back to article Brussels could 'clash' with London over UK snooper's charter

A fine "balancing act" is needed to prevent a "clash" between British Home Secretary Theresa May's controversial plans to bring in a data communications-snooping law and the "rights" of the UK citizen, European Commission vice-president Viviane Reding warned when questioned by The Register. The justice commissioner laid out her …

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Big Brother

Brussels could 'clash' with London over UK snooper's charter

Lets hope so, someone needs to stand up to politicians desire for more monitoring.

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CT

"We do have a treaty which is called the Treaty of Lisbon and in this treaty – and maybe not everyone has understood this – there are no more pillars as there were before, where [for instance] you had a pillar for security and that was completely in the hands of the national states and where the rules of the protecting of the individual, which had to be adapted to this pillar, were a little flexible.

There's none of this anymore since December 2009. Now the rules are horizontal."

That was described as an insight?

Pillars? horizontal rules?

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Big Brother

Are the spooks really that thick?

"But as Britain's Home Secretary has recently demonstrated, it's seemingly impossible to satisfy the needs of individuals who do not wish to have their privacy invaded – as many have already argued in opposition to the Communications Data Bill – when it comes to responding more urgently to terrorist threat warnings from national security services."

Leaving aside, but in no way diminishing, concerns over privacy, why are they even considering a system that is trivially simple to avoid? Why even consider spending (IIRC) £2bn on a system that will catch nobody except the most incompetent and idiotic crooks, pervs and terrorists?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are the spooks really that thick?

"Why even consider spending (IIRC) £2bn on a system that will catch nobody except the most incompetent and idiotic crooks, pervs and terrorists?"

To thin the herd. Got to make a start somewhere.

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Unhappy

Re:Thinning the Herd

Haven't they heard of Darwin? Culling the weakest is the best way of making the herd stronger.

While they are busy thinning out the thickies, what do they imagine the really dangerous types will be doing?

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Black Helicopters

Re: Are the spooks really that thick?

A police state cannot spring into being overnight. A £2bn plan isn't typically the sort of thing you might call a 'baby step', of course.

Targetting the low hanging fruit means that there are lots of lovely arrest and prosecution figures to show the plan's effectiveness and usefulness in the future. Leaving the more competent criminals behind is a nice way to show that the scheme needs further investment and expansion in the future.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid though ;-)

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Re: Are the spooks really that thick?

I think you're vastly overestimating the competence of most crooks, pervs and terrorists, or indeed of most people in general. :)

Having said that, this is pretty abysmal, both from an ethical point of view and from the point of view that we're wasting billions on a scheme with questionable effectiveness and which is probably illegal under EU law.

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Vic
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Re: Are the spooks really that thick?

> I think you're vastly overestimating the competence of most crooks, pervs and terrorists

If they're really that incompetent[1], what does that say about the authorities that have failed to catch them so far?

Vic.

[1] It is a common mistake to underestimate one's enemy...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are the spooks really that thick?

Statistically correlation is unavoidable. There's absolutely no way you can interact with people (with massive government help,) without causing correlation.

With this system, Jean Charles De Menezes would be still alive, and my route down to Holborn wouldn't have been blocked for weeks, because police were still finding bits of lip, and eyelid, on window sills around the square.

Using inductive reasoning, what could possibly be the situation? One explanation is that

1. We sack the heads of the south bank massive, and the north bank pizza express crowd, and the heads of the sheep country collective, if they fail.

2. They can't find the nutters, but they know from what they do know that there's millions of them.

I'm happy with this as a likelihood, so I support it. I'm suspect the numbers of people who worry that they'll find out about their porn habit, or their daily mail subscription, are the main worry about the problem. Oh. and hacks. Hacks don't want the government knowing their sources.

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Sir

It's really sad that we have to rely on Brussels to try and protect our rights as individuals from our own* government.

*we might pay for the government, but we don't contribute to the parties' coffers so basically we pay for an infrastructure then someone else with a different agenda comes in to run it for us.

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Meh

Right to Be Forgotten

Pols seem to think this is a right: "Mistakes were made but we are looking to the future, not the past". Why can't we expect the same?

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Big Brother

"when it comes to responding more urgently to terrorist threat warnings from national security services."

Either they are already succeeding at keeping the "terrorists" at bay already or I'm missing something. I remember when the IRA were active and successfully carried out terrorist attacks in the UK. Most people did feel threatened because there was a genuine threat. Determined, committed terrorists will always find a way to carry out attacks, no matter what methods are put in place to prevent them.

Now, thankfully, there are no regular terrorist attacks. So either the terrorists have gone home, are incompetent or we are already doing the right things at keeping them from carrying out attacks.

Yet we hear politicians telling us we're constantly at risk and must increase our efforts. It's all FUD, the terrorists are having all their work done for them. They've won, we now have more to fear from our government than we do from terrorists.

They've played a blinder by correctly assessing governments desire to spy on it's citizens from behind the smokescreen of alledgedly wanting to protect them.

Expecting the eurocrats to somehow step in and stop this latest increase in public surveillence is a waste of time.

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Anonymous Coward

IRA - That's not how I see it.

I always thought that Tony flooded the country with catholics from Poland, as a deal with the Pope to convert the UK back to a catholic country long term, in return for sufficient leaning on the IRA to move into drug dealing. Of course I could be wrong, but that's why I thought the Catholic church was no longer helping transfer weapons for them. (Though maybe they still are, but we won't find out for 50 years.)

We never hear politicians make those claims until they get into power, and they never make them once they've left power, so the only possible explanation for those that observation is that they get into power, then see what's actually happening, and they say "Fuck me! What do you need?"

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Re: IRA - That's not how I see it.

"... they get into power, then see what the civil servants and secret squirrels say is happening, "

There, fixed that for you.

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Holmes

'Maybe not everyone understands the Treaty of Lisbon'

What? You mean that convoluted doorstop, desperately trying to disguise its pretentions as a Constitution by hiding all the contentious bits under thick layers of multilingual-friendly diplomatese, might be less than a paragon of simple clarity?

I'm shocked, I am.

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"Responding more urgently to terrorist threat warnings"

What terrorist threat? And how does monitoring every thing I do online help prevent that?

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Anonymous Coward

You are the terrorist threat

You might not be a subversive yet, but as the state becomes ever more repressive more and more people like you will find themselves opposing it. Therefore the state in its wisdom is preparing for that situation ... by becoming ever more repressive. A vicious circle, some might say, but there are huge profits to be made by friends of ministers who get these IT contracts.

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Coat

Re: You are the terrorist threat

I didn't know I was a terrorist!

I guess I'd best turn myself in then. I wonder if I'll get a reward.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You are the terrorist threat

Of course you are! You downloaded that film!

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Waffle

Anybody with just a modicum of tech-savvyness should realise that real villains don't communicate in plain sight, and that includes e-mail. This is just an excuse for more control over the populace. Wonder if government ministers and other illustrious members of our over-lords will mind also having THEIR communications looked at in the same way?

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Big Brother

Re: Waffle

the system would prove useful for combating certain forms of crime;

1. Police officer e-mails and other contacts with news of the screws staff selling info

2. number and length of contacts between ministers and newcorp executives on the run up to and during comercial bids facing government regulation.

I support having the MP's contacts posted on a public web site?

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If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

I am fed up with hearing arguments along the lines of "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" over issues like this. The government knows full well that we all have something to hide, our privacy.

What they really mean is "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear".

But they daren't say what they actually mean because the obvious reply would be, "If I have done nothing wrong then why are you spying on me?"

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Re: If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

Another good retort to "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." line is "do you have curtains?"

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Re: If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

also see: [Godwin] "Tell that to Anne Frank".

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Big Brother

The problem is not dumb terrorists, it dumb MPs, and their "advisors"

The Home Sectary is a politician, hence there is an expectation of an inability to do anything other than run mouth without thinking (see Francis Maud, panic the nation and endanger life knee jerker earlier this year)

However the idiots are suppose to have Sir Humprey clones advising them to stop the grossly stupidity ideas. Unfortunately the ACPO, et al seem to lack brain cells and the ability for critical thinking as well.

This act will DECREASE public safety, by diverting £2bn of assests to fund a boondogle rather than fund real intel and surveilance activities.

It will have police officers running down suprious leads, rather than focusing on real crime.

The terrorists will keel over laughing every time they clone someones identity (where do the thugs get most of their money, ah, ID and online fraud!) and use it to get a mobile phone, then ring all the numbers they know are blown, and watch the headless chickens of state security run around shooting electricians on tube stations, and pulling a SWAT on 60 year old grannies.

Winston Churchil once said the best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter.

Today he is wrong, it's a 5 minute sound bite from the average MP.

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Megaphone

And this...

...my friends, is why we want to stay as signatories to such things as the ECHR and the EU supreme courts. Bear in mind that Cameron has been banging the drum of "Lets tell the ECHR to sod off because they protect terr'ists and write our OWN constitution and 'bill of rights' - a Citizens Charter! Won't THAT be COOL?!".

Yeah, a charter that will let you and your cronies enact the will of the ministers without challenge, destroying our last line of defence against super-surveillance, police state fascism.

F**k you, Gov. F**k you very much indeed.

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Anonymous Coward

This won't work

"But as Britain's Home Secretary has recently demonstrated, it's seemingly impossible to satisfy the needs of individuals who do not wish to have their privacy invaded – as many have already argued in opposition to the Communications Data Bill – when it comes to responding more urgently to terrorist threat warnings from national security services."

Remember Theresa May, “Anyone who trades liberty for security end up with neither liberty nor security”

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FAIL

The only thing I have to say to May is: Phil Zimmerman

Little has changed with Phil Zimmerman since he spent a weekend uploading PGP on to every BBS he could other than the size of his waist and bank account and the colour of his hair.

As soon as Silent Circle releases their smartphone security software they'll be getting my orders.

And when the Border idiots ask for a password you will truthfully be able to say you don't know what it is!

May, the poster woman for a dumb broad.

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Holmes

war is peace

freedom is slavery

ignorance is strength

1. We are united in our hatred of 'The Terrorists' who threaten to destroy our 'Way of Life',

2. and we lose if we are individualists (see how strong the ant colony is in protecting its 'Way of Life'),

3. and better to watch 'Britains got Talent', Eastenders, Hollyoaks etc etc etc than to see the filth and putrid human behaviours (British spelling dam you Firefox), on the internet. We will allow you Facebook, two plus two is five.

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

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Anonymous Coward

Two points...

1. That "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" argument is invalid. No-one in Europe needs to justify why they want to maintain their privacy. It's a Human Right, as set out in the EU Human Rights Act, and it's the Government's job to protect it, or they're in violation of your Human Rights and will have to answer to the EU.

2. "the commissioner is struggling to negotiate between two distinct groups with typically different and occasionally symbiotic needs when it comes to making transactions on the internet"

The relationship of online businesses to the public is "symbiotic"? Surely that should read "Parasitic"? :P

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