back to article MPs to review laws on UK spy-snoopery after GCHQ Tempora leaks

Parliament's intelligence services watchdog is to hold an inquiry into whether or not UK surveillance laws need updating in light of Edward Snowden's revelations into GCHQ's activities. The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) will also consider the impact on personal privacy of intercepting people's communications as part …

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Translation

(From article) "Although we have concluded that GCHQ has not circumvented or attempted to circumvent UK law, it is proper to consider further whether the current statutory framework governing access to private communications remains adequate," a statement by the Committee issued on Thursday explains.

Translated: "We thought we had everyone sewn up tighter than a kipper's arse, but somehow that guy Snowden got through. We need to be able to snoop more to ensure that no further leaks embarrassing to us get out."

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Re: Translation

".....Translated: "We thought we had everyone sewn up tighter than a kipper's arse, but somehow that guy Snowden got through. We need to be able to snoop more to ensure that no further leaks embarrassing to us get out."

You need to fix your Babel fish, the actual translation should be as follows: "It was and is legal, but seeing as certain people can't get over it we'll do a review, juggle the wording, and continue as before."

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Re: Translation

The actual translation is " we have concluded that GCHQ has not circumvented or attempted to circumvent UK law*

*For parts of their work which involved scooping data out of US systems, we didn't bother looking at all the data they're hoovering up *inside* the UK's borders which is covered by RIPA, and that CGHQ were clearly breaking that law in spirit and in fact.

**We took their word for it on the first part and didn't bother turning up with police to check for ourselves, because frankly we didn't want to know."

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Re: Translation

Or another translation would be "They said they didn't do it and we believed them".

Now, I'm all for invasive surveillance - in a different way I want to see more of it - but it should be targeted at specific individuals. You go around hoovering up a whole internet's worth of data it's going to be expensive, and you're going to end up with massive volumes of data you can only deal with by sampling. Then you get into a situation where you're going to miss things because you're only really looking at 1MB in every TB or whatever and that's all youtube videos.. Then to get to that point you're massively invading the privacy of innocent people and pissing off supposedly friendly foreign governments - and for what? Where are the success stories of all this?

Bin Laden was caught by an anonymous tip-off not broad surveillance - and they've patently missed many obvious terrorist incidents where the people involved were pretty well welded to the internet previous to the attacks and followed some shady people on twitter (which you can look at as public data rather than slurping up bandwidth).

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Re: streaky Re: Translation

"....Bin Laden...." Was forced into the life of a virtual recluse, and his ability to communicate with his followers massively disrupted by EXACTLY the monitoring you're whining about, AFTER it had been used to track and kill or capture many of his followers. His being forced to relie on human couriers massively reduced the speed with which his network could respond to threats, meaning whilst he might have to wait a whole week for the message "don't have a polio jab", the CIA's planners knew anything new about his whereabouts within minutes. The example of Bin Laden only supports the use of such measures.

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Re: streaky Translation

I'm greatly in favour of a robust intelligence service when regarded as part of our military capability. I'm also happy with high levels of secrecy in such work, as we all know that giving the enemy clues about our capabilities is to their advantage, not ours.

But when that military capability is deployed against the bulk of civilians and in particular against civilians in the same country, and when GCHQ is funded by the NSA to conduct spying on their behalf raising the question of a conflict of interest, then a good number of lines have been crossed.

It's little different to if we had other military capability (say soldiers with guns) deployed on our streets. There'd need to be a darned good reason (like a major war) and we'd want to know exactly what that reason was and when it would end. Saying "Ooh, its secret, we can't tell you, trust us" just doesn't cut it, especially given the repeated and continuing evidence that all the explanations we're given are lies.

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Re: Translation

Oh yawn, here we go again. ANY kind of surveillance has to be justified, supervised and the use of the outcome of that snooping has be very carefully controlled - provided it's justified in the first place which is a question that's always gingerly danced around in such discussions.

The whole BS about fighting terrorists is quite simply NOT a justification for mass violation of the rights of (in this case) literally millions of people, it doesn't matter what the excuse is. As I said before, it's equivalent to arresting every 10th person on Oxford Street during a busy Saturday and then claiming success because you're statistically going to catch at least 1 or 2 thieves.

I lived in London at the height of the IRA repurposing of fertiliser, and I know how much work the Met did to prevent much of that using the existing legal structures. They did a good job (by its nature isn't never perfect), but with have the invasive powers police now seems to somehow consider an entitlement. Any law that damages the due diligence process and makes a citizen defenceless to an invasion of privacy must be fought. I have no problem with law enforcement having those privileges, but they MUST be controlled, supervised and its use must become transparent after a few years to prevent the sort of abuse that is now already rampant (we all focus on the US, but there is a lot more happening).

I'll sit back now while you'll start on all the emotional stuff, like think of the children etc.

BTW: want to see any evidence of the damage uncontrolled, legalised mass surveillance can do? Easy: anyone with any duty of confidentiality will now not touch ANY US originated service. Not because they hand off data by default (as some allege), but because it can no longer be guaranteed they do not. I can see a lot of BS emerging now with apparent "crack down" on privacy violations, but they do not repeal the laws that are the problem in the first place. So it's privacy theatre all over again.

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Re: AC Re: streaky Translation

"I'm greatly in favour of a robust intelligence service when regarded as part of our military capability....." Great, except fighting terrorism and organised crime is usually not a military action. When the terrorists do find a hidey-hole in a foreign country that openly supports and shields them, such as Afghanistan under the Taleban, then it does become a military action. But when the threat is coming from radicalised Muslims living in Bradford, Birmingham or Bolton, then it is very much a police and secret services matter. Please note the London Tube bombers, the Madrid bombers, and the 9/11 nutters ALL did not "fight" as an organised military, did not wear a uniform, and definately did not folllow the rules of war, so expecting our services to do the same is - frankly - either incredibly moronic or deliberately obtuse.

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Re: AC Re: Translation

"..... it's equivalent to arresting every 10th person on Oxford Street during a busy Saturday and then claiming success because you're statistically going to catch at least 1 or 2 thieves......" Complete male bovine manure of the most stupid and deceitful form. GCHQ are not arresting every tenth person at all, that's just hyperventilating, paranoid melodrama. They are not even reading the coms of every tenth person, merely storing it for a finite period during which very narrow searches are made. What, are you going to insist the Royal Mail are reading all your letters just because the postie had them in his sack? How about BT, are you going to accuse them of reading all your emails because they spent a finite time in a BT switch? How about your email provider? Complete male genitalia.

".....they MUST be controlled, supervised and its use must become transparent after a few years....." Firstly, they are controlled and supervised, just not by complete cretins like you. Secondly, terror investigations (and many criminal ones) can last for many years, even decades, so the idea that we should routinely announce to the crims and terrorists the information we hold on them is simply monumentally moronic.

".....I'll sit back now while you'll start on all the emotional stuff, like think of the children etc...." If anyone is spouting mindless "emotional stuff" they it is you and the people that have been spoonfeeding you.

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Re: streaky Translation

"Was forced into the life of a virtual recluse, and his ability to communicate with his followers massively disrupted by EXACTLY the monitoring you're whining about, AFTER it had been used to track and kill or capture many of his followers"

Seems to be the case that a) he wasn't a recluse at all - just an electronic recluse - and b) the Pakistani intelligence services knew where he was and they didn't pick that up either. Regardless of all that he was still able to command a very large international terrorist organisation from his front porch so..

It may reduce terrorists to a position where they have to pass paper around but hey, stock markets used to work like that too. It's slightly less efficient, but in an emergency you can also use more public means - [provably] basically none of what they're doing is having any effect and it's costing the taxpayer in both the US and the UK pretty huge volumes of cash.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC Translation

Complete male bovine manure of the most stupid and deceitful form. GCHQ are not arresting every tenth person at all

LOL. You should really learn to pay more attention to that great whooshing sound rushing overhead, but hey, it makes it so much more fun to bait you...

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Re: streaky Translation

"....Regardless of all that he was still able to command a very large international terrorist organisation...." No he wasn't, indeed one of AQ's problems has been the splintering of their different franchises and the lack of control over them because of the interference with coms. The co-operation between the Sunni Anbar Awakening and the US military in Iraq in 2005 came about because the local AQ in Iraq went off on a rampage without central control from Bin Ladin. Their acts so shocked the Iraqi Sunni's they stopped supporting AQ and started working with the Yanks instead, a 180 degree shift. Bin Ladin and his number two, al Zwahiri (now the AQ leader) publicly chided AQ in Iraq for their mindless brutality. More recently, al Zwahiri was taken completely by surprise by the recent merger of AQ in Iraq and the largest Islamist rebel group in Syria (http://www.fpri.org/geopoliticus/2013/06/al-qaeda-iraq-publicly-rebuts-al-qaedas-leader-ayman-al-zawahiri) because those coms links have been broken. One reason that the Iraqi AQ leader did so was because he accused the current AQ leadership of hiding away "like frightened women".

"....It may reduce terrorists to a position where they have to pass paper around but hey, stock markets used to work like that too....." Not a problem when ALL stockmarkets worked that way, big problem when one got a competitive advantage over the others by being first to go electronic. The problem for AQ is all their opponents have superior coms and capability, they are the last ones trying to run on paper. The ultimate proof of that is that Bin Ladin is feeding the fishes.

".....basically none of what they're doing is having any effect and it's costing the taxpayer in both the US and the UK pretty huge volumes of cash." You do realise the US has assets worth $200tn? The amount being spent on the WoT are big but not unsustainable at all. In real terms, the amount the UK has spent fighting the WoT plus the Iraq and Afghan campaigns has yet to match the amount we spent in almost a century of fighting the IRA - guess who blinked first in that one.

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Re: AC Re: AC Translation

".... it makes it so much more fun to bait you..." So that would be another sheeple back-peddling at speed.

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The Snoopers' Charter seemed like an attempt to update the laws to match GCHQ's current practice more than anything else. So how on earth can the committee conclude that they did not circumvent or attempt to circumvent UK law?

"The outcome of Rifkind's review is likely to favour leaving the UK's surveillance laws as they are, or even strengthening them" - i.e., The Snoopers' Charter's going to make a comeback.

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Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

But... "There is a balance to be found between our individual right to privacy and our collective right to security. "

Is there a balance to be found? My individual right to privacy is paramount. There is no balance to be made when it is primarily the governments actions and policies that are the root cause of many of the threats to our collective security.

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Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

Your privacy is not paramount to the safety and security of others. That'll be the argument from the screaming right wing cowards anyway.

That's the weirdest part, to me, of all 'security' measures put in place in 'The West' over the last 13-14 years. It is the minimalist government supporters that push these massive government expansions. I thought they were supposed to be 'strong'. It is most certainly not a sign of strength if you're afraid of every shadow.

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Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

"....My individual right to privacy is paramount....." That reminds me of an event from several years ago - we used to have a zebra crossing outside one of our offices, but in rush hour it was quite common for cars to refuse to stop for pedestrians waiting to cross (foreigners may be confused by this but in the UK it is the law that vehicles have to stop to allow pedestrians to cross at certain crossings). One day an exasperated pedestrian stepped out in front of a van, the van couldn't brake in time, and I had the delightful job of using my suit jacket as a pillow for his bleeding head whilst we waited for an ambulance. Whilst he was lying their bleeding to death, he mumbled quite clearly "It was my right to cross...."

Personally, I put my requirement to carry on breathing above my right to privacy (or my right to cross pedestrian crossings in the face of oncoming traffic), and seeing as people like Al Quaeda and co have the intent to stop me breathing I'm quite happy to sacrifice a little privacy. And seeing as neither PRISM or TEMPORA actually spy on all of us, as claimed by the sheeple, but instead funnel raw data for very narrow analysis, it looks like I haven't actually surrendered any privacy at all, thanks.

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Re: Dong Jefe Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

"....It is most certainly not a sign of strength if you're afraid of every shadow." So who is scared of shadows? When was the last time you stepped out of your house and checked your car for a bomb? Or had to check the street for any discarded rubbish that might be hiding an IED? Or made a point of remembering what people hanging around on your street looked like just in case they were actually part of a gang waiting to kidnap your family? I have colleagues that have to do so as a matter of course in their countries. I don't have to do any of those in the UK, but I did in many countries I have visited and worked in (and not just the Mid East, I've known people kidnapped and/or murdered in Mexico City, Johanesburg, and Bangkok). In fact, it's a case of the opposite, that I'm not afraid of the shadows. You, however, seem very good at imagining all types of spooky shadows. Maybe you need to get out in the World a bit more?

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Re: Dong Jefe Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

Presumably that's the definition of a civilised country - where you are more afraid of the police than the criminals?

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Re: Dong Jefe Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

...last time you stepped out of your house and checked your car for a bomb? Or had to check the street for any discarded rubbish that might be hiding an IED? ...

I did this in the UK in the 1970s when there was a genuine threat to me and my collegues from terror organizations who were successful in blowing-up mainland UK targets. Then ECHELON was "all pervasive" in monitoring of threats, but most of us carried on with our normal lives without intrusion. Even the Prime Minister walked from Downing Street to Parliament.

There was one important difference between then and now - The Bulk of our treasure to "keep us safe" was spent on the perceived threat of the Soviet Union now, without them, the money must be spent on the War on Terror so we must all be kept frightened and under serveillance.

The AC icon is quite appropriate ----------------------------------->>

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Re: @Matt Bryant

I'm not sure why your heart-rending and descriptive tale of someone's inability to apply the green cross code at a zebra crossing reminds you that the UK security services secretly spent our tax money building systems to monitor the communications of its own citizens, but then the mind is a tricky thing to fathom.

As far as you willing to give up your privacy to feel safe, good for you. Unfortunately you seem to think that you can speak for me and give up mine too. And funnelling raw data for narrow analysis does surrender privacy, if the raw data being funnelled up for analysis is private. All you did there was dress up what they're doing in different clothes and claim they're someone else.

The cities you mention are among the most dangerous in the world, so the chances of being caught up in something are greatly increased, but their problems stem from criminal elements not terrorist.

So no, I don't have to perform any of the checks that you mentioned when I leave my house, but nor did I in the '70s and '80s when the IRA were at the height of their mainland terror campaign. I just got on with my life. Not because I thought that the security forces were out there guarding me, but because there were so few people out there capable of commiting those acts, making my chances of being affected so slim that there was no point in worrying about it.

Despite what the media try to portray I still believe this today, even though the cause for which modern terrorists fight is different.

I'm not afraid of shadows because there are very few of them that contain monsters, not because there are people out there trying to find every one and shine a light into it.

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Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

It is not the minimalist government supporters that push this. It is the fundamentally left-wing neo-cons that are responsible and they have never had a problem with massive state intervention.

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Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

You are sacrificing a massive amount in terms of privacy for almost nothing in terms of security, while opening the door for the state to take more and more control of your, and my life.

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Anonymous Coward

Personally, I put my requirement to carry on breathing above my right to privacy

That's certainly your right to do so, but it's not a little privacy you're being expected to give up. However if you're happy with that go ahead, just don't expect everyone to do the same.

Personally my view is they can fuck off with their supposedly benevolent snooping, I want my privacy and I'm quite willing to take care of my own personal security.

BTW, vehicles in the UK are only required to stop at a crossing once a pedestrians foot has crossed the line of the curb and touched the crossing itself. (unless they've changed that since I last looked which was some time ago).

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The words of Thomas Jefferson come to mind...

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

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Re: AC Re: @Matt Bryant

"I'm not sure why your heart-rending and descriptive tale of someone's inability to apply the green cross code at a zebra crossing reminds you that the UK security services secretly spent our tax money building systems to monitor the communications of its own citizens...." The point of the story is that the pedestrian was so wrapped up in his insistance that he had the right to cross it over-rode his natural instinct of self-preservation. When I see numpties writing such gumph as "my right to privacy is much more imortant than my personal safety", especially when their privacy is very likely not even being threatened, and the point of the exercise is to ensure their safety in the first place, then it is equally stupid and self-delusional as the poor chap that decided "I'll show that van driver." It certainly was his right, I'm sure the driver was eventually done for careless driving or the like, but by that time the pedestrian was beyond caring. People that sit in the comfort and safety of the West often don't have a clue what it's like in the rest of the World. Just ask Sir Bob Geldoff what it was like trying to convince people about the straving masses in Ethiopia, that is the same type of insular denial we get with terrorism. Every now and then there is an attack and the population wakes up, then they slowly drift off back to sleep and the numpties start bleating again.

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Re: AC @Matt Bryant

Cobblers. The chances of a terrorist attack are significantly lower than being hit by lightning while being savaged by hyenas.

You're wrong. Aside from anything else, name ONE terrorist incident that has been thwarted by all this data slurping. The Boston bombers still achieved a 'result' despite the US being fucking told that those guys were dodgy by the Russians.

The data slurping, so far, has not improved our collective security one whit; whilst simultaneously opening up the possibility of that data being misused in a number or harmful ways. A more effective way of combating terrorism would be to stop carpet-bombing civilians and creating the terrorists in the first place,

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Re: SundogUK Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

"You are sacrificing a massive amount in terms of privacy...." No I'm not - the data gathering does not equal the actual analysis, so the chances that even the complete loons that post on these forums have ever had their coms actively monitored are simply so minute as to make the National Lottery look like a sure thing. If you want to claim otherwise then please do provide proof of how you personally have had your privacy "invaded" and how it caused you any ill effect.

"....while opening the door for the state to take more and more control of your, and my life." Frankly, why you think anyone would be interested in your life, other than as part of a study of delusional paranoia, is completely beyond me. Please do supply some information on why you think your are so gosh-darn interesting to anyone, let alone the security services.

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Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

Your individual right to privacy may be paramount. Would you have said the same about the individual right to privacy of those who left backpacks full of explosives in the London subway on 7/7/2005 or those who carried out the recent attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya, the Spanish train bombings in March, 2004, or the Beslan school massacre in September of the same year?

I make no claim that these atrocities could have been prevented but for inadequate surveillance and insufficient sifting of inadequate data. Such claims are mostly rubbish. However, the claim that your privacy (or other) rights, and, by extension, mine and everyone else's, are not subject to limits is equally rubbish.

We establish (US) or allow (UK) governments partly to establish and enforce those limits. That they do not always do so to everyone's satisfaction is certain. That they begin to act like rulers more than agents of the electorate is, to a large extent our fault in choosing those who represent our interests, watching them to ensure that they continue to do so, and electing their successors when they fail. As a wise 'possum once was quoted "we have met the enemy and he is us." I suspect that part of the anger about intelligence agency data collection derives from the unmentioned recognition of this fact.

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Re: notauser Re: Personally, I put my requirement to carry on breathing above my right to privacy

"....but it's not a little privacy you're being expected to give up...." And again, please demonstrate how you have personally been effected by the decades of monitoring which - presumably - you happilly went about without worrying about prior to Snowden, but are now crippling your freedom.

".....Personally my view is they can fuck off with their supposedly benevolent snooping...." I congratulate you on speaking your mind and encourage you to pursue your democratic right to vote for a politician or representative that will reflect said view, just don't expect everyone else to have the same POV, and please try not to be too upset when your one-issue politician gets hammered at the polls.

".... I want my privacy and I'm quite willing to take care of my own personal security....." I too want my privacy, it's just I want some other things more. I would also question your ability to take care of yourself - what, you're going to declare yourself a state, pay for your own army and police force of one, and refuse any help from others? Sorry, that's not how society works, joining a social group has always been a compromise right back to caveman days.

"....BTW, vehicles in the UK are only required to stop at a crossing once a pedestrians foot has crossed the line of the curb and touched the crossing itself...." Half-right. The Highway Code states (https://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-to-203/pedestrian-crossings-191-to-199);

"1. look out for pedestrians waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross

2. you MUST give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing"

BTW, the police can charge you for not driving with due care and attention, or reckless driving (bigger fine, more points), if they observe you driving in a manner where you would be unlikely to stop in time at a crossing. Can I suggest you take some time off reading alarmist sheeple websites and instead spend it more productively in reviewing your Highway Code?

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Re: moiety Re: AC @Matt Bryant

"....The chances of a terrorist attack are significantly lower than being hit by lightning while being savaged by hyenas....." Whilst that is true in the UK, you might want to consider it is not so in many other parts of the World. It's not the best illustration given its preoccupation only with Islamic terrorist attacks that reach the media, but a quick perusal of the following list for attacks in the last thirty days alone might open your eyes a tad (http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/index.html#Attacks). The difference is the security you take for granted. As you seem so obsessed in claiming that GCHQ is reading all you post, maybe you'd like to post a thankyou? They probably won't see it, but it is the thought that counts after all.

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Re: The words of Thomas Jefferson come to mind...

Those words, apparently widely current in the English colonies during the lead in to the American Revolution, generally are attributed to Benjamin Franklin. However, both Franklin and Jefferson thought too subtly to allow a single brief quotation to state their full belief about anything.

Another Franklin quote that, in the context, might be relevant: "For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise."

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Re: SundogUK Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

@Plump 'n Bleaty

> the data gathering does not equal the actual analysis

so you're claiming that it's not going to be gathered but not analysed? Howzat work, plumps?

> Some people feel the need to rock the boat on moral grounds. Let's use them for examples

From <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/05/fbi-occupy-wall-street_n_2410783.html>

"

If there was a unified mission behind the Occupy surveillance, it appears the purpose was to pass information about activists' plans to the finance industry. In one memo from August 2011, the FBI discusses informing officials at the New York Stock Exchange about "the planned Anarchist protest titled 'occupy Wall Street', scheduled for September 17, 2011.[sic] Numerous incidents have occurred in the past which show attempts by Anarchist groups to disrupt, influence, and or shut down normal business operations of financial districts."

The documents reveal that the FBI met with officials from four banks and one credit union, and spoke over the phone with a representative from a fifth bank. The FBI also talked with officials from the Richmond Federal Reserve, a branch of the central bank that covers much of the American South.

"

from <www.justiceonline.org/commentary/fbi-files-ows.html>

"

Documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and corporate America. They include a report by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector,” discussing the OWS protests at the West Coast ports to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” The DSAC report shows the nature of secret collaboration between American intelligence agencies and their corporate clients - the document contains a “handling notice” that the information is “meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…” (The DSAC document was also obtained by the Northern California ACLU which has sought local FBI surveillance files.)

"

So they're also suppressing knowledge of the use of monitoring (just right for plump & bleaty apologists!)

There's plenty more.

The sad thing is that I do actually have some understading and agreement with large scale monitoring because terrorism is a real issue and it's only likely to grow, however having cringing, bleating, obsequious sheep trying to defend what many find indefensible... well, it actually undermines the point they're trying to make. I believe we need to know and all agree, democratically, what is acceptable and for that we need to be informed.

Have a blindfold, plumps, as it makes you feel better. But not us.

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Re: AC @Matt Bryant

There is a logical problem here: success cannot be proved, but failure can. If a planned attack is identified based on analysis of collected data but did not occur, it may not be possible to prove that it did not occur "because of" the data analysis. In addition, if such analysis identifies potential attackers, and consequent police activities alarm or divert them, there is likely no way to claim reasonably that the snooping was beneficial. On the other hand, if an attack occurs, and indications of the preparation later are found in the collected data, that constitutes proof of failure.

As for the Boston bombers, your point is not clear. The FBI investigated Russian warnings, and the investigators concluded, incorrectly as it happened, that they had no basis for further action and no justification for surveillance - thus respecting the Tsarnaevs' civil rights. Similarly, there would have been no reason for the NSA to target their communications, and while absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, no indication that they did so.

My recollection is that the Afghanistan and Iraq wars followed after the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks in the US.

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Re: Синий зеленый Re: SundogUK Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

"....so you're claiming that it's not going to be gathered but not analysed? Howzat work...." Hmm, how to explain such a concept to one who obviously doesn't work in IT (if you even work at all)? I suppose the best example is the copper on the beat - all the time he is on the beat, he is looking around at people and cars and going-ons, his brain gathering data, but it is only when he suspects a crime that he takes out his notebook and starts to record details for later investigation and analysis. The copper probably forgets most of the day's sights not related to crime. You want the copper to walk around blindfolded and only allow him to remove the blindfold when a definite and undoubted crime has already taken place, and you do not want him to be able to scan back through CCTV in case he should see some normal and innocent activity (which he has zero interest in) whilst looking for evidence. You are so scared the copper might "invade your privacy" by seeing your ugly mug on the street that you want to completely curtail his ability to proactively detect and prevent crime, and all because some celebrity told you that was "a good idea". I'm sure the muggers in your town would like you. Even Snowden and Greenwald amdit that the data from PRISM and TEMPORA is selectively analysed, and unanalysed data is disposed of after so many years. So your determined bleating that the NSA and GCHQ are reading ALL your coms ALL the time is just sheep manure.

"....the FBI discusses informing officials at the New York Stock Exchange about "the planned Anarchist protest titled 'occupy Wall Street', scheduled for September 17, 2011...." Gosh! You mean officers of the law thought it might be a good idea to forewarn inncoent companies of the criminal plans of known ne'erdowells, after said ne'erdowells had spoken of their intent to attack and damage their property? Well, I suggest you don't ever come drinking down my way, you'll only think the pub landlords are the worst thing since the Gestapo. The local coppers not only provide them with mugshots of know hooligans when there's a match on at the local football ground, but also of known drug dealers!!! "OMFG, the landlords are EEEEEVVVVVIIIIILLLLLL!!!!" Or maybe not. In fact, this effort at co-operation between pubs and coppers will probably have your "liberal" head exploding (http://www.thisisthewestcountry.co.uk/news/somerset_news/8737107.print/)!

"....Have a blindfold, plumps...." I suggest you change your handle to Pavlov's Sheep so it more accurately reflects the nature of your tiresomely predictable bleating.

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Re: SundogUK Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

Police being police (and the FBI is a kind of police), they will keep an eye on activities they think might lead to disorder. That will include, in the normal course of events, planting undercover agents, if they can, in what appear to be organized groups that they think might bring about disorder. And they may pass warnings to those they discover are targets of such activities or groups. They also will attempt to prevent disorder, although the comment fails to mention it, e. g., if it appears inflamed opinions may lead to violence or property damage. That is, after all, why we hire them.

To prevent abuse, there are internal controls, and when those fail there are prosecutors and courts.

It's not a perfect system, and likely is improvable, but there is no news here except in some of the details.

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Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

Actually Matt, a pedestrian does have an absolute right to cross anywhere they choose and if they are struck by a vehicle then the driver has a case to answer whether or not there is a crossing marked or not. There are, of course, defences to the charge of causing death or injury by careless or dangerous driving but they are not of the form "he wasn't on a pedestrian crossing".

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Re: moiety AC @Matt Bryant

While those were disturbing statistics; I note that a) many of those deaths are in parts of the world that are having active wars and b) the makers of that website do not seem to be wholly unbiased.

Also -and here's the point- hoovering my private data is going to do precisely fuck all to ameliorate any of it or to to increase the safety of UK citizens one iota. You've yet to provide any proof that all this data slurping provides any benefit -to safety or otherwise- at a considerable cost. And that's not even factoring in the way that this data can be used for harmful things for the rest of my natural life; not to mention possibly affecting my grandkid's credit scores or whatever. Quite the reverse; I would contend that alienating people in this manner may push marginal cases over the edge into joining whatever Rebel Alliance may be available at the time.

P.S. I downvoted you once in this thread for using the word 'sheeple'.

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@ Matt Bryant Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

[...] I'm quite happy to sacrifice a little privacy.

On this side of the pond, Matt, one of our founders (you know, the guys who kicked the Crown's ass (or arse, as you'd spell it) some 250 years ago) had a little saying that goes along the lines of the following:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
. Even though you may think it doesn't apply to you, you might want to consider it.

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Re: @ Matt Bryant Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

@Someone Else

> They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

I've quoted this at him before. He's too dense to absorb it, sorry.

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Re: Синий зеленый SundogUK Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

@plump & bleaty (again)

> he is looking around at people and cars and going-ons, his brain gathering data, but it is only when he suspects a crime

If while looking around he suspects a crime then he's processed the data. Not as deeply as his subsequent activities if he gets suspicious (reviewing cctv etc), but he's analysing it nonetheless. If he was not then he would effectively be wearing a camera and a blindfold. So, you lose.

> You are so scared the copper might "invade your privacy" by seeing your ugly mug on the street

The issue is it's not about coppers on the beat but pervasive surveillance. That bothers me lots (but it's ok with plump sheep). There is a tradeoff, I'd like some say in this tradeoff.

> you want to completely curtail his ability to proactively detect and prevent crime

You really are not the smartest. I don't want to 'completely curtail' but a democratic say in where the line is drawn. I've explained this before.

> inncoent companies of the criminal plans of known ne'erdowells

Oh dear, getting desperate. You presume the companies are 'innocent' (because it suits your argument) and that the protestors are criminal (because it suits your argument). Per your standard, where are they defined as criminal. Please show a court verdict that the entire Occupy collective, as a whole, was illegal, or withdraw your claim.

> criminal plans of known ne'erdowells, after said ne'erdowells had spoken of their intent to attack and damage their property?

well: "As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a "terrorist threat":"

You lose again. Try not inventing 'facts'.

Rest of your post is MBZCC (matt bryant zero content condescension, just to remind you and everyone else), plumps.

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Re: @ Matt Bryant Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

Benjamin Franklin surely was wise enough to recognize that between individuals rights might come into conflict, and for the same individual, different rights might occasionally be in competition, and that whether a particular liberty is "essential" might depend some on circumstances.

In all of the discussion about collection of communication data by the NSA and (occasionally by other SigInt agencies) the connection between collection and analysis of the data and sacrifice of liberty is left extremely vague, perhaps intentionally so as to avoid the need to think hard. There is an enormous difference between collecting, storing, and analyzing communication metadata, most of it not personally identifiable, and constructing individual dossiers on the whole of the population for use at convenience in controlling them. For all the yelling there is little or no evidence that the NSA or other SigInt agencies engage in the latter or, for that matter, assist internal police type agencies in doing so. Passing information to the FBI or DEA, as has been reported, would be inappropriate under the NSA authorization if it came from a purely domestic communication, but might be OK otherwise. Whether the evidence obtained thereby would be admissible in a criminal trial would be for the trial court to decide if it were questioned. I suspect DEA were told to find alternative explanations primarily to sidestep a possible need to expose classified programs in open court proceedings.

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Unhappy

Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

" and seeing as people like Al Quaeda and co have the intent to stop me breathing I'm quite happy to sacrifice a little privacy."

And that Matthew, makes you a true "sheeple."

Baaaah.

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Re: Синий зеленый SundogUK Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

In the US (and I think also the UK) companies, like natural persons, are entitled to a presumption of innocence in any criminal proceeding.

Although violence associated with Occupy * groups was uncommon, it was not entirely absent, and not all of it was initiated by the police. It also is not unknown for subgroups in a mainly peaceful large group to have discrepant motives and intent to guide the larger group in ways that not all members would favor, so classification of the Occupy groups as peaceful, while still considering them to be a threat. From a police perspective, every crowd presents a threat of possible violence, even if because of a potential mass panic.

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Re: Синий зеленый SundogUK Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

@tom dial

> violence associated with Occupy * groups was uncommon, it was not entirely absent, and not all of it was initiated by the police

Obviously. I never said it was.

> It also is not unknown for subgroups in a mainly peaceful large group to have discrepant motives ...

Yeeeees, we know this.

> From a police perspective, every crowd presents a threat of possible violence, even if because of a potential mass panic.

Every *person* presents a possible threat of violence, let's presume they too are domestic terrorists just to be sure, right? You deal with individuals not the crowd otherwise that's collective punishment, right? The occupy movement was not illegal (AFAIK) and was mostly peaceful (AFAIK) so what's your point, that criminalising a whole group of people is ok, or state-backed and arguably illegal surveillance of notable members for undesirable opinions (AKA political dissent) in a democracy was acceptable? What exactly are you trying to say?

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Re: Dong Jefe Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

"Or had to check the street for any discarded rubbish that might be hiding an IED?"

I did this in canary wharf like 3 days ago - some kind person had decided to dump a waitrose bag with unidentified stuff in it, and bankers were walking past it like they're not in a reasonably tight security cordon (it is easy to forget these things). I took a look inside it without touching because the obvious thing to me is it might be an IED (having spent a lot of time growing up on military bases and being aware of where I was at the time).

Because people don't give a damn doesn't mean they're not at risk - but it doesn't justify invasion in their *personal space* either. How often do GCHQ mass-trawl documents sent by snail mail? Oh yeah - never. Why is that I wonder?

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Re: streaky Re: Dong Jefe Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

".....How often do GCHQ mass-trawl documents sent by snail mail?....." You're missing the point - the authorities can and do monitor snail mail, right down to using x-ray scanners and the like to read through the envelope. It's just that the majority of coms between terror groups (and criminals) are via electronic means such as email, mobile phones, and apps like Skype.

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Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this... @sundog

"left-wing neo-cons"??????? You do know what the "con" stands for, don't you?

(Clue: it is "conservative".)

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Re: streaky Dong Jefe Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

"the authorities can and do monitor snail mail, right down to using x-ray scanners and the like to read through the envelope"

I don't doubt they monitor mail from targeted individuals - this is kinda my point - we're talking about a mass trawl of basically everybody regardless of who they are - it would be hugely expensive. And hey guess what you'd have to take the volumes of mail off civilian royal mail employees who frankly every now and then would say what was happening no matter how much you threatened them.

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Re: Hmmm... not sure where to begin with this...

Personally, I put my requirement to carry on breathing above my right to privacy (or my right to cross pedestrian crossings in the face of oncoming traffic), and seeing as people like Al Quaeda and co have the intent to stop me breathing I'm quite happy to sacrifice a little privacy

Ah, well, it is of course your right to join the sheeple if you so choose. Just don't entertain the illusion you're speaking on someone else's behalf when you advocate giving up inalienable Human Rights. Because they are inalienable, and some people spent an awful lot of time in 1948 coming up with something they could all agree to.

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