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back to article Woolwich beheading sparks call to REVIVE UK Snoopers' Charter

Nick Clegg has been warned that his opposition to the controversial Communications Data Bill could leave Britain "at risk" after a soldier was beheaded in Woolwich, London. The deputy prime minister is coming under increased pressure to rethink his stance on the draft law, dubbed the Snoopers' Charter. The bill, if passed by …

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Right.

Because everyone posts:

Just beheaded an infidel in #Woolwich. Allahu Akhbar! #islam #jihad #PraiseBe

(Or discusses it on the phone/email/etc)

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Re: Right.

However this does seem be an example of where targeted monitoring of the communications of these individuals might have stopped this happening.

This barbaric murder of an innocent man in the name of Islam does seem to be have been carried out by; at least one individual known to the security services, an individual already know to have extremist views and people who don't seem to have concealed their intentions.

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Re: Right.

The police and security services already have the tools to do targeted monitoring of individuals. In fact, the security services had been monitoring these 2. So, this proposed law won't actually help in this sort of circumstance at all.

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Re: Right.

They were known to the security services, how much was known is really the question?

Had the security services been in a position to look at with whom they had been communicating might they then have had been better able to assess these people as a danger to society?

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Re: Right.

Of course Just beheaded.... would hardly help prevention.

As we pointed out the first time they tried this Stalinesque bull, it won't work and it won't help. Boris has sunk any hope of election as anything beyond baffoon hair consultant by suggesting the police had 'compelling' arguments in favour,

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Re: Right.

@ TT - possibly, but that of itself is hardly a justification. There is an instinctive desire to think ' if only we did/allowed/banned X then Y would not happen '. This sort of thinking is as seductive as crack and has been used by the weak and manipulative throughout history to repress and control people.

The simple truth is that life is messy and bad shit sometimes happens to good people for no reason. We should not allow tragedies to debase us.

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Re: Right.

Someone being 'known' to the security services does not mean that they are a risk.

The security services will know something about everyone who has ever held security clearance or who has physically visited one of their location. They know something about people who have visited countries in the Middle-East, Asia, or the Ex Soviet Union countries. They know about anybody who has held public office, especially if that office manages sensitive data. There are probably any number of demonstrations or events where they will identify the people who attended, and keep a record of the people, so know about them too. Any of you reading this could be known to them in one way or another.

Just because you are known to the security services does not mean that you are automatically a terror suspect. Sometimes people are known for good reasons. Sometimes they are known but not judged to be a risk worth pursuing. Sometimes they get it wrong. Sometimes they have not got the correct resources.

@Titus. If you were to say that one in a hundred of the people who fit a particular profile that they know about may be a risk (and I emphasise that this is a number plucked out of thin air), then that means that 99 completely innocent people may end up being monitored.

So if you (for example), were next to a group protesting about Margaret Thatcher, took part in a Student protest about fees at the Houses of Parliament, were a member of CND, went on holiday to a former Soviet country, the Middle East, East Africa or Pakistan, and regularly use TOR or encrypted Bit Torrent, you may be on their list. How does that make you feel. Good? Still want to give them the power to look at what you are doing online?

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Re: Right.

The electorate has made it perfectly clear they do want a baffoon hair consultant in charge - whats your point?

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Re: Right. @Titus Technophobe

That's the point, targeted monitoring, i.e. AFTER a court order is obtained!

the Snoopers charter removed the need for a court order....

Although while it might stop idiots such as these if you can monitor communications, it would not stop anyone with a decent education... Right now I don't bother encrypting... if this bill passes, I might start a new business selling encrypted communications to the masses....

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You have made an invalid assumption. The law being proposed does not provide access to content (so no use in monitoring as they may simply saying "how are you and have you got a cold?" Secondly the primary purpose of the Act is to support investigation (after the event) by allowing the police and security service to see where they have been, where they went online and who they might have called.

At best this law would have provided the police and security services with the names of a few people these two lunatics have had contact with but no real evidence as to whether they were involved in the attack (planning or knowledge of it).

Events such of these are impossible in the main to prevent since the planning and execution (no pun intended) can be undertaken by one or two individuals meeting on a bench in the park on Saturday afternoon during a performance of the local brass band. These are the terrifying attacks that leave every policeman, security official and government minister in fear because they know that the only way they can be prevented is by pure luck. For example by stopping their car due to a problem with the insurance or because someone did not replace the duff headlight bulb.

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Re: Right.

"This barbaric murder of an innocent man in the name of Islam does seem to be have been carried out by; at least one individual known to the security services"

What? you are saying they were under the employment of the security services? I suppose that makes sense yes. This is probably the only way they can rush the snoopers charter through.

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Re: Right.

They were already known to the security services. Instead of passing a snooper's charter to make us all magically safe from people already known to the security services perhaps we should pass a bill to make us all magically safe by making the security services do their job properly?

No, scratch that. I'm sure the security services were doing the best they could too. There can't be 100% safety and making up new laws won't magically change that. Perhaps allocating more resources to the security services will slightly increase safety, but that doesn't need new laws.

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Re: Right.

@Peter Gathercole

So if you (for example), were next to a group protesting about Margaret Thatcher, took part in a Student protest about fees at the Houses of Parliament, were a member of CND, went on holiday to a former Soviet country, the Middle East, East Africa or Pakistan, and regularly use TOR or encrypted Bit Torrent, you may be on their list. How does that make you feel. Good? Still want to give them the power to look at what you are doing online?

At least three of your points above apply, and to be honest it would not concern me should the security services which to look at the IP traffic data on my internet connection.

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Re: Right. @Titus Technophobe

@MrXavia .... it is the 'traffic data' that would be monitored. Not the contents, encryption wouldn't do a heck of a lot anyway.

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Re: Right.

@NomNomNom .... err yes, not really worth a comment, is your reading ability really that poor?

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Re: Right.

At least three of your points above apply, and to be honest it would not concern me should the security services which to look at the IP traffic data on my internet connection.

Would it concern you if your monthly ISP bill went up by 5% to cover the costs of this pointless monitoring? What about 20%? what about 50%?

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Re: Right.

If it stopped something like the above happening no it wouldn't concern me .... average ISP what £15 ... 20% another £3.

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@Titus

I deliberately made the list as wide as possible so that most of the readers would fall into at least one category.

I know I have latent consistency theory tendencies, so may be slightly paranoid about these things. The point I am trying to make is that if they use something like the list I presented as the initial trigger for monitoring, they may well end up seeing other things that you do that are less acceptable. I am pretty clean (in fact I only fall into one of my own list categories - I'll let you guess which), but will definitely be on their known list (for good reasons only, I hope).

I do nothing that *I* feel is worthy of their attention for bad reasons, but that does not mean I am happy for them to monitor my Internet traffic. I think that if you take the defence that "I do nothing wrong so I have nothing to fear" ignores the fact that you don't know what *they* think is wrong, and there is nobody to challenge their view.

(BTW. If one of the three that you do is porn, then I suggest that you restrict yourself to sites that certify that all their models/actors/actresses/participants are over 18, because if you have images - photographs or other types - of people engaged in sexual acts who are or appear to be (in the eyes of the investigator) under 18 cached on your computer, even as a thumbnail in your browsers image cache, you almost certainly are guilty of infringing the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, sections 62-68).

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Of course...

"""They were already known to the security services."""

Like what happened in Boston, the problem is that the security forces have completely forbidden to "profile"

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Re: Right. @Titus Technophobe

Firstly the relevant statute, RIPA does not require a court order even for "Intrusive Surveillance" , merely the consent of the Home Secretary or Justice Secretary. Gathering data at the level in the proposed bill can already be done with the permission of a senior official. Obviously the security services, having had these two individuals drawn to their attention choose not to implement even this level of surveillance.

Secondly it seems clear that the security services failed to correctly assess the information that they already possessed. Massively increasing the size of the haystack to be sifted isn't going to help.

As you say frustrating the proposed intelligence gathering is not exactly rocket science. Also many more people than the Jihadi nutcases will start using VPN's, anonymous proxies, re-mailers, twin key encryption etc, so not even the adoption of those measures will indicate likely valid subjects.

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Re: Right. @Peter Gathercole

Yes as a list of examples so wide you might as well have just put either are you on the electoral register or indeed was your birth registered at Somerset house. The intention of the Communications Data Bill was to collect information and use it for targeted investigations. It wasn't to do 'fishing expeditions'.

How might this have helped in this instance? We know that the perpetrators weren’t exactly covert in fact they went out of their way to publicise their activities. It would also appear that they were radicalised by their internet activities.

I can think of a couple of examples of how this data might have helped:

If they had posted their intentions prior to just maybe they could have been tracked down via IP information?

Alternatively just maybe knowing what internet sites these two had visited which had caused them to be radicalised could provide a list of possible other fanatics in the UK

BTW I don’t do a heck of a lot of porn, and if this is your main concern as another commentator remarked, get over it the security services aren’t going to be that interested.

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Re: Right. @Mike Ozanne

Firstly the relevant statute, RIPA does not require a court order even for "Intrusive Surveillance" , merely the consent of the Home Secretary or Justice Secretary. Gathering data at the level in the proposed bill can already be done with the permission of a senior official. Obviously the security services, having had these two individuals drawn to their attention choose not to implement even this level of surveillance.

OK ….. you want to have a pop at the security services

Secondly it seems clear that the security services failed to correctly assess the information that they already possessed. Massively increasing the size of the haystack to be sifted isn't going to help.

It is connecting the data together that allows an intelligent assessment. Just maybe knowing the communications details would have helped rather than hindered the assessment.

As you say frustrating the proposed intelligence gathering is not exactly rocket science. Also many more people than the Jihadi nutcases will start using VPN's, anonymous proxies, re-mailers, twin key encryption etc, so not even the adoption of those measures will indicate likely valid subjects.

True but then again it is ‘ the who, when, where and how of a communication, but not its (encrypted) content’ that the bill proposed to collect.

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Targeted monitoring is acceptable, the wholesale monitoring of the populous is not.

No-one knows (outside of the security services) what was known about these individuals. All that has been released is that they were on a list.

An attack of this type doesn't need a huge amount of planning. There is no need to co-ordinate with other perpetrators. There is no need for a huge amount of money to fund the operation. There is little need for any communication outside of the 2 individuals who have been shot and arrested.

You would need to be very careless to leave a trail for anyone to follow if you were planning an attack of this type. Anyone can get a knife or a meat cleaver from Tesco or Asda. Planning can be done over a beer while watching a movie. External communication is not needed.

So back to the article, Politicians of all colours want control, the security services need to have access to everything for the politicians to have the control they want. Just because there is a horrific incident does not justify wholesale surveillance.

Application of existing laws - incitement to (commit crime) should be applied to the people preach hate. Existing wire tap laws should be used where there is intelligence pointing to a crime.

Judges and the home secretary should remain in the path required to get a warrant to execute a wire tap/ internet monitoring.

With regard to the reference to Islam, NO religion on planet earth preaches hate. These people were acting outside of the teachings of their faith.

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Re: Right. @Peter Gathercole

"Alternatively just maybe knowing what internet sites these two had visited which had caused them to be radicalised could provide a list of possible other fanatics in the UK"

I will concede that this could be useful information, but it is likely that this will be obtained after the fact, as I'm sure that all their possessions are now evidence. I would be very surprised if the sites they were reading weren't already known. What you consider subversive information may be perfectly acceptable to other people in the world. As you said, what the security services would like to be able to do is identify everybody who is reading those sites, not necessarily the sites themselves. But this may still finger people who are just curious about such rhetoric.

"If they had posted their intentions prior to just maybe they could have been tracked down via IP information?"

Well. Did they? There is an "if" in your statement. I think that you would probably be surprised by how many people post such statements without any intention to actually carry anything like that out. I have said many times that I would like to drop a bomb on a certain campus in Redmond (there, I've done it again), but I will never really carry that out. If the police reacted to every casual threat that was tweeted, mailed or blogged, they would be very busy indeed.

My comment about porn was to try to show how little people understand our laws. I Am Not A Lawyer, and I certainly don't think I know everything that is illegal (like photocopying the Queens Currency, selling Creosote to individuals who are not in the fencing trade, or allowing ragwort to grow in your garden - all of these are against the law).

My list was intended to be wide but not so wide it would not cover everybody.

You've still missed the point that if they are allowed to do this without proper supervision, at some point they will in a way that is likely to be objectionable to everybody.

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Re: Right. @Peter Gathercole

Well. Did they?

It was an example. I believe that 7/7 bombers did.

You've still missed the point that if they are allowed to do this without proper supervision, at some point they will in a way that is likely to be objectionable to everybody.

Investigatory Powers Tribunal?

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Re: Right.

innit...

not sure if the public are gullible enough to believe this as our slave masters have already stated they were know to mi5 who have the ability to phone, email tap everyone & snooping certainly didnt stop this.

& the ppl will cheer away their freedoms to in the name of safety to themselves or more importantly their children!

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Re: Right.

Which they could have done through a RIPA warrant, which are very easy to obtain.

As stated, the police do not need additional powers - RIPA gives them the ability to intercept communications - the reason they want extra powers is because they want powers that do not require judicial oversight. All this crap about them needing Communications Data Bill to look at communications is a red herring - they want sweeping powers to look at -all- communications -all- the time - they want to silo everything. They hate the fact that there is oversight in place to (in theory) prevent the total erosion of privacy and turn the UK into a police state.

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Re: Right.

The wholesale monitoring of a population by its government is a tool of fear and leads to self-censorship beyond what they can hope to achieve with acceptable 'laws'.

See 'Stasi' and see how the law abiding people of East Germany felt about them.

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

This includes the despots who want to look up my pants.

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Re: Right.

Arg not those stupid hashtags again!

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Re: Of course...

Unless you mean Boston, Lincolnshire, different country, system, laws, population. Do catch up. They went thre own way in the 18 th century.

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Re: Of course...

Sez who?

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Re: Right.

They were already known to the security services? So this sounds like exactly the sort of thing that could be covered by getting a warrant to tap their communications

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Re: Right.

> Would it concern you if your monthly ISP bill went up by 5% to cover the costs

If this snooping were actually to prevent such atrocities, I wouldn't bat an eyelid at a 500% increase.

But it won't. It's just yet more security theatre.

Vic.

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How?

How does the police trawling through my on-line presence let them know weather I own a machete?

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Re: How?

My exact point. What was the IP address of the said ex-devout-christian turned devout muslim when he went around on a rampage? Was it IPv4 or IPv6? Where exactly is machete specified in the /etc/services files and how does "use machete" map onto a 5-tupple? Did recording it help in any way?

_BOTH_ suspects were known to security services. Not that the security services could have done anything in this case as there is bugger all they can do against a low tech nutter.

You can prohibit machetes, swords and guns. Chainsaw? Hedge trimmer? Meat cleaver? Not really. None of them has IP addresses either (at least for the time being in IPv4).

FFS...

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Re: How?

I'm not sure how it would work, but I can't escape the feeling an (IPv6) Internet enabled chainsaw would sell really well!

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Re: Matthew 25 Re: How?

"How does the police trawling through my on-line presence....." Your pr0n downloading habits are probably of zero interest to anyone other than Google, and would not warrant the limited resources available to the Police. Get over yourself.

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Re: How?

"I'm not sure how it would work, but I can't escape the feeling an (IPv6) Internet enabled chainsaw would sell really well!"

Brings a new meaning to the phrase 'ping of death'.

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Re: Your pr0n downloading habits are probably of zero interest to anyone other than Google

Oh well, it's probably ok to get rid of any right to privacy, because it probably won't be abused. There is no way terror legislation would be used to randomly harass people, probably.

Fail indeed.

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Re: How?

Chances are that if you have an IP6 address, then you are probably much more identifiable than if you stick with IP4. This is because it is less likely that an IP6 address will be re-allocated. You will either have it forever,, or at least for a good long time.

But even if you are using a temporary IP4 address with NAT, your ISP will probably be able to identify the account holder and probably the physical location of the point where it touches their infrastructure, just as long as they take account of timezones and DST correctly!

Although I don't agree with it, the presumption is that they could profile a person who was becoming a risk by reading their blogs, forum posts, browsing history, email, IM and SMS messages and even purchasing history (how did you buy your machete), and once identified, single them out for even greater surveillance. Once under surveillance, they can be caught before doing any damage.

But this effectively means that they will need to watch all people who match certain criteria, including many who aren't, and never will be, a threat to society. It's a really difficult problem which will always upset some people on one or other side of the argument.

My view is that as soon as government agencies have the ability to look at what people are doing without sufficient safeguards, they then will eventually abuse that ability, and look for things that have not been sanctioned by this legislation. Anything. Being a member of a particular political party or religious group. Or an anonymous blogger about personal freedoms. Or an infrequent copyright infringer. Or harbouring anti-AGW thoughts. Or being upset with your local MP. Or a consumer of legal on-line porn. Or an objector to HS2. Anything.

Is everybody who supports this charter sure they are squeaky-clean?

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Re: How?

I bet Google Now knows

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Re: Your pr0n downloading habits are probably of zero interest to anyone other than Google

"Oh well, it's probably ok to get rid of any right to privacy, because it probably won't be abused. There is no way terror legislation would be used to randomly harass people, probably."

Indeed.

RIPA used to find out what schools catchment area a couple live in. Unthinkable.

Freezing terrorist assets applied to coucils who deposited cash into Icelandic banks. Ridiculous.

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Re: How?

"Is everybody who supports this charter sure they are squeaky-clean?"

The self righteous are always sure that they are a)squeaky-clean and (fallback) even if some of their behaviour isn't they have a good cause for it, not like the rest of us.

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Re: How?

If said item was purchased on-line, or you'd bought a sharping stone suitable. Hell even looking at the 'scary-sharp' sharpening technique on youtube might raise concerns. I have 2 machetes, a billhook and a hedge layers slasher, my favorite kitchen knife is a small but very sharp cleaver, but as a Scout camp site maintainer and a chef these things are just normal tools, as is my .243 for putting venison on the table!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Your pr0n downloading habits are probably of zero interest to anyone other than Google

The pr0n will be used however if you vote for the wrong party, voted UKIP recently, tailed by S.B. for a week. Pr0n on pc equals reason to detain ALL your i.t., video cameras, still cameras, dvd players (includes games consoles) mobile phones etc etc for enquiries... EQUALS fucted up life.

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Nice population, it would be a shame if something happened to it . . .

"Reid, the former Labour home secretary, said the bill was a crucial weapon against terrorists and warned that it would take "some huge tragedy" for Britons to see the need for legislation."

Is that a threat?

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Re: Nice population, it would be a shame if something happened to it . . .

I refer the honourable gentleman to the Television series House Of Cards starring Ian Richardson...

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Re: Nice population, it would be a shame if something happened to it . . .

I read that as "some huge tragedy" in the sense of some brain virus rendering us all irreparably stupid.

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With the lad not even buried...

the political opportunism kicks in.

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Re: With the lad not even buried...

"the political opportunism kicks in."

It does not take much for a data fetishist to break cover and make a grab for the goodies.

Truly they have no shame.

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