back to article ISPs scorn government net snoop plan

The government's plans to massively increase surveillance of the internet have come under fire again, this time from the ISPs it wants to deputise as its snoopers. LINX, a major internet peering cooperative, said in its submission to the Home Office's consultation on the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) - which closed …

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Nation of snoopers

This is the only downfall of this otherwise wonderful country. Lots of bloody snoopers!

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FAIL

So what happens...

... if I use steganography to obfuscate my email, then encrypt that email and then go and send it via an overseas SMTP server while hiding my tracks with Tor and using someone else's unsecured Wi-Fi connection?

How does GCHQ propose to deal with people who know how to cover their tracks? Or are the terrorists just being used as a scapegoat again to make it easier for the government to spy on us?

Unless GCHQ plan on using some great OCR software I'd be willing to bet just typing your email into mspaint and emailing the image would circumvent their keyword monitoring software.

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Mass exodus of geeks

If this is ever implemented i forsee a mass exodus of geeks to other countries and the amount of computer related jobs in the UK going down to almost zero (due to the lack of people qualified to do them).

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What is it about the voyeurs in Whitehall?

I know all governments tend towards incresing control, but the UK government is absolutely manic on the subject. CCTV, ID cards, all our online activities -- a vast mountain range of information they can't really handle or measure -- they seem to lust after control and survelliance just to have it, as those who have rare and famous objects stolen for them just so that they and they alone have total power of it. It is through ignorance that democracy becomes oligarchy. As long as Joe Bloggs doesn't connect the dots, the UK Powers That Be can keep the creep towards Total Surveillance going on.

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Grenade

Curtain Twitchers Gone Mad

With all the money that's already be wasted on the this Orwellian nightmare, can't anyone on that project nip down the shop and buy GHCQ a f**ing clue???

Phorm tried a mild version of IMP and are now all but exiled, don't let it happen to you GHCQ!

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I, for one.....

...welcome our new pr0n - caching overlords.

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IBM and the third reich

Sorry to invoke Godwins law so soon in the comments, but if Govnt looked at history (which they never seem to do), they would see that similar efforts in the thirties and forties to track and record all movements of people was a massive task, which is why the Nazi's were so lucky that IBM made some machines to help them. Good old american companies eh, they tell us to trust em and we do (cross link to apple story).

This is no small task to track all all comms and if technically possible would cost a huge amount just in disk space to keep it all, power to run those boxes and monkeys to update them.

Where is this money coming from when we as a country have exactly none, (cross link to poor counting story)... we actually have less than none!

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Big Brother

Persecute opposition, not terrorism

Like Si1 said, any well informed techs or terrorist will be able to cover their tracks.

But when you take into account the arrest of opposition MP's, detention for 28 days without charge, councils using anti-terror laws to snoop on litterbugs, and smear campains galore, you can see exactly what NuLabour want this for. They cannot stand the thought that they may be wrong, and so will use this power to manipulate their continued stay in power.

But was is even sadder, that is after 12 years, people still vote for them.

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Big Brother

England Prevails!!!

And if you don't like it you can visit room 101

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WTF?

Maintaining ?

How they "maintain" a capability they do not have ?

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Stop

Make it backfire?

I wonder how many of the 'accidental viewing is a crime' types of offenses you could tricks 'smart' probes into committing?

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Anonymous Coward

@GCHQ

You might break my ciphers, but you'll never break my codes.

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Big Brother

Welcome to China

I used to work for a company that designed processors capable of the sort of packet processing required at very high data rates. We always assumed China would be the biggest market for this sort of technology. If we had known what a repressive government we had, we could have targeted our marketing more appropriately :-)

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@AC 14:46

"You might break my ciphers, but you'll never break my codes."

At which point they'll move to plan C; breaking your fingers until you tell... '=|

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Black Helicopters

@Si

"Or are the terrorists just being used as a scapegoat again to make it easier for the government to spy on us?"

Yes.

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Weasel words

Let's say this plainly. The Home Office wants to spy by proxy on the total communications of the population of the UK. Its only justification is that they might be able to track terrorists who will avoid the tracking anyway.

I do hope some MP's read these comments because it is a total waste of public money, let alone the privacy angle.

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Anonymous Coward

ATnT blocked 4chan.org

As the ATnT story pointed out ISP can route data however they want, including routing 4chan into the bin if they want. When you overuse your internet connection, their routers route you to their 'over bandwidth limit' server.

GCHQ can get a court order to get the data for any users, routed through them by serving the court order on the ISP. It is a LIE to pretend that somehow the packets go everywhere and therefore it is technically impossible to LEGALLY intercept without mass surveillance. They can and do intercept network connections now.

It is not 'maintaining capability' either, since they never had the ability to intercept all communications, that came with the introduction of powerful computers and communications systems that went through computers Databases were a tiny fraction of the size they are now only 10 years ago.

The idea that the ISPs would individually index and track every user, and somehow this is different from a central database is also just a sham. It simply makes a *distributed* database, why are you indexing data for people that queries should NEVER be run against? Indexing is expensive, just look at Microsoft Indexing service on your PC, it's constantly processing files to generate indexes for them. Why would you index user data if that data would never be queried?

Why would you not simply extract the data from the logs for the suspects connection only, then index that, with a warrant? That is much faster.

Then about the warrant.

I suspect GCHQ was given blanket surveillance powers under RIPA 5.3. a. That would only require Jacqui Smith to have signed off on it, and after its become clear that solicitors, MPs etc have been monitored it seems she signed off on pretty much anything asked of her. Is that the case, can Parliament ensure that is NOT the case, because there does not appear to be any barrier to it.

It certainly isn't what they are claiming it is for.

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Black Helicopters

Re: What is it about the voyeurs in Whitehall?

Because they're frightened of us.

They couldn't give a damn about the clever-clever geeky encryption schemes invariably trotted out in these comments. They're not interested in you personally.

Heck, they're not especially interested in terrorists (so long as they don't too anything too nasty on their doorstep, of course).

At the moment, all the MPs are terrified of being booted out of office and (more importantly) Whitehall are terrified that we, the people, will start demanding that things change around here.

So as far as they're concerned, increased surveillance is clearly The Solution!!

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Anonymous Coward

Who cares about the content?

Of course GCHQ is, by and large, completely uninterested in the content of each and every email. But no-one should dismiss the statement being made that because of that the proposal to gather headers & contact details is not important or an invasion of privacy.

Can you imagine a database where you had all these emails, phone & text message records, stored in a data warehouse? Imagine that you could extrapolate infomation about who talks to whom, who knows whom, and build a complete contact network profile of not only all your family & friends, but also yours and thier web browsing habits.

Then add in publicly available data from places like the land registry, passport agency, the DVLA, local councils electoral registry, credit reference agencies and the Inland Revenue. How much more could you know abou the people you're interested in? What about all that stuff people put up about themselves on Facebook & MySpace? We're building up a pretty good instant picture of you now, even though I've never met you.

But don't stop there... how about adding in the data from ANPR readers, Oyster cards, Travel Bookings... what about your NHS medical records, your bank details, your children's school records, your Police record. Does it actually matter if you've never done a crime when I can tell that one of your friends has a serious spent conviction? What kind of company do you keep? Sorry... he didn't tell you? I don't believe you didn't know about that - it's all in the database after all.

Ever been in a protest? Ever written a snotty letter about New Labour to a newspaper? Ever waited so late to pay an electricity bill that you had the red letter? I probably know more about you on my screen about you than you even know yourself. After all I know you read the Telegraph online three times a day but never visit the Guardian so I'm pretty sure that you don't vote for Labour. Want to argue with me? I might have to tag your file and put you under investigation you know...

So who cares if GCHQ only want my email headers and phone numbers but not the content? I do, and everyone else reading this should as well. Who needs content when you've got all that already?

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Anonymous Coward

The law is against you

"@GCHQ #

By Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 3rd August 2009 14:46 GMT

You might break my ciphers, but you'll never break my codes."

Fair enough. Refusal to divulge passwords or encryption codes is now a criminal offence punishable by 5 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. This is not a fantasy, this is now the law.

Your move, creep.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Jimmahh

>> "at which point they'll move to plan C; breaking your fingers until you tell"

Don't be ridiculous, the UK government would never resort to such tactics.

Broken fingers leave clues. Waterboarding is by far the Government's preferred method of torture.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear (except the sensation of drowning).

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Paris Hilton

Re: The law is against you

"Refusal to divulge passwords or encryption codes is now a criminal offence punishable by 5 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine"

Agreed, but if I use a coding schema (i.e. certain words have key meetings, such as saying "My big cat is ready for you" where "big => car" and "cat => bomb") there is no requirement in any law for me to divulge the lookup table. Don#t make the mistake that so many people do and mix up encryption with coding; they are too very different things.

Paris - because she never gets things mixed up. Mostly.

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Anonymous Coward

You cannot touch what isn't there

"encryption codes"

What's an encryption code?

But to answer the intent of your question: a good code is steganographic by its very nature - whereas ciphertext is piss-arse obvious - and can also be set up to provide multiple possible "decryptions".

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Big Brother

@Si 1

"So what happens if I use steganography to obfuscate my email, then encrypt that email and then go and send it via an overseas SMTP server while hiding my tracks with Tor and using someone else's unsecured Wi-Fi connection?"

Then you'll be arrested under "anti terror" laws and held for up to 28 days without charge while the Met, SS, SB or whichever other shower of bastards stomp all over your life with their mucky size twelves, and they _will_ find something they can charge you with.

You will be required to hand over any and all crypto keys or go to jail for for five years.

When it turns out they can't get a solid conviction, you will be placed under a control order, tagged, monitored, curfewed and prevented from attending education or employment.

Because clearly, you have something to hide. Otherwise why would you have felt the urge to 'cover your tracks' in the first place. And clearly, the first thing you do with a big pile of traffic data is mine it to see whose usage patterns suggest they are doing such things.

And that, my dear children, is why IMP is so fucking bad.

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Black Helicopters

RE Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 3rd August 2009 16:18 GMT

The law is against you

" You might break my ciphers, but you'll never break my codes."

Fair enough. Refusal to divulge passwords or encryption codes is now a criminal offence punishable by 5 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. This is not a fantasy, this is now the law.

Your move, creep

Actually the terrorists would not use encryption, I bet they have a stock bunch of innocent phrases for when each stage of the plan is complete, EG

"Achmed recited sura 87 by heart today, he is learning more and more all the time"

Means

"We have placed the nuclear weapon in Washington, we are waiting for the arming key to arrive"

Although saying that, since I've put nuclear, weapon and washington in one email you can be sure I'll be getting the knock on the d

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They are data fetishists.

How else to describe their endless desire to posess so much data?

Note that the last time MI5 issues an estimate they said that they ahve about 4000 terrorist suspects

Thats roughly 1 in 15000 of the population

And that justiifies asking for the complete data package of *every* CSP customer to be collected together and bundled up?

Most business that have that much unnecessary rubbish to handle charge their customer through the nose for the priveledge.

310 days left.

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Happy

Refusal to divulge ...

"Fair enough. Refusal to divulge passwords or encryption codes is now a criminal offence punishable by 5 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. This is not a fantasy, this is now the law."

Come off it, there is not enough jail space for real criminals, if everyone refuses to kowtow to these idiots then there is not much that they can do!

Refuse, refuse, refuse.

Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt - how sure can they be that the general punter could even know their encryption key!

Mind you "unlimited fine" solves the pension hole for the public servants responsible - I wonder, Hmm!

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Stop

The Only thing Left ...

Now they've got :

DNA Database of convicted and innocent parties.

Travel Database of all UK and non-UK citizens.

Child Database of every child.

ID Cards – i.e. Database of all personal information.

Communications Database of all Phone calls, Emails, SMS's.(froms, tos & addresses)

Ability for any government (including local councils) to obtain any information about any citizens.

Huge outdoors CCTV systems.

Now "soon" to be indoors CCTV system eg Pubs.

Offence to photograph a member of the police force.

Stop and searches on a whim.

Huge medical Database of every UK citizen.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition [ANPR] on all roads – they’re springing up on all roads into and out of my home town

DVLA database

All the usual stuff Tax; NI etc, etc.

Public prevented from taking photos in public places

The only thing left is the requirement for you to have your ID card on you at all times and the RFID readers in all lampposts will know where you are all the time.

However, there is the small issue of powering all this stuff : Oil Supplies Are Running Out :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/warning-oil-supplies-are-running-out-fast-1766585.html

AC cos this is Officially Now A Police State ™ and they know where I live!

PS will they want to keep all those stupid mindless tweetings?

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FAIL

If all the major ISPs refuse

will the government disconnect the interwebs?

I bet they won't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So what happens...

Safer.

Buy secondhand netbook from bloke in pub, not your local. Use someone elses low security wifi in different town. Spoof mac address of that user just to be that bit safer and to really convince the snoopers that you are the person who's connection you've hijacked. Never use same connection twice and never turn on netbook close to home.

@The Other Steve

I don't think our terrorist would be the slightest bit concerned about that happening to someone else.

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Big Brother

Enough... Time to fight fire with fire...

The government clearly wants an Orwellian nightmare and they refuse to listen to anyone who disagrees with them, (just like all Narcissistics), so now its time to give them an Orwellian nightmare. Its time to play them at their own game and see how they like it.

If they bring in this monitoring system, then its time to create an open source wiki style Big Brother that monitors all politicians. I would suggest creating an easy to download phone application that allows photos to be combined with GPS locations and text (automatically uploaded to the wiki Big Brother server), to tag every sighting of every politician and then store it all for everyone to see. Their own argument can be used against them. They want us to believe public spying is to be accepted and there is no privacy in public. Crowd sourcing can then be used to pigeon hole each politician into their own database surveillance list of every time they meet someone and everywhere they go. Then finally we can also find out how they are spending our money as *they work for us*.

They are very evidently too close minded to ever see any option other than their own so no matter what we say, they are going to create this Orwellian nightmare so now its time to fight fire with fire and they only have themselves to blame.

Ever more people I speak to are showing their open angry at politicians and so ever more people would be willing to disobey them and photograph them. Time to turn the tables on them and see how they like it. The expenses scams showed just how much public anger is already against them and no government can oppose people when they get enough people angry at them.

If they want to destroy privacy then they will be destroying their own privacy.

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Linux

Beat them at their own game

Just remember to put a couple of 'trigger' words in an innocent context in each & every email you send e.g. 'we were hoping to have a B-B-Q on the weekend and were hoping it would go with a bang but because of the weather it bombed out' & also to end each email & phone conversation with the comment 'F*** you Gordon Brown, you're a complete & utter c***' That'll keep them occupied.

If everyone does it - they're powerless - it's only if we allow ourselves to be browbeaten that they'll win - and, IMHO this current government is a far greater risk to our health than terrorists ever will be.

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