A confused and technically illiterate account of Jacqui Smith's government Interception Modernisation Programme (gIMP) by The Independent crosses our desk this morning. The perma-struggling* paper said it "has learnt" (journalist-speak for "I spoke to someone on the phone") that "internet 'black boxes' will be used to collect …
Not going to quote lines from 'Pulp Fiction', I believe most are well enough aware of them.
But now I have to try and erase the mental image of Wacky Jacqui in a Gimp suit (Nooooooooo....)
Change we can believe in
The terror monger in the US will be replaced. Now the terror mongers in the UK need to be replaced too.
No more "if you don't do what we say you're giving a government license to terrorists". Now we need the basic civil liberties and a home secretary that will abide by the law.
Indy awful for tech
The Indy is appalling for tech. It's part of the 'Lifestyle' section. Tech is a bit of fluff on a Wednesday in an otherwise decent rag. A few years ago it was a sparse bit of quality tech comment on a Wednesday, but Charles Arthur buggered off to pastures new.
Nobody buys the Indy for tech news. They should either simply cut it out completely, have decent articles in the main paper once in a while, or really invest in a tech section as good as their education section. This half arsed approach does nobody any favours (least of all Rhodri Marsden).
They could cut out the property section. That's not much use these days.
This used to be a good news paper, now it seams more and more like the Daily Mail, so I'm not surprised they might want to buy It.
An Ex Indie reader
We're at risk of labouring our point here...
... but the black boxes don't and won't "hold" data.
Oh, well that's alright then...
Well, no, of course it's not. But why shouldn't El Reg take the chance to sneer at the Indy instead of re-iterating the point that "That will allow GCHQ to target persons of interest for wiretapping via the black boxes." means that *everyone* will be treated as a suspect by our Database Overlords...?
mis-information - disinformation - We don't know
We don't know how we are going to do it.... we just know that we have to do it.
So here's the plan. Air your most ridiculous idea's to secure a massive budget and frighten all the IT Eggheads and libertarians.
Take the budget and spend it all on holidays/jolly's and working visits to lapdancing clubs.
Approach the government (which is bound to have changed by then) Blame Labour for giving you a woolly brief and ask for more money.
Take that money and spend it all on holidays/jolly's and working visits to lapdancing clubs. Then wait until Phorm is rolled out and then buy the information from them for a fraction of the price.
Report to the public how all the scare stories where rubbish and how easily achievable the database's are with current technology.
Phorm gets a mandate to collect ALL information they want whether you give permission or not because it is now a Government requirement and we are too stupid to understand what's going on anyway.
Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and leave with your massive bonus.
That's my plan anyone want to help me write the bid!!
V P N
Re: We're at risk of labouring our point here...
This story is not borne out of some a priori desire to sneer at the Indy, but of frustration at our newspaper colleagues' repeated failures to understand what is being proposed. It's important if we're having this debate that people understand what powers are being sought, how and why, rather than simplistic railing against "big brother".
The government has done its best to keep important details of IMP secret, and I've done my best to uncover them, with some success. I'm a bit old fashioned and think that on a story such as this facts are always more powerful than opinions, though the view you express will no doubt be a common one, provided misinformation is kept to a minimum... which is why I wrote this story.
- Chris Williams
Indy 0 El Reg 1
The Indy has sadly declined so much that I have had to resort to the Grauniad. What a shame.
Getting back to the point in question. I guess we can all work out what the process will record and at least a dozen ways to circumnavigate it. So it will find record dim Indy journalist's sources but surely not outwit our trusty IT savvy El Reg & its deep throats.
Anyway - I don't mind Whacky Jacqui knowing my email partners - as long as I'm entitled to know hers. Freedom of Information and all that. Sorry, showing my age again ...
Ah, those halcyon days...
@Hywel - thanks for the kind words. I can these days be found at The Guardian... on Thursdays and, indeed, most other days of the week too.
it really won't matter
As even if they don't ever get legal "permission" to do it, they will get their friends (read NSA) to do it "illegally" and still have their hands on the data anyway. There may be a minor change in the gubmint after dubya leaves office, but don't mistake that these folks won't be gathering up every bit of information they can in any way possible - that's just they way they work (not that it really works, it's just that keeps them in pens and pencils until someone cuts the budget and then it'll be headcount reductions and oursourcing).
Trust any of them; not ever.
Hi Charles Arthur
Guess I'm going to start buying the Thursday Guardian again.
what this (any) country needs
Isn't an apparatchik for monitoring the citizens. It's a proper debunking of the myth of the Noble Lie.
NSA Do This Already, Read 'The Shadow Factiory
According to James Bamford's book 'The Shadow Factory' the NSA did exactly this a few years ago with the active (& probably illegal) co-operation of the telecomms companies in the US. Previously most communications were broadcast via the airwaves, so it wasn't difficult for the NSA to have listening stations scattered all over the world. When fibre optics came along the NSA lacked both the technical ability & legal right (to do with strict wire-tapping laws) to intercept the traffic. With 9/11 this went out the window & secret rooms were installed in many internet hubs. The information is sent to the NSA's supercomputers for unrestricted analysis. This is what this government want. I get very nervous when they decide to give a highly secretive, unaccountable body access to data most members of the public would rather GCHQ not have. I concede that the security services need access communications data, but what's wrong with the old system of requiring something called a court order to wiretap (something Labour seem to have conveniently forgotten existed)? GCHQ & the NSA go hand in. The NSA have the world's most powerful supercomputers to analyse all this data (they run in petaflops...?). GCHQ I suspect would do the same. Having unfettered access to all this data will allow them to build detailed profiles of people's interests, politcal beliefs, sexual preferences, etc. Maybe it's time we all discovered the joys of talking to people face to face rather than interacting via Facebook.
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