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back to article US, UK watchdogs file legal moves to curb government surveillance

Two privacy watchdogs, one in the US and one in the UK, have filed legal actions against their respective governments, petitioning them to curtail - or at minimum uncover - their domestic surveillance operations. In the US, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a petition (PDF) with the US Supreme Court, …

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Anonymous Coward

I want them prosecuted

Parliament certainly didn't grant the *foreign* office power to spy on Brits. Capturing *all* of our data in a big database and retaining it for 30 days (40 days, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 20 years, lifetime) is *not* legal under RIPA.

They know this too, because ex Labour Home Secretaries, the very people who wrote RIPA said a 'Data Bill' was needed:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22891845

This was how the Stasi kept the Communist party in power, monitoring and control. They had the vote, but nobody would stick their head up and create an opposition. This is how Putin does the same, any opponent that might challenge him, is off to Siberia on a fake tax charge.

The country clearly voted against this, Brits don't want the snoopers charter, yet GCHQ did it anyway. They need to be brought back within the democracy, and the people involved removed from office. William Hague would be a good start.

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Meh

It's all about control

Why do you think the Labour Party tried to introduce this monitoring and surveillance during the time it was running the country. Why do you think that the Conservatives are now trying to introduce a similar law?

They want to legitimise reading our emails, listening to our phone conversations and knowing who we ring, who we talk to and how we live.

Yet we know they are already doing it anyway and in secret.

It's all about power, they want to know what we think, what we say, what we do because they want to have control over us. Information is power.

Of course, they do excuse themselves by saying they are only doing this to protect us, and if you have nothing to hide...... You have nothing to fear.

If they had the technology they'd enact a law that made mind reading compulsory.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's all about control

Why do you think the Labour Party tried to introduce this monitoring and surveillance during the time it was running the country. Why do you think that the Conservatives are now trying to introduce a similar law?

The motivation was different. New Labour needed an early heads up in case someone woke up to the fact that they were robbing the country blind, Conservatives are merely stuck with the mess and the anti-terror rubbish they used to implement laws without anyone reading them properly.

If such laws could only be repealed at the same speed as they are rushed past Parliament on implementation.. :(

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I want them prosecuted

Wait a minute, you want the law to work for the people? What a novel idea

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Re: It's all about control

we the twats who voted these criminals to power can beat them, by causing mass confusion to their spying,

we can all send emails to goverment depts full of the key words they snoop for,

we can send to same depts emails full of nonsence random words

we can send emails to our contacts with a zipped password protected attachement containg our message

we can pass information by word of mouth,

lets all get together and fuck them up...

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Meh

OMG UK official watchdog *might* be growing some?

Who knew?

We'll see.

And yes this is just like The Trial.

For those who with less patience there is Orson Wells TL:DR version with Anthony Hopkins as the wrongly accused man.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OMG UK official watchdog *might* be growing some?

Doubtful, because these organisations and the people that help run them have been monitored for years.

The Government will look into all that saved up information, dig up some sh*t on them and tell them to go sit in the corner and be quiet.

And they will, because that's what the surveillance is all about, power over others.

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FAIL

Re: OMG UK official watchdog *might* be growing some?

Newsflash John - Privacy International are not an official anything. They are an international privacy pressure/advocacy group and a UK charity.

(Not that it invalidates what they are doing - which I support)

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Unhappy

Re: OMG UK official watchdog *might* be growing some?

"Newsflash John - Privacy International are not an official anything. They are an international privacy pressure/advocacy group and a UK charity."

Yes I spotted that too late.

The UK "Watchdog" remains a "sleeping policman"

But has anyone made an "official" complaint to get the ball rolling?

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Anonymous Coward

The Supremes?

Diana Ross for president!

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Stop !

In the name of love......

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The Diana Ross thing..

I can't quite decide if this tells something about the age of you guys for knowing this, or about mine for recognising that.

Probably both :)

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Anonymous Coward

To me, it's different shades of irrelevancy

I concluded some good 15 years ago that the difference between criminals and governments mis-applying and abusing intercept laws was too minimal on a practical level to worry about it, so the protection strategies that we develop keep both in mind.

There are ways in which you can use laws against those that want to abuse laws for their own ends - it starts with forcing a nice fat evidence trail on such abuse. In my experience, most of those that go creative with powers know damn well they're breaking the intent, and thus share a strong dislike for leaving evidence. Forcing them to leave such evidence tends to greatly discourage such creativity.

The next layer is assuming that you still haven't managed, and protect. This is where employing former intercept specialists pays off really well - nothing beats a gamekeeper turned poacher. Insider knowledge cuts both ways. Of course, you cannot fight a court order for disclosure (would also be stupid, because that you're dealing with a process that has found evidence of a crime and the last thing you want to do is help criminals), but that's exactly the point: you protect against everything that doesn't need a court order and even in the UK, you can do this as long as you understand the legal play around RIPA.

I have no problem with intercept powers to fight crime - in a democracy, you grant that privilege to law enforcement exactly because they could otherwise not do their work. However, what I strenuously and aggressively object against is the abuse of such powers, and any attempt to hide what they're used for like labelling it with "National Security" or any other excuse that prevents trustworthy oversight should not just be regarded with the utmost suspicion, it should be actively fought. Because it means there is something to hide.

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Good luck with that.

I hope all the legal project documentation is being done on paper with lemon juice ink cos, you know, they'll be reading those emails for sure.

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Anonymous Coward

it will fizzle

the gov will issue several statements, some "opposition mps" will issue their usual froth, a couple of more articles, and by that time we will have had another crisis / terror attack / bank non-collapse / G21 summit to talk about. And the real show will go on.

:((((

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Rol
Bronze badge

Independent snooping body?

Let's face it, the technology to snoop on citizens every communication has been around for a while and agencies tasked with "our" protection have fully utilised it since day one.

The war on terror helped legitimise mass snooping and thus allowed agencies to act on the data, whereas before they had to tread very carefully indeed.

Do I appreciate the protection our security services gives me? Well, yes, of course.

Do I think this information is misused? Well, yes, of course.

Do I think this information will be used to perpetuate a corrupt and morally bankrupt state? Oh yes.

Collection of our data will not go away, it will just go back underground again if enough of us object, no the solution is to have an independent body, responsible for collecting and storing this information and beyond corruption.

A computer program, that can be reviewed by any citizen, written to enshrine our privacy and tasked with keeping our data secret, until a court is convinced otherwise, at which point the data for that individual is made available, while fully documenting the action.

How such an objective system can be built is the question, but it does have an answer, it's just out of the reach of those with the resources to make it happen.

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Gimp

Re: Independent snooping body?

"Do I appreciate the protection our security services gives me? Well, yes, of course."

Like what?

MI5 stated they had "Jihadist" 2000 suspects.

That's spying on 100% of the population to watch 0.003 percent of the UK population.

In the UK RIPA exists and allows monitoring of specific websites and individuals communications with very little evidence.

What this generates a lot of is a)False positives b)Blackmail material.

There is no justification for this mass surveillance in an open democratic society. It's the desire of a small group of senior intelligence civil servants

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Independent snooping body?

There is no justification for this mass surveillance in an open democratic society

True. Let me know if you find such a society. AFAIK about the only place left that has your human right to privacy actually in constitutional law is Switzerland, which is probably why the Americans are trying their level best to get rid of that aspect via their attacks on the banking system (which has as neat side effect that is takes the attention off the REAL reason for the economic crisis, Wall Street).

A true democracy is where new laws are voted upon by the people themselves, not by representatives that are beyond reach once they've been voted in.

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WTF?

Privacy International

Whilst I applaud their actions I hope they have better legal ground to stand on than "It is a fundamental breach of the social contract"

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