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back to article Home Sec: Let us have Snoop Charter or PEOPLE WILL DIE

Home Secretary Theresa May today claimed in The Sun that her draft law to massively ramp up online surveillance of Brits will "save lives". The Tory minister managed to squeeze in a bit of last-minute lobbying ahead of the publication of a report by peers and MPs scrutinising her controversial communications data bill. In an …

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Unhappy

Re: "Anybody who is against this bill"

...standing on end.

That's what scares me; some people truly believe that this would not only help fight crime, but that it wouldn't be misused because of strict guidelines. They aren't malicious - they're worse. They're stupid.

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Unhappy

Re: "Anybody who is against this bill"

"They aren't malicious - they're worse. They're stupid."

If she were a Communist she would refer to them as "Willing fools (VI Lenin?)"

Good thing she's not, isn't it?

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Facepalm

Re: "Anybody who is against this bill"

" They aren't malicious - they're worse. They're stupid."

You know you've lost an argument when you descend into name calling.

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Re: "Anybody who is against this bill"

It is blatantly obvious that this bill will not help stop "serious crime, terrorism and child sex offences". Laws are already in place (there, and here in the US) to allow the police to 'snoop' with the proper warrant. All this does is remove basic freedom. Anyone who believes that this bill really will stop crime is being mislead by the flimsiest of excuses.

That being said, yes, it's true. We've lost the argument long ago. Our countries are being run by people who have either no regard for Internet privacy and personal security, or no understanding of the way the Internet works. The first group is malicious, willing to undermine personal freedom to make their jobs easier; the second group is willing to go along with anything because they don't understand what's going on - I could use nicer, bigger words like "prone to making unintelligent, uninformed decisions" or "acting in an unintelligent or careless manner" - but those are definitions of the word "stupid," so I went ahead and used the word "stupid" to describe them.

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Does El Reg with its fine archival resources have the data to do a story on RIPA ? I thinking something which intersperses the quotes from whatever politician was responsible for introducing it, with a chart showing the number of RIPA warrants issued by purpose of issue ?

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Has anybody thought to ask her the obvious question

Had this law been in place a year ago, which life/lives would have been saved?

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Re: Has anybody thought to ask her the obvious question

Or even better, would these powers have done anything to stop the 7/7 bombings? From the coroners report:

“It is unlikely these could have been detected by surveillance given the large number of untraceable “operational” phones used by the bombers and only attributed to them once their identities and details were known.”

i.e. these types of powers would have done nothing to stop the bombings and at best might have served a purpose at cleaning up the mess afterwards. And even that would be debatable.

One other thing: they had one of the bombers under surveillance but had to stop watching him because of lack of resources (or at least this is what we were told at any rate). How then would increasing the size of the haystack be useful if the aim is to find the needle?

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Big Brother

Re: Has anybody thought to ask her the obvious question

"How then would increasing the size of the haystack be useful if the aim is to find the needle?"

a very good point.

Do you think perhaps the real purpose is not to catch terrorists?

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Re: Has anybody thought to ask her the obvious question

Personally I can't shake the impression that they want to reduce the amount of work required to access information to a form filling exercise. They think that checking a few boxes should be sufficient.

This is despite the fact that this has the potential of seriously undermining in the long term the ability of actually being able to do the forensic work that these investigations often entail. Why bother learning to do this or training others to do so if all you have to do is write down what you want in order to get the same results? The departments that handle this sort of thing well end up being dumbed down, new threats will end up emerging and they will find themselves in a position of not being able to deal with them.

Of course this could also be down to the difficulties that government agencies face in regards to hiring people with appropriate levels of experience and knowledge. Just look at HMRC: all the clever and well paid accountants work for the sorts of firms that are currently running rings round them and they have a huge backlog of tax avoidance schemes that they just can't seem to clear. Presumably other parts of government - including the likes of the security service - face similar problems when it comes to IT experience, since those that can do the work would perhaps prefer to do so for the likes of Google, Apple or Microsoft where the salaries are probably much more attractive.

In any case I think that this is about making their lives easier, not about protecting us.

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She may be right...

a snoopers charter may be able to prevent a death or two...

BUT

hundreds of thousands of people died to defend our freedom during World War II and that was considered a price worth paying. The attitude of May (and her friends in the Tory and Labour Parties) is that one death by a terrorist attack is too many, and it's worth undermining and abolishing every freedom we have if it can prevent a single death.

WRONG!

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Re: She may be right...

I wish I could upvote this over & over & over again for the rest of time.

That post should be put on the front page of every newspaper & news website in the UK for at least 2 days so that it will hopefully sink in.

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Re: She may be right...

Indeed. Her argument is nothing more than specious, despicable emotional blackmail. The police will ALWAYS be able to do more with greater powers, no matter HOW draconian the state may become. That in itself is a VERY good reason why every such proposal must be treated with the very gravest of suspicion, and resisted unless plainly in the interests of freedom and democracy.

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Here you go then:

The people who say they’re against this bill need to look victims of serious crime, terrorism and child sex offences in the eye and tell them why they’re not prepared to give the police the powers they need to protect the public.

I'm not prepared give the police excessive powers they think they need to protect the tiny minority of the unfortunate members of public affected by these heinous crimes.

Anybody who is against this bill is putting politics before people’s lives.

Certainly I am ensuring that surveillance is not put upon innocent members of the public, using the unfortunate and rare occasion (numbers of people attacked vs population of UK) someone may be harmed due to this surveillance not being in place.

There will be paedophiles who will not be identified and it will reduce our ability to deal with this serious organised crime.

Possibly yes. A small percentage of paedophiles who make up a tiny proportion of the UK may go free. They are not pokemon, you will never catch them all.

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Re: Here you go then:

@trevor "They are not pokemon, you will never catch them all."

Spot on, mate. Unfortunately no politician has the guts to publicly state what should be obvious to all - Laws and policing are systems designed and run by humans and will fail. No matter how efficient the system, some guilty people will go free and some innocent people will get accused and/or imprisoned. Tightening legislation to catch more guilty people will GUARANTEE that more innocent people will be imprisoned. Loosening legislation to prevent innocent people being jailed will GUARANTEE that more guilty people will go free. And as a society we must decide where to draw the line. That's a tough decision, but one we should be open about.

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Unhappy

Re: Here you go then:

There are some who would say better to let an innocent man hang than let a guilty man go free, as the guilty man could then go on a spree or rampage and take more innocent lives. And would you believe it, when asked if they would be willing to step into the noose, there are people would essentially, "Abso-f***in-luely, damnit!"

Then again, I also know people who view increased capital punishment as "population control"...

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MJI
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Re: Here you go then:

when asked if they would be willing to step into the noose, there are people would essentially, "Abso-f***in-luely, damnit!"

Reminds me. I had an argument from a vehement anti motorist about speed limits.

I mentioned drifting over, he thought fines ect, I though does it matter.

So I asked him, do you want to be missed by the driver in low 30s looking where he is going, but just drifted over? or do you want to be hit by the car doing 29 because he was too busy speedo watching?

Yes he said to be hit.

BTW the worst analogy ever is accidentally drifting over a speed limit is as bad as accidentally drifting a knife into a person stomach!

I was gob smacked - that was more safety nazis.

Sorry to go slightly off topic.

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Anonymous Coward

Tory scum is full of shite! Nosey bastards need to keep their nose out.

Like terror groups and SOC groups don't already use techniques to circumvent these measures they wish to introduce?

It's just another way for the gov to spy on the people.

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Anonymous Coward

what's tory got to do with it? this all labour party policy, as is most of the other crap we get from the govt.

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Please stop pretending that the tory party and labour party are different things

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DJV
Unhappy

Terry Pratchett was right

(from 'The Last Continent')

'Why did he have to go to prison?'

'We put all our politicians in prison as soon as they're elected. Don't you?'

'Why?'

'It saves time.'

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Big Brother

Perhaps certain media companies are in favour of this because they can see how useful all this new data will be when looking for juicy stories on celebs, MPs, or people challenging their behaviour. Its not as though they wont have access, one way or another.

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Facepalm

Do as I say...

...or the puppy gets it. Is that really the best she can do?

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Stop

No

Show us we can trust you with this power, then we will think about it... The Anti-Terrorism act was massively miss-used.

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Re: No

"The Anti-Terrorism act was massively miss-used." - so they've already shown us we can't trust them with this power. Nothing to think about.

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WTF?

Privacy - important for so many reasons

This question over on Security Stack Exchange has some answers which May should read and digest. "Why does one need a high level of privacy/anonymity for legal activities?"

http://security.stackexchange.com/q/7666/485

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FAIL

I propose...

Complete and unlimited powers for the police and security services to do anything. No limits, no oversight and no judicial or parliamentary review. Anything. Anyone who is against this "WANTS PEOPLE TO DIE!".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I propose...

A retired policeman was commenting on a draft law. Single issue lobby groups, and the police lobby, had removed the wording that said someone had to have "intent" to commit the offence. Their argument was that it was "too difficult to prove".

He said that it was just what his ex-colleagues loved. They called it a "Martini Law" - anyone, any time, any place, anywhere.

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Trollface

when i read 'home sec' i thought. Fucking hell, not another anonymous spin off group.

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FSM

If I wasn't on a train right now, I'd have LMFAO.

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Alert

Hang on lads, I've had a great idea

Use the money for more police officers.

They have been cut and cut again.

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FAIL

Theresa May doesn't understand the law as it already is

IP addresses are held already for 12 months: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2009/9780111473894/schedule. Item 13 in the Schedule.

If small ISPs are not holding on to that information it is not because of a defect in the current law but because the Home Office / Police haven't asked them to do so.

Similarly all mobile phone companies already hold one year's records not only all calls and SMSs you send but all your locations for so long as the phone is switched on.

These are powerful types of communications data that are already available to the police (and very important they are too) and which are very unlikely to be affected by any future technological change.

Large numbers of decisions currently being made by the Home Secretary, starting with reducing police budgets by 20%, are easy candidates for "putting lives at risk"

The aim of the Bill is to get ISPs to collect information from all of us for potential future use which is not necessary for their business and which is outside current definitions of "communications data". That includes web-based email, Facebook and other social networking, google searches, and skype-like services.

This, the Home Office says, will cost the tax-payer £1.8bn over 10 years., £180m a year. The police only get £28m in real new money out of the Cyber Security Strategy

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Re: Theresa May doesn't understand the law as it already is

HTTPS everywhere?

ISPs will have trouble logging web mail via google (https) or google searches (https) or Facebook (https) or Skype (encrypted)

So what's the point? Most of what they claim to want isn't available to the ISP - they'll still need to get a court order and ask Google/Yahoo/Skype etc

And slap on a nice VPN and they can't even get the websites you visited.

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Re: Theresa May doesn't understand the law as it already is

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/joint-committees/communications-data/2012-10-24%20Private%20HO%20Corrected%20.pdf

It may well have been redacted, but the following question/answer is of interest. I'm not sure if it's true or just bluster but it is interesting nevertheless.

Q921 Lord Strasburger: Is it not the case that the sophisticated ones that you are referring to will use some of the avoidance techniques—encryption, VPNs and so on—in any case, so they will get around whatever provisions you put in place?

Charles Farr: They will try to do that but, as some of your witnesses have implied, we can deal with some of it and much more than they think.

And in regards to Charles Farr:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2241645/Theresa-May-spy-tipped-mandarin--love-glamorous-aide.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

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Re: Theresa May doesn't understand the law as it already is

Except that SSL already has problems thanks to man-in-the-middle attacks and even PPTP based VPN encryptions can be hacked.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/31/ms_chapv2_crack/

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Meh

Re: Theresa May doesn't understand the law as it already is

"These are powerful types of communications data that are already available to the police (and very important they are too) and which are very unlikely to be affected by any future technological change."

But they have weaknesses.

They need RIPA approval.

They are not real time.

Her advisors want to be able to call up a map and show anyone moving around at will.

They've seen spooks. They know it's possible.

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Seems that letting Little Baby Gary McKinnon off the hook hasn't helped her long term popularity.

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I don't think it is the Home Secretary that is ever in charge, that is the problem.

Civil servants come to whoever is the current incumbent with all sort of scary stuff which frightens them into making these decisions.

The previous government were just as bad (if not worse) on the snooping, but I expected this one to tell them to sod off rather more. Sadly I was wrong. Hopefully some of the more libertarian members of the Tory party will decide to vote against.

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'I don't think it is the Home Secretary that is ever in charge, that is the problem.

'Civil servants come to whoever is the current incumbent with all sort of scary stuff which frightens them into making these decisions.'

My theory is there's something in the water supply at the Home Office which turns anyone into raving right-wing control freaks within six months of their appointment.

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Yes Minister

IDoNotThinkSo:

I don't think it is the Home Secretary that is ever in charge, that is the problem.

Civil servants come to whoever is the current incumbent with all sort of scary stuff which frightens them into making these decisions.

The previous government were just as bad (if not worse) on the snooping, but I expected this one to tell them to sod off rather more. Sadly I was wrong. Hopefully some of the more libertarian members of the Tory party will decide to vote against.

I have recently been watching repeats of Yes (Prime) Minister which illustrates this perfectly. Not much seems to have changed since the 70s in the Civil Service. The Ministers dont run their departments, the Civil Servants to, and they manipulate the Minister with various scare tactics - the outcome of which is normally a bigger budget for their department, or other measures that increase the power of the Civil Servants.

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Anonymous Coward

Conservatives v Libertarians

"Sadly I was wrong. Hopefully some of the more libertarian members of the Tory party will decide to vote against."

Are there many true libertarians in the Conservatives ranks? It is my impression that their libertarian principles only encompass their cronies getting rich by unscrupulous means. On social matters they are generally entrenched authoritarians claiming a divine right in matters of morality.

A friend was a great admirer of the Austrian Economics school of libertarian thought. He found a personality test on the Ludwig von Mises Institute web site. So he insisted we should both take the test to highlight my leftist mind set. Imagine his chagrin when my result was a leftwing libetarian - while he came out as a rightwing authoritarian.

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There will be paedophiles who will not be identified

Would online surveillance have prevented abuse by Cyril Smith or Jimmy Saville?

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Big Brother

Re: There will be paedophiles who will not be identified

Of cause it would. They only got away with it because we can't snoop on everyone.

This message brought to you by the Ministry of Truth.

Long live BB.

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Just when you think

Nick Clegg is utterly pointless he threatens to do something useful. It'll be interesting to see if he's doing this for principled reasons or because he's trying to separate the Lib Dems from their coalition partners in the public's mind before the next election.

What's that? He's a politician you say? Oh so option b then.

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Anonymous Coward

If it will cost "£1.8bn" to implement ...

then it had better save at least 3600 lives because there are lots of reliable ways of saving a human live with £500k, such as by investing it in improved health care.

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Re: If it will cost "£1.8bn" to implement ...

"there are lots of reliable ways of saving a human live with £500k,"

In other parts of the world there are lots of reliable ways of saving a human life with $10.

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Anonymous Coward

"The people who say they’re against this bill need to look victims of serious crime, terrorism and child sex offences in the eye and tell them why they’re not prepared to give the police the powers they need to protect the public."

But the bill state that one of the permitted purposes is "the prevention and detection of crime".

Not "serious crime", just "crime".

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The new party line

They tried the same thing here in Canada, when the public safety minister said that people who are against their proposed legislation are "with the child pornographers". Fortunately, there was a huge backlash and the legislation was dumped (for now). Big brother is working hard to expand his reach.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-on-e-snooping-stand-with-us-or-with-the-child-pornographers/article545799/

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Unhappy

Re: The new party line

"when the public safety minister said that people who are against their proposed legislation are "with the child pornographers". "

I noticed this. Very much the same routine.

Weak minds think alike?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The new party line

Fuck it - in for a penny as they say.

If they want to treat me (a law abiding tax paying citizen) like a peadophile who wants to blow up schools, then I might as well just be one.

After all, the only way to defeat an enemy is to kill* them.

*Joke - this really means tickle them until they turn purple.

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