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back to article Parliament to unleash barrage of criticism on Snoopers' Charter

The joint parliamentary committee scrutinising the government’s Communications Data Bill - universally dubbed the “Snoopers' Charter” - is set to slate the draft law in its official report published tomorrow. Most of the committee members felt the Home Office had failed to make a convincing case for the scale of requested powers …

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If this charter happens it will only turn into something bad, if some local police forces and some local councils can't even be trusted with the DVLA database then what hope is there for the bigger government to be responsible?

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Anonymous Coward

Can't even be trusted with their own data

Don't forget the CSSC breach that was only reported a couple of weeks ago (that actually happened in 2010). 10,000 Government employees and contractors names, addresses, dates of birth, Ni number etc etc quite a large number of whom will have worked at some of the most sensitive sites in the UK.

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Meh

'BUT if you have nothing to hide then why worry?'

Is the usual retort of those in favour of the legislation. So lets get real, they want it so they can monitor your every move.

They want to know where you go, who you see, who you talk to, what you wear, your sexual preferences, how much you have in the bank, they want you on a DNA database, who your children are and more and more and more.

Get the picture? Information is power and power will corrupt. Do you really think it is OK if they are allowed to know so much about you they are in effect sleeping with you in bed?

Power and corruption, to keep you under control. Still got nothing to hide?

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Meh

@LarsG

How about "No need to ask, no need to know."?

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Anonymous Coward

My dad said, 'never trust a government that doesn't trust you'.

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Anonymous Coward

@LarsG

'BUT if you have nothing to hide then why worry?'

Next person who says that, should get this:

"OK - let's take that at face value. From tomorrow morning these rules apply to all MPs and local councillors. From the beginning on next month they apply to every single public sector worker and anyone acting to represent them in any dealings with either their employer or with the public, including any outsourced or PFI company employees, their legal representatives or their union or other representation. When that has been the case for three calendar years, and only then, it applies to the rest of the population. Provided of course that not a single person has been charged with any offence of any sort using information discovered using these rules.

After all, if they having nothing to hide, then why worry?"

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Big Brother

"Appointed by Gordon Brown"

Those four words are enough...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Appointed by Gordon Brown"

Gordon Clown must have downvoted you at some point.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Appointed by Gordon Brown"

He just downvoted me too, hey brown you know what's up? YOU'RE A CLOWN, A BIG ONE WITH THOSE STUPID PROPELLER CAPS WITH THEIR TONGUE HANGING OUT ON ONE SIDE!

Face it, you just ain't fit to govern and wrecked our economy far worse than a wrecking ball ever could!

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Big Brother

A well reasoned and written article

I've asked the question before "where are these ideas originating". We see them being put forward, shot down, and then re-appearing under a different name a short while later.

It's not a party political thing; the idea has been promoted by several different Home Secretaries of differing political stripes. Whilst the author identifies one particular civil servant, I suspect that is just a semi public face that is seen by the ministers; the driver is more likely to be hiding away in darker shadows. I've no idea what their motivation is, but it cannot be to anyone's benefit.

I'm pleased that some of the MPs are starting to wake up to how dangerous this idea really is; they will not gain from it any more than the average UK citizen. In fact, they probably have more to lose; can you imagine the effect on an MP that is having a minor dalliance with a party activist? Being blackmailed as a result of information gleaned from this odious idea is just the start of their problems.

From previous projects, it's proven that they cannot be trusted to implement, manage or operate such a programme; and it is likely that we would see major cost overruns at a time when we really cannot afford to waste public money. Anyone that continues to promote this idiotic plan should be prevented from ever holding any public office at all as they are clearly one step away from tanks of sharks with frikkin' laser beams!

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Gimp

Re: A well reasoned and written article

"I've asked the question before "where are these ideas originating". We see them being put forward, shot down, and then re-appearing under a different name a short while later."

You might like to look to the heads of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ around the time of 9/11/01

You're looking at 2 PPE's and a particle physics graduate. Career Intelligence bureaucrats with no field experience.

The very model for the John Voigt character in "Enemy of the State"

The sort of data fetishist who always wants more data.

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Re: A well reasoned and written article

"Parliament to be summarily ignored by ministers and civil servants on Snoopers' Charter"

There, fixed it for you.

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Re: A well reasoned and written article

"I've no idea what their motivation is, but it cannot be to anyone's benefit."

You almost touch got there in the next paragraph: "I'm pleased that some of the MPs are starting to wake up to how dangerous this idea really is; ...can you imagine the effect on an MP that is having a minor dalliance with a party activist? Being blackmailed as a result of information gleaned from this odious idea is just the start of their problems." It seems likely that there are people that want power over those ostensibly in power, and control over anyone that might rock the boat. These people are terrified that the whole edifice of UK society is going fall dramatically as a result of, for instance, insufficient electricity, food shortages as a result of changing weather, running out of oil etc.* Terrorism and paedophilia seem to be the convenient hooks they hope to pin this whole nonsense on, hoping that noone will ever realise that the numbers of both are so tiny that they are hardly worth any effort at all.

Those of us in the largely undifferentiated mean probably really have very little to worry about, but those at the top and the bottom need to be very, very, worried about these plans.

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"where are these ideas originating"

These ideas are originating in the unhealthy relationship between the feed trough of government defense and security budgets and the snouts of contractors such as BAE. The revolving door of civil servant to overpaid corporate lackey and back again is just as much in evidence in this sector as in finance and all the others which government laughably pretend to "regulate". The true beauty of this scam though is that the contracts will never come under any public scrutiny because they are a matter of national security. This means the criminals in the Home Office and private contractors will never be investigated, let alone charged or outed to the public.

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Joke

I'm on the train...

...... and on the seat opposite, it looks as though someone has "accidently" forgotten to take a whole UK Government agency with them.

It is marked "property of Charles Farr", does any one know how to return it to it's owner ?

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Re: I'm on the train...

Just leave it there.

What you perceive as the rail network is nothing more than a vast one-dimensional network for moving data around the civil service.

Really it should be obvious - the pathetic attempt to disguise it as a public transport system isn't fooling anyone.

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"help cops catch more paedophiles and terrorists"

It's pedoterrorist armageddon all over again..

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Re: "help cops catch more paedophiles and terrorists"

Just imagine if a group of pedoterrorists actually got elected into Government and could use these tools to crack down on their dissenters. Thank god that in our illustrious democracy, our elective officials, are as pure as the driven snow and have never needed or be even been accused of covering up war crimes or fiddling.

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Joke

Remember the innocent have nothing to hide!

And we are all completely innocent of everything, m'lud

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Re: Remember the innocent have nothing to hide!

And when anyone ever says that to me, I always ask them how much they earned last year.

I've only ever had one person tell me, and their wage is published in an anual report, so they can't keep that part of their income secret anyway!

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Re: Remember the innocent have nothing to hide!

Even if they pass that test, the questions:

So what was the last STD you were tested for, and what was the result?

What's your sexual orientation and your favourite sexual activity?

When do you go on holiday this year and who's looking after your house?

might go some way to pointing out the problem to them.

The real problem is not that that data exists somewhere. That information almost certainly can be collated from sources should, for example, it be relevant in a court case. The problem is that that information should NOT be able to be linked by people without such cause (e.g. council officers who want to know "on a whim" - I've just had a barney with my local council over their waste collection and with some data integration it would be the work of a second for them to try to collate "evidence" against me and cause lots of unnecessary hassle. I should not have to "keep my head down" because of what a council official may or may not be able to determine from databases stored for stated purposes, or that they have a "friend" in the parking enforcement department who might target me unfairly, for instance), nor should it be analysed without PROPER anonymity for such links, nor should the data ever become public knowledge.

But, most of all, people collecting, analysing, linking and anonymising that information should be telling *ME* how they intend to do so, and also telling experts who are more likely than myself to spot a problem with their collection methods. Legislation in secret does not belong on such things as DNA databases or listening to an entire nation's Internet connections. You keep the DATA secret, and you tell us what you're doing with it, and let us (via appropriate measures) check that that's the case and punish you when you get it wrong. Anything else is unnecessary unless there is a criminal investigation against me, in which case a judge stands in on my behalf to ensure only the minimum amount necessary is taken in order to protect the innocent.

The government and various large bodies appear to want to do the opposite - "accidentally" break the Data Protection Act over such critical government databases (abuse of DVLA database, leaving things on the train, faxing thousands of medical records to the wrong people, not encrypting entire databases taken off-site, throwing things away with data still on them, etc.) but not tell us how/why/what they are doing to that data in the first place.

Open code, people. Not open data.

I tend to "trust" the government with my data - mainly because I don't give them anything that they don't need (or can't stop them being given). As such, do you know where I think the biggest, most dangerous source of data is, in terms of personal impact on the average person? Airport car park pre-booking. That's an incredibly rich and dangerous list of people who are going to be on holiday for X amount of days, with their full names and addresses. And probably run by people who aren't too concerned with selling a list on on the black market (especially "unofficial" parking). It wouldn't be half as bad a problem if people weren't allowed to look things up on the DVLA lists, though, because it's unlikely that the front-end guys have access to anything but name and registration.

The simple things matter just as much as the horrendous-sounding things, when it comes to actual DATA being released, but if we're going to have data collected, let's at least make sure we know WHAT data is it and how it's dealt with. There, the protocol matters more than the data itself.

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Good article

An excellent read, and I'm looking forward to reading the report when it's published.

The history of all this does seem to show a disturbingly consistent aim to get parliament to set up a system which allows uncontrolled power to non-government entities.

Quite scary really.

Also stupid, because those entities do need our support. But this isn't the way to get it.

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Re: Quite scary really

Especially the line "...Home Office Permanent Under Secretary, shortly to be supersized as “Chief Executive”."

Which suggests the merger of Big Business with Government is almost complete, and then the two will no longer be distnguishable or discernable.

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Devil

Re: Quite scary really

"the merger of Big Business with Government"

As good a definition of Fascism as you'll ever hear. Anti-Semitism, skinheads siegheiling & silly 'taches have fuck all to do with it, but unfortunately the man in the street seems to think that if you're English then you can't be a fascist by definition

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Unhappy

Re: Quite scary really

"As good a definition of Fascism as you'll ever hear. Anti-Semitism, skinheads siegheiling & silly 'taches have fuck all to do with it, but unfortunately the man in the street seems to think that if you're English then you can't be a fascist by definition"

I think you'll find a repressive fascist state looks remarkably like a repressive communist state.

It's simply a matter of history that Stalin would not pay IBM's prices.

People like to think of the political spectrum as a line. Moderates in the centre, fascists to the right, communists to the left. In reality it's a ring. The ends meet round the back. The Hitler/Stalin pact neatly demonstrated this.

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WTF?

Proposed budget of £2Bn over ten years?

For catching criminals?

If that cash is genuinely available for law enforcement, SPEND IT ON BOBBIES ON THE BEAT ALREADY!

Sorry for shouting.

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WTF?

Re: Proposed budget of £2Bn over ten years?

One project (in Birmingham) discovered 10% of all crime in the area was committed by 0.5% of all criminals.

So targeting them (which it did) sounded like a pretty good use of resources to me.

They had their budget cut 75%.

Do you get the feeling UK Police departments are going to ensure that crime rates rise so they can play the "I told you so card?"

WTF indeed.

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Scary

A great article but very scary when you think that this legislation keeps coming back by successive governments of any party.

When will the spooks learn that creating a database and trying to create a system for minority report style "pre-crime" is just plain wrong.

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Big Brother

Re: Scary

Not just that it keeps coming back but the Tories actually attacked the near-identical scheme that New Labour wanted to introduce. I don't trust these bastards one bit, nor the previous bastards, nor the next bastards.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Scary

can't blame them, they only fight for their own future funding and jobs.

Uh, sorry, I meant, they fight for it only so that we could sleep safe and sound free from a threat of those peadoterrorists leaning over our beds.

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Anonymous Coward

help cops catch more paedophiles

Won't somebody think of the...erm children?

OK won't somebody else think of the children then?

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Big Brother

New crime would be needed

"Acting in a way that deviates from standard by a statistically significant degree"

Last line in the Act would then be

The Secretary of State will by regulation determine from time to time the meaning of "siginificant degree"

I always wondered why someone who clearly struggles with the concept of abstract thought was put in charge of the Home Office. Now all is clear - May is simply an automatised stonewall.

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Re: New crime would be needed

It's actually quite scary how much of what we know as the law can be 'adjusted' by a minister issuing a regulation. At the tail end of the previous government, I saw a great example of blank-cheque legislation, where the Bill proposed a framework but left it to the Secretary of State to fill in the details later.

What's worse is that most of it goes through on the nod, with minimal scrutiny in Parliament. Much of it is published and MPs have 40 days to object, assuming they even notice it, with only some of it requiring positive assent from Parliament. If it's "all fines shall go up by the rate of inflation" then that's probably not unreasonable, but imagine the "significant degree" being significantly moved on a good day to bury bad news.

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Mushroom

It's about trawling, not about process.

Your are not telling me that any remotely compent national security agency does not have a good few moles embedded in telcos, Google, Facebook etc. If they want data on any single person, I bet they can get it in minutes without going through any formal processes whatsover.

The only purpose for a dragnet this big (and this leaky) is to hoover through vast quantities of data to see if anyone is doing anything wrong - or, even better, to ensure that when the government do want to go after someone, there's a previous record of them having done something "wrong" like watching internet porn or visiting suspect sites.

I'm sorry to keep saying it, but we used to be prepared to risk nuclear war to avoid ending up in such a sick, surveillance society.

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Re: It's about trawling, not about process.

"I'm sorry to keep saying it, but we used to be prepared to risk nuclear war to avoid ending up in such a sick, surveillance society.

Don't apologise. That's actually a very succinct expression of the fundamental problem with all this.

Have an upvote.

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Big Brother

Conspiracy Theory

I wonder what other bills were quietly passed while the press focussed everyone's attention on this one?

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I'd still be interested in knowing how much this will really cost the tax payer...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9733505/500-per-household-for-police-to-monitor-internet.html

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http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/04/swiss_intelligence_data_loss/

Compare and contrast with

http://www.computeractive.co.uk/ca/news/2222677/draft-communications-bill-a-honeypot-for-hackers-and-blackmailers

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FAIL

I e-mailed my MP about the Net Snooping Bill

I e-mailed my MP about the Net Snooping Bill and was sent a response back from someone on behalf of the government laughably stating that encryption wasn't a problem, but they couldn't explain how they'd get around it. I can't believe that there exists a person so stupid that they think anyone who had the intelligence to raise the technical points that I had in the e-mail, would buy such crap. On top of that, they reckoned they would just record endpoints of communication, not the traffic itself. They didn't explain how a cheap encrypted VPN connection to another country with more liberal Internet laws would not thwart their incredibly expensive plan to spy on everyone (because it would, making the whole thing completely pointless for general, population wide snooping).

I think government needs refreshing from top to bottom with people who are at least almost competent at their jobs, as opposed to the clowns we have had these last 15 years.

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Re: I e-mailed my MP about the Net Snooping Bill

Funnily enough I did the exact same thing and all I got was some pre-written letter from someone on behalf of the government telling me how important this was needed to combat the use of skype by terrorist/paedophiles.

It didn't even address any of the concerns I had raised at all, it was just propaganda.

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Re: I e-mailed my MP about the Net Snooping Bill

So did I. My MP happens to be Chris Grayling - the current justice secretary and previously an opponent of such measures when Labour were in office.

Now that the conservatives are in power he seems to have changed his mind and decided that there is actually a need for this. The response I recieved use the catch-all excuse of seeing supposedly restricted information that supported the need with this complete with the 'if you only knew what I knew' feel to the email (without ever going into what he knew of course - which was rather convenient).

Note to anybody else here: I would strongly suggest that you make your voice heard. Go to http://www.writetothem.com and enter your post code. It'll find out who your MP is and will even let you email them through the writetothem.com website.

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“UK network across which the data from the overseas provider must move, with the purpose of sucking off that data”.

Farr wants to suck off your data... it's disgustin, shouldn't aut-a be allowed gov'ner...

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Coat

Charles Farr

Or, Chuck Farr, if you will. It's not a name it's an instruction.

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Big Brother

Mr Farr wants to be "C"

I'd say he already is a "C".

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Flame

Charge them for the costs

The security services have tried this over and over again, with pretty much the same demands.

It has cost a lot of people a lot of money to deal with it and to oppose it. Government has to go through the same handling of it over and over. Objectors have to put forward the same objections over and over.

But it doesn't hurt the security services to keep doing it.

If they've got so much time and money to waste on doing this repeatedly and costing other people's time and money to stop it, then charge them for it.

Cut their funding by at least the amount it cost. If that doesn't stop them, cut their funding again by a bigger amount. Keep doing this until they stop, or until they produce an acceptable system.

They had one go at it, it was turned down, and they refused to accept that. They are public servants, not public masters. They have wasted their time and money and the time and money of lots of other people by ignoring the clear decision that the system they propose is not acceptable. Make it cost them, not us.

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Unhappy

Re: Charge them for the costs

It seems to be the only thing that keeps the level of RIPA requests from the UK Police under any restraint

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Megaphone

Re: Charge them for the costs

"Cut their funding by at least the amount it cost."

That will not work. Funding goes to ministry/service/department. The costs need to be deducted from actual staff salaries and pensions, and the people affected named and paraded on TV. If they are staring at starvation they may remember they are supposed to be defending human rights and democracy before supporting shtuff like this. If being on TV affects their personal security, good. Might stop them promoting this kind of nonsense.

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Boffin

An extraordinary co-incidence

"Farr began by masterminding a strategy to mine private information"

Farr's' 'Interception Modernisation Programme' scam^h^h^h plan co-incided with the covert 'stealth trial' of 121Media/Phorm mass surveillance technology technology... and for which no one faced justice.

If police want to monitor a particular suspect's communications, they already have that power. They do not require, and cannot be trusted with, the power to engage in mass surveillance.

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Stop

The security services obviously have a need to spy on us en masse

why don't they come up with a proper proposal that has relevant & necessary safe guards to stop HMGov turning this country into a Stalinist or North Korean state, They've had plenty of time to re do the paperwork & if they can't be bothered to do it properly (as they have demonstrated at least twice now), they shouldn't be allowed it.

its like some big wig security group have scared enough of their pay masters & colleagues that they are prepared to sully their reputation re hashing this half baked plan. Thank GOD (or whatever) the various committees and democratic process has seen fit to put the brakes on.

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Meh

Re: The security services obviously have a need to spy on us en masse

"its like some big wig security group have scared enough of their pay masters & colleagues that they are prepared to sully their reputation re hashing this half baked plan. "

That's a pretty good summation of the people who were behind the the original Govt Interception Modernisation Programme.

And dettica of course.

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