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back to article ISPs haul GCHQ into COURT over dragnet interwebs snooping

Britain's eavesdropping nerve centre GCHQ has been accused of unlawfully accessing the private communications of potentially millions of people – and angry internet service providers are dragging the snooping agency to court. ISPs and organisations from the US, UK, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Korea and Germany have teamed up with …

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Black Helicopters

Here come the lawsuits.

Finally, maybe someone will be held to account, but I'm not holding my breath.

Yesterday saw this:-

"Britain's most secretive court is to hold a rare public hearing to decide whether there is any legal force behind the long-standing political doctrine that the country's intelligence agencies cannot bug the phones or spy on the emails of members of parliament. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal agreed to the hearing after two Green party parliamentarians – Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, and Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb – complained that disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden made it clear that GCHQ was capturing their communications in breach of the so-called Wilson Doctrine."

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/01/secret-court-investigatory-powers-tribunal-ban-mi5-gchq-spying-parliamentarians

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Re: Here come the lawsuits.

Why is it at all important that we reassure MPs that they are, once again, especially privileged?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Here come the lawsuits.

Beat me to it. It's entirely right that the ruling classes should be provided this caveat whilst us humble plebs have to take whatever is deemed good for our health. 4 legs good, but 2 legs best indeed...

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Re: Here come the lawsuits.

A further corollary of Godwin's law ... replacing 'Adolf Hitler' with 'George Orwell'. Further I'm guessing that within 5 posts someone is going to bring up '1984 and All That'.

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Re: Here come the lawsuits.

Nah I will just call them evil fuckers who are doing this bugging solely to line their own pockets. Drives me totally mad that they get billions every year with no accountability that they then use to further enrich themselves and their friends. And then they say "Its for your own good! There are scary people!" Bullshit.

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Re: Here come the lawsuits.

Why is it at all important that we reassure MPs that they are, once again, especially privileged?

Well, for starters because parliament is sovereign in our quasi-constitution, so one would hope that no shadowy powers were bugging and suborning parliamentarians, as Harold Wilson was convinced was the case. Even though subsequent investigations have turned up no evidence that he was right, it's clearly the case that the *suspicion* that he was being bugged altered Mr Wilson's behaviour, and perhaps his decisions. Thus any assurance we can get that parliamentarians are not being spied upon will be welcome. This does not mean that they get those assurances and the rest of us don't, of course.

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Re: Here come the lawsuits.

Parliament is sovereign because it is equal with the monarch, and I have no problem with secret squirrels listening in to her phone calls either.

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Re: Here come the lawsuits.

"Why is it at all important that we reassure MPs that they are, once again, especially privileged?"

It is very important because they are supposed to be the direct representatives of the people and the people's will. They are thus very tempting targets for anyone in pursuit of a less-than-honest agenda. While it would be quite impractical to individually blackmail or otherwise pressure every single citizen, you can have a law passed -or otherwise influence local and world politics- by controlling relatively few of their delegates. Hence, the delegates must be specifically protected.

Of course it's all very theoretical in modern times, for a number of reasons, including but not limited to,

-the elected representatives not generally giving a fuck about what their constituents want.

-most of the important decisions, and the interpretation of the laws, being largely controlled by non-elected quangos who don't give a fuck about what the elected representatives might think (just in case one would listen to their constituents for a change).

-the law enforcement machine, local authorities and other "seculiar" powers not caring terribly much about the laws or their interpretation most of the time anyway.

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Gimp

It's been a *long* time coming.

But (maybe) the start of putting these data fetishists on a leash.

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Re: It's been a *long* time coming.

Before or after attaching the leash to the gallows?

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Court case

... closed

All in accordance with the law... Ref Patriot Act, ref Communications Data Bill.

Whether we like it is a question the court cannot legally rule on... So: waste of money...

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Re: Court case

In the UK it is RIPA which is the law under which snooping is allowed to take place. My understanding of the law is that snooping is allowed once it has been determined that there was something to snoop about and not after the data had been slurped up and analysed to see if there was anything worth snooping in it. Since the MPs in question will, probably, be using some non-secure GCHQ tapped communications in the course of their constituency business (e.g. an e-mail from a constituent) then it seems legitimate to request a cessation on the default snooping on this activity. It will interesting to see how this pans out

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Re: bed Re: Court case

"In the UK it is RIPA which is the law under which snooping is allowed to take place. My understanding of the law is that snooping is allowed once it has been determined that there was something to snoop about and not after the data had been slurped up and analysed...." Yes, RIPA is the legislation concerned in the UK, but it also has a get-out clause that let's the GCHQ and other spooks do whatever they like by claiming it is in the national interest. Therefore, in the UK, the case would go nowhere fast. Abroad it gets trickier as local laws are different, but we then get into the murky area of cross-national agreements. Whilst Merkel is huffing and puffing for votes, she knows she can't push the whole NSA/GCHQ boat too far because the BND are not only doing exactly the same, they're also doing such tricks in cahoots with the NSA and GCHQ, both under NATO program's and less formal agreements.

And then, even if you arrive at a jurisdiction that is willing and able to hold a trial, who do they charge? Are they going to issue an extradition warrant for the old head of the GCHQ, Sir Iain Lobban, or his new replacement, Robert Hannigan? Even in the unlikely event the UK hands them over, what do you then charge them with considering you then have to provide evidence to show that not only did a specific case of interception took place, but also that Sir Iain or Mr Hannigan were the bod that issued the order to make the interception? If you want to try someone for placing a tap, first you have to prove that someone placed the tap, then that they actually did it for the NSA and/or GCHQ and not for your local secret squirrels. All along the way you can expect zero assistance from the UK or US authorities who will simply point to national security, and probably little help from the local secret squirrels seeing as they probably receive info from the NSA/GCHQ, and because it would set a sticky precedent that could later be used against the local squirrels.

Great tantrum politics, but little likely result.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bed Court case

"what do you then charge them with considering you then have to provide evidence to show that not only did a specific case of interception took place, but also that Sir Iain or Mr Hannigan were " zzzzz....

Dunno.

Who needs a charge anyway, all that needs to be done is for them to do a David Kelly. Allegedly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bed Court case

"Great tantrum politics, but little likely result."

Always so helpful in pointing out how powerless people are.

Always so incapable of suggesting anything can be done about it.

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Re: AC Re: bed Court case

".....Always so incapable of suggesting anything can be done about it." You make the illogical assumption that everyone must support your viewpoint, that such activities by the GCHQ and NSA are 'bad'. Personally, I have no problem with what they are doing, so why would I suggest a scheme to change it? Going by the lack of political will to actually do anything about it, I'd say there must be a majority of people that support my viewpoint. It is your right to disagree, but don't make the basic mistake of assuming everyone is a member of the flock.

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Re: Court case

WIth regards RIPA it is also likely that good buddies GCHQ and NSA have a tit-for-tat arrangement where "you spy on our citizens and we'll spy on yours". One of the many benefits of the five-eyes relationship.

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So what, even by a slim chance they're found guilty, it's not like they're going to stop spying is it?

It's GCHQ's whole "raison d'etre"!

Slap wrist, naughty boys and girls, off to bed with no supper and don't do it again. Next day, backon "da toobs" looking up the details on anyone they fancy taking a pop at.

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But it might convince the politicians* to rein them in a bit, and only allow them to intercept people's communications with some kind of warrant or a court order or at least more oversight than "we can intercept it so we will".

Not only does indiscriminate spying destroy our privacy, it also produces massive amounts of useless data that have to be sifted through for them to find the small amounts of genuinely useful information. It's counter-productive for the the intelligence services.

*(or rather convince the politicians *that it would be a vote winner* to rein them in)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: massive amounts of useless data

"Not only does indiscriminate spying destroy our privacy, it also produces massive amounts of useless data that have to be sifted through for them to find the small amounts of genuinely useful information. It's counter-productive for the the intelligence services."

Spot on.

I'm sure BBC R4's "More or Less" program (co-produced with the Open University) did the numbers for this a few series back.

With limited scope properly supervised targeted surveillance, you don't get much useful data, but you don't get massively huge amounts of irrelevant stuff to filter through either.

With bug-everybody surveillance, you don't get much more useful data, and you do get massive amounts of totally irrelevant stuff.

The obvious reason for them to be doing bug-everybody surveillance is so that they can store everything (for a while) in the hope that something that wasn't initially considered useful becomes useful later.

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Re: phuzz

".....Not only does indiscriminate spying destroy our privacy....." Firstly, it is not indiscriminate, the actual spying takes place after the data collection has been sifted for actually interesting bits. Secondly, seeing as the vast majority never gets listened to or even analysed, where is it 'destroying' your privacy? Show me the 'harm' to you personally and then I'll accept your claim, otherwise you're just bleating hysterically.

"......or rather convince the politicians *that it would be a vote winner* to rein them in...." So where is your proof that it would be a vote-winner in either the US or UK? Previous revelations, such as Perry Fellwock's uncloaking of the NSA and ECHELON, did SFA for voting patterns. Ask Duncan Campbell how many UK MPs he unseated with his drama queen routines. At the end of the day, the majority of the voters would rather the GCHQ and other assorted spooks were doing their job. For example, in the UK a lot of people have suddenly woken up to the fact that a lot of young Muslims are going off to jihad in Syria and Iraq, and they want the security services to be able to find and track them both abroad and when they come back. To do that they need the GCHQ and all their Worldwide activities.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: massive amounts of useless data

From something posted here just over a year ago:

Let's assume you're using targeted surveillance to monitor 1M people, and whatever analysis technique you're using produces a false positive rate of (say) 5%. So 50K false positives.

Now up the scale to 100M people, and assume no change in the false positive rates (that may or may not be a good assumption). That's 5M false positives. 5M people being investigated who have no reason to be investigated, but every reason to fear the activities of their "democratically elected" government.

A better version of this and some related "big data" surveillance issues at

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22718000 (NB I don't think this is via More or Less, they had a different approach)

The BBC article includes a quote from Stella Rimington who says that the scale of mass surveillance in current use is neither necessary nor productive. Arguably she should know, she used to run MI5.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: phuzz

"a lot of young Muslims are going off to jihad in Syria and Iraq"

Some do.

"[Some people] want the security services to be able to find and track them both abroad and when they come back".

It'd be handy. Maybe that's why, a couple of years back, West Midlands police put a ring of CCTV around the 'immigrant' areas of south Birmingham. Without particularly telling anyone the full details. When the facts started to emerge, it had to be rapidly shut down [1]. Did the police's activity there help to locate any "potential terrorists", or did it once again increase lots of people's mistrust in the police and security services?

"To do that they need the GCHQ and all their Worldwide activities."

That's one option, though not one that's been proven to work.

Another option is to have a police service and security services that people trust to act on behalf of the *whole* community, not just the establishment and the Lodge.

[1]

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/jun/18/muslim-cctv-scheme-police-row

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8034999/Police-apologise-for-putting-200-CCTV-cameras-in-Muslim-area.html (2 Jul 2010)

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/birminghams-project-champion-anti-terror-cctv-280264 (2 Nov 2012)

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WTF?

Re: AC Re: massive amounts of useless data

"....5M people being investigated who have no reason to be investigated, but every reason to fear the activities of their "democratically elected" government....." OK, let's assume your worst case, so what do those false-positives actually have to fear, other than a bit of investigation in the background they will never even know about? It's not like 5 million people have been pulled off the street and granted an one-way ticket to Gitmo. Indeed, including all the 'combatants' seized in Afghanistan that ended up in Gitmo, only 779 detainees have been sent to Gitmo since January 2002. Even if we were really, really generous and assumed 70 Gitmo detainees were innocent victims of the Five Eyes' Worldwide eavesdropping programs, out of a World population of about 7 billion that represents only 0.000001% that actually had a 'reason to fear', which is a lot less than the melodramatic '5%' you pulled put of your arse.

".....Stella Rimington.....she should know, she used to run MI5." Correct, she used to run MI5 up until 1996, a long time before even 9/11 and a long time before a lot of the current NSA/GCHQ capability came online. She ran a completely separate organisation that competed with the GCHQ for funding. Stella had a dream of turning the small, anti-spook MI5 into a much bigger, national police force similar to the FBI, which meant she needed lots of funding that would have come from other departments, such as that currently going to the GCHQ. Like most top bosses after their dream has been taken away, she found it hard to give up on it, hence her harping on about 'my way was the right way', etc.

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Re: AC Re: phuzz

".....Some do....." More than just 'some'. I suggest you get your head out of the sand.

"......Maybe that's why, a couple of years back, West Midlands police put a ring of CCTV around the 'immigrant' areas of south Birmingham....." Nothing to do with the GCHQ, they were run by the local authorities. The local residents' reactions also ignored the fact such cameras had already been in operation in many other areas and had reduced crime.

"....That's one option, though not one that's been proven to work......" Apart from the jihadis that have been tracked in the UK, you may want to go read up on a little event in Portland, Oregon (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/25/us_judge_rules_warrantless_snooping_okay_in_terrorist_bomber_case/).

".....Another option is to have a police service and security services that people trust to act on behalf of the *whole* community...." Yeah, because that worked so well with the London Tube bombers, right? And all the families so surprised their kids are turning up in ISIS recruiting videos or driving truck bombs, they did a peachie job of letting the authorities know about their sons' radicalisation. Unfortunately, the groups that are targeting such men are not throwing 'getting my jihad on' parties to announce their leaving. They are careful in their planning and show quite capable tradecraft, enough to tell their recruits NOT to tell the rest of their community about their 'trip abroad'. It's not new to them, they have been recruiting in Britain for years (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike%27s_Place_suicide_bombing).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC phuzz

"Nothing to do with the GCHQ, they were run by the local authorities. The local residents' reactions also ignored the fact such cameras had already been in operation in many other areas and had reduced crime."

Organised by the police in this case, actually. The local authority say they were misled by the police as to what the scheme was about. It was the police who had to apologise, and had to shut it down (as reported in that well-known left wing anti-police organ, the Telegraph).

If the scheme as implemented could have been shown to be likely to be an overall success, it likely wouldn't have been shut down. E.g. today it was reported that routine council-run CCTV on Anglesey has been reprieved, because the local people want it reprieved, because the local people trust that it will be run for the public good. That didn't happen in Birmingham.

The people affected by the scheme in Birmingham, and indeed people in Brum in general (many of whose families were affected by IRA terrorists, and many of who remember the Birmingham Six) did not want these cameras - at least not handled the way this scheme was handled.

Right. 'Nuff said for now. Carry on raving.

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FAIL

Re: AC Re: AC phuzz

"....That didn't happen in Birmingham....." It could not happen in Birmingham because the local tinfoil-wearers, in conjunction with the usual national agit-prop groups (http://m.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/10114/18-08-2010/birmingham-community-says-no-to-racist-spy-cameras) played on the endemic victimhood in the local population and convinced them it was Big Whitey keeping an eye on The Brown People. Once they had turned it into an accusation of racism rather than a discussion of crime statistics (http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/car-crime-hotspots-revealed-148722) there was no way the police could win, and no way the spineless politicians could back the project, despite it already being operational in other nom-Muslim areas of the same city.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC AC phuzz

"despite it already being operational in other nom-Muslim areas of the same city."

How many other schemes in the city had *covert* as well as overt CCTV?

How many other schemes in the city were funded out of anti-terrorist money rather than the usual High Street style funding?

You don't need covert cameras or anti-terrorist money for ANPR to check for uninsured vehicles, though uninsured drivers do kill and maim quite a lot of people in comparison with terrorists in most years. (Q: How do you tell with CCTV whether a *driver* is insured anyway? Vehicles, yes, that's easy, assuming the number plates are readable and genuine.)

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Re: AC AC phuzz

".....How many other schemes in the city had *covert* as well as overt CCTV?...." Yeah, those sixty foot poles with a bunch of cameras in top are so 'covert'. You might also want to drive through the area and count the number of private security cameras that daily record passing cars and people without a complaint by the locals.

"....How many other schemes in the city were funded out of anti-terrorist money rather than the usual High Street style funding?...." All of them. Due to a squeeze on budgets, all such schemes for over ten years have been required to use a centralised pot of money. All the users, including anti-terror units, have to put their money in the pot. The exception was the speed cameras in the area, which had to be turned off in 2013 due to a lack of funds.

".....You don't need covert cameras or anti-terrorist money for ANPR to check for uninsured vehicles...." The options are automatic or random stop and checks. The latter gives opportunities for the local hot-headed, tinfoil wearers to bleat 'They is only stopping us cos we is brown/black/Muslim/whatever'. All the insurance companies feed policy data into the DVLA database, so uninsured vehicles get flagged. When ANPR picks one up on the road the Police can be directed to stop it with very little risk of a mistake that would allow the hot-heads an excuse to bleat.

You may also want to consider what the locals wished away when they let themselves be talked into rejecting the cameras, as shown by the death of three locals in the Birmingham riots: ".....On 10 August, in Winson Green, Birmingham, three men – Haroon Jahan, 21 and brothers Shahzad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31 – were killed in a hit-and-run incident while attempting to protect their neighbourhood from rioters and looters....." (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_England_riots#Haroon_Jahan.2C_Shahzad_Ali_and_Abdul_Musavir). The people arrested and charged with their deaths escaped conviction because of lack of evidence. One possible source of evidence could have been the same street cameras the locals had complained about.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC AC phuzz

"those sixty foot poles with a bunch of cameras in top are so 'covert'. "

Project Champion included a mixture of covert and overt ANPR cameras.

Initially the local police were not involved in (or at least denied knowledge of) the siting of the covert cameras.

Project Champion spokespeople said that there were "a small number" of covert cameras whose existence and location would be kept largely undisclosed for operational reasons. And maybe fair enough, if WM Police had followed existing rules and regulations. But they hadn't.

Their "small number" turned out to be 64 covert ANPR cameras out of a total of 170, call it a third.

There was a formal IPCC complaint. Thames Valley Police did the investigation (thank $deity it wasn't the Met). Birmingham City Council also had its own inquiry.

Here's a few words from a BBC report on 24 Feb 2013, quoting one of the local MPs and mentioning the TVP inquiry.

An MP has said more than 200 so-called "spy" cameras which were put up in largely Muslim areas of Birmingham should never have been removed.

Khalid Mahmood said the cameras, called Project Champion, would have been an "effective tool" in helping security services track terror suspects.

The cameras, which were removed in late-2010 after never being switched on, sparked protests from residents.

An independent report was highly critical of the scheme and the police.

The cameras, some of which were hidden, were paid for with £3m of government money put aside for tackling terrorism.

An independent report into the cameras by Thames Valley Police found guidelines regarding the positioning of cameras were not followed.

The findings were highly critical, saying West Midlands Police had paid little attention to "compliance with the legal or regulatory framework" and relations between the Muslim community and police had been set back 10 years.

Critics of the project included Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath, who said the police overall had displayed "incompetence" over how the situation had been handled.

<continues> from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-21565427

WMP fouled up. The covert cameras may or may not have been a bright idea, but there are rules. The police are not supposed to be above the law. Ideally they'd set an example (though I realise that's a bit of an ask).

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a53

Re: AC phuzz

".....Another option is to have a police service and security services that people trust to act on behalf of the *whole* community....", Because that worked so well with the London Tube bombers, right? === And you think that reading my emails and monitoring my phone calls will resolve the problem ? Or will it just cause me to distrust those I should be putting my faith in ?

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Re: AC AC phuzz

"....Project Champion included a mixture of covert and overt ANPR cameras......" Even the Guardian's local hack/activist admitted the so-called 'spy cameras' were hardly 'covert'; "The camera posts are hardly invisible: they resemble machine-gun turrets and are everywhere" (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/jun/23/birmingham-spy-cam-scheme). Indeed, it seems that to classify as 'covert' to the activists, all it needed was the camera pole to be painted green rather than grey!

"....Their "small number" turned out to be 64 covert ANPR cameras out of a total of 170, call it a third....." And that's where it gets even funnier - in their rush to bleat about 'spy cameras', the activists forgot to mention that these were not general surveillance cameras but fixed ANPR cameras overlooking public roads that could only look for number plates.

"....There was a formal IPCC complaint...." Do you mean the one organised by another local 'activist', Steve Jolly? A look at his 'no CCTV' links page (http://www.no-cctv.org.uk/caseagainst/links.asp) shows a bizarre smattering of tinfoil-wearers and anti-The-Man groups, including the (thankfully) defunct, extreme-Right, Britain Movement, a rather nasty bit of Birmingham's history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Movement) - it seems Mr Jolly is just one of those Socio-Anarchists that just likes protesting, no matter what.

So Project Champion was 'not needed'? History says otherwise, especially the conviction of Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-21545773). Surprisingly, Leftie luvvy Ken Fero, the 'activist' and uni lecturer who whipped up local paranoia about the cameras, and always so happy to make films slagging off 'police violence', has managed to ignore the topic of those three local 'activists' for one of his 'documentaries'.

Mind you, not everyone is as selectively-blind as Ken Fero. It hasn't escaped the attention of others that more convicted Islamist terrorists have come from the 'Balti Triangle' in Birmingham than any other UK city (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/birmingham-terror-cell-a-forlorn-fight-against-extremism-in-the-balti-triangle-8505045.html). Which makes a mockery of the idea that we can rely on the local community to sort out their problem. But don't let a few facts get in the way of your PC-fueled, bleating rants.

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VM, BT et al

I hope while you are sitting on the sidelines, some of your revenue gets funnelled into the fighting fund for this honourable challenge.

After all, you too will benefit if the whole snooping debacle gets slapped down and you get to remove all the encumbering intrusions that GCHQ forced on you.

Don't forget, technology is shaping up to be an unstoppable force, one which could eventually see all your subscribers signing up with snoop free Brazil ISP over a next gen satellite array.

OK not soon, but the old line to your home is eventually going to get challenged in the market place, so think on.

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Epic Fail

What I find truly astonishing, is that once again [1] public servants feel they should somehow be elevated above the rest of us.

Your positions exist to serve the public!

While it is perfectly reasonable that those temporarily occupying positions of power should be held to a significantly higher standard than the rest of us, it does not follow they should enjoy special protections that do not influence their ability to perform the role whilest in harness.

It could be reasonably argued that all MPs phone calls, meetings, and emails should be published after a suitable hold period, such that we can more readily identify and punish transgressions.

[1] The police federation feel that killing a police officer is worse than killing someone else such that it should be punished with the death sentence.

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Re: Epic Fail

Given the number of MPs caught fiddling their expenses a few years ago, is it the case that MPs are more likely to be acting criminally than the average MOTP ?

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Re: Epic Fail

@Adrian 4: "is it the case that MPs are more likely to be acting criminally than the average MOTP ?"

Here are some plausible hypotheses for your consideration:

1) we mostly/only elect crooks;

2) only crooks ever want to be elected, hence #1 above;

3) neither #1 or #2, but power corrupts;

4) #3 or not, investigating MPs is so much more juicy than investigating MOTP that we tend to catch them with a higher probability;

5) maybe not even #4, but a crooked MP is more likely to hit a front page than a crooked MOTP.

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I should jolly well hope ...

That GCHQ is doing everything it is feasible to do (and perhaps officially not feasible in some cases) in order to snoop on stuff because that's what we taxpayers stump up the cash for them to do.

Oh, and not get caught too often either.

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Re: I should jolly well hope ...

With a Warrant, I would hope they do monitor things...

but that is the key thing, they need oversight, to ensure they don't overreach.. and its not so much because of GCHQ itself, but because at some point you know that there will be councils asking GCHQ for emails sent by someone they think is putting their bins out too early....

Or tracking mobile phones to find out who was in a park when a dog took a dump that was not cleaned up....

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Re: I should jolly well hope ...

All well and good, but where do you set the line between justified and unjustified purposes? So snooping to discover who didn't clear up dog mess you regard as unjustified. Presumably snooping to discover who is plotting to blow up an airliner would be justified. How about snooping to discover who is shoplifting? Burgling? Drug-taking? Speeding? Making racial jokes on t'interwebby? Thinking impure thoughts whilst ogling pictures of sheep?

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Don't they have Crown Immunity?

In UK legal actions anyway.

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Pirate

all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance

with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised. so its the laws that need changing, which were set up by paranoid politicos, who as always have only their interest at heart.

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Mushroom

ISP complaining

about snooping?

Bit rich after the phorm phuck up BT ran on its customers and the police/CPS said "not enough evidence to do anything about......

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Oh yeah? Says who?

"Furthermore, all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, [...]."

One presumes that they are referring to the Foreign Secretary, but it's interesting to note that they don't actually mention him or his position directly.

I think it is time for us to ask William Hague if he is fully aware of what GCHQ have been up to, and if that work was necessary, proportionate and undertaken with his full approval? After all, a General Election is just around the corner. I think we should be told.

And...

"The United Kingdom's interception regime is entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights."

In other words: "Move along now, nothing to see here."

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GreenNet? who are they?

So this is the only UK ISP kicking up a stink about this? Truly they are the Accrington Stanely of the ISP world.

Ironically, their entry level product is called 'Activist'. I am pretty sure that subscription is going to put you one someone's list.

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"...all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework...

"...which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State..."

... who will, if anyone finds out that we've been naughty, conveniently and retro-actively change the law so that what we did that was illegal is, suddenly, now entirely legal. Nice bloke!

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What is it about the Brits?

Over here in the States, the NSA revelations stir an outrage among the commentard denizens. The GCHQ revelations seems to stir some people but mostly it's very restrained, almost accepting of the deeds and mis-deeds. Is it a cultural thing?

Not a troll... I find this most curious.

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Bronze badge

Re: What is it about the Brits?

I think it is, in general that most of us trust our government and civil service far more than the average US citizen, I think you'll find that's true for the rest of the 5 eye community as well. The US does have a tradition, lovingly played to by the Republicans, of not liking big government, of liking and thinking local. The media as well play, as awful lot of US TV seems to be dedicated to government conspiracies against the individual, the corrupt government out to get the citizen, there's very little of that in Europe, because it's really a fantasy that most western European governments or local authorities, would or could act that way. I can't speak for the US.

Historically we are far more used to the government running stuff nationally than the US is, and our European neighbours even more so.

But, hey like all things culturally American, we'll on board anti-government paranoia in the future, no matter how misplaced it actually is.

Just remember how big our security services actually are, compared to the actual populations, and do the financial math, to work out how much it would cost to actually do what most people think the NSA and GCHQ are doing, and remember the politicians will never give them than much money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is it about the Brits?

What is it about the Brits? A long time ago the ones who weren't happy being property either emigrated or were transported. Probably skewed the national character.

Its kind of sad the cold war ended. What chance now of an atom bomb being dropped on Cheltenham? Asks a resident of Cheltenham. Who'd cut off his nose to spite his face.

Its such a fucking ugly nose though!

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people with all thats going on in the world and GCHQ stopped it all and war was to start then every one will say how come this happend the answer is u all stopped GCHQ doing there job keeping us all safe

so stop complaining and let them do the job keeping the UK safe snowden should be locked up for grassing on GCHQ theres so much going on in IRAQ and lots more over there thy need to lern all thy can

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