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NSA Provided £100m Funding For GCHQ Operations

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the long-live-the-queen dept.

United Kingdom 143

cold fjord writes "The Telegraph reports, 'GCHQ has received at least £100 million from the U.S. to help fund intelligence gathering, raising questions over American influence on the British agencies. ... It also emerged that the intelligence agency wants the ability to "exploit any phone, anywhere, any time" and that some staff have raised concerns over the "morality and ethics" of their operational work. ... The agency has faced claims it was handed intelligence on individuals from the US gained from the Prism programme that collected telephone and web records. However, it has been cleared of any wrongdoing or attempts to circumvent British law by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, as well as by Mr Hague. The payments from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) are detailed in GCHQ's annual "investment portfolios", leaked by Mr Snowden to The Guardian. The NSA paid GCHQ £22.9million in 2009, £39.9million in 2010 and £34.7million in 2011/12. ...Another £15.5million went towards redevelopment projects at GCHQ's site in Bude, Cornwall, which intercepts communications from the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic. ... A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "In a 60-year alliance it is entirely unsurprising that there are joint projects in which resources and expertise are pooled, but the benefits flow in both directions."'" dryriver also wrote in with news that several telecoms are collaborating with GHCQ (BT, Vodafone, and Verizon at least). From the article: "GCHQ has the ability to tap cables carrying both internet data and phone calls. By last year GCHQ was handling 600m 'telephone events' each day, had tapped more than 200 fibre-optic cables and was able to process data from at least 46 of them at a time. ... Documents seen by the Guardian suggest some telecoms companies allowed GCHQ to access cables which they did not themselves own or operate, but only operated a landing station for. Such practices could raise alarm among other cable providers who do not co-operate with GCHQ programmes that their facilities are being used by the intelligence agency."

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Starving children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463461)

....could have fed a lot. It's amazing what money is spent on.

Re:Starving children (5, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about a year ago | (#44463521)

....could have fed a lot. It's amazing what money is spent on.

Am I reading that right? It sounds like you want to feed starving children to other countries. Granted this will do a lot to feed others and to help take care of population growth, but how much sustenance can a starving child give? Really, we should start by eating the fat kids here in the U.S.

Re:Starving children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463535)

....could have fed a lot. It's amazing what money is spent on.

Am I reading that right? It sounds like you want to feed starving children to other countries. Granted this will do a lot to feed others and to help take care of population growth, but how much sustenance can a starving child give? Really, we should start by eating the fat kids here in the U.S.

Fat kids cause grease fires.

Re:Starving children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463561)

It's more or less the idea that the money was wasted rather than actually wanting to feed starving children. It would be better spent by say.... improving our education system (teach a man to fish etc etc), or better yet, give it back to the tax payers and reduce the NSA budget for the following year. Of course, mentioning something like this is heresy. Not to mention whenever you have something like "use all this money or lose it next year" it's always begging for wasteful money. Heck, that's how schools work.

Re:Starving children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463863)

No rich country really really sends money to poor countries to save the children. All this aid is pure bribes in disguise. The Brits might be acting shocked that US is bribing their Government but they should know better. They and of course a lot of people in the US think and believe we are (our Government is) squeaky clean and third world countries are corrupt.

This revelation should make it clear to those in denial that First world countries are equally corrupt and they are the ones corrupting the third world.

Re:Starving children (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#44464161)

Unfortunately, they are loaded with the 'bad' fat...

Re:Starving children (1)

auric_dude (610172) | about a year ago | (#44463731)

Prehaps funding those nearer to home might be a good start http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/in-rural-tennessee-a-new-way-to-help-hungry-children-a-bus-turned-bread-truck/2013/07/06/c93c5eec-e292-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html [washingtonpost.com] as after all $3.47 in taxpayer money and 750 calories can make a difrence to some.

Re:Starving children (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44463821)

Sure go feed your kids, but if these kids aren't going to spy on international communications in Europe then you're wasting your money.

Re:Starving children (1)

auric_dude (610172) | about a year ago | (#44463851)

The monies spent on starving children may well come from central government funds and so be in competition with NSA funds also allocated by central government. I expect that in the existing climate of anti NSA feeling some may well make NSA funds a target for protesting groups. If both are needed then other funding will have to be cut.

Wow... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463469)

British sure love drinking frosty piss aka tea don't they?

Re:Wow... (0)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44464593)

Snowden takes a leak in Russia, you get a fresh frosty piss for Obama. I hope he uses a coaster. I saw a picture of the bastard with his feet up on the historical oval office desk. His filthy damn shoes. GIVE THAT MAN A DRINK!

Is this really true? (2)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about a year ago | (#44463475)

If it is, it is a sickness inspired by fear mongering to sell this to the U.S. budget. Way over the line. They don't need new toys, they need counseling.

Re:Is this really true? (3, Insightful)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about a year ago | (#44463573)

It's ironic that the biggest threat to freedom in the US is the US government and the US citizens who keep voting in these types of people.

Re:Is this really true? (2)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year ago | (#44463823)

To be fair to those US citizens I imagine it is hard to vote for someone who would not do this when it seems to be supported by both their political parties and their system, unlike most (any?) other modern democracy, has those two parties 'baked in' so setting up a third alternative is less of a viable alternative. A duopoly is really not much better than a monopoly.

Re:Is this really true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464061)

All would be easily solved by voters. If enough of the voting American people saw the problem and agreed to vote for a third party, perhaps a third party whose only platform was to change the laws to allow non-republicrats easier access to power in future, then that would be it. I think the main problem is that American culture celebrates winners and has little compassion for losers. Who then wants to vote for a loser party that isn't going to dominate and might not even get in?

Re:Is this really true? (5, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44464179)

If enough of the voting American people saw the problem and agreed to vote for a third party, perhaps a third party whose only platform was to change the laws to allow non-republicrats easier access to power in future, then that would be it.

What I am about to say I say often on here:

When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you are still voting to increase evil.

Many people dont get it, and will try to rationalize the most common excuse. The sad thing is that such excuses are so trivially destroyed by the obvious: Even if it were true that voting a 3rd party is "wasting" your vote, that is still not as bad as voting to increase evil.

In the end there can be no excuse for willingly and knowingly voting to increase evil. Really. No excuse at all.

"Voting 3rd party is wasting your vote" is the official platform of both of the major parties. No surprise there.

Re:Is this really true? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44464649)

Preach it brother!

Re:Is this really true? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44464643)

Third? There are several other parties, they don't need set up. They just need equal media coverage and a chance to debate through the whole election process.
This won't happen, of course because the Repubmocrat regime will threaten to ignore any media who gives fair coverage outside the Repubmocrat party.

Re:Is this really true? (0)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44464629)

They keep buying the two party system lie. The truth is; there is only one Repubmocrat party. Either wing will eventually enact the same bullshit ( with unimportant differences in opinion to keep up appearances, like gun rights, gay marriage, anything that distracts and polarizes the population) and whittle away at the proper, plain language of the Constitution. Even since the "New Deal" the Supreme Court has been loaded with supporting toadies to carry out the Repubmocrat Dictatorships goals.
        Could they vote for another party? Sure they could, but don't expect that they will know anything about another party, the Repubmocrat regime never lets them get enough media to popularize themselves. The Repubmocrats have the media in their pockets at election time. They refuse even to debate their agenda against other parties. Even if another party appears briefly, they are falsely discredited, misrepresented by the press and even scandalized. Nope Soviet U.S. has a one party system and if you vote outside it, voice another opinion, decry the dictatorship, you will be branded as a radical who will upset the economy and drive us to poverty because everybody knows that only the Republicans/Democrats have tabs on our economics/foreign affairs and anything outside that spells DOOM for our way of life.Well we don't want that now, do we? So they suck up the shit and vote for for Barak Ocastro once again.

Re:Is this really true? (2)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#44463621)

Fuck counseling. How about a few decades in that PMITA Federal prison system they built to house pot heads.

Re:Is this really true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463919)

Comrade, that would be slave labor. We have to get them to do something illegal first... Like post dissenting sentiments on the Internet.

- un-Proud true-Amerian.

Re:Is this really true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464521)

No, they built those to house *poor* potheads. The rich white crackheads get to inherit the Presidency from Daddy, who inherited from Ronald Reagan (who couldn't remember his kids by the time he left office).

If you released all those potheads, how could your cheap call centers and manual labor to compete with outsourcing? Why do you hate America?

Re:Is this really true? (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44463955)

If it is, it is a sickness inspired by fear mongering to sell this to the U.S. budget. Way over the line. They don't need new toys, they need counseling.

And the fear mongering continues.
They've ordered the embassies closed all over the middle east, and warning American travelers to stay home for a month. Apparently the risk expires at the end of august. Terroristic must have gotten a hold of some explosives with short "best if used by" dates.

But hey, this justifies all the spying, right? We're all good, then? We can forget all this Snowden stuff, righr?

Too soon? Here, we'll have Ahmed throw a real grenade, go ahead, Ahmed, toss it at those mannequins over there, here, let me get that pin for you.

My Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463553)

Stop doing bad things with my money! I want faster internet, not foreign cable taps!

Re:My Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463891)

I don't want faster internet, I want an internet where the cable provider charges you less the more you download. :D

Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463563)

They don't record any information about Americans, only foreigners.

Re:Don't worry (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year ago | (#44464245)

As a non-American I found that very assuring!

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464697)

Yoyr forgetting as far the Brits are concerned your not American Cizens But Rebel Scum and its their sworn duty to spy on your. After all you still owe the queens family for al that tea in Boston and the war with the french/indians you caused by gun running / slave trading / smuggling and murdering the natives for land.

quality (2)

Xtifr (1323) | about a year ago | (#44463583)

A-a-and...the Slashdot "editors" are earning the scare quotes around their titles once again. The NSA has been all overs the new lately, and you'd pretty much have to be hiding under a barrel not to know what that stands for, yet the summary carefully explains what it means. But as for GCHQ? Nope. Nothing. After checking with Google, I was able to ascertain that it does not stand for Google Corporate HeadQuarters, which was my first guess. If I were a nice guy, I'd tell you what it does stand for, but that would be doing the "editors" jobs for them, and, unlike them, I'm not paid for this crap. :)

Re:quality (5, Informative)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#44463669)

You aren't really paying much attention if this is the first time you've heard about GCHQ. Shutoff the CNN and bookmark this: http://www.theguardian.com/world/the-nsa-files [theguardian.com]

July 7: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jul/07/nsa-gchq-metadata-reassurances [theguardian.com]

July 2: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/02/nsa-revelations-debate-edward-snowden [theguardian.com]

July 1: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/defence-and-security-blog/2013/jul/01/gchq-nsa-eu [theguardian.com]

June 27: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/27/snoopers-charter-zero-chance-law [theguardian.com]

June 25: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/25/nsa-gchq-spy-germans [theguardian.com]

June 22: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/23/mi5-feared-gchq-went-too-far [theguardian.com]

June 22: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/22/gchq-internet-snooping-kafkaesque [theguardian.com]

June 22: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/22/gchq-spying-catastrophe-german-politicans [theguardian.com]

June 22: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/22/gchq-uksecurity [theguardian.com]

June 21: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/21/gchq-mastery-internet-mastery-everyone [theguardian.com]

June 21: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/how-does-gchq-internet-surveillance-work [theguardian.com]

June 21: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-mastering-the-internet [theguardian.com]

June 21: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa [theguardian.com]

Re:quality (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44463681)

My compliments on your link collection. ;)

Re:quality (1)

bobamu (943639) | about a year ago | (#44464253)

Probably collected them while working at GCHQ

Re:quality (2)

Xtifr (1323) | about a year ago | (#44464329)

No, I haven't been following the story particularly obsessively. Haven't been following it particularly at all. I've seen plenty of political scandals over the decades, and this one really wasn't much of a surprise to me. I remember Hoover, and I'm pretty sure I've been on watchlists as various points in my life, considering some of the people I've associated with/worked with. I hoped the government wasn't this bad, but I'm not a bit surprised to find out they are. But I still don't feel a need to obsess about it. I have a large network of friends, and if there's something I need to do, one will let me know.

But that's not the point. Explaining your acronyms for the sake of people like me is still something that professional editors do. Even if you think the should know it. Of course, I've also been following Slashdot long enough to know that there's no hope of seeing any professionalism here, but every so often, the urge to tweak them for their ongoing, constant incompetence just rises up and bursts out.

Re:quality (1)

g1powermac (812562) | about a year ago | (#44464597)

I agree with explaining the acronyms, but, sadly, the 'editors' can't even get spelling and grammar correct in many of the summaries, let alone the finer nuances of writing what an acronym means.

Re:quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463769)

Pretty sure that GCHQ has been mentioned in relation to the same thing in at least every second article you read about NSA at the moment.

Re:quality (1)

Xtifr (1323) | about a year ago | (#44464341)

So my habit of reading no more than one out of every two articles on the topic (and actually, it's a lot less than that) has bitten me in the ass. Fine. Doesn't make Slashdot's "editors" look any more professional, does it?

whores (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463591)

department funding dwindling, need to keep up the headcount?

just take this US contract. shovel them a few billion records. some friendly meetings

Snowden really started an avalanche (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44463601)

Lots of genies coming out of that bottle. And we probably still don't know 1% of it.

Re:Snowden really started an avalanche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463929)

Whatever. 99% of the conspiracy theorists were right. You can hold that 1% all night long like a security blanket if it keeps you from realizing your world is 100% fucked.

Re:Snowden really started an avalanche (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44464019)

Snowden really started an avalanche

I would say you've used a rather apt phrase. Snowden's mass of public revelations are available to all, to friend and foe alike to use as they will, including for evil purposes. We have yet to see whom, if anyone, will end up being buried.

Re:Snowden really started an avalanche (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44464223)

Snowden's mass of public revelations are available to all [...] including for evil purposes.

Please, give me an example of evil use of the information he revealed.

The only thing that I can imagine is making ill-intended people aware they should protect their communications... but that affects only the stupid ones, and only if they don't want to get caught pos facto, e.g. Boston bombers.

Re:Snowden really started an avalanche (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44464287)

The only thing that I can imagine is making ill-intended people aware they should protect their communications

That is exactly what is happening. This is following specific revelations from Snowden. It has been described as, 'really bad."

... but that affects only the stupid ones, and only if they don't want to get caught pos facto, e.g. Boston bombers.

No, it also enables them to engage in planning and execution of their attacks without being caught. Since some of those may very well be suicide attacks, as the 7/7 attacks were, getting caught is a moot point.

The purpose of training is to take the best ideas from a bunch well informed, smart people, and teach those behaviors and techniques to new people. That way they can act smart without having to be smart. What is happening now is that all the smart people, well informed people that support terrorists are watching and reading what the people in the free world think and do. They are capturing the best ideas, paying attention to the warnings, and are instructing the terrorists what to do, how to act as if they were smart. There have been several times when terrorist organizations have taken note of ideas in the press that were being discussed in the US or Europe as in, "I hope that aren't planning to do X because it would be really bad for us if they did." Before that the terrorists had never thought of X, they knew nothing about X, until they saw discussions about X in the press. Now they are trying to do X.

Once information that helps them slips out, once they get an idea from somebody, the genie is out of the bottle. There are a lot of free genies already, and people keep wanting to pull corks for all kinds of reasons. One of those reasons is, "Hey, nobody but stupid people doesn't know this, so lets tell everybody."

Show everyone where your defenses are? Tell everyone how to sneak past them? Loudly discuss your weak points? What could possibly go wrong? You might as well give them all of your admin passwords.

Re:Snowden really started an avalanche (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44464407)

That is exactly what is happening. This is following specific revelations from Snowden. It has been described as, 'really bad."

Described as "really bad" by whom? The government? Fox News? Only "credible" sources.

As I said before, any ill-intended person with more than half a neuron would plan as if a lot of security measures are in place. What Snowden revealed doesn't affect that at all.

Re: Snowden really started an avalanche (1)

jbo5112 (154963) | about a year ago | (#44464437)

What kind of ill intentioned group is both smart enough to pull off an attack, and stupid enough to think the government isn't spying on everything? My Venn diagram the two circles in different zip codes.

Personally, I think we would be better off if we weren't antagonizing everyone. Instead, we're spending a fortune to make enemies, and we publicly mock politicians for having a foreign policy as "unamerican" as George Washington's.

Re:Snowden really started an avalanche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464453)

So what were the leaks that preceded all the other attacks before? Surely by your reckoning those where only successful because someone leaked something. Go ahead and take all the time you need to respond.

Re:Snowden really started an avalanche (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44464631)

Please, give me an example of evil use of the information he revealed.

Now the godless Soviets know we're spying on them, they'll start spying on us!

Re:Snowden really started an avalanche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464517)

Ultimately, all of this was being funded by aliens that built the pyramids.

Ba'al is at it again. Oh Ba'al, you and your Go'alds.

Mutual aid (-1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44463609)

It has been known for some time that the various intelligence agencies of the Anglosphere cooperated on various projects. Common enemies make for common cause. The annual support doesn't appear to be that significant - equivalent to about 10-15% the cost of a Eurofighter Typhoon per year. I have no doubt the support is welcome, but probably not vital. It looks like HM government are prioritizing spending for the intelligence agencies in any event.

George Osborne To Give MI5, MI6 And GCHQ Extra Money, As Other Budgets Are Cut [huffingtonpost.co.uk]

Chancellor George Osborne will today draw up the battle lines for the next general election as he sets out his final spending plans before the country goes to the polls in 2015....

It is reported that the intelligence agencies - MI5, MI6 and GCHQ - have emerged among the winners in the carve-up of expenditure with a real terms increase of more than 3% - reflecting continuing concerns over the threat of terrorism in the wake of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby outside Woolwich Barracks, London..

I think there is less mystery here than the death of Gareth Williams and a few others. [trutv.com] Williams mystery solved? [newser.com]

Well, here's hoping there will be no more 7/7 events. [bbc.co.uk]

Cheers [youtube.com]

Re:Mutual aid (4, Insightful)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#44463741)

It has been known for some time that the various intelligence agencies of the Anglosphere cooperated on various projects. Common enemies make for common cause. The annual support doesn't appear to be that significant - equivalent to about 10-15% the cost of a Eurofighter Typhoon per year.

My goodness, so your justification of a hideous waste of money is to point to an even greater hideous waste of money?

You say that common enemies make for a common cause, but the truth is that the terrorist threat is so tiny as to barely exist. Only 52 people lost their lives in the 7/7 events that you point to, and you had to go back 8 years to find that many. Whilst tragic, the number of people dying from terrorism in western countries over the last 20 years is much, much less than those dying from any one of either the road toll, heart disease, or cancer over the same period. But the money allocated to defense keeps ballooning because department heads over-exaggerate the terrorist threat so that they can stampede politicians into letting them keep or expand their budget.

100 million pounds is significant because it is still over $US1 per taxpayer. Anyone who understands statistics or risk analysis can easily see how far the defense spend has grown beyond the point of diminishing returns. As far as I'm concerned, it is now actively causing the death of far more people than it saves, purely by virtue of the fact that the money could have been far better spent finding cures for diseases, building self-driving cars, or funding research into any number of technologies which would have actual societal benefits.

I know from your previous posts that you seem to think it is patriotic to support the actions of all the TLA organizations without question, but I disagree. In a democracy, it is of vital importance and far more patriotic to question this sort of rampant waste of taxpayer dollars.

Re:Mutual aid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463833)

"My goodness, so your justification of a hideous waste of money is to point to an even greater hideous waste of money?"

If you haven't yet noticed, "Cold Fjord" submits articles that allow him to subvert the original message. If you look back in his previous submissions, he can't resist turning the resulting discussion to his favor. MOST submitters simply submit an article then let it be. Not Cold Fjord--he is fully involved right from the time the article hits the front page.

Treat him like the Troll he is, and ignore him.

Re:Mutual aid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464239)

Yeah I couldn't help noticing that pattern as well. I've been getting silly amounts of mod points lately -- how about we ensure these fjordisms wind up at +5 Funny? Show them for the joke they are.

Re:Mutual aid (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44464155)

Only 52 people lost their lives in the 7/7 events that you point to, and you had to go back 8 years to find that many.

People do not understand how tiny that is. It is a massive tragedy for those involved (as so many other deaths are), but what people refuse to accept is that by wasting money they are effectively causing far more death and tragedy because the money could be spent elsewhere.

But the scale is beyone minute. The best numbers I could get from the office of national statistics was a mortality rate of 1000 for men and 600 for women, per 100,000 in that year. In London alone the expected death rate on that day alonw was 219 people, so the terrorist attack was not even dominant in the city it happened in. In the UK overall the numberis more like 1315.

To reiterate, the terrorist attack accounted for 1/5 of the daily deaths in the city it happened in for that one day alone.

It's a tragedy, sure, but so are many other things.

Over twice as many cyclists have died in London in that time. If 1% of the London (never mine UK wide) terrorist budget had been diverted to something more sane, then actual measureable lives could easily have been saved.

Re:Mutual aid (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44464215)

It sounds to me like you didn't do a proper job of accounting for the actual risk. It appears that you didn't bother to gather lists of the planned or attempted attacks that were interrupted and develop estimates as to loss of life, limb, and property had they succeeded. You aren't properly accounting for the risk fi you don't. Those numbers are rather important since many of them would have been mass casualty events such as attacks on football stadiums that could have killed hundreds and wounded thousands from truck bombs. There is another insidious aspect of terrorism that you should account for as well, and that is the fact that successful terrorist campaigns will draw more recruits. More recruits coming to support a cause allow it to conduct further attacks. It can be a self-reinforcing phenomenon. There are certainly other affects as well. If you haven't account for those, you have it wrong.

It is also nonsense to confuse random accidents with willful human behavior.

Re:Mutual aid (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44464251)

[...] the fact that successful terrorist campaigns will draw more recruits.

Citation needed. But regardless, do you know what is even more successful in drawing more terrorist recruits? Murdering hundreds of innocent people in drone attacks [which is itself a terrorist attack, however you try to justify.]

Re:Mutual aid (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44464315)

The vast majority of those killed by drone strike are terrorists, not innocent people. No, a drone strike isn't terrorism.

Pakistani General: Actually, The Drones Are Awesome [wired.com]

Re:Mutual aid (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44464399)

No, a drone strike isn't terrorism.

The relatives of all the hundreds of innocent people murdered in the strikes disagree, I presume. But you lack the empathy required for understanding that.

And to explain the situation in Pakistan, I'll give you an allegory. Imagine Rick Perry is the president of the USA, and extraterrestrial aliens invade and start bombing California. He says "yeah! kill them liberals, I mean, terrorists!!!". Btw, the aliens gave a lot of gold to Rick Perry.

Re:Mutual aid (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44464797)

The situation in Pakistan is that the government has limited control, if any, over the tribal areas. Al Qaida and the Taliban (both Afghan and Pakistani) have exploited this to set up shop there, often to the inconvenience to the locals. At times the locals themselves have attacked al Qaida members and the Taliban. The drone attacks focus on the terrorists, often while they are moving in vehicles. That tends to isolate them and means few other people are around. There are other methods of attack, and no doubt some innocents have been killed. But I doubt it is more than a minor fraction of the total killed. Speaking of empathy, have you any for the victims of the terrorists hiding in Pakistan? They regularly slip into Afghanistan to kill, maim, and intimidate. They are making attacks more frequently in Pakistan now. Do their victims have a voice? Those victims don't number in the hundreds, it is in the thousands and tens of thousands.

Re:Mutual aid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464349)

Yess, yess, we should spend moar moaar! Kill the terrorists, rip their heart, drink their bloood, tasty BLOOOD, hufff, huff, huff, .... huff ... (medication kicks in)

Re:Mutual aid (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44464413)

Ah planned or attempted attacks.

Well, there was that one where they left a car bomb and it was towed away by the traffic wardens (already employed for other duties).

Or the suicide attempt where they drove a bomb filled car into an airport, missed everyone caught fire and were dealt with by the airport firefighters (already employed for other duties).

The thing is there have been a number of terrorist attacks foiled by either incompetence or by existing police work---the police and government love to brag when they foil an attack and so far none of the special forces seem to have done that much.

The thing is there wasn't a storm of attacks before all the special measures and there wasn't a storm of attacks either. In fact the risk was much greater in the 80s and 90s due to real terrorist threats and yet we're spending much more now.

Re:Mutual aid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464549)

It is also nonsense to confuse random accidents with willful human behavior.

In terms of assigning resources optimally to minimize the lives lost no actually, it's not.

Re:Mutual aid (2)

hankwang (413283) | about a year ago | (#44464485)

mortality rate of 1000 for men and 600 for women, per 100,000 ... In London alone the expected death rate on that day alonw was 219 people ...

It's a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison. Every living person will die at some point. Comparing a single cause of death against all causes of death combined will result in a small number for most causes of death. In this case, you're comparing death rates for people who mostly had a long and healthy life behind them to a death cause that hit mostly people between 20 and 50 years old, and moreover that also involved 700 injuries. (I'd like to know how many of those 700 are actually people who were rendered severy crippled for the rest of their lives.)

It would be more fair to compare the numbers against deaths from accidents (e.g. traffic or work-related). For comparison, traffic deaths in Greater London were 204 in the year 2009; [tfl.gov.uk] compared to that, the 52 deaths on 7/7 is not that small of a number.

Re:Mutual aid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464535)

To reiterate, the terrorist attack accounted for 1/5 of the daily deaths in the city it happened in for that one day alone.

All true but unfortunately in 9/11, what started this whole ball rolling, it was the privileged class that died. It's worth spending any amount of money to protect them. At least according to that same privileged class. Whether the peons lose because of these changes is not relevant.

 

Well, well, well... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about a year ago | (#44463617)

It looks like Tony Blair wasn't the only lapdog Parliament had in the kennel.

Re:Well, well, well... (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44463655)

Oh come now, I doubt it is a question of lapdogs so much as old boys. It just happens that when they hit each other up for a fiver, the denomination is in £10,000,000 increments. "Sorry Hague old boy, all out of cash. I can give you a check for £30,000,000, till the budget is finished and passed. Will that do?"

Fourth Amendment (5, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#44463625)

The 4th amendment says that people have a right to be secure against unreasonable searches.

This simple prohibition has no context - the fact that someone else (a foreign government, a corporation, another citizen) gives the information to the government doesn't matter. It's still a violation, the fourth amendment makes no distinction for how the government gets the data.

The fact that the legislature passed a law saying that they can doesn't matter, and the fact that the executive branch says that they can doesn't matter either. The executive branch cannot and must not be the ones to judge the legality of their actions - that would be tyranny.

Determining whether something is legal is, and always has been, the purview of the judicial branch. In cases of ambiguity or differing interpretations, there is always the option of bringing it to the supreme court.

Many legal scholars count the government's actions as illegal, and a common-sense reading of the fourth amendment seems to agree.

I wish the people who keep repeating that the government hasn't broken any laws would shut up - they're giving tyranny a measure of respectability just by saying that. I also wish people who don't care about their own privacy would shut up - many people do care, and since you don't care there is nothing to be gained by arguing... or even voicing your position.

If you think what the government is doing is OK, please STFU and let people bring the issue to the supreme court. If you're correct, then it won't matter and you shouldn't object to raising the question. There's no honourable reason to argue against verification.

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44463667)

Although it is fabulous that you know about the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution, you do realize that this story is about the UK and their intelligence establishments? The UK doesn't have a 4th amendment to its unwritten constitution.

Re:Fourth Amendment (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#44463705)

I think what he was driving at, is that in order for the NSA to get information it is barred from getting by the 4th, it farms that out to GB and is delighted when GCHQ gifts them that info. I'm sure the reverse is true as well. It's a scam basically, to undermine human rights.

Just like the 3d party doctrine in the US. You know, if out of necessity you share info with a 3d party, you somehow have absolutely no expectation of privacy. The SCOTUS has conflated "perfect impenetrable secrecy", with "expectation of privacy" and has thus eviscerated the 4th amendment. One slip up, one necessary transaction -- that's it, your privacy means shit. And of course, the Feds won't play by their own rules -- you know, they should have no expectation of privacy in the info Snowden leaked because they shared it with a third party (Booz Allen Hamilton). But to expect them to play by the rules us serfs have to live under ... now that's unreasonable. Right? Right?

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44463849)

It's possible you're right about the GP poster's intent, although I'm not necessarily convinced.* It seems to be pretty common for certain Americans posting in stories of pure, or nearly pure, British context to go off on 4th Amendment rants which are senseless given the context. My favorite is when they do things like call for the spilling of blood of patriots to refresh the tree of liberty - Colonial American patriotic rhetoric which may be bracing to Americans, but which is probably meaningless or even insulting to Britons. It would make about as much sense if British posters were to post quotes from the British Civil Wars during a debate about some American legal dispute with no connection at all. Of course many Europeans and members of the Anglosphere outside the US go off on 4th Amendment rants themselves at times. But at least they tend to do it in an American context. So, I'm skeptical, but what you wrote is plausible.

*I do grant your point about 3rd party data.

Re:Fourth Amendment (4, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44463941)

You missed the "a foreign government" part ~ using UK to sidestep US laws/protections.

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44464005)

Sorry, but no. I reread it and it looks to me like simple out of place jeremiad on the 4th Amendment. If this was focused on the 3rd party data problem I would expect it to be more explicitly addressed than to be simply mentioned is passing and condemned as illegal. There are several parts of it that are simply wrong as well. However I'm sure it is well meaning and heart felt.

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464075)

The 4th amendment says that people have a right to be secure against unreasonable searches.

This simple prohibition has no context - the fact that someone else (a foreign government, a corporation, another citizen) gives the information to the government doesn't matter. It's still a violation, the fourth amendment makes no distinction for how the government gets the data.

???

Re:Fourth Amendmenthttp://news.slashdot.org/story/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463779)

Did you read the summary? He was obviously referring to the fact that the US Government was paying GCHQ to get information for them, that they could not legally get themselves (under the constitution governing the US Government no less)

Re:Fourth Amendment (3, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#44463679)

An important thing to point out, it is not just the government that broke the law, more importantly it is the political party and specific individual politicians who broke the law. This is all about politics and monitoring your politics and via that monitoring controlling politics (the corporate party).

This enables 'individual' politicians to take actions against citizens and their families when those citizens in any way threaten the power base of those 'individual' politicians. Effectively support a third party, find your self on a no fly list or even worse the let you fly but will they radiate and sexually assault you and your family every time you or they fly. Want a job, forget it, you are now considered a security threat and are only allowed access to minimum wage jobs. Any attempt to gain social welfare, you and your family are tagged as permanently requiring extended further investigation prior to any support being provided.

That's the kids stuff of course, the more serious is the bogus warrant and search based purely on circumstantial digital data. The swat soldier assault where you and your family are threatened at gun point, pets are shot, your family home is trashed and of course there is every chance you will not survive the event, all it's takes is one of those invaders to shout 'GUN' and, the rest will open fire, execute you and random members of your family. They will get off, because they felt threatened because someone shouted gun but of course no one will admit to it (maybe it was the neighbours TV).

Seriously people need to wake up to themselves because it is already that bad. This is the current reality and this is what is already happening.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44463713)

This is all about politics and monitoring your politics and via that monitoring controlling politics (the corporate party). This enables 'individual' politicians to take actions against citizens and their families when those citizens in any way threaten the power base of those 'individual' politicians. Effectively support a third party, find your self on a no fly list or even worse the let you fly but will they radiate and sexually assault you and your family every time you or they fly. Want a job, forget it, you are now considered a security threat and are only allowed access to minimum wage jobs. Any attempt to gain social welfare, you and your family are tagged as permanently requiring extended further investigation prior to any support being provided. . . . This is the current reality and this is what is already happening.

You say this is already happening? That there are politicians in the US or UK that are using the intelligence services to target individual voters for supporting a third party candidate? That sounds like a stunning revelation you have there, especially since the intelligence agencies tend to be relatively isolated from most politicians. I'm a little surprised I haven't seen support for your dramatic revelation anywhere in the media. Can you point out where we can go for more information?

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#44463859)

There were stories of politicians, union officials, political activist, all put on no fly lists, all subject to further investigation and border crossings. There have been countless stories of political activist being arrested where those arrests were called preventative against imagined potential criminal acts.

'NO', I Am Not Your Fucking Slave. You want those stories, you fucking look them up :P. They are readily available across the internet.

Re:Fourth Amendment (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44463933)

Hoover, Obama (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44464683)

> You say this is already happening? That there are politicians in the US or UK that are using the intelligence services to target individual voters

Google Herbert Hoover. This year, we know the Obama administration used a federal agency, the IRS, to target citizens who disagree with him politically. Given that he's a) tracking all of your emails and phone calls while b) using federal agencies against voters, it seems quite likely he'd combine the two.

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463991)

An important thing to point out, it is not just the government that broke the law, more importantly it is the political party and specific individual politicians who broke the law.

An important thing to point out, it is not just the government that broke the law, more importantly IT'S ALL THE DAMN POLITICIANS not just one political party OR specific individual politicians who broke the law.

If you're too fucking daft to realize that the parties don't matter, then FUCK THE SHIT OUT OF YOU.

Infringement theft, unconstitutional = illegal? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44464551)

Good fucking lord - they didn't break the law, they made a law that (may be) in violation of the constitution. For a group of fukcing nerds who scream and yell about the misuse of theft vs infringement when it comes to copyright and patent law, you're quite the knuckehead when it comes to the feds knowing you surf porn all the time.

If we criminally prosecuted every congressman and senator who had a law striken or modified as unconstitutional by the court there would be none left. Perhaps yu would recommend jail time for anyone who voted for a state amendment which turns out to violate the US constitution?

Re:Infringement theft, unconstitutional = illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464659)

they didn't break the law, they made a law that (may be) in violation of the constitution.

The constitution is the highest law of the land, and they broke it; that's illegal in my books.

If we criminally prosecuted every congressman and senator who had a law striken or modified as unconstitutional by the court there would be none left.

Good. That just shows you how deep the corruption runs. Throw 'em all in prison.

Constitution the supreme law of the US. knowingly (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44464781)

Yes the Constitution is the supreme law of the land in the US. As the Supreme Court said, a law violating the Constitution is null and void, without effect. If an act is made "legal" only by an unconstitutional "law", it is not made it legal at all, for that law is null and void. Acting under the color of a void law that contravenes the Constitution is acting illegally.

perhaps an analogy to make it more clear. I hereby give you permission to break into your neighbor's house. If you go ahead and break into your neighbor's house you have acted illegally because I do not have the power to grant you that permission. It is the same with an unconstitutional law - the legislature has no authority grant you permission to act under that law.

We should not put people in jail for trying to do the right thing, having an accident of some sort. Crime requires criminal intent, knowingly doing something wrong. Elected leaders take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Not to be smart, not to make good decisions, but you make constitutional decisions. When an elected official KNOWINGLY violates the Constitution I would have no problem sending into jail.

Because there may be a legitimate disagreement as to the Constitutionality of a law, rarely could it be proven that they knowingly violated it. However I can think of one prosecutable instance. A certain state senator was also a law professor. I listened to the tape of him on the Senate floor warning that a certain bill was unconstitutional. He said he liked the bill, but it went to far and violated the Constitution. The bill needed to be scaled back he said, or the Supreme Court would surely strike it down. He went ahead and voted FOR the bill that he knew to be unconstitutional.

So he's a law professor and a senator. He should have a pretty good idea of what is Constitutional and what is not. He knows it's unconstitutional, but breaks his oath of office and votes for it anyway. I'm good to sentence him to six months in jail. That senator, Barack Obama, deserves jail time for willfully violating our constitutional rights, by his own admission.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#44463791)

If you think what the government is doing is OK, please STFU and let people bring the issue to the supreme court. If you're correct, then it won't matter and you shouldn't object to raising the question. There's no honourable reason to argue against verification.

Fuck no, I don't want this to go to the Supreme Court.
99% of the time, SCOTUS defers to the Executive Branch when they claim National Security.

I'd much rather see this case tried in the court of public opinion,
with our representatives in government passing [strike]sentence[/strike] laws to rein in the NSA.

Re:Fourth Amendment (3, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#44463913)

The 4th Amendment was written eons ago. The government will simply redefine the term. The surveillance society is not just a reality, but an inevitability given the direction and capabilities of the technology. This is just the beginning. Individuals need to account for their digital activities, and protect their identities, if that is important to them.

Start with the TSA (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44464537)

Now THAT's unreasonable searches - and it's not just metadata, it's going through your shit for no reason whatsoever.

Fix that actual, physical problem and then we can talk about whether someone marking the weight and destination of your baggage (meta-data) is a big deal.

Nothing new here (3, Interesting)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year ago | (#44463711)

Between the two world wars the precursor to GCHQ, the Government Code & Cypher School, and various earlier organisations were tapped into international telegraph lines/carriers (e.g. in the UK and Malta) in order to obtain copies of diplomatic traffic. The British companies acquiesced to this with little coercion and the US companies took a little more convincing but eventually complied. There's nothing much new here, only the scale has changed.

Re:Nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464157)

There's always been slaves, therefore nothing is new, therefore nothing should be done about it. Or maybe that sort of argument isn't valid?

This ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44463817)

this is going to yield substantial amounts of lulz :3

Raising questions ? (5, Interesting)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about a year ago | (#44463835)

raising questions over American influence on the British agencies

I find it strange that this is a question that still need to be asked. Maybe that is because I'm living in Europe, but for years I have the feeling the American influence on Great Britain is big in everything. So big that I personally see the British politicians as some kind of American trojan horse within Europe.

Some europeans even joke that it isn't a country anymore, but the 51st state of the US. Really in all honesty, this article doesn't surprise me one bit.

Re:Raising questions ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464107)

I thought Australia was the 51st state! Great Britain, will have to settle for 52nd.

Re:Raising questions ? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44464129)

Some europeans even joke that it isn't a country anymore, but the 51st state of the US. Really in all honesty, this article doesn't surprise me one bit.

Britons are Europeans too and as such, we make much the same jokes. We have notices, but given that the Tories and Labour are ideologically inistinguishable what can we do?

Re:Raising questions ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464393)

" We have notices, but given that the Tories and Labour are ideologically inistinguishable what can we do?"

Try educating the dumb masses to vote for someone who isn't a part of Common Purpose Google it...

Re:Raising questions ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464417)

" We have notices, but given that the Tories and Labour are ideologically inistinguishable what can we do?"

Try educating the dumb masses to vote for someone who isn't a part of Common Purpose Google it...

Yeah, like you can trust anything that comes from Google.

Re:Raising questions ? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#44464671)

Ah, then 1 + 1 must not be 2.

Re:Raising questions ? (2)

Zedrick (764028) | about a year ago | (#44464139)

What I find strange is that there's no serious movement in the UK demanding representation in congress.

Re:Raising questions ? (1)

hazeii (5702) | about a year ago | (#44464299)

51st State of America [youtube.com] - 1986 song by New Model Army

Re:Raising questions ? (1)

Alioth (221270) | about a year ago | (#44464403)

British people ALSO joke that we are the 51st state. As a Europhile, I want us to have a good relation with the United States, but not at the expense of our relationship with the rest of Europe. (And Britain should have been in the full Schengen agreement years ago, but we're not to appease the Daily Mail reading little Englanders)

Re:Raising questions ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464625)

'it has been cleared of any wrongdoing or attempts to circumvent British law by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, as well as by Mr Hague'

Most brits wouldnt trust that chinless wonder to find his own arsehole.

you have been lied to (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464235)

Imagine, that you have been lied to. That the people in china are more free than you. Imagine that Google is watching you, manipulating data and search results. Imagine, that Baidu is not. Imagine that Baidu is not collecting private data and tracking its users. People of the China are more free than us. What world are we living in?

Can't spy domestically? No problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44464687)

You subcontract your domestic surveillance to a foreign ally that you trust. And then you can spy on the ally in exchange, and "nobody" is spying domestically.

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