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back to article Theresa May: No emails sniffed in web super-snoop law

Home Secretary Theresa May denied today that spooks will monitor emails in real-time under her proposed web-snoop law, which is due to be announced in the Queen's Speech next month. "There are a lot of myths out there," the cabinet minister told MPs at a select committee hearing at lunchtime on Tuesday. May also expressed …

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Meh

So what are these new communication methods?

So what techniques can't currently be snooped under current legislation? Inquiring minds wish to know...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So what are these new communication methods?

Well the Swedish Försvarets radioanstalt national TITAN database which was built to capture all internet traffic announced that they need to update it to monitor in-Game and in-App communications. TITAN interestingly is able to share an entire copy of their national internet traffic with 'partners', in real-time, allegedly.

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Unhappy

Re: So what are these new communication methods?

I was going to say "whispering in the ear of the listener", but I wouldn't be surprised if the buggers had a whole department of highly-trained lip readers monitoring CCTV..

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Anonymous Coward

"The Home Sec's argument in favour of CCDP to MPs today reflected an opinion piece she penned for The Sun earlier this month in which she pointed out that police and spooks already gathered data from phone records to help solve crime and protect the British public against terrorist attacks."

Why is a British government minister writing articles for one of Murdoch's newspapers? Don't we pay her enough? Maybe she's currying favour in case the bill gets rejected and she has to subcontract the spying to News Corporation?

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Silver badge

All (major) politicians are regularly invited/allowed to write OpEd in 'friendly' newspapers. If you read the Guardian or Mirror, then you will see OpEd from people like Wallace^H Ed Miliband, Ed Balls etc, whilst if you read the Sun, Times or Telegraph, you will see OpEd from Boris, Cameron, etc.

If you read student newspapers, then you will see LibDem OpEd :)

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E-Mails cause paedophilia. FACT.

Therefore everyone sending them is guilty until proven innocent, the records lost, rendition for 4 years in Libya, then an enquiry which will prove your guilt.

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Theresa May - prove what you say.

Given that the parlous state of the UK economy is due to a bunch of gullible, self-serving politicians (thank you, Tory Blair & co) and their financial advisers should we not be adding a third category to the needle-in-a-haystack search for terrorists and paedophiles - corrupt politicians.

So -for example- can we have a simple assurance from the Home Sec that she will be applying the same scrupulous attention to the communications of those non-tax-paying friends who contribute so generously to her political party?

Nah! Thought not.

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FAIL

Real-time?

When does real-time end??

"We won't read your emails until at least ten minutes after you send them."

This legislation will only affect the innocent and incredibly stupid criminals and terrorists.

If THEY can read my emails, I want to be able to read theirs.

"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" works both ways.

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Bronze badge

Re: Real-time?

Technically, a few microseconds should be more than enough.

I.e. about the average time for a mail message to be generated, sent, received by a local mail server and collected (hell, at one-minute intervals if you like) so it can pop up on some computer in GCHQ saying "Mr F Bloggs just sent this email:"

The keyword she needs to remove is "realtime". Ideally, she needs to replace it with "at all".

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Flame

Re: Real-time?

So if it's not real-time then it must be batch processing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Real-time?

"The keyword she needs to remove is "realtime"."

Yes. Reminds me of Grant Shapps on the news last night lambasting Newnham Council for seeking to relocate 500 poorer families from London to Stoke. All a plot by the Labour Council, he had it. Absolutely scathing he was, and assured us that such a thing wouldn't happen and might even be illegal. He finished with saying - to paraphrase him - 'however I certainly don't think taxpayers should have to fund families to live in homes they can't themselves afford' - the inescapable conclusion being unemployed families should not get housing benefit for anywhere in London that isn't a slum. If he doesn't believe, then, that said families should be moved elsewhere, presumably he thinks they should simply be evicted and left on the street.

Duplicitous bunch of fuckers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Real-time?

Correction: Newham.

Just remembered where Newnham is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Real-time?

Actually real time, didn't originally specify a latency.

It used to be defined as "Every event being processed in sequence."

God knows what the book writers of today have relabelled it as.

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Holmes

when she says

"to maintain the capability for the security services to access certain data on terrorists, criminals and so on."

If these terrorists and criminals are already known to the security services, why don't they lock them up?

I think she actually means *suspected* terrorists and criminals.

In other words, as anyone can be a criminal or terrorist, the best way to catch them is to snoop on everyone's data and then watch for red flag words and phrases that could mean someone may be a criminal or terrorist, and then apply intensive techniques to gather as much info as possible and look for further evidence on that person and anyone they've communicated with.

A bit like the Private Investigator at the centre of the Leveson inquiry, except this has State approval.

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Big Brother

Re: when she says

"terrorists, criminals and so on."

And what exactly are the "so on" category of suspects?

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Silver badge

Re: when she says

Beat me to it. It means *EVERYONE* else.

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Happy

Re: when she says

I think the "so on" category covers the heinous villains who try to get their children into better state schools or put paper in with the non-recyclable waste, things like that.

Dropped an apple core on the street - rather than put it in your pocket - because you couldn't see a bin?

They'll grab a frame from the CCTV, use a face scan to find out your name and then dig into your email and phone communications. They'll track your car number plate and build up a complete log of your movements via CCTV and your mobile phone GPS data and when they cannot find any further crimes, they'll serve you with a fixed-penalty £50 fine.

And because the Big Brother cameras are already in place and the various databases will be filled by information from official documents you provided (DVLA, Council tax etc) it'll only take one security bod to press a button to do all the checking, meaning it won't cost very much. It's a win-win situation.

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Re: when she says

No when they can't find anything else they will flog the information for £2.50 to £3.00 to some private investigator who tells them that he needs to the information because you parked on his auntie's cousin's sister in law's friend's acquaintance's passer by's road where you didn't see the no parking/dogging/feeding the ducks/etc sign and therefore they need to serve you with a civil offence notice just on the off chance you might be suckered into paying their multi thousand pound penalty notice.

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Big Brother

Re: It's a win-win situation.

Only the cost of removing all bins in public places.

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Gimp

"grab a frame from the CCTV, use a face scan to find out your name"

Sod this for a game of soldiers - I'm wearing my full rubber gimp suit in public from now on!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Spin it right round, Theresa baby.

Am I the only to read this as reasoning from incompetence? At any rate, she doesn't manage to mollify me, no. It's just more of the same ignorant and untrustworthy prattle we've come to know and expect from anyone in government. A side effect of the bureaucrats actually running the show, Shirley.

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Re: Spin it right round, Theresa baby.

Am I the only to read this as reasoning from incompetence?

Funny - I think that every time a politician (or BBC Breakfast reporter for that matter) opens their mouths...

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Thumb Down

Presumably refusing to answer the question about whether this will extend to decrypting SSL communications - means the answer is yes. But how does that work? Surely the box cannot decrypt SSL without knowing the target webservers private key? If they have developed some way around this - Google is very correct about breaking the architecture of the internet.

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Angel

No, the reason for refusing to answer is probably because she doesn't know what HTTPS or SSL is and so is unable to answer the question without looking (more) like a prize wally.

And this, you see, is why they want this system. In future, people making comments like this at work will have their web-traffic intercepted and will be met at their doorstep when they get home in the evening by a couple of men in a dark sedan who want a word about "troubling comments about a senior government official" on the interwebs.

On the plus-side, they'll probably get Capita to write the seach tool. The development of which will be off-shored...

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FAIL

"It will not be looking into emails in real-time"

Well, that was never the plan. They make a distinction between reading the header in real time and the body (apparently never). And claim they can do this for all past, current and future protocols. Over encrypted links.

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Coat

Yes, I think that is just a diversionary tactic like Paul Daniels might use. She might as well have said "While we are cutting off your gonads, we will not be scratching your car" for all the good "...not be looking into emails in real-time" does.

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FAIL

"There are new methods of communication and we wish to be able to apply what has been there with previous communications"

Tell you what then May, you can do the same to my internet packets that you do to my snail mail. What's that you say? You don't actually do anything with snail mail unless you know I am a suspect, but you want to harvest all of the internet packets of EVERYONE?

How is that "...what has been there with previous communications"

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Anonymous Coward

Err?

You are aware of telephones, aren't you?

The telcos keep logs of phone calls, including endpoints and duration, which they use to charge the customers. This information is made available to the security services on presentation of a warrant.

There is also provision for mail to be intercepted, again on presentation of a warrant.

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Anonymous Coward

why let the few control the many?

at least have a go at preserving some privacy, whilst tsaving millions of pounds of wasted money.

i swear that one day soon, it will be illegal to have you're own bloody curtains closed!

and if you are a twitter user please RT this http://action.openrightsgroup.org/ea-campaign/clientcampaign.do?ea.client.id=1422&ea.campaign.id=8227

thanks

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It will not be looking into emails in real-time.

she says.

and then, they will bury the news and it will be real time, but hey, who's going to be go after her when this happens? Will they put the ex-minister May against the wall? She will have been gone, and forgotten, along with all her honourable predecessors.

Really, how do they manage to recruit the same type of a nasty character to the same post over and over again? The same spiel about terrorists and pedophiles and pirates with every new one. As if any piece of snooping legislation has made them disappear... those nasty characters ;)

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Thumb Up

Good to see...

Julian Huppert giving May a grilling. He's one of the (appallingly few) good ones!

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Anonymous Coward

False Positives

Okay so you send some emails to client discussing bill payments or similar, turns out that this person was a terrorist. Oh look you were emailing him and therefore must also be a terrorist, of course they can't check the emails to see otherwise.

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Re: False Positives

Isn't that what the US govt does now when requesting the extradition of a UK subject?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: False Positives

You could have called him on the phone to discuss the bill payment, again you would appear to be a terrorist.

Although, of course, you wouldn't. The security services aren't utterly stupid you know?

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pedophiles

she forgot to mention pedophiles. i won't support her plans until she mentions that they're really about pedophiles and not the government implementing warrantless snooping on its citizens in a way that would have made east germany blush with envy.

-ss

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Silver badge

Make east germany blush with envy

The remaining operatives of the east-German secret police won't blush with envy. They are busy upgrading the security infrastructure of a few dozen Western countries and have no time for such nonsense.

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Anonymous Coward

midnight commander and root

The utter joke about all this is anyone with mc and root can suck out every message from /var/cache/mail

So the question is, do they have mc and root? If so then your Queen lies.

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Re: midnight commander and root

They won't need to go as high level as getting root. If you've ever run a packet capture then you get the idea.

The thing that confuses me is the whole argument about not reading the 'body' of packets. But at which network layer are we talking? One layers body is the next layers header...

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Anonymous Coward

> "There are a lot of myths out there," the cabinet minister told MPs at a select committee hearing at lunchtime on Tuesday.

"For example, some people actually believe I am somehow qualified for this job," May continued happily, "when in fact I haven't got the slightest fucking scooby what is going on."

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Myth 1. The government acts in the interests of the people

Myth 2. It won't read mails in real time so long as that is defined as while you are writing it

Myth 3. It will help capture terrorists most of whom have been captured in the last 10 years without this level of interference and which interference would probably never have caught the ones who did commit offences

Myth 4. It's for you own good

Myth 5. Theresa May is some sort of attractive looking Tory minister 'cos she wear kitten heels

Myth 6. We will all be on the watch list for having posted on this web site. OOOPS that is not a myth.

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Anonymous Coward

She's a person who won a popularity contest, because her bunch of friends

were the second last ones to piss off the electorate.

According to wikipedia she went to several raving Catholic convent schools, from where she studied (I'm shocked,) Geography, which if not a science, is at least a real subject.

So while she did study a real subject, she's still a girlie with no technical expertise, but this isn't her job. Her job is to get re-elected, and that involves stopping nutters blowing up busloads of children.

As I learned from scratch AWS, and then wrote here in an hour a foolproof communications method using S3, I'm sure the nutters can. All that's happening, so far as I can see, is that the underpaid guys from marry your cousin country are saying they can still track what you're doing but they need permission. The laws we had were designed for an earlier age. Florida was around before Turing. They just need them up to date.

I see no problem. My wife travels on London bus, I don't care which pikey's rights they violate, or even shoot, so long as she gets home ok.

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Time to save the natin

People

we who actually live in the reality fo the majority recognise this for what it is, a massive attack on civil liberties by a few brain dead politicians responding to the provision of a nice wedge of cash for the party funds and a directorship of a nice bank or multinational company (who is probably investing in the technology firms making the required products to achieve this, or even the companies doing it). It is time that we rose up and fought for our freedom, demanded that they retract this infamous Act of Parliament and if they don't let us take to the streets and show them that it is we the people who have the power in this country not the so called political masters.

On the other hand on the basis of the governments view of what constitutes a terrorist my next posting may not be for sometime and potentially from a US prison (even though my alleged crime is perpetrated in the UK).

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Re: Time to save the natin

...let us take to the streets and show them that it is we the people who have the power in this country not the so called political masters.

... have you seen the weather out there?

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Silver badge

My take

>to maintain the capability for the security services to access certain data on terrorists, criminals and so on.

In that case target the terrorists, criminals and so on not the innocent.

>It will not be looking into emails in real-time.

This is more worrying than it first appears. Forget the definiton of real-time, in it's ambiguity it implies that there will be the ability to read emails at a later time which would involve the storage of the content of emails and by extension other communications, something which they have so far skirted around and not out and out denied.

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"It's a technical detail and I'm clear what the legislation will say on access"

Oh I remember! Like suspending immigration checks was a "technical detail" but you were clear on what the legislation said............. Oh no. You weren't even clear on that.

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Anonymous Coward

She's right

No emails will be sniffed. Because they'll never get it working.

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Silver badge
Joke

Spook fodder

Is about to make a comeback.

So, for the uninitiated, i'll get the ball rolling.

bomb kill president sarin vx tabun terrorist mohammed fatwah attack muder death kill cameron bomb brighton c4 warfare.

There.....

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Big Brother

Real use of monitoring system

This is to enable the prime ministers press secetary to dig for dirt when a citizen or civil servant has the audacity to point out when the prime minister is telling lies (e.g. the WMD report, and the mud slinging from an AC close to the prime minister)

Now instead of having to hunt for mud and rumours, they will be able to access all at the touch of a button, and possibly sell it to their form boss and staff at places like NewsCorp.

Given the existing surveilance powers have worked adequately well since 7/7, as demonstrated by the fact that the only victim of a terrorist related incident in england was a law abiding citizen killed by the Met screwing up, I see no logical argument or evidance for more powers.

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Waffle

Just where is the manpower coming from to sift through this mountain of data? Methinks the lady knows little of what she spake. Cattle excrement is the word. Mind you - just think of the children............I just have - and it made no difference!

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