back to article Twitter to UK.gov: Web super-snoop law will trample twits' rights

Twitter has said that government plans to increase the UK intelligence services' communications surveillance capabilities could cause it to breach the privacy rights of individuals based elsewhere in the world. The micro-blogging company said that complying with the requirements set out in the government's draft Communications …

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Meh

Rights ?

A user of social media has no more or no less rights than anybody else.

Just because one uses Twitter does not make one exempt from "the law".

If you c all somebody an arse to their face, you're likely to get a smack in the face. The same, metaphorically, applies on line.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rights ?

That doesn't mean they have NO rights, or that the UK Gov. can ignore the law!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rights ?

You're an arse.

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Anonymous Coward

Web super-snoop law will trample twits' rights

Well, I was against the new law, but now I am conflicted.

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Windows

Re: Web super-snoop law will trample twits' rights

Twitter were too verbose in their response - they should have been limited to 140 characters or less:

Prizes to anyone for a more appropriate response...

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Anonymous Coward

Boo hoo!

Just boo hoo! It's simply a technical puzzle for Twatter. If they can't abide by the law then get out!

The rights and wrongs of the law are a different discussion altogether.

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Bronze badge

and so it starts

The whole purpose of the Internet is globalised data which means that you have conflicts of jurisdiction. This was bad enough in the early days but now that we have companies like Twitter/Facebook etc encouraging people to make comments in public forums the birds are most definitely coming home to roost.

How do you legislate on aspects like this where the company hosting the data has no point of presence in your country either in the form of a bricks'n'mortar office or a datacentre. Just because the comment can be seen by a person in your country does that mean you have the right to control it's content?

I would not be in the least surprised to find that it was not possible to create a sentence with more than three or four words which did not break some law somewhere (choosing the language you used could be the first problem).

Are we coming to the point where each country ends up running it's own sub-internet based on filtering rules to match their laws?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: a sentence with more than three or four words which did not break some law somewhere

My cat purrs.

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g e
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Holmes

If they have non-UK servers though...

Then they're exempt from having to store data, surely (under UK law, at least).

The handlers of any data from UK until the point it exits the UK would be caught of course but that wouldn't be Twaddler's problem, presumably?

Stick your server in Eire or somewhere like everyone else.

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Re: If they have non-UK servers though...

The draft bill talks about imposing data retention/data sharing requirements on overseas operators... not a good idea for many reasons - many of which are highlighted in the doc linked to.

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JDC

don't like the law, but...

They want to operate in the UK, they follow UK laws. How they square that with other jurisdictions they operate in is their problem.

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Re: don't like the law, but...

They won't have to operate in the UK to be caught. They are saying that they would have to comply with the UKs proposed snooping plans (because the plans seek to apply to companies that don't operate in the UK) which may conflict with laws in other countries.

The question from the call for evidence is: How robust are the plans to place requirements on communications service providers based overseas? How realistic is it that overseas providers could be pursued for breach of duty?

Personally I have no idea how robust extra territorial laws could be, nor how realistic it would be to pursue overseas companies for breaches of duty, but common sense would suggest that if they don't have a physical presence in the Uk, that they just give the UK the finger and carry on... however we have seen time and time again that it doesn't work that way.

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JDC

Re: don't like the law, but...

I certainly appreciate the difficulties in applying the law to foreign companies, unfortunately I can see this leading to most countries installing filters at country-level to make the threat real.

However, I'm not sure a company the size of Twitter would simply ignore a UK law, they'd probably do something similar to Blackberry and set up data centres locally to be able to comply.

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Looks like it will probably be easier and cheaper for all these companies to simple close any UK offices and move their servers out of the UK where they will then not have to comply with the 1984 style spying laws.

What will the government do then, probably add these none compliant websites to the block lists that were originally there to block access to kiddy pron site that have now grown to incorporate bit torrent sites and soon sites about suicide.

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This post has been deleted by its author

For the reasons I mentioned above, not being the in UK won't make any difference.

I suspect however that this is just one of those clauses that is so outlandish they put it in just so they can take it out when everyone makes a fuss, so they can say they are listening to us. It may also be there to distract attention from the rest of the bill...

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... not being the in UK won't make any difference.

... well, it kinda will.

We're not operating in the UK so you can take your laws and stuff them - what are you gonna do? Arrest us if we ever come to the UK, fine we won't come to the UK.

Extradition Treaty with the U.S. you say? Yeah, we'd love to see you try to get the US government to enforce that on us - good luck with that!

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Anonymous Coward

Thank you Twitter!

I'm sure they have additional motives (like cost), but at least on this occasion they're arguing on the side of citizens, rather than Big Bro.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thank you Twitter!

"I'm sure they have additional motives (like cost), but at least on this occasion they're arguing on the side of citizens, rather than Big Bro."

Sorry but anybody who thinks twitter (or any other company) do things like "for the citizens" is deluded.

This is down to money, pure and simple. If the proposal was cost neutral (or cost beneficial) for Twitter (et al) then they'd support it in a flash.

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Black Helicopters

Communications by electro-magnetic energy

"communications by any means involving the use of electrical or electro-magnetic energy"

That means the boy scouts have to record every time they use semaphore? Or don't they count as a business?

Any business use of sign language. (Hello discrimination suit).

Any business use of written information.

"The "permitted purposes" include ... where it is in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom"

We can spy on you if we can make money out of it.

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Silver badge

Re: Communications by electro-magnetic energy

Talk about the law of unintended consequences...

Does this mean that all users of two-way radio - be they business users or radio hams and cb'ers, will have to store records of their conversations for a year?

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Silver badge

"communications by any means involving the use of electrical or electro-magnetic energy"

I'm pretty sure that my tongue interprets electrical signals from my brain to facilitate communications.

How the hell do I go about recording that?

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Coat

Re: "communications by any means involving the use of electrical or electro-magnetic energy"

@Crisp

A Marconiphone and some wax discs?

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Re: "communications by any means involving the use of electrical or electro-magnetic energy"

A Marconiphone and some wax discs would be perfect!

But it doesn't side step using electrical or electro-magnetic energy to make the recording so I'd probably have to record that somehow as well.

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Ru
Trollface

Re: "communications by any means involving the use of electrical or electro-magnetic energy"

It could be worse.

Wasn't it the Indonesian government that has a law on the books that allows their police to confiscate devices capable of logical or mathematical computation that may have been used for criminal purposes?

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Silver badge

Re: "communications by any means involving the use of electrical or electro-magnetic energy"

"But it doesn't side step using electrical or electro-magnetic energy to make the recording so I'd probably have to record that somehow as well."

Say you attempted it and just send in a hi-def recording of 8 hours of feedback periodically.

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Anonymous Coward

communications involving electromagnetic energy

so my idea of allowing freedom seeking iranians to transmit encrypted digital audio across their border using acoustic transducers dipped into a river (acoustic waveguide) by guys pretending to be fishing will have to be dropped because HMGov needs to record any and all comms involving physics!

OK, done.

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Thumb Up

Ban UK users from using it then

It will have an upside in that the internet will no longer be polluted by Stephen Fry's textual raw sewage.

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Anonymous Coward

It Doesn't Matter Where Twitter Users Are in the World

Today's Times carried a story saying that British intelligence gathered by GCHQ was possibly being used by the Americans for drone strikes. It at least reiterated that GCHQ links in with the NSA's worldwide network of listening stations in Canada, Australia & New Zealand (each fighting their own battles for similar legislation to our own dear Communications Data Bill- no coincidence I think). So it is likely Twitter users are already having their privacy infringed by either the US, Canadians or Australians.

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FAIL

By definition this would cover all forms of communication.

The idea of "wiretapping" has gone off the deep end and I am glad to not be living there. Sounds like it's just as bad as a third world dictatorship.

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Unhappy

Unfortunately most countries either already have or are proposing to institute similar rules. Or in the case of countries like USA the security services simply ignore the rules against wiretapping.

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