back to article Snoopers Charter is for 'incompetent criminals, accidental anarchists'

The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has characterised the Home Office's proposed law to massively increase surveillance of the internet in the UK as one that would only be capable of capturing stupid criminals. Graham told a committee of MPs and peers on Tuesday that the draft Communications Data Bill as it stands …

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Anonymous Coward

That's me screwed, then

If anyone was absent-minded enough to be an accidental anarchist, it's me. I'm not so likely to indulge in "SMASH THE STATE" as forget where I left it :(

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Re: That's me screwed, then

on a datapad,on a box, near the statue of liberty.

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WTF?

The logical extension

Would be to outlaw VPN connections without a permit. Otherwise this law is useless.

And probably violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The logical extension

And then there'd be the next thing

I guess there'd be about 20 years of use between it being invented and the government slapping a licence on it

I'd love to see something spooky go on with something like split horizons

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Silver badge

Re: The logical extension

No need - anyone who uses a VPN is by definition a criminal or a terrorist.

If you have nothing to hide why would you try and hide from the all seeing eye of Theresa May ?

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Mushroom

Re: The logical extension

All those people using VPNs to access the US version of Netflix are scummy terrorists! KILL THEM ALL! drone their arses off!

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Thumb Up

He almost sounds sensible?

What's he doing in a post of importance?

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Joke

Re: He almost sounds sensible?

I know what you mean. You must however realize that despite extensive screening, people of real ability, integrity, and intelligence sometimes slip through the meshes of the net and end up holding even cabinet positions. Do not worry unduly, however, at the next cabinet reshuffle these good apples will be removed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: He almost sounds sensible?

> What's he doing in a post of importance?

A civil servant talking sense? It's the end times; ragnarǫk is upon us.

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Re: He almost sounds sensible?

It probably means the government is going to ignore him: that seems to be what they do with the knowledgeable, sensible people they put into positions of authority who then say things they don't want to hear.

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Boffin

Re: He almost sounds sensible?

If the bill fails to get through I'm sure MI6 have a nice little wooded area out in the South Downs they'd like him to take a gander at!

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Bronze badge

Re: He almost sounds sensible?

What's he doing in a post of importance?

Being ignored, obviously.

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FAIL

Oh dear, I see a logical progression from Anonymous and viruses

Imagine if you as a government are stupid enough to start running a huge anti-terrorist snoopernet. This will flood you with data to the extent that after a very short while, you only go after absolutely bleedin' obvious cases.

Then, a short while later, you get absolutely bombarded with these really obvious terrorists. People looking up how to make acetone peroxide (a high explosive so sensitive it explodes spontaneously), HMTD, gunpowder, ANFO and the like. People searching for online sources of quarrying detonators. People apparently browsing Jihadi forums immediately before making those searches, and immediately after looking at Google Streetview for certain places in Central London.

Really incredibly obvious terrorists, is what I'm saying.

When investigated, these users all have a few things in common. Things like owning unpatched old copies of Windows, on machines with obsolete or no anti-virus running. Oh, and the users themselves being so non-terrorist that they practically have top-level security clearance.

Welcome to the brave new world of the Anonymous Spoofware Virus. A very simple piece of code, it merely checks in either with its peers or a central server, then goes looking for keywords in specific places together with specific behaviours. So, on receiving the command " 'Islamic Jihad' #browse-50" it googles the keywords then browses around in a random hit for 50 minutes or so, in a vaguely-human-like manner.

After prosecuting several hundred completely innocent grannies, chavs, and the like the courts deem the system to be useless and cease pursuing prosecutions based on this evidence. Following this, the government mostly dismantles the system.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh dear, I see a logical progression from Anonymous and viruses

Another quite possible scenario is that the intelligence services get totally snowed under with data so that they can't find a terrorist needle in an inane pr0n haystack. Then when the next terrorist attack happens everyone asks why they did not stop it when they had logs of all the phone calls and emails.

Anonymous, just to get the Fawkes mask.

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Big Brother

Re: Oh dear, I see a logical progression from Anonymous and viruses

"Really incredibly obvious terrorists" aka R.I.O.T.

Good job we have 007 to see off this new threat to our liberties.

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Unhappy

Re: Oh dear, I see a logical progression from Anonymous and viruses

"After prosecuting several hundred completely innocent grannies, chavs, and the like the courts deem the system to be useless and cease pursuing prosecutions based on this evidence. Following this, the government mostly dismantles the system."

Good idea but the real benefit of this system is the creation of a climate of fear. The fact the system becomes *grossly* discredited in the courts will not stop its deployment.

Note. Neither it (nor ID cards) were needed to end the bombing campaigns of the IRA.

Notice how many *actual* islamist bombings have taken place since 2001 in what I think they still like to call "The Little Satan"

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Silver badge

Re: Oh dear, I see a logical progression from Anonymous and viruses

"After prosecuting several hundred completely innocent grannies, chavs, and the like the courts deem the system to be useless "

But the police and local council will find it invaluable.

"Ok nosher - put your hands up for the post office job" - otherwise we have 100cases of movie downloads at 250,000 fine/each we can get you for.

"Dear Mr Smith - thank you for your letter about bin collections" - I see you recently visited a paediatrics web site, please send a letter congratualting the council on it's service or we will pass this onto your children's school

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The death of curiosity

"Then, a short while later, you get absolutely bombarded with these really obvious terrorists. People looking up how to make acetone peroxide (a high explosive so sensitive it explodes spontaneously), HMTD, gunpowder, ANFO and the like."

Back in the 1980s, whilst the IRA were busy creating havoc on the mainland, I was studying chemistry at school and attempting (badly) to make small quantities of gunpowder in my back garden. I remember buying the ingredients from my local chemist, in Brighton, the same town where the 'RA failed to blow up Thatcher a couple of years previously. No one batted an eyelid, because it was screamingly fucking obvious that I wasn't a terrorist.

Christ knows what would happen if kids tried that sort of stuff now.

Teh interwebz have just had it easier for spooks to be lazy. Why bother leaving your desk to develop human assets if you can underpay a bunch of geeks to write search engines for you?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The death of curiosity

AC for very obvious reasons:

Had a longish chat along these lines with a prison officer in a Northern Ireland prison where I was working.. after a discussion that ranged from nitrogen triiodide through some ways of making timing mechanisms to more fun bangs, he turned to me and said "I was on the bomb squad for fifteen years. What's your excuse?"

I played with a variety of different things to make fun bangs as a teenager.. what makes this slightly worrying is that one of the woods I used as a test area 30 years ago was systematically taken apart by police looking for explosives a quarter-century later (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4789305.stm).

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Flame

@John Latham -- Re: The death of curiosity

When I was a school in the mid 1960s, my chemistry high school text book not only explained what black powder was but also gave the precise ratios of saltpetre, carbon and sulphur to use. Moreover, the teacher made it in the lab. And we kids went on to unofficially make even more exotic things that went 'bang' during lunch time.

The recent terror that surrounds anything chemical, especially those that can go bang, is a tragedy. It's effectively deskilled a complete generation in chemistry, as kids mostly get interested when they've hands-on and the science is exciting.

We'll only realize that the terrorists have ACTUALLY won after it's too late. As it is, the West, especially the English-speaking part, is on the sliding slope when it comes to science and technology. Want an example? Then look no further than to ask yourself where the new iPhone 5 is made. Manufacturing in the West would be hard-pressed to make it now even at triple the price--industrial skills that were once commonplace are either locked up in special parts of our society or are being lost altogether.

Great scientists almost universally have had an interest in science from when they were young. And as a society we are doing everything we can--even if it's not intentional--to discourage that interest in science in our young. As a society, we are now so terrified and risk averse at just about everything that's potentially dangerous that we've lost all sense of objectivity. It's profoundly debilitating and it's affecting society in a truly negative way.

For heaven's sake, we really do need to do something about this serious problem before it's too late (if it isn't so already).

.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The death of curiosity

Hmm, "used as a test area 30 years ago." It's commendable that you had the foresight to set up a test zone in which detection equipment could be calibrated at some future date and in which operators could be trained.

The security forces really do depend on co-operation from members of the public.

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Unhappy

Re: @John Latham -- The death of curiosity

"We'll only realize that the terrorists have ACTUALLY won after it's too late. As it is, the West, especially the English-speaking part, is on the sliding slope when it comes to science and technology"

Freedom is the right to be uncomfortable.

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Finally someone with some commonsense!!!

Far more sensible approach would be for Britain to stop pi**ing about in other peoples politics and get its own house in order, stop invading people, stop acting like America's lap dog and then we wouldn't be such a target anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Google and Facebook were both good

Google and Facebook were both good at conducting "grown-up" discussions about data protection and privacy

????

:(((((

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Silver badge

Re: Google and Facebook were both good

So clearly even giving a vague shit about personal privacy is immature these days.

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Listening to 'experts'

So The government listens to 'experts' now does it.

Strange through when 'experts' from Mi5 says the internet needs to be censored or some employment/business expert says we need to lose basic human/workers rights so that Britain becomes more 'competitive' they listen to those experts.

However when the results for experts of a 6yr study (paid by the tax payer) suggests that decriminalizing drugs will help society those experts are completely ignored (before the study even comes out).

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WTF?

*Still* waiting to have that "discussion" with the Home Office

I'm glad he reminded MP's that this stuff pre-dates the current Home Sec by a *long* way and points out that this is a plan concocted, driven and run on a daily basis by a group of civil servants.

Lets not even talk about how much bigger the GCHQ budget will be to handle all this "data"

to follow the 0.003% (MI5 said it had about 2000 islamist suspects out of a UK pop of about 66 million) that *might* (at some point in the future) do *something*.

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I think the fact is, really,

that the Home Office is - and has been for quite a time - a puppet of the Security Services.

And yesterday's extradition denial was just a diversionary tactic, because most people ache to implicitly trust State institutions and could be on the verge of revolt one moment then fawning with gratitude the next thanks to an empty gesture, and all of the evil organisations of the world know this, including the British Government.

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Anonymous Coward

Just whatever you do

Don't wake up the sheeple.

http://xkcd.com/1013/

What about evil governments asking for evil bailouts? "Give us FIVE HUNDRED BEEELLION DOLLARS OR WE BREAK THE BANKS"....

AC on an antique dinosaur of a PC with less memory than a Rpi ModelB.

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Bronze badge

I note that Lord Carlile says that:

1) This law is essential to catch terrorists (so therefore any terrorist who uses a perfectly legal VPN will be unstoppable and the country will be destroyed a week on Wednesday)

2) Most terrorists can't follow a simple readme to setup a VPN anyway.

Again, the coalition are doing something evil so they get a Lib Dem to talk to the press about it.

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Silver badge

So how many politicians, bankers and sundry officials does he believe these measures will catch?

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Bronze badge

None, but not due to any recognisable logic.

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Anonymous Coward

Since it is clearly only aimed at the incompetant...

Then it is equally clear that the intention is to spy on the public as a whole and use national security as an excuse.

Welcome to the Stasi State.

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