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back to article Met launches net café spy operation

Internet café owners are being asked to spy on their customers as part of the Met police's terrorism prevention efforts. Under a pilot project in Camden some have agreed to monitor their customers' internet habits for evidence of interest in Islamic extremism, the BBC reports. They are intalling police screensavers and putting …

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WTF?

When will The Powers that Be

Leave Intelligence to the Intelligent?

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Big Brother

Title ... is required

Welcome to the 21st century surveillance empire ... you know we're watching you!

Do YOU know who you're watching?

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Are they completely fucking stupid?

They're trying to prevent impressionable people from becoming radicalised by spying on them and telling them they're not allowed to view certain material? What kind of morons are we paying?

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Anonymous Coward

Shop a neighour .... huge prizes...

As if mixed communities didn't have enough stress points. The most frightening part of this is the increasing capacity of govt and police for almost infinite self-justification and self-righteousness.

Mr Kundnani is right in that this is a profoundly dangerous development. What perhaps he hasn't grasped is that it's supposed to be. In the current climate of security theatre, the very people who should be trying to heal the rifts in our communities are thinking of newer and bigger wedges to drive in.

The terrorists' primary aim is to divide and polarise - they're doing very well thank you without our police and govt pitching in to help.

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The reason why....

"In the current climate of security theatre, the very people who should be trying to heal the rifts in our communities are thinking of newer and bigger wedges to drive in.

The terrorists' primary aim is to divide and polarise - they're doing very well thank you without our police and govt pitching in to help."

Dead right. But it's worse than you think

The 'terrorists' are actually doing very badly - mainly because they don't seem to be trying at all. The very few attacks we have seen are entirely home-grown, with no support from external sources. The attacks we have seen are actually directly caused by the response to the Security Service actions.

The reason for this is not hard to discover. Security Service ware nearly out of a job after the Berlin Wall came down in 89. They spent the next few years looking for a threat - any threat - that they could justify their existence with. They found one with the twin towers, and they are now milking it for all it's worth. Otherwise, it's the dole....

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Black Helicopters

Begging on their knees for problems

"Café owners are asked to use their own judgement as to what amounts to extremist material."

What could possibly go wrong?

Will all the ones that spy have the posters? Because obviously no business user should go near them as their commercial confidential material will be spied on.

The big companies had better issue warnings to all their staff straight away that these places must not be used under any circumstances..

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Am
WTF?

Not just the spying angle but

"Café owners are asked to use their own judgement as to what amounts to extremist material"

I really don't know what to say (I've tried a few times to type my incredulity at this stupidity out, and can't find the words)

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Vote Fascist for a third glorious decade of total law enforcement

Become a government informer!

Betray your family and friends!

Fabulous prizes to be won!

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Welcome

Great

"Café owners are asked to use their own judgement as to what amounts to extremist material."

Oh joy. I can't see any problems with that approach.

I for one welcome our new café overlords etc...

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Big Brother

Morons!

Mr Thin-Edge meet Mr Wedge.

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Stop

title

"Café owners are asked to use their own judgement as to what amounts to extremist material."

errr... didn't a university send it's own students to prison for reading materiel that was hosted by the US government and was, in actual fact, in the list of *allowed* materiel? if yes, how can an internet cafe operator know better?

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The SS used to encourage this

Back in the old-days, shop a Jews was all the rage. Today its shop a Muslim. Who is next?

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Who is next?

An MP fiddling his expenses? Oh no, we've done that..

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FAIL

How is this going to work?

Stand over my shoulder and you'll first get a dirty look, second I'll move places, third I'll pour my coffee over your furniture and leave.

Monitor the internet connection? You'll be hearing from my solicitor.

This has FAIL written all over it.

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Go

Sorry but...

The fail is on you, nothing would be acheived by having a mini rant in a cafe and chucking your coffee on a chair.

No one is going to be looking over your shoulder, all internet cafes have VNC style remote monitor software built in and the ability to use it on their PCs is bult into the terms of use. So all you wil lget from your solicitor is a bill.

I can only hope that some bright spark sees the publicity opportuinty here and markets themselves as "The internet cafe that will not monitor what you do!" not only will that approach give customers a piece of mind, but will raise customers suspicion that other cafes do moinitor them.

That approach might work, for people that know enough to care. The rest of the sheep however...

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WTF?

have any of you ever used an internet cafe?

They are the armpits of the world.

No prospect of the owner's friend (who will of course be paying tax and NI, because they do have a right to work in the UK) showing any interest in anything than making sure the owner gets rent for usage, and then only just....

Don't you lot all sip latte in Caffe Nero, using your 3G dongles, pretending to update your spreadsheets?

(Have I missed anybody...?)

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Big Brother

They have a name for this

In Germany in the 1930s thay used to have a name for people like this: "Blockwart" who were people who's duty it was to spy on the people in their apartment blocks. Seems that this government is really digging into the archives and doing its research.

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Re: They have a name for this

I thought they were called French or Father.

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I can see it now...

"Hello officer... yes, there are a couple of young islam men here playing CounterStrike and I think they're enjoying it too much..."

I love hearing about it when people get charged with wasting police time, when stories like this clearly show us that they must have plenty of time to waste.

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About time

I don't see anything wrong with this. If you're not doing anything wrong then what is the problem?

It's just another way to make it hard for the terrorists to operate. Why would anyone with good intentions have a problem with this?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: About time

Because not everyone's idea of suspicious behaviour is the same. You might be looking at something perfectly innocent that someone else considers dodgy. Then you're stuffed. Of course you can tell them that you're innocent, but that's what guilty people say, isn't it?

It's trying to officially sanction paranoia, which isn't healthy for anyone and will achieve very little in terms of protecting the public, much like terror policy in general.

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FAIL

I realise you're probably trolling

Or maybe just being sarcastic, but in case anyone thinks you're actually being serious (or even actually are being serious) you really don't see anything wrong with asking group a (in this case internet cafe owners) to spy on group b (in this case, their customers) and reporting anything that group b is doing that group a think is dodgy?

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D'ya think that maybe....

the AC is being ironic? I can't believe that anyone who frequents the Reg would say that in seriousness!

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: D'ya think that maybe....

Most of you lot wouldn't know irony if it stood up in your soup. Besides, there's always the odd one or two reactionaries around here. I believe some of the commenters even own ID cards...

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Anonymous Coward

Being Ironic?

I'm being completley serious. Everyone is always up in arms about this kind of stuff. I have no idea why...

Most of the people complaining are just concerned that they are going to get caught doing something they are not allowed to be doing.

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Joke

Soup

"Most of you lot wouldn't know irony if it stood up in your soup."

I would too. I'd say "and why have you brought me a fork with my soup?"

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The irony is strong in this one...

...wondering why people might not want to have their every move monitored, whilst posting anonymously.

"Everyone is always up in arms about this kind of stuff. I have no idea why..."

Perhaps because we just don't like the idea of our everyday activities, regardless of whether they're legal/moral/socially acceptable/etc or not, monitored by an ever growing brigade of official and unoffical busybodies?

Perhaps because we're concerned about the real prospect that this increasing level of prying, combined with the growing levels of fear and mistrust (partly genuine, but mostly fuelled by the media and official campaigns like this), makes it more likely that innocent people are going to end up incorrectly labelled as suspects simply because their behaviour patterns don't fall into some puritanical/unattainable definition of what's normal?

Perhaps because many of us grew up during the Cold War, worrying about the threat of nuclear annihilation, rejoicing as we watched the first cracks appear in the iron curtain, then learning about how the ordinary citizens in the former Soviet bloc nations lived their daily lives and thinking "thank god for Western freedoms"... When Germany reunified and we learned just how much time and effort the GDR regime spent gathering information about its citizens, who in the UK could have imagined that we'd start behaving in the same way?

So you might not see why stuff like this is a big deal to so many people, but that doesn't mean it isn't a big deal to us all. We should all be worried, very worried, about the way we're being persuaded bit by bit to spy on one another. It's not exactly the sort of thing you expect from an allegedly free and democratic country (though perhaps our current leadership takes its definition of democratic from the aforementioned GDR...), and dash it all, even worse than that it simply isn't British!

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Why?

Do you post as "Anonymous Coward"?

If you will not answer truthfully and with some provable ID then you have answered your own question.

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Big Brother

@"Being Ironic?"

"...Most of the people complaining are just concerned that they are going to get caught doing something they are not allowed to be doing."

No we're fucking-well not!

Sorry, I couldn't think of anything more polite to say.

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FAIL

Why?

Because you are part of the problem, citizen.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 14:39

"Most of the people complaining are just concerned that they are going to get caught doing something they are not allowed to be doing."

You are full of shite.

I'm not concerned about getting caught doing something i ma not allowed to be doing. I am concerned about getting caught doing something *is* allowed, but which some uptight ass decided they don't like. Or worse yet; something that was allowed for my entire life, but someone decided is now suddenly against the law.

The goalposts move around , and many people decide their personal sense of right and wrong should be the determining factor in how others should behave. What if you are in the middle of ridiculous-uber-christian-fundementalist-ville and trying to get the address for an abortion clinic? Or a gay bar? What if you are trying to find out how to make a small flash-bang for a science experiment, or a gag at a campfire? (I have been known to embellish my ghost stories with flash powder; legal at least in my jurisdiction, but not in some others.)

What if you are a visitor to another country, taking the opportunity to look up the local laws to find out if your favourite sexual activity/drinking game/fireworks display/stunt driving/whatever is legal in this jurisdiction, and the café owner decides this is suspicious and you are a terrorist? Hey, maybe you are in a cyber café in a mall somewhere, and you just passed one of those stores where they sell all sorts of nifty sharp weapons. You decided you would like to learn more about a few of them, possibly with an eye to buying one or two. You sit down to do some research, and next thing you know you’re being hauled off as a terrorist.

I’m not afraid of getting caught doing things I’m “not allowed” to. If I wanted to engage in that sort of activity…I guarantee you they’d not find me. (I’m a network admin by trade, and paranoid as a hobby. They’re light-years behind the leading edge tinfoil hatters, and you can browse the internet with impunity if you plan it even halfway well.)

No, I’m afraid of overzealous pompous ****s who might call the cops on me as a terrorist/naked crazy child rapist/murder/whatever simply because they don’t like what I research on the internet. Even if that research is perfectly legal.

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FAIL

"get caught doing something they are not allowed to be doing"

"Not allowed to be doing"? Allowed by whom??

There's a lot of things that a lot of people in this would would like to "not allow" others to do, be that being gay, freely protesting outside Parliament, looking at "extreme" pornography (ie something that the person advocating the law doesn't like) or visiting websites about the Tiananmen Square massacre.

If you really have no idea why people are "up in arms" about this, I suggest you consider the words of George Santayana: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

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Anonymous Coward

@AC

I don't see anything wrong with this either. In fact I believe anyone should be available for stop and search, complete body scan and search of internal organs on the grounds that a police officer believes to you have been looking at him in a funny way.

I believe that everyone over the age of 2 should be bar-coded, microchipped, tagged and registered on the national criminal database.

I believe that you're guilty until proven innocent, that anyone who disagrees with the government is a potential terrorist, that MI5 should have the inalienable right to tap anyone's phone at any time and/or to keep detailed records on said persons for no other reason than that they look 'unusual'.

I also believe that you, sir, are an automaton and a lady - a LADY, sir - who at the behest of a man in a white coat would willingly inflict electrical shock treatment on someone else</Stanley Milgram's Experiment Pointlessly Repeated By French Television>

I also believe the moon to be made of cheese, my head to be constructed by aliens from the future, and this to be the end of my post. Good day, sir.

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Dubious

It seems inappropriate to describe this as a measure intended to help win the "battle of ideas", although it is part of a broader strategy which does support engagement with radical ideas by "respectable" clerics and their ilk. This is basically the only option besides net filtering to prevent websites that would be illegal in the UK from being accessed in the UK, and whilst it may seem unpalatable, it could be described as representing the middle ground on this issue, and it can only be hoped that it is successful, so the government doesn't end up doing something a lot harsher. Nobody except crazy socialists actually want there to be a police state in order to enforce the state agenda, and whilst the radicalization of Muslims is mainly an educational problem, there is also a sharp end to their actions, so it is not enough simply to offer them a carrot. Remember, in the UK, these sorts of websites would be shut down, so people wouldn't even have the opportunity to visit them.

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You're right

It would be more correct to state that this appears designed to help LOSE the battle of ideas since it looks unlikely to accomplish anything other than making new enemies.

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FAIL

Irrelevant...

It's irrelevant as all Internet Cafés have to close anyway.

The new intellectual property laws make the owner of the Internet connection liable for all traffic and easily traceable. 3 Strikes and your connection is removed.

All open/public/shared Wifi connections now have to be shut and turned off, and all internet Cafés closed.

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Big Brother

Isn't there a serious Data Protection issue here?

If cafe owners are going to be snooping through your data, shouldn't they therefore be displaying this very clearly somewhere so as not to fall foul of other laws? And leaving security up to the subjective judgement of an untrained proprietor is, as has already been mentioned, a recipe for disaster.

It's a delightful irony that this 'initiative' arrives on the day that one of Parliament's own committees is saying the Government is overdoing the security measures.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8583643.stm

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Alert

Not just DPA

If they do the monitoring by electronic means rather than shoulder surfing then surely there's RIPA issues, and possible CMA problems too, probably others...

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FAIL

Once again, our overlords demonstrate ...

what 30 years of avoiding any sort of serious technical education leads to. This idea has clearly come from the same place "sex offenders will have to register their email addresses with the police" one did.

Er ... TOR ? Anonymous (offfshore) proxies ?

And besides, if any terrorist really wanted to ensure privacyt, he'd just handwrite his notes in arabic, and fax his mates ....

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script kiddies of terror

What sort of terrorist uses an internet cafe? I mean, really. They caught on a long time ago to chaneg their cell phones regularly to prevent monitoring, and I suspect anyone serious out there in the terror club will have worked out that having an operative in an internet cafe where the screen can be viewed by strangers etc etc is probablt not the way to do things. ("Oh noes! Agent X did not get his 'Dont-Go' message because there wasn't a PC available down at Sri's Payless Groceries and Internet cafe!")

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WTF?

How is that going to work then?

I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between an 'extremist' site and one acceptable to the Met that happens to use a curly, non-latin typeface. Will cafe owners be trained?

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Forgive my ignorance...

But how will a non-arabic speaking internet cafe owner know what an arabic language website is about?

1. Muslim goes into internet cafe

2. Muslim navigates to perfectly reputable arabic language news site

3. Shop owner calls police

4. Police don't know what the page is about either

5. Muslim man is arrested

Genius.

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Stop

Trust no one

Sounds like a job for the junior spies.

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A Title

Hi, America called from the 1950s and would quite like its McCarthyism back please.

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FAIL

Winning the "battle of ideas" one failure at a time

What there's an annual contest for really dumb ideas?

Clearly this one's not intended to win over any wavering hearts or minds within the Muslim 'community', or frankly any other one. Presumably any cafe owner pulling this stunt is going to haemorrhage business sharpish, because most people really, really hate nosey fuckers for entirely normal un-fundamentalist reasons. I'd be astonished if one of them doesn't end up with a few loose teeth.

How can it plausibly be a good idea to give the power to finger people to those with no more knowledge of what qualifies as 'fundamentalist' than the man on the Clapham omnibus? This is nothing but a recipe for the kind of cheap score-settling that must have plagued the stasi, and at least a couple of steps more stupid than the Met's "photographers are terrorists" poster campaign.

"I despair" is getting overused, but really, I do.

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(I'm getting fed up of having to type) title

Perhaps our snooping overlords should join forces with China, develop an approved-site-only intranet and disconnect from the rest of the world. They could then divert their talents to something more productive like installing nanny-chips in rubbish bins.

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Just maybe

When you've all got over your hang up with moaning about the state of things in China some of you might just get round to doing something about this on our own doorstep. However, I think it more likely in the not so distant future that it will be the people of China who will be sneering at the lack of freedom of expression in the UK and consider intervention to save us from ourselves.

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Time for the firewall?

Time to start blocking these dodgy sites then!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Pint

I can see the the phone call now

Brrrrr Brrrrrr..... Brrrrr Brrrrrr......

Hello, Police ?

I'd like to report this bloke in a turban.

Thats right..... I saw him accessing the Nu-Labia website.

What's that ?,

You will send SO-19 around to give him a Brazilian ?

Right you are gov'nor. Just doing my bit for Blighty.

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