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British Cops Hack Into Government Computers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the accountability-from-the-bobbies dept.

Privacy 247

CmdrGravy writes "The British Police have hacked into Government computers as part of the on-going 'cash for peerages' investigation. They've uncovered evidence which has, so far, led to one arrest and charge of perverting the course of justice for a leading Labour party figure. This charge carries a potential life sentence. The British police have the power to hack into computer systems as part of an investigation. On previous occasions they have said they did not believe the government was providing them with the information they had been asking for and had warned that they would seek other methods to gather evidence. The police won't say what tools they have used. From the article: 'The investigators did not have to notify No 10 if they were "hacking" into its system. One legal expert said: "In some cases, a senior officer can give permission. In other cases, you might need the authorization of an independent commissioner, who is usually a retired judge appointed by the Home Office."'"

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lol (1, Redundant)

xiong.chiamiov (871823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711040)

So now it's the government hacking into itself, not just /.ers...

We don't have 'cops', we have 'police officers' (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711062)

I hope they get Ruth Turner and Tony Blair on this, should be good practice for them before they face the a tribunal over Iraq.

Re:We don't have 'cops', we have 'police officers' (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711126)

... preferably a gitmo-style secret military tribunal
with no knowledge of their accusers nor the evidence
against them.

Re:We don't have 'cops', we have 'police officers' (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711878)

And then we can send you to a shari'a tribunal and afterwards watch the video of your beheading on YouTube.

That would be cool.

Re:We don't have 'cops', we have 'police officers' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711654)

When the truth comes out which I am sure it will, they will have bigger things to be scared of than the Police.

Re:We don't have 'cops', we have 'police officers' (1)

sigzero (914876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711704)

Riiight. I am sure that is going to happen. Not.

Re:We don't have 'cops', we have 'police officers' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711906)

Breaking international law and conspiring to deceive the electorate are serious allegations against a PM. There'll be easy political points made by nailing him when the tide turns, as illustrated in a recent drama. [channel4.com]

That's Hot (5, Funny)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711086)

Nothing like hot state-on-state action, eh?

Thank You (1)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711282)

. . . for making me blow hot coffee out of my nose and all over my keyboard.

Seriously - that was funny.

Re:That's Hot (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711488)

Heh, no joke. Our local papers have stories about cops from two different jurisdictions getting into actual gun battles occasionally. I also get a kick out of watching the elephants battle it out. Too bad we never learn anything from it.

Re:That's Hot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711758)

I guarantee you that the target politician had information on the police that had to be destroyed to protect police interests. (Most likely information on police connections to the marijuana trade that is so lucrative for the police.)

One day it will be war. I cannot wait. The fucking pigs have it coming. You can only exploit people for so long before they will rise up and take you down.

Curiosity (2, Interesting)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711094)

So, I know next to nothing about legal systems outside of the USA. In the US the police would need a warrent (I am goign with the bassis of our laws, not the mockery that is today).

Is the approval that the british cops gained:
"In some cases, a senior officer can give permission. In other cases, you might need the authorisation of an independent commissioner, who is usually a retired judge appointed by the Home Office."

The same basic idea? Or is this a change, or what not. Basicly can some one more familiar with the british legal system explain this?

thanks.

Re:Curiosity (1)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711186)

IANAL but I think this revolves around it being the computers belonging to the goverment - this would mean the home office has the authority over any data on it. Since it is in charge of the overall investigation it is allowed to go after any data the goverment has.

Systems belonging to private individuals or companies would still be safe unless a court order were issued (atleast I would really hope so!!)

Re:Curiosity (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711302)

So, I know next to nothing about legal systems outside of the USA. In the US the police would need a warrent (I am goign with the bassis of our laws, not the mockery that is today).

You do realise that the basis of your laws is English Common Law?

Re:Curiosity (3, Informative)

Agelmar (205181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711494)

While it's true that Common Law is the basis of our legal system, most of the applicable laws when it comes to computer crime are much newer than Common Law. I.e. wiretapping (either phones or email) is not something for which common law is cited, but rather telephone acts from the early 1900s. As such, in the area of gathering computer records, I think it's a safe assumption that there may be very substantive differences between the laws of the US and the UK, making it not such a stupid question to ask. Of course, IANAL :-)

Re:Curiosity (1)

DavidAtkinson (74786) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711578)

They probably used the RIPA law.

Re:Curiosity (3, Insightful)

redalien (711170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711674)

The parent is most probably right. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIP Act) is a fairly new law that allows the parts of the government to do all sorts of horrible things to people, such as 6 months for forgetting your PGP key.

Just one of my fav'rite net things..

Re:Curiosity (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711788)

Have you considered that maybe a warrant *is* the authorisation of an independent commissioner, who is usually a retired judge?

Really the lesson here is that the British can fool an American by replacing a word with its definition.

I wonder who these "computer experts" are? (5, Interesting)

Reverse Gear (891207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711096)

I wonder who the British police hired to do this, according to the article they used "computer experts" to do the job.
But now that these "computer experts" have done this once with police blessing, had a nice look at the systems I wouldn't wonder if they could do it again without the blessing or knowledge of the police.

From the article it doesn't look like the sys-admins at Downing Street have been all that involved in this, I sure hope they have now been notified of how this was done and whatever way was used to get into the systems have been closed.

One could suspect that with the police having known these/this "computer expert(s)" it might be an indication that it wasn't a white hat they got hold of, but really that is just speculation, it might also have been a white hat person.

Anyhow I know nothing but what it says in TFA, which really isn't a lot, but for the sake of british security I sure hope this has been done in a sensible way.

Cash for peerages? (5, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711106)

Yeah, how dare someone be able to get a peerage because of wealth. Everyone knows that's not how it's supposed to work. If this were to continue, well ... completely undeserving people could get one!

Re:Cash for peerages? (4, Funny)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711220)

They even treat some people here like they are royalty.

+1 caustic humour (1)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711460)

If this were to continue, well ... completely undeserving people could get one!

At least the British Upper House is funny...Canada's is sad. As far as I can tell, in Canada not only to "completely undeserving people" get senate appointments from time to time, as far as I can tell it wouldn't even be illegal for someone to buy a seat in the senate from the PM. At the very least the ability to use old-school hereditary peers in Britian for political manipulation is a BIT limited. Canada has never had hereditary peers in our upper house and many (most?) of them are still not deserving.

I wasn't aware of this "cash for peerage" scandal until I saw this story. The parallels between the old Liberal government' situation in Canada and the current Labour gov't in Britain are intriguing (both seem scandal-plagued and both have law enforcement digging around in their affairs). IIRC I think the RCMP still need a warrant to perform such searches though.

Re:Cash for peerages? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711790)

I know it sounds laughable on the face of things, but the real problem is that the Labour Party got the money, which they then used to (partially) fund their election campaign, and once they won the election, they started handing out these peerages to the people that gave them money.

It's a case of a political party abusing their authority for the benefit of the party and not the government or the people.

Charges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711114)

Is there a source for the claim that charges were made, given that the article says the exact opposite?

What's wrong with the UK? (3, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711118)

Here's what I don't get: this is the British police, not some elite hacking group. They are probably using pretty basic hacking methods to hack into government computers. If this is the case, why aren't the computers more secure to begin with? If the police can do it, I'll bet your kid's lunch money that your teenage neighbor can as well. To me, the lack of adequate security is a far more significant embarrassment than the hacking itself.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (2)

hejog (816106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711194)

You really REALLY under-estimate the resources the UK Police service has.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (2, Insightful)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711202)

>If the police can do it, I'll bet your kid's lunch money that your teenage neighbor can as well.

Well, there is the matter of physical access, of course. Lots of police working in Downing Street and other government and party premises on - ostensibly - security/protection duties etc. I'd like to see your "teenage neighbor" stroll in there and connect up a PC...

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711830)

Yeah. A kid getting into a secure area would be inconceivable [nwsource.com] .

But probably wouldn't need that since there's a wireless access point somewhere around there.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17712072)

I couldn't possibly comment on US Airport security, other than that my impressions were it's more about intimidation and theatrics - of a type that wouldn't affect any real threat - than security.

The story is about the UK government's computer security. There may well have been security breaches in the past, but a kid getting on a plane 5000 miles away isn't an example.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (3, Interesting)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711218)

Why would the British Police be using "basic hacking methods"? They're a government organisation, which means they have the funding (and power) to hire and use professionals in situations such as this. Not to mention they're also probably part of a WAN which means they could well be "on the inside" of the Government's network already.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711378)

Not to mention that the British police already runs some very powerful online crime investigation units. Who staffs these? I'd guess someone with some knowledge of Information Security. The same people who could probably perform some of the actions they investigate on a daily basis

Whoever modded the GP up as interesting and insightful was obviously smoking as much crack as the GP was. Mod down please, for the love of common sense and decency!

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711472)

[Offtopic] What is 'GP'? Google wasn't my friend this time :(

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711502)

Grand Parent, unless I've made some awful mistake...

The Grand Parent of my original post on this topic was the parent to your post.

In short, I liked your post and didn't like the post you originally replied to.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711512)

grandparent (poster)

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711522)

in this context, GP = "Grandfather Post", ie. the parent post's parent post.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

VeryProfessional (805174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711548)

Grandparent post. HTH.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711528)

not to mention these are probably just email accounts and document shares on desktop PCs i doubt very much there's a shortcut on Tony Blair's laptop to a nuclear missile launch VB app.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (4, Funny)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711686)

>a nuclear missile launch VB app
Worringly, I would say it's quite likely there's a compiled VB4 package somewhere that runs under Win95 on an old Compaq 486 (DX, yay!) that has a tickbox marked 'Have you asked the Americans if it's OK?' that then enables a big red button that does the deed. Worse still, it's 30 lines of code, a 3rd party OCX (From the 'Custom Nuclear Controls Corporation') and cost £3.5bn to develop by a consortium of consultancies. Oh, and they lost the source code and the PC isn't backed up.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711968)

Not to mention the cleaners turn this server off regularly so they can vacuum...

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

thelost (808451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711572)

how dare you assume anything but the British Police being totally incompetent!

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (2, Insightful)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711228)

"If the police can do it, I'll bet your kid's lunch money that your teenage neighbor can as well."

You seem to underestimate British Police. You probabally shouldn't.

"They are probably using pretty basic hacking methods to hack into government computers. "

Who was it cracked Enigma without a computer again? And they probabally have the best tools available.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (3, Informative)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711330)

It was actually the Polish [wikipedia.org] that did most of the cracking of Enigma. The British just took their work, automated it, and produced ULTRA.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711876)

A longer and more accurate answer would be:

It was the Poles who cracked the first two rotors of Enigma without computers.

It was the British Navy who captured the rest of the rotors and the code-books.

It was Turing and Flower who built the first electronic programmable computer that enabled a theoretical crack to be actually used in real-time to read German traffic and produce ULTRA.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17712048)

That is incorrect.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (4, Funny)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711426)

>Who was it cracked Enigma without a computer again?
I think I'm safe in saying it wasn't the Metropolitan or City Police.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

Phragmen-Lindelof (246056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711720)

A better example of British IT: http://www.turing.org.uk/turing/ [turing.org.uk] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing [wikipedia.org]

Of course, the Turing Police ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_Police [wikipedia.org] ) are on the job now but the British police and the British in general were the idiots in the 1950's. Hmmm ...

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (0, Redundant)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17712002)

Who was it cracked Enigma without a computer again? The Poles did. What does that have to do with this discussion?

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (2, Funny)

arevos (659374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711236)

Here's what I don't get: this is the British police, not some elite hacking group.
I think it's safe to say that no matter the level of security expertise of police computer experts, it's always going to be greater than the expertise of government IT staff.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (2, Insightful)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711252)

I don't like making assumptions, but I do believe that the British police are part of the British Government. Odds are they have access to some systems inside the Government network that commoners don't, and could leverage that to get access to what they wanted.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

mitcheli (894743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711412)

sarcasm: Ok, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't the British Police the home of Scottland Yard? Aren't they a police force that secures one of the largest cities in the world? Would it no be inconceivable that they might have an IT budget? Perhaps one that might even support a computer forensics facility? With, I don't know, security professionals skilled at intrusion and such? Just a thought.. I'm sure those backwoods idiots working in the British Police just might, maybe, be a little more skillful than you are giving them credit for.

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711854)

Ok, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't the British Police the home of Scottland Yard?

No, London [google.co.uk] is the home of (New) Scotland Yard...

they followed the white rabbit (1)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711414)

They are probably using pretty basic hacking methods to hack into government computers.

Yeah, they were held up for a moment when none of his kids' birthdays was the password, but then they realized it was his anniversary in reverse.

Police used computer experts... [telegraph.co.uk]

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711560)

They are probably using pretty basic hacking methods to hack into government computers.

"Here's our warrant; we want your backups for the last month and your encryption keys. If you don't co-operate or tell anyone, you are committing a serious crime."

Basic but effective, no?

Re:What's wrong with the UK? (1, Flamebait)

jafac (1449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711612)

. . . why aren't the computers more secure to begin with?

The fundamental rule of corrupt politicians is that they are corrupt, because they are lazy and stupid, and have obtained power through means other than being clever and working hard (ie. lying, and being well-connected).

The idea of PAYING someone to do the hard work of securing their computers is an anathema to them. They would rather spend their money BRIBING the police to not investigate them. Unfortunately for them, they seem to have stumbled on to the rare "good" cop. (or their offering price wasn't high enough).

Interesting... (2, Interesting)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711138)

Whilst it's good that Goverment bodies get the same level of investigation as anyone else would, I believe it to be a bit of a 'flogging a dead horse' situation. Blair is leaving this year, and I very much doubt he'd be under the hammer in this sitation (he's already been interviewed [bbc.co.uk] and released). Indeed it is important to catch those that are guilty, but I don't feel it is going to damage Labour any more than they already are.

I do find it quite hypocritical that the British Government have such power as to be able to break into any system in the name of investigation...

Re:Interesting... (1, Interesting)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711616)

There are quite a lot of things which amuse me about this whole episode:

1) It's a Labour government being accused of selling Peerages when it is really only them who have ever been opposed to this idea.

2) Various members of the Labour party moaning that Ruth Turner is a lovely lady and that its in extremely bad taste to go around to arrest her at 6AM in the morning with 4 police officers. This is a bit like saying to the police who are arresting you for a blatant crime "Don't you have any real criminals to catch ?"

3)Trying to hide evidence and then being undone by your own laws to retrieve it.

4) Just the general stupidity of the Labour party in general, I really hope this Ruth woman is charged, convicted and sent down for life as a lesson to all the others that blindly follow the party line and are willing to say or do anything provided it's "on-message" regardless of the obvious facts.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17712074)

she wont get jailed for life. Even if this actually makes it to court and she is convicted of perjury or perverting the course of justice, she'll get 4 years, put in an open prison and released after 18-24 months like any other convicted politician (I'm looking at you Jeffrey Archer).

Re:Interesting... (1)

DaveCar (189300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711972)

It's a fairly minor point, but he wasn't "released" because he was never detained. "Mr Blair was not interviewed under caution and he was not accompanied by a lawyer, his spokesman said". Basically he was questioned as a witness, not a suspect (heh, yet ;).

It would be funny (though I'm not suggesting likely, as the second part of the bill hasn't come in yet I believe) if Jack Straw got put in the position of having to provide a password/phrase for some account/key or other that he had either forgotten or never knew on pain of five years in prison if he doesn't or speaks about it to anyone else but his solicitor pursuant to the Regulation Of Investigatory Powers act he was pushing for.

In fact (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711140)

Nobody has been charged as a result of this investigation. The official who was arrested was questioned on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and was later released.

get some of your own (2, Insightful)

Byzboy (579547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711144)

The British government is reaping what it has sown. Often the most dangerous people are the well-intentioned few who know no bounds when it comes to implementing things for our own good. To them the ends always justify the means. The government has given the police the power to search almost anything in almost any way they see fit so of they go biting the hand that feeds them.

Must end have run out of cliches.

Here's some more (1)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711288)

If they cry foul they will be hoist by their own "the innocent have nothing to fear" petard. A taste of their own medicine.

Labour party? (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711154)

That doesn't sound like much fun.

Re:Labour party? (1)

AddressException (187785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711274)

Think "Organized-" not "Child-" or "Birthing="

Re:Labour party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711520)

Think "Organized-" not "Child-" or "Birthing="

Sounds like even LESS fun!

(You may not have HQ (Hunour Quotient) be aware of the fact that the parent was obviously making a very good pun. If your HQ is that low, then know we are laughing at you, not with you.)

Re:Labour party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711760)

We're having a Labour Party ! BYOB (bring your own baby)

Why am I not surprised? (3, Interesting)

webvictim (674073) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711178)

So the British government is trying to cover something up... quelle surprise.

Actually, I shouldn't be shocked. They've lied about funding, the health service, taxes and just about everything else... they'd be the first to try and protect their own livelihoods when it came to the crunch.

Is it just me, or is my country going to the dogs? Or is it just that there is no such thing as an honest politician?

Re:Why am I not surprised? (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711268)

We need to think up some kind of safeguards to protect politics from politicians as they are giving it a bad name.

Re:Why am I not surprised? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711394)

>Is it just me, or is my country going to the dogs?
Going? Wrong tense.
What I find most sad is that when Blair et al first came to power, they were a genuine breath of fresh air compared to the previous Tory incumbants and for the first year/18months they did a lot of really good stuff. Somewhere along the line though they just turned in to carbon copies of those they replaced, if anything worse. I can't think of any aspect of the labour government which doesn't have a whiff of hypocracy, corruption or shallow/misguided thinking. They just seem to churn out reams of badly drafted laws whilst spinning their stories faster than a fast spinny thing. Half the time though the electorate are so uncaring they just get away with it. Heck, Blair even tried to change the ways laws are enacted so he can add/amend them without any reference to parliament, effectively making him a dictator. Luckily my MP was savvy enough to object (and rather strongly at that) to it when I emailed him.

Re:Why am I not surprised? (3, Insightful)

kentrel (526003) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711438)

Is it just me, or is my country going to the dogs? Or is it just that there is no such thing as an honest politician?

Maybe it's your Chicken Little attitude, and your tarring of all politicians with the same brush. No-one was charged or convicted with anything here, yet you've already jumped on a bandwagon and declared them guilty. Even if they are guilty that doesn't mean there aren't many more local politicians and MPs, etc who are really trying to make life better for their constituants.

In a democratic society the politicans are the employees of the people. They are a reflection of the people's own strengths and weaknesses. If an employee in your company is suspected of stealing you don't declare all of your employees to be thieves, or would you? Politics is no different even if you're of the opinion that you're helpless and can do nothing.

The fact that the police have no problem going to these measures to investigate possible criminal actions within the government is a sign that this country is far from "going to the dogs", and is exactly how a democratic country should be run, where the politicians live in fear of the people's disapproval, and not the other way around. I'm not afraid of anyone in Parliament - are you? We put them there, we can get rid of them. If they break the law, we'll deal with them. That's democracy.

Re:Why am I not surprised? (2, Interesting)

webvictim (674073) | more than 7 years ago | (#17712066)

Whether you are willing to admit it or not, the truth is essentially that politicians care about one thing and one thing only - and that is votes. Yes, they are scared about what the public think of them, so much so that they will go to any length to keep themselves the positions of power that they hold so dear. This is why they will lie, cheat and deceive in any way possible just to make themselves look good, or at least better than their rivals. There is no "none of the above" option on poll cards. What are you supposed to do if you want to vote, but despite the things they say you know that all the candidates are driven by the same greed and lust for power?

Re:Why am I not surprised? (1)

nicklott (533496) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711650)

The really funny thing is that everyone's known that this has been happening for decades, if not centuries (note the silence from the other parties). The thing that has got them in trouble and could potentially bring them down is the lengths they have gone to cover it up. We're only a couple of steps from Watergate UK, methinks.

Re:Why am I not surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711726)

Is it just me, or is my country going to the dogs? Or is it just that there is no such thing as an honest politician?
When you reach an apex, the rest is downhill. As such, your country has been 'going to the dogs' since World War One, or maybe just before it. Whether it is there yet or not is a debatable matter, though.

The police won't say (5, Funny)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711256)

The police won't say what tools they have used
Kidnapping. Torturing. Unknown Prisons. Britney Spears.

Re:The police won't say (2, Funny)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711338)

Britney Spears.

Yup, someone holding my eyelids open so that I had to look at another picture of Britney's cellulite? Or that "upskirt" shot of her rather ravaged beaver? It would have me confessing to anything.

Re:The police won't say (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711490)

>her rather ravaged beaver?
I keep reading about these shots of either her or Lindsey Lohan's 'angry beavers' from their recent commando nights out but I've never seen any. I clearly need to improve my Google skills.

Re:The police won't say (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711652)

http://www.hollywoodrag.com/index.php?/weblog/brea king_britney_spears_buys_panties1/ [hollywoodrag.com]

Google on "britney spears gas station" and it is the 6th link. It was closer to the top, but it seems Miss White Trash has offended the public yet again by heading barefoot into a public restroom.

What is meant by "hacking"? (4, Insightful)

seanyboy (587819) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711270)

I'm guessing that the "hacking" that is being described is actually a standard analysis of the hard drive after the computer has been taken by the police as evidence. There's nothing unusual in this at all. They'll be looking for deleted files and examining the disk on a sector by sector basis. The Government (or a stupid journalist) is defining this as "Hacking" when in fact it's what the police do with all seized computers.

Re:What is meant by "hacking"? (2, Insightful)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711848)

If you'd RTFA, you'd notice they're talking about "remote accessing of computers", which is exactly what the term hacking usually refers to. And no, don't even bother to explain the difference between hacking and cracking.

"Hack" (1)

Fr. Teddy (171470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711296)

I believe that for "hack" you should read "looked at the backups of the Exchange servers".

Fascinating (1)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711312)

One aspect no-one has commented on, I'd have assumed that the Security Service would be closely monitoring the Number 10 ISP etc. to look for hostile intrusions... Why didn't they catch this?

Re:Fascinating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711714)

Um...

You could measure the British Security Service (used to be MI5) by the Hollywood standards of J. Bond et al, or you could take a look at what they have actually done in the last 40 years that was useful (diddly squat) and measure them by that.

Looked at from their film and tv reputation, of course they would be on top of monitoring such intrusions. Looked at from their actual reputation, doing and knowing nothing is situation normal.

(Incidentally, looking after the security of classified government computers is actually the job of CESG, part of GCHQ. They know a bit more about it, but they still look for a strongly secured perimeter. Once you are inside, anything goes. Perhaps they should have listened to the UK government group which was developing commercial IT security in the 1980s, instead of closing them down?)

you know what (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711376)

I am very insulted by any insinuation that my recent elevation to the offices of Duke of Kent, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord High Admiral have anything to do with gifts paid to government officials. I assure you, they all came about because of merit.

Simply imagine the DoJ or the CBO w/this oversight (1)

Merkwurdigeliebe (1046824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711400)

with these kinds of powers.... nor more stonewalling from any parties in government. I mean, so long as they are government and as such they have checks and balances and thus have jurusdiction over each other and in special circumstances if they suspect sonewalling or lack or cooperation they could invoke these powers... imagine corruption in government going down (or in the least be exposed)...

But given that the laws here are different and that agencies most of the time -except for egregious offences- kind of don't see, ask or tell.

Imagine the juicy bits the executive might have (altho I susoect the legislative to have much more but not as tantalizing......

The hack was actually easy because (4, Funny)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711410)

all the passwords were "NigellaDoMe"

Perhaps now they will understand (3, Insightful)

benhaha (456005) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711416)

That the escalation in the UK's police powers has gone too far.

Our police officers might not carry guns... (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711420)

8|_| 7]-[3% $|_||23 45 |-|311 907 1337 $|!11-/_

How Convenient (1)

airship (242862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711450)

So, in England there's none of that annoying 'Probable Cause' and 'Warrants' rubbish?

It's nice to see rights being stomped on in another country for a change.

Probable cause? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711624)

What about "you only gave us two folders, both with one page saying "This page left intentionally blank"?

OK, that was extreme, but the ammount of paperwork done is excessive. EVERYONE knows that. When the request turned up a small ammount of information, they said "we have a good idea that this is not all the evidence". And it seems they were right.

Re:How Convenient (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711678)

I think the 'probable cause' is taken care of by the fact that it was done as part of an ongoing investigation and the fact just about everybody in the UK believes the government is doing its best to cover this up. You will also probably find that the police already have permission from a Judge to gather evidence and they don't need another one just because they are sneaking a look at things the government is pretending doesn't exist.

Have a read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_project ion [wikipedia.org]

Re:How Convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17712084)

Effectively it's the government breaking into it's own property. They don't need a warrant to search their own property. If this was an investigation against a private citizen then a warrant would indeed be required.

Oh and I believe you mean Britain . England is just one part of the nation.

This is getting rather serious (5, Funny)

Budenny (888916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711524)

My sources tell me that, as usual, the most serious charges are related to secondary offenses.

In the present case what is terrifying Government Ministers and senior figures in New Labour is that they may be charged with anti competitive behaviour and market manipulation - distorting the free market in peerages and other honours, and colluding with other honours suppliers. If the police start to suspect something like this has gone on, the Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission could get involved, and you know that when the Competition Directorate moves, terror strikes.

It is truly tragic. Britain was always famous around the world as the country that operated the most open and transparent market for honours of all sorts. Its a great pity it has come to this.

Re:This is getting rather serious (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711576)

And I used up all my mod points this morning :-( Someone give him a humour point.. Pleeaaase.

The police didn't always have this power (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711728)

At least not without a proper warrant.

Somebody please tell me that it was this government that gave them the power to do this.

Obvious! (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711862)

One Westminster source said police inquiries seemed to have made a recent breakthrough. "Quite clearly, in the past few days, the police have found something quite significant, possibly a file dump of some kind," said the source.
Of course it's all in the garbage file! Obviously, they've seen the film.

No. 10 (1)

blantonl (784786) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711938)

From the article: 'The investigators did not have to notify No 10 if they were "hacking" into its system

Just in case everyone is wondering what "No. 10" refers to - No. 10 is 10 Downing Street, the British Equiv to the White House... http://www.number10.gov.uk/ [number10.gov.uk]

No. 10 is not 3 higher than 007, or any single person, or secret agent, or anything else.

HI (1)

Larry The Black Fag (812280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711956)

  • hi there igojeorgjrojgoregjoerjgorijgiej
    • there ergergergergreg
      • my ergregergregr
      • name thtjahathth th athat t
      • is
      • cheeseface aththathathath

Taking a Walk (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17711966)

Well they could have taken a walk down to the DC and plugged directly into whatever server was being used. However British Computer Law is pretty indepth, and for anyone interested have a read: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1990/Ukpga_1990001 8_en_2.htm#mdiv1 [opsi.gov.uk] "Saving for certain law enforcement powers. 10. Section 1(1) above has effect without prejudice to the operation-- (a) in England and Wales of any enactment relating to powers of inspection, search or seizure; and (b) in Scotland of any enactment or rule of law relating to powers of examination, search or seizure."

All I thought of... (1)

xaoslaad (590527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17711976)

...when I read "The investigators did not have to notify No 10..." was the The Prisoner [imdb.com] ... I am still wondering, with a name like that, if I am the only one watching entirely too much television...
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