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back to article Cameron eyes 'non legislative options' for more spook snoop powers

Prime Minister David Cameron aims to extend spooks and cops' powers to snoop on Brits' internet activities without bothering to pass any new laws. While the Tory leader told MPs that he hoped to gain cross-party support (ie: Labour's) on granting the authorities more access to communications data in the UK, he added that he was …

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Anonymous Coward

Does this mean to enable the snooping we would get a faster fibre roll out?

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Unhappy

"Does this mean to enable the snooping we would get a faster fibre roll out?"

Only between the ISP's and GCHQ.

That's the only "download speed" they care about.

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Unhappy

Quite the opposite, if DPI is mandated on all connections, then the connection may only be as fast as the DPI equipment can capture, analyse and store the traffic data.

Since DPI equipment costs orders of magnitude more than switch/router or even IP filtering equipment (which would be used if the survellance were targeted on a small subsection rather than everybody).

The the cost of the DPI equipment will determine end user speed, trapping the UK in the slow lane.

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"The the cost of the DPI equipment"

I wonder what that will be, plus the add-on costs from slower connections etc.

I wonder what the effect would if, instead of treating one's own citizen's as suspects, one took that money invested it in outreach, education etc.

Which would, if you could somehow run the country as a double-blind, save more lives and lead to a higher standard of living for everyone?

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Anonymous Coward

WOW, thanks. At least there is one person outl there who can see what is actually happening.

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Unhappy

"The the cost of the DPI equipment"

"I wonder what that will be, "

It will probably be from Dettica, a BAE Systems subsidary.

And as it will be a piece of "Govt furnished equipment" to the ISP's it's price will be secret.

However as this is a) A govt IT project and b) A secret govt IT project we can deduce it will be

a)High b)Rising.

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This post has been deleted by its author

"when it was made, who made it and when they made it."

So it's possible for the person who made the call to make it at a different time to when it was made? Is this a magic mobile phone, or an early indication that plod will simply change the numbers to suit his fitting-up needs?

Also, how exactly does plod propose to know _who_ made the call, without listening to the conversation?

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Re: "when it was made, who made it and when they made it."

"how exactly does plod propose to know _who_ made the call, without listening to the conversation?"

Because the phone company knows. Here in the US it's called a LUD (Line Usage Data) and it lists what phone called what other phone and for how long the call lasted. The police routinely subpoena this information as part of an investigation.

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FAIL

@User McUser

you totally failed to read the question. Unless you actually record the conversation point to point, you don't know WHO was speaking.

My sons phone died a few days ago, so I let him use my work phone to call his mate. Something I will probably have forgotten in 6 months time, should plod come-a-swooping. Things would get even more interesting if the number he called for his mate turned out to be his mates Dads phone. Or (even more worrying if you have a suspicious spouse) his mates *Mums* phone.

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Re: @User McUser

If you're that concerned about it, I suggest not lending your phone to anyone ever.

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Re: @User McUser

Yes, it seems a very sensible situation that we are so afraid of plod fitting us up that we cease to exhibit simply human kindnesses to each other. That's very much the world I want to live in.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @User McUser

User McUser you still missed the point!

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Mushroom

Re: @User McUser (again)

are you being thick ?

I was just suggesting situations which *will* (not may, will) arise which will scupper the whole "we need to keep records of who's calling who" argument. In a similar vein, my mother-in-law lives locally, and occasionally we run errands for each other. So a call between her landline and mine could have been between me, my wife, or our son, and her and her partner. Now you scale that up to two houses of multiple occupancy phoning each other, and keeping all the records you like won't help you know *who* was talking to *who*. Given that this is exactly what we are being told these new powers are for, I find my suspicions immediately aroused ... what do they really want these powers for ?

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Unhappy

Re: @User McUser (again)

Not being thick, no... Your point is absolutely correct that they don't know with 100% certainty who is actually talking on the line without eves-dropping on the call. But if a call came from my phone and went to the phone of a murder victim on the night they were murdered, getting the LUDs narrows the scope of who was on either end of that call from everyone with a phone down to a couple dozen people. I'm not exactly sure how this information could be abused, though I am keen to hear suggestions.

My point was that we've had a system that does this in the US for ages (at least since the late 70s that I'm aware) and so far the police haven't yet carted us all off to jail. Maybe the proposed non-legislation in this case *isn't* comparable to the US rule, in which case I will gladly STFU. But from the description I read it seems like exactly the same thing (note that I am inferring/assuming that there will be judicial oversight on the matter.)

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Re: @User McUser (again)

That sort of data is already retained in the UK .

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FAIL

Re: "when it was made, who made it and when they made it."

Whooosh!

That's the sound of a voice communication going point to point across the internet. You know, the one the phone companies don't record as a matter of course. Yet.

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"Now the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich nearly two weeks ago has reignited the debate on the government and police accessing information about our activities online"

I despair at how often UK politics seeks to gain political capital from such awful events. They should hang their heads in collective shame.

"Prime Minister David Cameron aims to extend spooks and cops' powers to snoop on Brits' internet activities without bothering to pass any new laws."

I hope Phorm aren't reading this especially considering how the government continually demonstrate their willingness to prostitute our citizen data for their own profit.

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Alert

And the scary thing is there's plenty of people who think that we should nationalise BT in order to get 'better' internet infrastructure.

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Mushroom

After spending the week dealing with a fsckup between BT retail, BT Wholesale, Openreach, and BT Enterprise, I'm not sure that rolling them all back into one organisation can be any worse. Mind you, if anyone can fuck it up, BT can.

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Mushroom

Oh Dear god - not again

Instead admitting that short of an infinite people budget nutters will sometimes suceed in their nutter agenda we get the same old knee jerk technology will fix a borderline related problem response.

The fact that at least of one of the guys was attempted to be "turned" or recruited and post the conversations it still didnt ring enough alarm bells to have him monitored or nicked suggests that should an IMP type program be brought it STILL WOULDNT HAVE BEEN USED IN THIS CASE.

Time to stop this PR bullshit - its a dangerous world, with a small but significant proportion of nutters. Sad to say that 0.000001%* of us will be killed by them. The rest of us will live normal lives happily oblivious.

Govern for the majority - not the minority.

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WTF?

Re: Oh Dear god - not again

Dangerous path you're treading there! Suppose we all had an outbreak of common sense like this, my God think of the state the world would be in?! ( cue images children from all faiths and nations dancing under rainbows )

We must have pathetic knee-jerk reactions to issues! How else can MP's justify pay-rises to 6 figures plus unless they're appearing on talk shows and current affairs programmes playing to the gallery of the rabid, loony-right, Sun and Daily Mail reading, NIMBY populace?!

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Anonymous Coward

Only 95%?

"On the issue of communications data, I think we need a frank debate in the House. There is a problem in that, currently, about 95 per cent of serious crimes involve the use of communications data."

Yeah. Probably rather over 95% of serious crime involves people wearing underclothing. The nodding dogs in Parliament would probably see that as a good reason for the police to be able to inspect everyone's underwear at will.

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Childcatcher

Re: Only 95%?

Bring forth the Viz Bottom Inspectors!

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Anonymous Coward

simples

can't introduce a new law to get what you want? Just interpret the current law as you see fit, job done! The man's a genius, he should be made a PM or something!

So, in the same spirit, how about the laws that those long-gone politicians set up, that allow google, amazon, and a few (hundred? ;) others to apply the world famous and enviable dutch-irish sandwich recipe, and similar schemes, all in the name of fulfilling their obligation to their shareholders, etc? Can't we "tweak" the interpretation of the existing laws a little, to get our grubby hands on their ill-stashed riches? (to waste them the way WE, the Treasury, see fit?). Brilliant idea, let's go for it!

....

waiting...

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waiting...

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windows hour glass

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still waiting...

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google android waiting circle...

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i-waiting icon (whatever they have, and don't tell me they don't!)

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Oh, I seee, no can do, BSD and all that? Oh well, so how about the anti-terror and anti-paedo laws? Can do? Brilliant, like I said!

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Re: simples

'can't introduce a new law to get what you want? Just interpret the current law as you see fit, job done! '

And when the law is struck down by the courts you can blame the judges. It's a win-win-win for the oooh-isn't-the-internet-terrible? people over at the Mail.

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Which lobby group are paying Cameron for this?

It certainly makes no sense from a crime fighting or intelligence point of view unless it will go far far further.

What about the mobile sims you can buy over the counter for cash without the need to give name address etc. Or those bought abroad and 'roaming' here. What about stolen devices? Are those using these devices for unsavoury purposes so stupid they wouldn't just waltz around these stupid impositions?

Modern smartphones and most of the feature phones will happily go anywhere on the net.

No, the reasons to want these extra powers have nothing to do with the state reasons. Its about controlling the masses, scaring the masses into submission, cowing them so you can make your rich mates even richer. This was the same under Labour as it is now. Some industry group have worke out they can make a stack load of money off the back of this and are paying the senior politicians to ensure it happens. The politicians pocketing yet another fortune jump on any possible excuse - from blaming the murder of a little girl to the murder of a soldier - its sickening.

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Unhappy

Re: Which lobby group are paying Cameron for this?

"What about the mobile sims you can buy over the counter for cash without the need to give name address etc."

Easy peasy. At the behest of Cameron and his lickspittle MPs, the useless turds at OFCOM will introduce some new wheeze that is intended to stop the sale of these without the approval of the People's Soviet Committee, and the presentation of some valid official identity recorded at point of sale. Which won't make a blind bit of difference for the crims, but will be a further inconvenience to those of us who object to having to produce a passport just to open a fucking bank account, or buy a new number plate. In fact, last time I consulted a bloody solicitor I had to produce passport and other identity because of fuck witted legislation to "prevent money laundering".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Which lobby group are paying Cameron for this?

"cowing them so you can make your rich mates even richer. This was the same under Labour as it is now."

And, as you seem to forget or are not old enough to have experienced, this "sleaze" was even worse during the 80/90's during maggie and majors reign. Sex and corruption abound (that's the tories for you). One of the biggest reasons they were booted out in 97, the 'glisgh were sick of reading about it in the press/TV. Check out some spitting image for some staire of the time.

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Re: Which lobby group are paying Cameron for this?

Corruption is a problem, but I don't care who they have sex with, as long as it's someone who wants to have sex with them.

Hell, if they were all getting laid regularly, maybe we wouldn't get into so many wars.

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"grown-up debate"

This one crime seems to have the PM spooked. But please, let's have a grown-up debate and let's start by putting the crime into perspective:

Traffic-related death in UK: ~2000 (>5 per day)

Deadly household accidents in UK: >5,000 (>13 per day)

...

(see Wikipedia, ROSPA, ...)

Now what were we talking about? The snooping law? Please, let's return to the grownup debate again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "grown-up debate"

Your right. I think that we should have a grubbyment official in every household protecting us fromourselves.

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Unhappy

Re: "grown-up debate"

"Traffic-related death in UK: ~2000 (>5 per day)"

That I can believe, and it's been falling for decades.

"Deadly household accidents in UK: >5,000 (>13 per day)"

Are you sure about this? I also checked lethal home DIY accidents and it was in the 50-60 a year range.

ROSPA also gave that in that range (roughly the number of actual UK terrorist deaths in about the last decade) was the number of people killed in UK farm accidents (500Kg hay bales falling on them, tractors reversing into them etc).

It's just astonishing the amount of b***ocks politicians will spout about this.

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Contempt of court

It's clear that Call-me-Dave and his LabCon chums are contemptuous of our courts and the whole legal system. They clearly despise the judges and have no faith in them - otherwise they would have no problem with implementing laws that clearly state that any communication can be intercepted, including the contents, on receipt of a court order signed by a senior judge, who will only issue one when reasonable grounds are presented to them. And the order would require renewing after 30 days.

Why is this so difficult for them to accept? Why are they afraid of judicial oversight and the rule of law? Why are people who depise the law allowed to make the law?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Contempt of court

The real problem is the unelected vested interests like acpo ltd who tell the useful idiots what they need. In the lands of the blind the one eyed man is king and when it comes to technology most mp's and advisors are thicker than a whale omelette so just nod an agree.

As for the hijacking of this murder for political aims by the likes of Milliband, Reid and May, they have no shame. Clearly our security services where well aware of this loon and failed to stop him, I doubt his Skype contact list would have made a difference.

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Re: Contempt of court

"Why is this so difficult for them to accept?"

It isn't. But as a bunch of people who consider themselves above the law, it doesn't matter that you and I would be subject to oversight, because they don't think it will apply to them: expenses, cash for questions - MPs, cash for questions/lobbying - Lords, Huhne & perverting the course of justice, refusal by the government to investigate allegations of criminality against RBS, etc etc.

"Why are they afraid of judicial oversight and the rule of law?"

Because it is inconvenient. Look at how speeding is used to convict drivers rather than dangerous driving laws. Too difficult to prove of course. Likewise the introduction of mobile phone penalties, rather than dangerous/careless driving. (Disclaimer: clean driving licence of 23 years). But don't overlook the disgraceful mess they are making of legal aid. Now I'm as right wing as they come, and don't like the idea of paying for the guilty to be defended, but, but, but...the mess they are currently making, to please some scummy corporates that want to get their snout into the legal sector is beyond belief. And they don't care if that messes up the justice system.

"Why are people who depise the law allowed to make the law?"

A very good question. But with nothing to choose between the three main parties, who will you vote for at the next election? They're comfortable with the buggins turn approach to government, and ignoring us peasants, and for that matter my vote's with UKIP. Not because they will be better, but because they will oversee a different and far more interesting mess, and because it may teach the main parties that it helps to listen to the peasants.

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Re: Contempt of court

To Pen-y-gors:

It is you who is missing the point. The proposed new laws will allow old records (up to one year) to be inspected after the authorities become suspicious. This is different from a court order to inspect future activities.

Whether that is actually a good thing is another question.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Contempt of court

"Now I'm as right wing as they come .......my vote's with UKIP"

FAIL, EPIC FAIL! Your whole ranting is now "in the bin" as it is not worth listening too.

UKIP are the spoilt kids stamping their feet because they can't get their own way and completely showing England up!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Contempt of court

"The proposed new laws will allow old records (up to one year) to be inspected after the authorities become suspicious" which still requires warrant.

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Anonymous Coward

A few words

Add properly authorised (at a reasonably high level) warrants and judicial oversight to this and they could probably get rid of a great deal of the objection. The fact these are not even mentioned in passing really gives the game away. I doubt Clegg will cave however, as it the only wafer thin veneer of respectability his party has left.

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Stop

Re: A few words

I believe the current systems let them do just that, I know a police analyst and she can pull all sorts of data on a suspect. One of my favourite (she told me after it went to trial) was when she proved someone of fraud when the phone that made "threats" was only infrequently turned on and when it was it was always within a 100 metre area of his phone. Since some of those locations were motorways it made pretty powerful evidence.

I think the issue is some internet data is lost if there isn't a warrant in place, but all a crook would have to do is use a service with no residence in the UK to get around that fact.

Since MI5 knew of the Woolwhich murders, I’m not certain how this bill would have helped.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A few words

The first thing they need is exemptions for sensitive websites. At the time of the snoopers charter, an MP pointed out that if you visit a depression support website then it's pretty obvious what you've gone there for.

The current government plan is to compile lists of visitors to depression support websites, rape support websites, websites for people who worry about cancer, 419 scam sites... All in a hackable location.

The police have no reason to want this info, crooks do. I expect the first use it will be put to is for other 419 scammers to target the people who visited competing 419 websites, or maybe for people selling bogus cures to target people afraid they have cancer.

Agree not to log the stuff that's only of interest to criminals and it will be less odious.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A few words

"Agree not to log the stuff that's only of interest to criminals and it will be less odious."

I think you miss the point of the two important concepts of "privacy" and "freedom of speech".

Who gets to decide what is "only of interest to criminals"? The same people who under Tony Blair criminalised the viewing of certain types of fetish content that are completely legal in most of the EU? Shall we monitor the BDSM web sites, and round up those who go there, in case they might become child murderers?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A few words

I'm pretty sure you misunderstood me.

A log of visitors to rape crisis websites is only of interest to criminals. Therefore it should not be stored where criminals can get to it, which is anywhere at all, so they shouldn't keep it.

It's not hard to add an IF statement to the logging algorithm that will exit if the website to be logged is a rape crisis website, so that list entry doesn't get made. Or any number of other websites that it wouldn't be in the public interest to keep logs of where criminals can get to them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A few words

I visited BMW web pages. Didn't buy one!

People are too quick to judge.

here should be some serious recourse if you are wronging accused of wrong doing based of their "evidence".

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Anonymous Coward

"It's not hard to add an IF statement to the logging algorithm that will exit if the website to be logged is a rape crisis website.."

But which rape crisis website? Which particular <insert sensitive site type> site? Suppose I choose to use an Australian rape crisis site because its been recommended, or a cancer forum based in Ecuador. Exemptions for a class of site won't work because no one is going to effectively document them all, and automated classification will probably be much, much worse. So what you end up with is (this being the UK) a list of officially 'approved' sites for rape, cancer, sexual identity for exemption and say the rest aren't up to snuff because HM.gov have given them the rubber stamp as 'good enough for brits'. Which about sums up the governments whole understanding of the internet; remember all those ridiculous 'register an email address' remarks the likes of Andy Burnham knocked out.

It might suit the government if the internet was smaller, had fewer sites(one site per support need) + services and could be nicely divided into "British" and "them in foreign" like physical world support organisations. But it isn't, and exemption list only leads to a restriction of choice so asinine and 19th century you'd have to be a front bencher not to get it.

Most government problems that involve security and/or data involve some form of needle/haystack conundrum. Where we get screwed stems from the fact that, faced with a choice between solving the problem elegantly and proportionately (or abandoning the idea as unfeasible) and screwing our privacy / criminalising us all, they invariably go for the illiberal option, confirming themselves as none too bright to boot.

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Gimp

People call it a "Snoopers Charter" because that's what is *is*

Remember the Conservatives are supposed to be the government for limited bureaucracy and greater personal freedom.

Govt policy determined by the death of one individual by 2 nutcases.

<profanity filter off>

Are you fucking kidding me?

</profanity filter off>

These data fetishists have no shame.

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FAIL

Meanwhile, in the real world ...

most routers can happily support a VPN natively. Certainly mine can. So for around $50/year (use of dollar symbol deliberate, to emphasis where the money will go (or €40 if you prefer)) it's trivial to insulate my entire household from UK plc. That's everything then. Web traffic. VOIP traffic. Emails. Social media traffic (although they are welcome to my sons drivel). With the added bonus that you escape your ISPs traffic shaping. Win-Win I believe.

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Anonymous Coward

"Brits were being radicalised..."

I assume by that they mean stopping us from finding out what a bunch of lying, thieving gits your average politician is.

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