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British Government To Grant Warrantless Trawl of Communications Data

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the express-lane dept.

Privacy 82

First time accepted submitter cardpuncher writes "Having opposed the previous government's attempts to introduce mass surveillance of Internet communications, the Conservatives are planning to introduce the very same policy they previously described as a 'culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime.' The plan is essentially to allow stored communication data to be trawled without the inconvenience of needing a warrant or even any reasonable suspicion."

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Fuck you Slashdot (-1, Troll)

ThurstonMoore (605470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540825)

Fuck you and April 1st.

Re:Fuck you Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540935)

!april1st
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/01/government-email-social-network-surveillance

Re:Fuck you Slashdot (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541067)

What happened to the Slashdot April Fools jokes?!?!

They're not doing it this year....?

That sucks...

Re:Fuck you Slashdot (1)

Ofloo (1378781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541135)

Do you really think there not already doing it, .. publishing it would only mean there not afraid to hide it any more and are willing to admit it openly. This also probably means they will use it in courts soon.

Re:Fuck you Slashdot (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541317)

Fuck you and April 1st.

Are you going to say this in every article?

April Fools (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540831)

I hope.

Gun, bomb, assassinate, olympics, jihad if not ;^)

Re:April Fools (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39543323)

I wouldn't cry "jihad" as an April Fools joke in Britain. Unlike US, they have good reasons [youtube.com] to take it pretty seriously.

back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, then. (3, Funny)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540835)

They can introduce all the warrantless tapping statutes they like but there's no obligation or wish on my part to hand over my decryption keys. When there's information I do not want to fall into the hands of my enemy I am NOT about to just giftwrap it for them.

They can suck the bark off my fat veiny purple-headed fuckstick.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540889)

The Thailand factories flooding and HDD allocation is what they *want* you to believe. In reality, those HDD were to be shipped off to various governments around the world for their implementations of "1984". That can certainly explain the timings.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39543337)

And the fact that in another Slashdot story recently, people at a hard drive manufacturer in Thailand were said to be scratching their heads and going, "What floods? Those floods weren't that big a deal, and they've already been cleaned up."

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39541161)

I find your faux bravado quite humorous. If you do not comply, you will end up being somebody's whiny little bitch in a very small jail cell. So please, STFU. You're not impressing anyone.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (5, Informative)

bobbocanfly (1061244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541275)

They can introduce all the warrantless tapping statutes they like but there's no obligation or wish on my part to hand over my decryption keys

Incorrect. The UK has the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act [wikipedia.org] , which lets them demand encryption keys/passwords. If you do not comply, you can face jail time [arstechnica.com]

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39542021)

"I cannot remember."

let them bruteforce the fucker. I am under no lawful obligation to simply hand over information that they will use to incriminate me in $trumped-up-charge.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (4, Informative)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39542067)

I am under no lawful obligation to ...

Willful ignorance or believing that you're in the US are not excuses that a UK court will accept. The comment you were replying to pointed you to the exact law that you're trying to deny exists.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39545759)

I didn't deny the existence of anything. I said they are not getting the fucking encryption keys.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

defnoz (1128875) | more than 2 years ago | (#39547085)

I didn't deny the existence of anything. I said they are not getting the fucking encryption keys.

This would make sense if the sentence you would expect to receive for witholding the keys is less than the sentence you would expect for giving access to the data (or if handing the keys over would endanger compatriots for instance). Otherwise it's a way to go to to stick by your principles.

Of course it would make sense to use an encryption system which gives you plausible deniability in the first place, or hide incriminating data within a load of legal stuff which you might reasonably want encrypted (accounts or somesuch).

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39547743)

To be fair this specific law you're referring too does get blown a bit out of proportion though.

To be jailed for claiming you don't know what the encryption key is on request the police have to have some proof that you do know what it is. They cannot simply ask what it is, then jail you for claiming ignorance, which is what many people imply the law states.

Here are the relevant parts:

(2) In proceedings against any person for an offence under this section, if it is shown that that person was in possession of a key to any protected information at any time before the time of the giving of the section 49 notice, that person shall be taken for the purposes of those proceedings to have continued to be in possession of that key at all subsequent times, unless it is shown that the key was not in his possession after the giving of the notice and before the time by which he was required to disclose it.

(3) For the purposes of this section a person shall be taken to have shown that he was not in possession of a key to protected information at a particular time ifâ"
(a)sufficient evidence of that fact is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it; and
(b)the contrary is not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Note particularly on point 3b - the police have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are in possession of the key.

Part the reason these laws keep getting through is because there's no rational debate on them from either side. The arguments for this time of thing are FUD, and the arguments against - like yours, are simply wrong. When the people arguing against it are full of shit, the government just ignore them and do what they want regardless because you're simply demonstrating to them you haven't even bothered to read their proposals.

The fact is that claiming you don't know the key WILL get you off of a section 49 notice, unless the police can somehow prove beyond reasonable doubt that you do in fact have the key.

So in fact, the law clearly states that the assumption is that the person does NOT have the encryption key, and the burden is entirely on the police to prove they do*. Only then, if they prove that they do* and they continue to refuse to disclose, does it become an offence.

RIPA is still pretty bad - especially the parts that for too long allowed councils to stalk people etc., but it's not the law people on Slashdot, The Register etc. pretend it is with regard to encryption keys.

* With the usual beyond reasonable doubt caveat - the same one used when judging whether someone is guilty of murder etc., i.e. a pretty fucking high standard of evidence.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39543351)

"Maybe this £3 wrench will loosen yer gulliver, eh mate?"

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#39544031)

Gulliver? 'A clockwork orange' is not a documentary.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39544725)

Gulliver? 'A clockwork orange' is not a documentary.

Not in 1971 when the landmark film was made, but now....

Shows like 24 and the USA acceptance of the use of torture for counter-terrorist means have proved the grandparent post correct.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39546893)

"But, Officer, I cannot hand over my encryption key as you demand as the file you claim is encrypted is not encrypted at all, and is merely a file full of random bytes. No such encryption key exists!" :)

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550815)

Surely, you could classify that as a human rights violation.

Failure to hand over keys = jail.

Now, if we just say that...

Jail = torture as a method of extracting the keys...

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541791)

They can introduce all the warrantless tapping statutes they like but there's no obligation or wish on my part to hand over my decryption keys. When there's information I do not want to fall into the hands of my enemy I am NOT about to just giftwrap it for them.

They can suck the bark off my fat veiny purple-headed fuckstick.

You are compelled to hand over your keys by the RIP act. Or you could take the prison time (13 months I believe)

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39545785)

No, I'm not. I have the right under common law to not disclose information which can then be used to incriminate me. That includes talking to police, period. I do not even have to give them my name.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39546913)

Not in the UK

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

defnoz (1128875) | more than 2 years ago | (#39547095)

No, I'm not. I have the right under common law to not disclose information which can then be used to incriminate me. That includes talking to police, period. I do not even have to give them my name.

Of course you're not physically compelled, by some supernatural force, to give them any information. Just as you're not physically compelled to pay your taxes, to drive at the speed limit or not to murder your mum.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39547495)

Err, yes you do. Under UK law you are required to give them your name and address (and under rather vague conditions - at least vague in the sense of when you can refuse - your date of birth). If you don't, you can be held INDEFINITELY in police detention until you do. You will almost certainly be charged with "obstruction" or some similar offence, just for their amusement. And if you chose to remain silent thereafter, that may be noted and used as evidence against you in court.

Re:back to onetime pads and tapped morse it is, th (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39548239)

citation needed.

April Fools (0)

philipmather (864521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540847)

I hope.

Gun, bomb, assassinate, rifle, olympics, jihad if not ;^)

Re:April Fools (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540853)

We heard you the first time.

Re:April Fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540955)

I doubt the Beeb would do an april fools as they are seen as much more serious than your average news site.

Re:April Fools (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540973)

Here's an April fool the BBC did

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27ugSKW4-QQ [youtube.com]

Re:April Fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39541307)

They're yet to pull such a stunt on their news articles though.

Re:April Fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550389)

They're yet to pull such a stunt on their news articles though.

http://imgur.com/gallery/jgJqf begs to differ

This is better than the alternative (2)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540871)

It beats me that anyone thinks that this is not already going on. What I want is the practise regulated by law, Why do you think we are resorting to locking up people without trial?

Re:This is better than the alternative (1)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541663)

Agreed with the ongoing practices.

I was on the phone to a friend in another city in 1997, just after http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echelon_(signals_intelligence) [wikipedia.org] was revealed. Chatting away, I said to my friend, "Oh, it works by monitoring for a few key words like Dublin, drugs, guns, bombs..." and the line made four loud taps. We sat in silence for a few seconds and considered who would be listening to the tape that was now running.

Absolutely sure that all unencrypted voice and web traffic is regularly, possibly totally, monitored. The GCHQ budget is enormous, they employ bright people (hello spooks!) and our Government has a deep belief that knowledge is power.

An old joke, badly told. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39546639)

Three men are sharing a hotel room in Russia. While one is trying to sleep the other two are chatting noisily so he decides to play a little practical joke on them. He calls down to the front desk and asks for some sandwiches to be sent up, then calmly walks into the room where the other two men are talking. Upon a coffee table sits a small plant-pot, which he taps three times and speaks: "Comrade Major, please send up some sandwiches and coffee."

A deathly silence falls upon the room and the prankster finally gets some sleep.

When morning comes he is woken by the maid, who is carrying a tray of sandwiches and a pot of coffee. His erstwhile companions are nowhere to be seen; their beds have been neatly made and their luggage is gone. As panic grips him he asks the maid "where have they gone?", to which she replies - not unkindly - that the two men are probably in the gulag by now. The maid starts to leave, but as she reaches the door she turns and sees the pallor on the remaining guest's face...

"Don't worry, Comrade Major thought it was hilarious."

I hope this is an April Fool (4, Insightful)

Dark$ide (732508) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540875)

If it's an April Fool, it's not funny.

If it's not an April Fool, it's not funny.

Whatever it is this Gov't won't be my Gov't after the next election.

Re:I hope this is an April Fool (5, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540911)

You do understand that the real reason governments do things such as this is so they WILL be your government after the next election, and the one after that, ad infinitum?

Nor working very well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39542341)

It seems that strategy is meeting with limited success.

Why does the leadership of the US and UK keep changing, then?

All the kooks who said things like this also were absolutely convinced that Bush was going to declare martial law and suspend elections — so why is Obama president? And why will we have a different president perhaps with the 2012 election, and definitely with the 2016 election?

Wait, let me guess — "they're all the same anyway", and there's some grand cabal doing these things to keep the "Republicrats" or "Dempublicans" in power. *Sigh*. Okay, great. And this is different from 10, 20, 50, or 70 years ago in any substantive, meaningful way, how, again?

"Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Speech in the House of Commons, November 11, 1947

Re:Nor working very well (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39542421)

Why does the leadership of the US and UK keep changing, then?

Same bosses with different public faces. How much things changed from Bush with Obama, someone different from a different party? The trends just got bigger and worser.

Re:I hope this is an April Fool (5, Informative)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540923)

The story is real, the Slashdot summary is utterly incorrect. For example, from the article:

"A new law ... would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant"

Also it doesn't say anything about trawling stored data, or proposing a requirement to stored data, rather that with a a warrant, GCHQ must be able to access data in real time.

Re:I hope this is an April Fool (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39542293)

Who you communicated with and when is data. In fact, it's communications data.

It's also yet another big step towards the police state.

Re:I hope this is an April Fool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39546947)

If it's an April Fool, it's not funny.

If it's not an April Fool, it's not funny.

Whatever it is this Gov't won't be my Gov't after the next election.

No, indeed. You'll help elect another bunch of no-good, self-serving politicians who will continue with (more-or-less) the same privacy-raping agenda.

"Meet the new boss.. Same as the old boss!"

It's not a farce.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540927)

I fear it may be real... Sure the BBC wrote it up today, but http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/ is real, and they had just stopped cameras being installed in all cabs. There is a "lot" of increasing this year of the survelience society, because the Olympics are coming. Because if nothing happens then, the government can say that the open destruction of privacy was worth it. And if something does happen, the government will say that we had not done enough, and we must be willing to sacrifice a little liberty and privacy for our protection. Pretty good con, all things.

Time for a Royal Coup! (2)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540931)

We need Her Majesty to save her subjects and overthrow this government.

Re:Time for a Royal Coup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39541535)

The chances of that happening are slim to none.

Re:Time for a Royal Coup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39544821)

From what I've heard, all she can do is appoint a Prime Minister.

Parliament runs England top to bottom.

Queen Elizabeth II and her entire court is pretty much a cerimonial figurehead in today's England.

Simple misreading really (1)

dpqb (2608183) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540939)

GB read "1984" as an instruction manual.

Re:Simple misreading really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39541065)

Well it did include an appendix at the back...

Re:Simple misreading really (1)

mrbester (200927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541077)

TB started, GB continued, DC condemned while secretly planning to further the "good works"

Misleading title, and sensationalism. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540941)

And I quote: "A new law - which may be announced in the forthcoming Queen's Speech in May - would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant."

Yes, it is still worrysome, but can we please try and keep things accurate?

Re:Misleading title, and sensationalism. (2)

Lunar_Lamp (976812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541345)

Can someone mod this up please, as I was about to paste the same thing. It's a *major* error in the summary.

Re:Misleading title, and sensationalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39541689)

Laws are not announced in the Queen's speech.

Laws are given royal assent in the commons and are never announced by Her Majesty.

Re:Misleading title, and sensationalism. (1)

kraut (2788) | more than 2 years ago | (#39542753)

The Queen's Speech gives an overview of the legislative agenda of the government, though.

Is there anybody less trustworthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540965)

Than the omnipresent "a careful balance must be struck" fellow that just has to get his two cents (pence? whatever) in when another shovel of dirt's getting dumped on us.

And this one's a Lib Dem? Sounds like the U.K. has gone down the same road we have, where the Left is content to be a half-strength Right. Here's a better idea: as long as you're borrowing from conservatives, learn to Just Say No sometimes.

Re:Is there anybody less trustworthy (1)

kraut (2788) | more than 2 years ago | (#39542817)

And this one's a Lib Dem? Sounds like the U.K. has gone down the same road we have, where the Left is content to be a half-strength Right. Here's a better idea: as long as you're borrowing from conservatives, learn to Just Say No sometimes.

The left/right metaphor doesn't make any sense any more. The Labour party is strongly redistributive, so technically left on economics (although not as much as they used to be). The LibDems cover a wide spectrum, ranging from more economically redistributive than Labour, to slightly economically liberal. The conservatives are, frankly, on average still far too keen on taking your money and giving it too other people.

The important thing to remember in this context is the authoritarian/libertarian axis: Labour is incredibly authoritarian, in instinct and in practice. They brought in the RIP act, they extended detention without charge to 28 days (40 if they'd got away with it), they brought in control orders and house arrest. While simultaneously, oddly enough presiding over the collapse of the criminal justice system into a complete farce, as far as career criminals are concerned.

About half the Tory party have conservative libertarian leanings ("By Jove, an Englishman's home is his castle, and no one has a right to bloody snoop!"), the other half sadly tend towards the authoritarian.

The Lib Dems are supposed to be libertarian, but sadly entirely bereft of cochones.

If there was a party that was actually serious about a) not fucking with my money and b) not fucking with my life, I'd even swap my passport and swear allegiance to Liz. But there isn't one.

Re:Is there anybody less trustworthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39544013)

LOL.

"Strongly redistributive" - you ought to have lived between the '40s and the '70s. New Labour was about distributing the wealth from the people to the corporations; the Tories are about distributing the wealth from the people to the corporations. The Lib Dems have an exiled Old Labour left vote (which will now abandon them) and are otherwise Tory - they're certainly not libertarian, unless you admit some of the degenerate interpretations of libertarianism which have popped up on the Internet. And none of the parties seem interested in keeping people healthy, able and educated with a humane, sustainable welfare state. Recent welfare reform legislation, i.e. "Universal Credit", could have been written by Benito himself: require the people themselves to subsidise very cheap labour for corporations.

The CJPOA, removing the right to silence and probably the most fundamental right removal in the criminal justice system in recent memory, was Tory through and through. The quietly passed TPIM Act 2011 [legislation.gov.uk] allows the government to extrajudicially impose residence restrictions, curfew, travel restrictions (including within the UK), control assets, control the transfer of property, use of electronic devices, restrict association with other individuals, and require the attachment of monitoring devices. Condition? Suspicion of vague terrorism-related activity, of course. Standard of evidence? Government gets to impose these restrictions initially with no judicial oversight, and any later court scrutiny can go ahead without the subject even being notified, let alone allowed to make a defence.

(Of course, judicial review is possible - but judicial review is always possible because the judiciary has a habit of ignoring, as one of the few exceptions to its deference to Parliament, statute which attempts to make judicial review impossible. So that doesn't make the Act any more reasonable.)

I for one... (1)

OliWarner (1529079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541001)

... welcome my government agency overlords. I feel safer already.

I'm glad our taxes are so well spent.

Yep, keep voting for higher taxes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39541029)

What the hell do you think pays for all this kind of crap?

Every time you vote for a politician who wants to raise taxes - for WHATEVER REASON, you're giving the government more resources and more power THAT IT WILL ABUSE.

And every damn time it happens, you'll rail against the abuse of power, but will ignore the source of that power:

YOU

For giving the government that power.

Go ahead, mod this down. Put your head up your ass and hide from where and how governments get the resources and power to do things like this.

And when it happens again and again and again, you'll be surprised. Again and again and again.

Re:Yep, keep voting for higher taxes (4, Insightful)

Nithron (661003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541179)

I agree. But what is the alternative? England, which is where this is happening, has an effective two party system. Like most places. On an individual basis, you realistically have two choices, and they will both lead to the same thing.

Theoretically, someone should be able to start their own party, and get voted into power by running policies specifically for the people. This is more difficult than it sounds, however, because you have to take into account that people do not vote rationally. Some might, relatively speaking, but probably the majority just vote for the same party forever.

A popular uprising is a route around this. This requires the populace to be angrier and less apathetic than they are now, though, and while we had some nasty riots recently, they were nowhere near the numbers required to actually pull off a regime change. To get one of those, the living conditions in the country in question need to be much, much worse than they currently are in the UK.

Blame can only be placed on the individual voter up to a certain point, as they have to work within the system they have, and with the people they are surrounded by. Of course, the people causing this problem are all individual voters too. But they are unlikely to be reading comments on slashdot. Even if you shouted this in their face, they would probably react with hostility, because their behaviour isn't really guided by stone-cold logic, and a lot of people don't like their behaviour being questioned. Also, you'd be shouting in their face.

This situation isn't as bad as it sounds, though. If quality of life here got really bad, a popular uprising would occur. It's self regulating - if the system gets that bad, it will get replaced. If it doesn't, then hey, things are going pretty well, relatively speaking. Unless technology gets so advanced that rebellion becomes impossible, in which case, we'll all be screwed.

Re:Yep, keep voting for higher taxes (3, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39542561)

I agree. But what is the alternative? England, which is where this is happening, has an effective two party system.

England doesn't have a national government. Local government tends to vary between the 3 major parties and often have coalitions and independent councillors.

The national UK government is currently a coalition. Sadly the powers that be in the media and government don't like this, and certainly don't want it to become commonplace as in the EU. They collaborated to fight the only chance of this generation seeing electoral reform.

Some might, relatively speaking, but probably the majority just vote for the same party forever.

This actually makes the small minority of swing voters think they're empowered (95% of the votes in the UK are meaningless, it's only marginal votes in marginal constituencies that count). And they are, they get to choose between Labour and Conservative.

A popular uprising is a route around this. This requires the populace to be angrier and less apathetic than they are now, though, and while we had some nasty riots recently, they were nowhere near the numbers required to actually pull off a regime change.

Those riots were generally people nicking TVs and trainers. Had they ransacked chequers and burnt parliament to the ground, or even just attacked a council office, or a job centre, I'd have been more sympathetic.

There was a lot of anger about bankers recently too, so occupy London camped outside of St Paul's, then enforced the view they were work-shy homeless hippies and fell off the the news radar before, quite rightly, being removed as the pointless eyesore it was.

Re:Yep, keep voting for higher taxes (1)

kraut (2788) | more than 2 years ago | (#39542843)

England doesn't have a national government

Err... Which England are you talking about, 'cause I'm pretty sure last time I was down Westminster way, the Houses of Parliament looked like they were still standing, and Downing street seemed pretty busy.

Oh, you're being pedantic. Fair enough, the UK has a national government, and all of the nations within it, except England, have some form of assembly. But as a reasonable first approximation, the Westminster government calls the shots.

They collaborated to fight the only chance of this generation seeing electoral reform.

Which, sad to say, was an awful compromise, and completely squandered the chance to make some positive changes.

Re:Yep, keep voting for higher taxes (1)

Nithron (661003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39543447)

England doesn't have a national government. Local government tends to vary between the 3 major parties and often have coalitions and independent councillors.

As the other reply to this post says, that's not really true. We have local government, councils, and also of course local MPs - although they are part of the national parliament. It's not the local councils who are responsible for the proposed internet monitoring, it's the national government - a cabinet made up mostly of MPs that run the country nationally.

It's currently in a coalition, but this is the first time in ages that this has happened. Usually the Liberal Democrats have next to no power; hence the two party system. Even if it was a three party system, if all three of them were functionally identical this would have the same problem. As this coalition has shown; they are.

This actually makes the small minority of swing voters think they're empowered (95% of the votes in the UK are meaningless, it's only marginal votes in marginal constituencies that count). And they are, they get to choose between Labour and Conservative.

Yes, they get to choose between Labour and Conservative. That's the problem.

Those riots were generally people nicking TVs and trainers.

That's an over simplification. It's a matter of extensive debate at the moment, though, and I simply mentioned the riots in order to lead into my point that the general population is too apathetic, or more optimistically speaking, too content, for rebellion. Their causes are not really relevant to my point.

There was a lot of anger about bankers recently too, so occupy London camped outside of St Paul's, then enforced the view they were work-shy homeless hippies and fell off the the news radar before, quite rightly, being removed as the pointless eyesore it was.

That's a strange view to take. Is everyone angry about the bankers a work-shy hippie? I'm pretty angry about the economic situation, and I barely smell of patchouli at all.

Re:Yep, keep voting for higher taxes (1)

Kat M. (2602097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39543229)

I agree. But what is the alternative? England, which is where this is happening, has an effective two party system.

This is not quite what I would say. Yes, first-past-the-post voting encourages a two party system. That does not mean it's completely unassailable.

First of all, look at the recent Bradford West [wikipedia.org] by-election, where Labour lost nearly half its vote and the Tories got stomped into the ground in favor of a socialist candidate. Admittedly, the circumstances were quite unique -- Galloway is quite the character, and Respect is not going to win in a whole lot of constituencies in a real general election -- but it's not like things are quite that cast in stone if the government manages to frustate the electorate enough (cf. Margaret Thatcher, poll tax). That is more likely to happen over economic reasons (austerity in particular), but privacy concerns could add to the mix.

Second, if you live in Scotland (like me), then a fair number of government powers are devolved, meaning that the Scottish Parliament (which is elected using a mixed-member proportional system) gets to decide those. We have a bit of a grey area here, because national security is in the hands of Westminster, while Scotland otherwise has its own criminal justice system. (And yes, I realize that you spoke about England -- but moving north of the Tweed is not all that difficult if you have any mobility; it's already a concern in practice because of the different university tuition systems.)

Re:Yep, keep voting for higher taxes (1)

Nithron (661003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39544433)

True, Galloway did just win that by-election. But as you yourself say, this is a rarity, and it's unlikely to have any real impact on national government. Looking at the history of British elections, it's almost always the Labour or Conservative parties in power. When there's a coalition - not very often - it's made up of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, just like now.

You could say it was a three party system if you wanted to stretch it, but the current coalition isn't really acting like anything more than a Conservative party, so I'm not really sure that would be much of an improvement.

It's not totally unassailable though, as you said. Which is good. It's just really, really difficult to change it. The original poster way above this was raving at us voters for bringing about this frankly rather scary surveillance proposal, but with it being that difficult to get any democratic change from the perspective of a single slashdot reader, we really don't have that much control over such matters.

You're right about the Scotland thing as well, which is why I said England instead of UK. It's a bit more complicated north of the border. I'm not sure escaping to another country is quite the same as democratic change though. I see you've mentioned tuition fees as well - unfortunately for us English, we still have to pay English tuition fees even if we run away to Scotland. They think of everything, don't they?

A warrant is required. (4, Informative)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541079)

This is about real time access with a warrant. I suggest that everyone RTFA for once. The summary and title are WRONG. That is not to say that it is not still troubling but let's be real here.

Re:A warrant is required. (3, Informative)

cardpuncher (713057) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541211)

No it isn't. The summary relates to "stored communication data" - which is the stuff that ISPs are required to hold short of actual message content (email senders and recipients, URLs, dates and times of being online) - and not real time access to communications in progress. The article makes it clear that without a warrant:

"It would enable intelligence officers to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long. They would also be able to see which websites someone had visited."

I think the summary "warrantless trawl of communications data" is, er, warranted since it means that fishing expeditions can be carried out for anyone visiting certain websites and graphs of communications between individuals can be constructed without any need to persuade a magistrate (a fairly low threshold) that the invasion of privacy is reasonable.

Jacqui Smith, Theresa May (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39541493)

Firstly this law is the same as Jacqui Smith was going to sign, it makes the ISPs index the data into a database ready for search. All tracking data, not just data for which a warrant has been made on the off-chance that a warrant *may* be made in future. That you should be tracked *you in case* its needed in future.

The warrant is then made later, or perhaps that requirement will simply disappear as it has so often. Once you have the data all ready tracked and ready to search, you've effectively made a surveillance system. It then becomes extremely difficult to argue that the ISP should have access, but not the spooks, then the police, then the tax man, then the local council, then, private companies. They give open access to the license plate database now. Parking companies use it to send threatening letters demanding money to anyone who parks for more than 2 hours. They put a little plaque on the wall saying you agree to pay a fee if you park here, then the government gives them access to your home details based on the license plate.

It's the same pattern, they put a weak willed woman in the Home Secretary's post. The spooks scare her with all kinds of attack scenarios and claims they really need it OR YOUR CHILDREN WILL ALL DIE, and they do the same thing, sign off on indefensible intrusive mass surveillance.

With Jacqui Smith she first of all tried to create a centralized database, but later 'backed down' and created a distributed database, as if where the data is indexed is relevant! This is that same thing, it requires ISPs index all data in a way that can be formed into a distributed database. The man in charge is the same Oracle consultant, so he knows that once its indexed it's searchable, regardless of whether its its physically a cluster of machines in GCHQ or a distributed cluster of machines.

So all your internet traffic is tracked and recorded without a warrant, and when warrants are issued, they will then be based on 'who visited with website', it will be blanket trawls of the kind China would be proud of.

Re:Jacqui Smith, Theresa May (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39546987)

Who is the Oracle consultant? Perhaps he would like all our emails sent to him direct, to cut out all this nonesense about legislation and databases?

Re:A warrant is required. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39542599)

Phew, they have to rubber stamp a warrant. That makes it alright. There was me thinking the UK was competing with China and Iran for the totalitarian championship medal.

Not Nine OClock news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39541205)

Not really news this matter. It's been done long time already, now they just apply law to make it legal. If you expect national intelligence gathering organizations following any kind of rules set upon them keeping hands off some data they want you should get your head inspected, sooner the better.

Access to comms. data w/o warrant not new (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541619)

Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, access to communications data without a warrant is already permitted. However, the legislation is particularly difficult to read (at least, I think it is...), so here's my approach to interpreting it:

"Communications data" is defined (s21(4)) [legislation.gov.uk] widely:

(a) any traffic data comprised in or attached to a communication (whether by the sender or otherwise) for the purposes of any postal service or telecommunication system by means of which it is being or may be transmitted;
(b) any information which includes none of the contents of a communication (apart from any information falling within paragraph (a)) and is about the use made by any person— (i)of any postal service or telecommunications service; or (ii)in connection with the provision to or use by any person of any telecommunications service, of any part of a telecommunication system;
(c) any information not falling within paragraph (a) or (b) that is held or obtained, in relation to persons to whom he provides the service, by a person providing a postal service or telecommunications service.

(my emphasis — and see s21(6) for the definition of "traffic data")

Where a "designated person" (quite a long list of people are "designated") "believes that it is necessary" (s22(1)) to obtain any communications data for one of the grounds set out in s22(2) (quite a long list of grounds are set out), where it appears to the designated person that a postal or telecommunications operator is or may be in possession of, or be capable of obtaining, any communications data, the designated person may, by notice (which must be in writing (s23(2))) to the postal or telecommunications operator, require the operator (a) if the operator is not already in possession of the data, to obtain the data; and (b) in any case, to disclose all of the data in his possession or subsequently obtained by him. (s22(4)).

As well as requiring that the designated person believes that obtaining the data are necessary, no notice may be issued unless the designated person "believes that obtaining the data in question by the conduct authorised or required by the authorisation or notice is proportionate to what is sought to be achieved by so obtaining the data." (s22(5)) The notice can last up to one month (s23(4)).

As such, no warrant is required, as long as the designated person believes that obtaining the data is necessary for one of the stated grounds, and is proportionate to the outcome sought to be achieved.

It's worth noting that the operator has no say in the matter at all — it is the operator's statutory duty to comply (s22(6)), unless complying is "not reasonably practicable" (s22(7)) and the requirement can be enforced via an injunction, or as a specific performance of statutory duty (basically, an injunction...). (s22(8))

Given that the Secretary of State can order (by written notice) a communications provider to retain data for up to 12 months (see Reg. 10 [legislation.gov.uk] , Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009), there's potentially a lot of data to get hold of. See Schedule 3 [legislation.gov.uk] of the regulations for what an operator can be ordered to retain.

The new legislation sounds — although we wait to see it — as if the scope is broadened, but access to communications data without a warrant is already in place, and has been for many years now.

Summary is crap and the actual news is a bit meh (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#39541669)

As far as I can tell all this law does is enable GCHQ to compel network providers to give them real time access to data, when supplied with a warrant. I'm pretty sure GCHQ was allowed to intercept and decrypt data as required anyway - it's why they exist.

The ConDems opposed it when it was Labour policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39542395)

now they are doing it themselves.

The creatures outside looked from ConDem to Labour, and from Labour to ConDem, and from ConDem to Labour again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

DHS gets warrantless tapping in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39542653)

"the Conservatives are planning to introduce the very same policy they previously described as a 'culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime"

Actually, in order to protect the homeland, it's the US gov that instructed our gov to introduce such mass surveillance. Besides, us out here on the rim don't count as a real country and the DHS wouldn't get away with such surveillance in the US.

The right of the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39543255)

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, ...

Oh, wait, that's the Evil Empire... Maybe it's time the UK adopts the Bill of Rights into its "Constitution"?

Here's all the facts (2)

lga (172042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39543779)

It's not the body of the communications that can be trawled, but the headers. The government want to be able to see who is communicating with who, and when. The plan was written about in The Telegraph last month [telegraph.co.uk] but the plans are much older than that. The last Labour government, lover of all things authoritarian, came up with the Interception Modernisation Programme which in its original form would have had details of all electronic communications sent to a central government database. When the government eventually realised that this would be completely impractical they shifted the work to the service providers, who would all have to keep the details of the communications travelling through their networks and give the government access to their database at all times. The service providers realised just how much this would cost and so the government committed £2 billion [theregister.co.uk] to cover those costs over ten years. The plan was heavily criticised by the Conservatives, who published a paper titled Reversing the rise of the surveillance state [conservatives.com] . (Which is still on their website.) It was also criticised backthen by the London School of Economics [guardian.co.uk] .The plan was shelved in 2009 after opposition from communications service providers and a realisation that it would not be popular with the public.

After the election, though, the Conservatives decided to resurrect the plan, giving it a new name [theregister.co.uk] , theCommunications Capabilities Development Programme. (CCDP) Questions were raised in 2010 bythe Information Commissioner's Office [theregister.co.uk] and it was mentioned in The New Statesman [newstatesman.com] . Now the government are pushing ahead with the CCDP and the queen's speech will say that they intend to introduce legislation to implement the programme as soon as possible.

There are many things wrong with this programme of spying. It is impractical, expensive, a huge violation of our privacy, it places too much power in the hands of government, a government who we cannot trust. Making the full details of who talks to who available will allow security personnel to trawl through our data on fishing trips instead of requiring some basis for suspicion. Combined with the database for Universal Credit [wordpress.com] , which will be almost as comprehensive as the National IdentityRegisterthat was criticised so much by the Conservatives, and the centralisation of medical records, this provides private information about us all to the government on anunprecedentedscale with huge scope for abuse and for life-destroying mistakes.

If these plans scare you, please write to your MP to tell them your objection to the Communications Capabilities Development Programme. You can use WriteToThem.com [writetothem.com] to send it if you don't have their details. Pleasesign theOpen Rights Group's petition against government snooping [openrightsgroup.org] and maybe consider joining the group too.

Re:Here's all the facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39548027)

After I sign the petition I can expect the 3am visit and hole in the ceiling and a one way trip to Ministry of Information (Retrieval)

Leave the UK. (1)

scurvyj (1158787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39546539)

Leave the UK. Get out of there before you need to be declared a Valid Citizen to travel. Seriously, just run.

Op bcc (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39546975)

I think that, as concerned citizens, we should not wait for the intermidable ruminations of parliament to bring forward this important security measure. Surely, it would be better to comply forthwith. I would be perfectly happy to forward all of my emails, by bcc, to any minister or agency responsible for this. Does anyone have the relevant email addresses?

All anyone needs to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552087)

Write a message in notepad, save, then zip/rar/7z the document. (We'll say zip.)

Then do:

Start -> Run -> cmd -> copy /b image_of_your_choice.jpg+text_document_you_saved.zip C:\output.jpg

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