth rock :-)

Making the difficult arguments (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043822)

It is very hard to object to this kind of thing, because no-one is against catching criminals and terrorists if it makes us safer, right?

The opposing arguments are hard to make because they rely on criticism of human nature and seemingly outlandish warnings of sleepwalking in to 1984. None the less, they must be made if we are to save ourselves.

Everyone has things to hide, and everyone needs privacy. You don't expect your bank statement on the back of a post card, you expect it hidden inside an envelope. Surely though the police should be allowed to monitor everything? The problem is that the police are human beings too and there are endless examples of them abusing their power.

My local MP (Sarah McArthy Fry) made the argument that internet surveillance had been used to prevent a suicide, and so was entirely justified. Harsh as it may seem, one life is not enough justification. If we banned cars we could save thousands of people from being killed or severely injured every year, but the bottom line is we consider the benefits of cars to outweigh those lives.

There is no perfect system, but there must be a balance between privacy and limiting the powers of those in authority on the one hand and prevention of crime on the other.

Re:Making the difficult arguments (2, Informative)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044246)

If we banned cars we could save thousands of people from being killed or severely injured every year,

Wrong. You'd save many tens of thousands from being killed. Many hundreds of thousands would be save from injury: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/world_report/en/ [who.int]

Re:Making the difficult arguments (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044492)

Everyone person will die from some cause at some time. The idea of "saving" lives is a childish delusion. The way to live freely is to accept the fact that people will die.

Know one knows whether death, which people fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. -- Plato

Re:Making the difficult arguments (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044358)

When a politician or bureaucrat talks to you, what is the proper response?

"Yes masser"

You are a slave. A serf. Get used to it, or fight back before it's too late. Ballot box. Jury box. Soap box. Ammo box. Use in that order.

Re:Making the difficult arguments (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044382)

The way to argument against it is actually to argument for more and deeper intrusions. Take the argument to it's most extreme logical conclusion. For example:

My local MP (Sarah McArthy Fry) made the argument that internet surveillance had been used to prevent a suicide, and so was entirely justified.

Easy counter argument: demand even more and deeper privacy intrusions.

For example:
"I completely agree with and applaud this action: human life should be cherished and protected at all costs.

Also, lets not forget that every year hundreds of people die as a result of accident or even suicide in their own homes, including children and vulnerable senior citizens.

We cannot stand idle while this happens!

I propose that CCTV surveillance inside private homes becomes mandatory with the video streams available via the Internet to anybody that cares to watch them: let's harness the powers of technology and the crowds to prevent this needless loss of human life that is happening, right now, behind closed doors.

I proposed our esteemed MP Sarah McArthy Fry, whose understanding of the importance of human life is beyond doubt, to serve as an example to us all and be the first person enrolled in this project"

Re:Making the difficult arguments (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044512)

Most citizens are too stupid to understand sarcasm. They would either believe you were being truthful about desiring in-home surveillance (and then vote against you), or are trying to insult their intelligence/acting arrogant (and vote against you).

Horse, stable door, bolted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30043836)

Two questions:

1 - Isn't this just making official what is already being done by the intelligence agencies (Echelon [wikipedia.org] )?

2 - Is it possible to maintain privacy / anonymity on the web - why can't encrypted web traffic and email be the norm?

Re:Horse, stable door, bolted... (3, Informative)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044292)

Encrypted traffic does not hide who you are communicating with.

Re:Horse, stable door, bolted... (1)

catman (1412) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044438)

No, but using the TOR network may. The Norwegian govt - well, one party in it - wants to implement the EU directive on storing communication information, and they will, with the support of the conservatives. So we're trying to make the conservatives wake up.

Re:Horse, stable door, bolted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044510)

It does, if you're communicating via an intermediary, and if you trust that intermediary with knowing who you're communicating with. The intermediary doesn't need to know the message content but they do need to know the destination.

failzo85 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30043898)

needs OS. now BSDI

Jokes migrate (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043940)

"In Western Europe" is the new "In Soviet Russia".

Re:Jokes migrate (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044560)

Actually, I would guess the origin of the jokes comes from the difference in word order between English and Russian, rather than some truth about how people in Russia live.

It seems to be an example of the Cold War mentality of emphasizing that the Soviets are totally different than Americans in every way.

I know you weren't looking for a serious response, but this meme could use some explanation.

Re:Jokes migrate (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044568)

I should also mention the key fact of Russian using a different alphabet... obviously many languages have different word order than English, but having a different (yet seemly kind of recognizable) alphabet makes the writing seem much more exotic and attention-grabbing.

Global channels in games? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043954)

They're going to have fun sifting through /Trade chat trying to work out if "Anal [Terror] LOL" is a secret code...

You EUians are lucky. (1)

benchbri (764527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043958)

You're going to be brought down by what you hate. We Yanks are going to be brought down by what we love, and we'll merrily go along with it.

How? (1)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30043982)

I talked to the government about this. The question I put to them was 'How?'.
It's pretty easy to install a secure private network - with any form of transport to go over it including voip, mail, irc, what-have-you.
It's a necessary feature of the internet.

Re:How? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044254)

Well, they could just pass a law that requires you to surrender your crypto keys on demand. There are not enough people in who would be willing to go to jail just to maintain their privacy.

Re:How? (1)

arethuza (737069) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044464)

You do realise that the UK has such a law?

Can just see it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044028)

1. Little Billy logs into CS.

2. "LoL N00bs Terorist5 p0wn"

3. Crash. Bang!

4. No profit (apart from the politician who can claim another terror attack stopped and hostages saved...).

Or maybe:

@terrorist twitted 10 minutes ago - off to blow up infidels. BRB.

Or even:

EmEYeFive has joined

EmEYeFive: sup all. ASL&Religion

mohamed: 25,male,London,muslim

EmEYeFive: You'll do. IM me your address.

In soviet UK government terrorizes you...

Tagging (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044052)

New tag for British / Big Brother stories = AirStripOne.

The often forgot non-privacy risk (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044072)

Isn't there a problem besides the privacy concern here. That they're getting too much noise from creating a too indiscriminate collection of information, thereby shooting the signal-to-noise ratio through the roof? I understand if it looks good on paper from a security perspective, but what about a practical standpoint? To me, this feels more and more like something that is bad both from a privacy perspective and in practice.

Besides, their analyzed tubes will sure get noisy as wireless connections keep getting more common in society, along with their encrypted connections.

And which terrorist, pedophile or what-have-you with a brain using the Internet to communicate do so over unencrypted social networks?

Re:The often forgot non-privacy risk (2, Insightful)

skirtsteak_asshat (1622625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044242)

Well, uh, as I understand it, the govt's have pretty substantial physical access at the telcos and ISP hubs. Rooms, in fact. It seems like it would take a big budget, yet be otherwise feasible for them to record _everything_ and dump it off. Later, using grid power and secret NSA hax, they can pick apart your encryption retroactively to get the details they need. If you were REALLY bothering them, they could then use that data to backdoor your box and read your DRIVE encryption. I'm sure they could probably have you on the list in under an hour. I mean, they have the budget, the mandate, the capability. Just because they say they're scrapping a program... doesn't mean it's not a redundant capability. Likely contracted it out. Did you think the military / NSA / CIA / XXX were all just a bunch of keystone cops, waiting for authorization to wiretap? It's just a matter of priority and focus. They're dealing with a pretty large data set, so you've got to be worth their while. I guess that's the comforting thought here... if you're not a truly bad guy, they are not likely to waste resources on you.

Re:The often forgot non-privacy risk (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044918)

Yes, amusingly the same day they backtracked on this, they also ruled that intercepted data does not have to be stored in an encrypted form.

The whole thing is a fucking nightmare. The inland revenue service lost the personal details of 25 million people in the UK not so long ago, there have been hundreds more large scale (multi-million victim) data leaks since then and they expect us to now trust them to store all our personal contact data and suggest they don't even need to encrypt it?

Labour government IT is a complete and utter catastrophe with not a single lesson learnt from the constant stream of mistakes.

The cat is out of the bag (2, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044130)

The only people you'll catch with this are folks who have been baited, or don't know what's going on. Ever clicked on a TinyURL link and been presented with one of the "Unholy Trinity"? Well, all it takes is one prick to make it a link to a CP thread on 4Chan and *BAM* jail. Been sent an email from someone you don't recognise and Outlook auto previews an image in the same vein? *BAM* jail.

Pretty soon, I'll be ensuring that anyone I chat to either uses some kind of end-to-end encryption, or I'll just pipe anything apart from iPlayer and WoW through a VPN out of the country. At least that way, if I ever am conned into viewing something HM Gov says I shouldn't, I won't end up on a register for it.

Re:The cat is out of the bag (1)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044422)

Of course this will also be one of the ways that the bad guys will be defending themselves with. Soak up all the processing bandwidth in chasing false trails and you can operate with impunity.

Guardian got it wrong (2, Informative)

ChiefMonkeyGrinder (1459991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044142)

It appears the Guardian has just parsed the legislative process in a strange way to make it look like the Home Office has changed its position when it in fact hasn't.

Just wait till they ban all encryption. (3, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044168)

Exceptions would be made for online banking and shopping using a dedicated system that can't be used for anything else.

Using encryption for other purposes - even SSH to your work, or SSL login to your admin account on a web service would require special government certification and installing a dedicated monitoring software on the machine you're on. Otherwise, even posession of encryption software would land you in prison.

Other than that - mandatory government-issued spyware?

Re:Just wait till they ban all encryption. (1)

lkcl (517947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044210)

Exceptions would be made for online banking and shopping using a dedicated system that can't be used for anything else.

which means that the truly hardened criminals will create an online shopping cart in order to commit crimes. (like they don't already... to whit: money-laundering)

Other than that - mandatory government-issued spyware?

what - like in china? that's working out well, for them, i understand.

Re:Just wait till they ban all encryption. (1)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044526)

You've clearly not seen the UK govt. recently. Working out well is not an objective of particular significance.

Re:Just wait till they ban all encryption. (1)

skirtsteak_asshat (1622625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044346)

Are you suggesting the full vested interest of our military industrial complex cannot manage to break commonly used encryption schemes, or that they just can't do it quickly and easily?
I'd argue both are probably outdated notions. The computing power they have available is pretty damn amazing. If these encryption schema were breakable, why would they announce it?

Re:Just wait till they ban all encryption. (2, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044398)

They can crack one strong crypt in a week or a thousand weak crypts in a minute.

But they can't break a 50 million various grade crypts in realtime, and that's what they need. They are barely capable of monitoring that amount of plaintext.

Re:Just wait till they ban all encryption. (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30045108)

So you're saying that without knowing the key, key size, algorithm, salt, or context of plaintext of a data transmission, the government can decrypt a thousand streams of data per minute?

I'll give them 10 minutes to "decrypt" my explorer.exe file with the extension changed to .txt. Oh look, the system is broken.

Either scum or too stupid (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044226)

after being warned of problems with privacy as well as technical feasibility and high costs

"Being warned of problems with privacy?" Ya.... think?! That's either a nice way of saying that they bowed out of it due to public pressure or they are such blithering incompetents that it never occurred to them that this could harm anyone's privacy. Either way, the British need to wake TFU and bring this regime down. It's an embarrassment.

Two faced... (2, Insightful)

chilvence (1210312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30044244)

A normal society would completely reject the idea that it has to be continuously monitored for its own safety. If anything, this doublethink only weakens the UK. This is exactly the same thing that we openly criticise in other countries, only carefully differentiated so that the blanket definition doesn't stick. It's like saying 'our secret police are less secret and oppressive than everyone else's, so it doesn't count'. So is it right or isn't it? In this weakened state of mind where we don't know ourselves, the hypocrisy of it is totally open to attack...

ho80 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30044372)

could sink your say I'm packing in posting a GNAA balance is struck, joi8 in especially All servers. Com1ng these rules will successes with the
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