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back to article Parliament: Snoop Charter plan 'too sweeping', 'misleading', 'suspicious'

Theresa May's communications data draft bill is far too broad and needs to be slimmed down, concluded MPs and peers who have spent many months scrutinising the Home Secretary's lambasted plans to massively increase the surveillance of online activity in the UK. The joint committee, chaired by Lord Blencathra, said: Our overall …

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Facepalm

"require CSPs to retain web logs up to the first "/"."

So the CSPs will have to retain logs that contain "http:/" and "https:/"?

I think I'll be OK with that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "require CSPs to retain web logs up to the first "/"."

You know what? I'd even be happy with the second "/".

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Re: "require CSPs to retain web logs up to the first "/"."

So if you know the actual IP address then you're OK ?

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Re: "require CSPs to retain web logs up to the first "/"."

Clear indication if any was needed that none of these people are fit to pass legislation on something they understand this little...

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Re: "require CSPs to retain web logs up to the first "/"."

That happens everywhere. I'm sure they all think they understand these computery things because all computery things are just like the one they have at home, just.. bigger. Somehow.

This whole affair just goes to show that the old war time spy hunting listening to conversations at bus stops hysteria is alive and well

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Anonymous Coward

I hope the UK don't go too far

because whatever happens there will be used as an excuse for something worse here in Australia. I say worse, because the European Convention on Human Rights doesn't apply here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I hope the UK don't go too far

Err - "Corporations" and the 1%'ers are the only "Humans" recognised as having any Rights within the EU.

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I do love committees

Well, those that scrutinise Government plans, anyway. No amount of pleading through the medium of the tabloids can undo the damage that proper consideration by sensible people has done to this bill.

One correction, perhaps :

We acknowledge that storing web log data, however securely, carries the possible risk that it may be hacked into or may fall accidentally into the wrong hands.

I would suggest that it would already be in the wrong hands.

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Looks like the civil servants have been rumbled

3 governments (Brown was in charge for a time), 4 Home Secs (I've got Blunkett, Straw, Smith and May. Have I missed any) but 1 policy. t's pretty clear whose really setting this agenda.

Here's an idea.

cancel the f***ing thing.

It's expensive, grossly disproportionate to the scale of the threat and so loosely worded anything could be stored. Keep in mind the EC Data Retention Directive was also Made in Britain (the Spanish, whose bombings were the alleged reasons for it, did not support it).

The IRA were a real terrorist group. It was not needed to end their threat. It is not needed to deal with a "threat" that mostly seems to exist in the minds of Home Office civil servants who seem to have built careers on espousing this. As for the "£5Bn" "cost saving" did they ever explain where that was supposed to come from?

Thumbs up for forming this joint committee and not believing the Home Office generated hysteria.

Time will tell if this actually kicks it back into being re-drafted.

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Big Brother

Re: Looks like the civil servants have been rumbled

>>(I've got Blunkett, Straw, Smith and May. Have I missed any) <<

After Blunkett were Charles Clarke and John Reid.

I have to agree with you; it's clear that this is not a party political agenda, but one that is being proposed / promoted by the civil servants / heads of security or military. The question is, what do they get out of it? (In most cases, it is power or money or both.)

I'd say that it has become obvious that the people promoting this dreadful idea are quite simply unfit to hold any public office; and should be removed from their positions at the earliest possibility. They should never be allowed to work in any position where they have even the slightest influence in future.

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FAIL

Re: Looks like the civil servants have been rumbled

"I have to agree with you; it's clear that this is not a party political agenda, but one that is being proposed / promoted by the civil servants "

Nothing new in policy being set by half wit civil servants. Energy policy remains the same mix of misguided, expensive tree hugging nonsense and shambolic chaos on proper generating assets under this lot like the last lot, even down to such cobblers as the forthcoming "Green Deal". Transport remains in the hands of numpties who persistently botch the award of rail franchises under all governments, and the nearest DfT have to a roads policy is wet dreams about introducing road pricing. The UK tax system remains a global embarassment under this and the last government. Education and health remain poorly organised money holes, drugs policy continues its epic fail, the wider criminal justice system achieves little other than to establish a sustainble ecosystem of crimes and crimefighters....

All this is possible because of the mediocrity of politicians. If only they would come up with manifestos that have one, perhaps two really big, important ideas, and a promise not to interfere in anything else, or pass any new laws.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Looks like the civil servants have been rumbled

Civil servants and their friends in local government. They've had CCTV and now want the same sort of snooping powers over the Internet and they promise they won't use it for shits and giggles.

We all know they didn't abuse the powers they got eh?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8868757/Councils-have-mounted-millions-of-snooping-operations-in-past-decade-finds-report.html

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Joke

Re: Looks like the civil servants have been rumbled

>>they promise they won't use it for shits and giggles<<

That's OK; until someone giggles and shits!

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Re: Looks like the civil servants have been rumbled

Am I overly cynical in reading the article as follows:

"You can't do precisely what you want now, redraft it to seem narrower in scope and you can expand it further down the line when you can think up enough justification in the 'OMG - terrorists/think of the children' categories"?

I can't see the security services *ever* giving up on their objective of being able to read every piece of email/browsing history on demand with little/no oversight to get in the way - all in the name of national security, obviously. It is then the nature of government to want to use that information for other purposes (perhaps this data needs to be tagged against some unique identifier, eh? And why shouldn't everyone carry that number round with them too? It would make it easier for Plod to check their habits when they're asked to help with enquiries, after all). The word at the end of this phrase is a bit annoying/frightening and I would rather it have not made an appearance:

"We do not accept that this is a good reason to grant the Secretary of State such wide powers now".

Still, I suppose any stumbling block in the path of this legislation is better than no stumbling block.

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Re: Looks like the civil servants have been rumbled

And after Smith was Alan Johnson.

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Gimp

@Magister

"After Blunkett were Charles Clarke and John Reid."

It's a bit difficult to keep track. On this issue they tend to blur together.

" it's clear that this is not a party political agenda, but one that is being proposed / promoted by the civil servants / heads of security or military."

You might like to start with the original Government IMP.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/18/interception_modernisation_schedule/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/07/detica_interception_modernisation/

Look for the high ranking Intelligence bureaucrat. This crop have left (mostly. I think the head of SOCA may still be in post) but they will still be actively influencing things.

"The question is, what do they get out of it?"

As a bureaucrat you are known by the budget and staff you control (and hence the size of contracts you can approve). And of course the fact you can have one of your little men find out anything you want about anyone is handy too (You're likely a PPE and have no idea about computers. The exception being the former head of GCHQ. His degree was particle physics, much of which is abstract maths not done on a computer either).

But the bottom line is you're a "data fetishist". You love having more information about more people than anyone else. You hate people doing stuff you cannot have immediate access to 24/7/365, regardless of cost (as long as someone else is paying, which they would be). You may actually believe that once you have a pattern for terrorist behavior you can search the whole web of communications for all other terrorists, paedophiles, paedoterrorists etc.

This is beyond logic, cost/benefit analysis, computability theory etc. The pursuit of this dream (and it's certainly delusional) is not logical. It can only be driven by some very deep seated pathological drive that needs to be satisfied, hence "data fetishism"

BTW I've got no problem with most fetishists. Mostly they harm no one (except themselves or other consenting adults). But data fetishism is different (shortening it to DF might confuse it with something else). It makes everyone a victim.

The current view of Stalin was he was a psychopath. That view of these people breeds fear, which they like. In truth they are better seen as one of these.

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Big Brother

Re: Looks like the civil servants have been rumbled

I'm wondering why all those clever people pushing this policy haven't bothered to sell it properly. How can they underestimate the scrutiny of parliament to this degree? they've had 4 years, multiple Home secretaries, Prime ministers and indeed governments, but they still can't get the content on the paper work correct to have the Bill passed?

If the threat is that important to justify this need then they should be doing a better job of defining the bill & getting it passed. If they can't get that right, what guarantee do we have that they will be implement their proposals as they say, on budget, protecting our privacy & most importantly catching those sodding peadoterrorists?

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Gimp

Re: Looks like the civil servants have been rumbled

<- To be ridiculed, not feared.

"I'm wondering why all those clever people pushing this policy haven't bothered to sell it properly."

Perhaps you equate desire for something with competence.

If they were competent to understand the technology well enough they'd understand why it won't work, except to create fear in the general population.

Rather like a spoilt child who can't have what they want but wants it now.

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Won't someone please think of the children?

'her planned law would "save lives" by flushing out terrorists and paedophiles'

This is a great idea. The thing is though that most kiddy fiddling and terrorist plotting happens offline, inside houses. So perhaps some sort of camera in every room of every house in the country would be appropriate? Sure it would be expensive and there would be some potential for abuse, but can you really put a price on the life of a child?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't someone please think of the children?

But of course it will save lives. In the same way that putting everyone in prison would save lives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't someone please think of the children?

"putting everyone in prison would save lives"

Possibly, so long as that prison isn't Lincoln

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-20670748

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Re: Won't someone please think of the children?

Also, yes, most children get molested by someone in their family or someone already close. Online communications monitoring will not help one bit in the vast majority of cases.

But of course, we should all be ready to sweep away any rights and privacy in the name of potentially catching a sicko having a crafty wank over some dodgy images he downloaded.

I'm glad that some sense is being seen here in terms of not allowing sweeping powers "just in case".

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Re: Won't someone please think of the children?

Except for the children molested by politicians, celebrities and 'authorities'.

Not that anything like the Catholic kiddy-fiddling scandal in Ireland or the Dutroux case in Belgium are ever likely in the UK, clearly.

Let's just ignore the fact that Tom Watson MP stood up in Parliament recently and claimed that there was a paedophile ring operating in high political circles - to deafening media silence. Or that even a passing acquiantance with a list of prosecutions reveals a surprising number of names from (historical, of course) Court, local council and Whitehall offices and associated aides and helpers.

If they try the 'If you have nothing to be afraid of you have nothing to worry about' then presumably they'd be happy making all personal and business financial transactions public - as certain civilised countries already expect their pols to.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't someone please think of the children?

>> Alpha Tony: "So perhaps some sort of camera in every room of every house in the country would be appropriate ..."

Labour were planning it, so it's not as far fetched as you might think.

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/115736/Sin-bins-for-worst-families

http://www.techradar.com/news/world-of-tech/government-wants-more-cctv-cameras-in-homes-622368

It amazes me how aggressive politicians are being in their support for the freedom and liberty of the press (worrying that well-intentioned legislation would be abused by the Government in future) but yet they don't have similar concerns when it comes to the freedom and liberty of the rest of us; the very people who they purport to be representing and protecting.

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'too sweeping', 'misleading', 'suspicious' - 'Goes much further than it need or should'

Is this about Theresa May, or her draft bill? It's important to draw a distinction between the two.

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Re: 'too sweeping', 'misleading', 'suspicious' - 'Goes much further than it need or should'

Dont bother the draft bill and Theresa May are both as moronic as each other!

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FAIL

Looks like...

...there's going to be much more use made of VPNs and TOR even if it is re-drafted.

What is it with Home Secretaries and draconian measures? Are they all paranoid or is it just the civil servants who work for them?

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MJI
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Re: Looks like...

It is the civil serpents who do it.

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Re: Looks like...

Won't ISP's still have to record communications between your PC and the first TOR node?

That's a lot of useless junk that they'll have to hold onto for a year.

I'm half tempted to run a TOR internal node just to generate extra traffic if they ever get this bill into the commons.

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Big Brother

Once upon a time

In a land Farr Farr away.....

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FAIL

Is this home secretary

a carbon copy of the last idiot?

Serious criminals uses VPN. I can see the T-shirts being printed already....

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WTF?

Webspiders, that's what we need.

Spider random websites, all the time, digging all the way down and seeing where the links go. You'd probably want to have some sort of profiling to ensure some poor devil didn't get his domestic site smashed, but you could throw enough http requests out that anything you actually wanted to look at was simply lost in the noise.

Perhaps salt it with dictionary searches, random letter combinations, whatever... something likely to give a heap of 404 Not Found returns...

Or, we could just lose this ridiculous, expensive, and unnecessary legislation? I wonder if May would like her entire browsing history published daily on line?

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FAIL

Re: Webspiders, that's what we need.

I believe someone tried a FOI request for just that and surprise surprise it was turn down due to "privacy". If the irony was any thicker I could walk on it.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/theresa_mays_internet_history

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Big Brother

Re: Webspiders, that's what we need.

Yep. I suggested something of the sort the last time this creature raised its head from its festering swamp.

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/05/09/queen_speech_ccdp/#c_1405105

It was intended as a joke, sadly.

[Edit: fixed URL]

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Vic
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Re: Webspiders, that's what we need.

> If the irony was any thicker I could walk on it.

ITYM "If the irony were any thicker it could be Home Secretary"...

Vic.

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Volunteers.....

"For many, their willingness to cooperate voluntarily will be reinforced if there is a statutory basis for the requirement."

Yes, many more will volunteer if we force them to.

This word 'volunteer' - I do not think it means what you think it means..........

Inconceivable.

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Pirate

The "wrong hands"? (New Wallace and Gromit movie coming soon)

So after reading the government response to Theresa May's snooping bill. It's nice to see it shot down as being too broad, and too invasive... However, some of the frankly worrying things the government said stuck out at me, specifically this:

"We acknowledge that storing web log data, however securely, carries the possible risk that it may be hacked into or may fall accidentally into the wrong hands, and that, if this were to happen, potentially

damaging inferences about people's interests or activities could be drawn. Parliament will have to decide where the balance between these opposing considerations should be struck."

I think they've missed the point... I'm not against the government snooping on me and keeping logs on my internet usage on the off chance they get hacked and the data falls into the "wrong hands..."...I'm afraid that myself and many others consider THE GOVERNMENT the "wrong hands"... I'm not worried about my data being stolen by some third party abroad, I'm worried about it being used by a slowly growing Big Brother society in the UK.

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Big Brother

Re: The "wrong hands"? (New Wallace and Gromit movie coming soon)

I'm sure your concerns are entirely valid, I suspect that the real reason for this is that TPTB know that their cosy sinecure is gradually being a) discovered for what it is and b) reaching the point of global instability due to the way in which the many subsidise the few within the financial and corporate world.

Governments have realised that interconnected critics are a real risk to them all, and they want the ability to spot the danger signs before it's too late for them.

Sadly I suspect that it's too late for us already, and the coming collapse of some or all of the banking system is going to leave everyone in a bad state.

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Anonymous Coward

25 %figure is, no doubt unintentionally, both misleading and unhelpful

LOL, I love when they say what they wanted to say, by saying exactly the opposite, so that no one can raise objections and yet... everyone knows what they REALLY meant :)

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Mushroom

If this bill gets through I can see our fully armed anti-terrorist cops busting a bunch of chemistry graduates at a science fair.

txt scientist 1 - Can I borrow a bomb?

txt scientist 2 - Sure, what's wrong with your bomb?

txt scientist 1 - My bombs to big for the demo, i need a portable device

txt scientist 2 - I'll bring it to the demo, should be a day to remember.

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Happy

There are indeed other kinds of bombs.

You've got to wonder how many people know this

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I'd like to opt in please

I would like to opportunity to opt-into any UK government system that wants to monitor UK citizens' activity please.

After all if the register.co.uk can do it when I visit their web pages then why can't the government of my country?

And then there's the fun-confusion aspect: ... you want to opt ... in?

Yes please. I want you to monitor me coz my life is so utterly boring that if you watch me, it will make me feel important !! Other's rarely show any interest in me normally but if you monitor me then my self-esteem would be lifted no end !! It all sounds quite exciting actually. You could have a van or two outside my house and wear headphones and have those wirly tape recorders, the ones with the big wheels.

So yes if you could just let us know where we signup please, that would be excellent. See you soon ... but ... not before you see me (if you're any good at your job that is).

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Alert

"May attempted some last minute lobbying ... by telling the Sun newspaper"

That says it all, really.

Any cabinet member who talks to the Sun ought to be sacked and should never work in politics again.

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Vic
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Re: "May attempted some last minute lobbying ... by telling the Sun newspaper"

> Any cabinet member who talks to the Sun ought to be sacked and should never work in politics again.

Any cabinet member ought to be sacked and should never work in politics again.

There, FTFY.

Vic.

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Who chose her?

She repeatedly ignores data e.g.the low use of DNA but spending money on it instead of police officers who are responsible for most captures of criminals.

She ignores CSPs and others then comes out with figures that will never work.

David Cameron - I know you have to compromise with the grandees of the party but you are putting the country at risk, especially the little people.

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Anonymous Coward

Bloody New Labour control freaks

Can't wait to get a new government in.

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Anonymous Coward

Theresa May, you are a fucking gobshite!

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Anonymous Coward

The Bill May Still Pass

It is no surprise Labour support this bill wholeheartedly, so there is still a very good chance it will pass in its present form, nicely in time for them to come to power in 2015.

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