back to article UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention

Emergency law is expected within days to be pushed through Parliament that will force ISPs to retain customer data to allow spooks to continue to spy on Brits' internet and telephone activity, after existing powers were recently ruled invalid by the European Union's highest court. The planned legislation crucially has cross- …

Silver badge

No problem for me then !

>The ability to access information about communications and intercept the communications of dangerous individuals is essential to fight the threat from criminals and terrorists targeting the UK.

Since I am not a "dangerous indiviual", or not that I know of, does that mean that my data will not be recorded.

Or is there another method classifying what a dangerous individual actually is.

Can someone actually provide a detailed definition of "dangerous indiviual".

16
0

Re: No problem for me then !

I think people need to understand they don't mean 'dangerous individual' at all, which would mean the individual is already guilty of some dangerous activity or at least suspected of it. What they mean is 'potentially dangerous individual', which effectively means everybody.

In essence, this is simply a case of laziness. If there was a process that allowed appropriate organisations to obtain a court order requiring these companies to retain individuals information (but only that individual), then this would be fine. The organisation makes a case before a judge (or similar) who decides if they have just cause and authorises the retention of the information. However, because they are lazy, that would simply be too much like hard work. So, they want everything recorded all the time for everyone and then they can look through it to their hearts content and not bother about showing just cause etc.

Of course, the big issue with this sort of information is the ability to trawl through it. At the moment, the implication is that the companies involved would hold the data themselves. However, what would happen if they were then required to hand it over to some government department that kept it. Data mining could then be performed to obtain lists of terrorist, pedophiles or any other category you care to mention based on say the sites they've visited. Of course, going to a site doesn't necessarily prove anything, as people sometimes go for a look. For instance, not everyone who looked at the terrorist handbook was actually going to make a bomb or whatever. But that soon becomes forgotten.

31
0
Silver badge

Re: No problem for me then !

"Can someone actually provide a detailed definition of "dangerous indiviual"."

"Any person not in a continuously vegetative state."

36
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: No problem for me then !

"Dangerous individual", i.e. any individual classified as "dangerous", based on the assessment of materials gathered in the process of classification of "dangerous".

0
4
Silver badge

Re: No problem for me then !

"Any person not in a continuously vegetative state"

I suppose that that definition will exclude most of the cabinet then.

9
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: No problem for me then !

A 'dangerous individual' by their definition is anyone that is not a politician, a civil servant or a member of the police - in other words all the plebs. In actual fact it is those that are in fact the most dangerous.

7
0

Re: No problem for me then !

"I suppose that that definition will exclude most of the cabinet then"

And the shadow cabinet.

5
0
Silver badge
Megaphone

Re: No problem for me then !

There we go again, one rule for politicians and celebrities and another for the rest of us...

5
0

Here's the definition...

Here's the definition, encapsulated in a Czech riddle, given to me by my very good friend who grew up behind the Iron Curtain:

Q: Why do policement in Czechoslavkia go around in threes?

A: One can read, one can write, and the other is there to watch those two dangerous intellectuals.

17
0
Silver badge

Mostly harmless

@Khaptrain

you are mostly harmless, which means a bit of you could be dangerous, so expect that they will be following your every move.

2
0
Black Helicopters

Re: No problem for me then !

"Can someone actually provide a detailed definition of "dangerous indiviual"."

Well according to the most recent information, that would be anyone who:

1) Uses Tor

2) Uses Tails

3) Reads Linux magazines

4) Uses Linux?

5) Reads websites whose content is privacy or security orientated.

For example - a website like this https://prism-break.org/en/

HTH.

8
0

Re: Mostly harmless

It does seem to be legislation that merely retains an existing capability for the police and security services.

That said there also seems to be an expansion of the oversight, more transparency and a decrease in the public bodies that can access this data.

For a piece of emergency legislation this seems quite a lot better than previous examples.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Mostly harmless

But only if they can have the logs from your ISP.

0
0

Re: No problem for me then !

"Can someone actually provide a detailed definition of "dangerous individual"."

Whoever they're pointing a when we use the phrase "dangerous individual".

1
0
Silver badge

Re: No problem for me then !

And the Masons

0
0
Silver badge

Re: No problem for me then !

"5) Reads websites whose content is privacy or security orientated.

For example - a website like this h̶t̶t̶p̶s̶:̶/̶/̶p̶r̶i̶s̶m̶-̶b̶r̶e̶a̶k̶.̶o̶r̶g̶/̶e̶n̶/̶"

or like... http://www.theregister.co.uk/

Posting anonymously - well, atleast until my ISP bends over backwards and hands over the logs.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: No problem for me then !

'Can someone actually provide a detailed definition of "dangerous indiviual".'

Certainly! Any influential or powerful member of the US or British government, able to send our armed forces to kill thousands of people in distant countries whenever they feel the need to boost their popularity and distract attention from their domestic failures (sorry, "to protect us from the terrorists, paedophiles, organised criminals, etc. etc.)

Ironically, those are probably the ONLY people whose communications data will NOT be snooped on.

0
0
Go

@ Ivan 4

There are a few honourable exceptions that have actually stood with the people they represent, and no doubt found themselves on the "domestic extremists" list. E.g. Caroline Lucas.

1
0

"It's something we can all be comfortable about."

And yet, I'm not. Neither am I a terrorist or serious criminal. Wankers! (keep that for your records).

37
0
Anonymous Coward

"We will establish a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on the American model, to ensure that civil liberties are properly considered in the formulation of government policy on counter-terrorism"

That should make you feel comfortable ...

I mean it has oversight based on the American model which stopped all indiscriminate capture of citizen data. It wasn't like they were looking through the web cam porn from Yahoo chat users or anything?

And "properly considered", how much more woolly could you get? No threat of jail for said data accesser if they abuse the system or search wrong data etc Oh no, just that someone, somewhere will properly consider it, with properly defined by the government.

"while local authorities will be required to go through a single central authority "

Why do local authorities need to access this data? This is supposed to be about terrorism and major criminals, is this the remit of the local authority?

Throughout history the idea of an "evil enemy", be it the Nazis, the communists, the radicalist has been used to frighten the population and get them to agree to lose their civil liberties for a promise of some extra safety, however the biggest combined threat to the world and Britain in the last ten years .. the one with the biggest impact, the most misery... the 'banking crisis', engineered by our own government with lax regulation. How many of those responsible were actually punished?

15
0

You would be surprised at how much access local authorities have to your personal information.

DVLA records.

Some health records.

Financial information.

Criminal records.

5
0
Anonymous Coward

"We will establish a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on the American model, to ensure that civil liberties are properly considered in the formulation of government policy on counter-terrorism"

'That should make you feel comfortable ...'

Well the American model includes the right to bear arms so an armed rebellion is possible when the government gets out of hand. Maybe we should ask how they are implementing that liberty?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Those aren't "arms"! *These* are ARMS...

"Well the American model includes the right to bear arms..."

Well, yes... That would probably be why recent US governments have rejected the Founding Fathers' reluctance to allow standing armies - especially quartered in the USA itself - and their extreme hostility to any foreign wars.

That's why the DHS purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition (over five for every American man, woman, and child - no simple double tap for them!) plus war-surplus armoured cars. That, of course, is over and above the National Guard with its jet fighters, helicopter gunships, tanks, machine guns, mortars, artillery... and the armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Special Forces) which spend as much on weapons every year as the rest of the world put together.

I don't think the armed citizens would be wise to try anything. As long as they just stick to shooting each other occasionally, everything will be just fine.

0
0

Re: Those aren't "arms"! *These* are ARMS...

@Tom Welsh.

You could well ask the question; who is the Department of Homeland Security protecting the homeland from? Is it terrorists, invasion etc.etc., or the population of the homeland? All this worldwide panic around terrorism and pedophiles is all very handy to allow governments to restrict liberty and freedoms, but is it simply opportunism at events, or something more sinister? After all, a lot of the threats we currently face were created by the USA. The predecessors to the Taliban were effectively created by the CIA to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. In fact, a huge amount of radical Islam was created by the CIA and originally directed at the Soviets. Saddam Hussein was supported and armed for many years by the USA. etc.etc.

0
0
xyz

First person on the dangerous persons' list

willl be that Tom Watson fella then.

5
0
MJI
Silver badge

Re: First person on the dangerous persons' list

I like him, always on our side for a change.

The man who bust the super injunctions

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: First person on the dangerous persons' list

Tom Watson is one of the few MPs that actually understand IT and care about the government trying to foist this kind of surveillance on the entire population. Top bloke, pity he can't stop this emergency bill going through.

It would be nice to think that a review of RIPA will result in a reduction in its powers, but we know it's going to suggest it doesn't go far enough...

14
0

Re: First person on the dangerous persons' list

Yeah, he does seem to be that rarest of oxymorons, the honest politician. Probably means he won't last long in the business, sadly.

0
0

Can someone explain ...

...why a warrant isn't required for the spooks to access this data. It would be if they wanted to look in my cupboards, so why not if they want to look in my email?

Like most commentards (I imagine), I'm deeply suspicious of government having access to this data.

30
1

Re: Can someone explain ...

If the data were only used for the purposes they've stated, then people might be OK with it. However, we all know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Also, scope creep is inevitable. So, if you allow them to start down this path, it is inevitable that the data will be used for far more than was ever envisioned and almost certainly for illegal purposes by politicians themselves.

After all, politicians have never broken any laws have they..........................

Expenses (where a few sacrificial lambs went before the court, but in reality, the majority of the houses of parliament should have been).

Buying peerages.

Perjury.

etc.

etc.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Can someone explain ...

Simples: "emergency". Cause you know, we're in a state of war, and certain liberties have to go (purely as a temporary measure, of course).

4
0

Re: Can someone explain ...

Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Section 18

0
0

Re: Can someone explain ...

Do bear in mind this is 'communications traffic data' not the contents of your emails, telephone calls etc. i.e. the data is who sent you either an email, telephone call, or text message and vice versa,

1
4

Re: Can someone explain ...

@Titus Technophobe.

It is today, but tomorrow??????????????????

Also, if you drive from one place to another, do you mind them knowing you've done it, even if they don't know why? What if you were going to see your mistress? Do you mind them knowing now?

I don't think directed monitoring under suitable oversight is the argument here. It's just the total dragnet being implemented. If someone is proven or even suspected to a reasonable level of being a terrorist or whatever, fine, monitor them. But, simply doing it to the whole population...............

As to this legislation arguably being better than the previous.......I agree. It does have more oversight (assuming that works properly) etc. However, it's a bit like saying being stabbed is better than being shot. I'd rather have neither.......

7
1

Re: Can someone explain ...

@Mad Mike

It is today, but tomorrow??????????????????

Today they (as in all the major political parties) do seem to have accepted a reduction in the numbers of public organisations who can access this data, more oversight and an increase in the public transparency of the data access.

Looking at ‘today’ this seems a much better situation than that left by the previous government. Suggesting that we do in fact live in a democratic society and tomorrow will take care of itself, surely ?

Also, if you drive from one place to another, do you mind them knowing you've done it, even if they don't know why? What if you were going to see your mistress? Do you mind them knowing now?

No I don’t mind them knowing that I went to see my mistress. I wouldn’t have been alone in having a mistress, and they would not have had any particular reason to examine the situation any further. The records of me going to visit her would have simply aged out of the system.

The same would also apply to the details of phone calls, emails and texts I sent to my mistress. Do bear in mind that this is traffic information, and it is entirely possible that she could have just been a female friend.

I don't think directed monitoring under suitable oversight is the argument here. It's just the total dragnet being implemented. If someone is proven or even suspected to a reasonable level of being a terrorist or whatever, fine, monitor them. But, simply doing it to the whole population...............

A ‘dragnet’ implemented on communications traffic data. Data which would only be accessed on the basis of some other suspicion for both resourcing (i.e. doing much more is costly) and legislative (to examine contents would require further authorisation) reasons. It just doesn’t seem to worry me like it does you.

As to this legislation arguably being better than the previous.......I agree. It does have more oversight (assuming that works properly) etc. However, it's a bit like saying being stabbed is better than being shot. I'd rather have neither.......

Indeed. Yet the mass populous complain bitterly when the police and/or security services don’t have or react to this information. I’m not saying that you are in a minority of one but you do perhaps have to respect the will of the masses.

1
6
Silver badge

Re: Can someone explain ...

I’m not saying that you are in a minority of one but you do perhaps have to respect the will of the masses.

Are the masses voting on this issue, after a healthy, well-informed public debate?

Didn't think so.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Can someone explain ...

To tap into peoples only activity you do need a warrant signed off by a judge, unless you're a spook and then they already do what they want.

To access meta data they just need plod's boss to agree it's "proportional and relevant". The plod sends the request to the ISP/operator to access the specific details requested (who and when - not what), they are not constantly scouring or data mining for the sake of it as for a start the data resides at each operator and I'm sure they earn a pretty penny giving plod access to it.

0
0

Re: Can someone explain ...

@Titus Technophobe

"Looking at ‘today’ this seems a much better situation than that left by the previous government. Suggesting that we do in fact live in a democratic society and tomorrow will take care of itself, surely ?"

I can't deny that it looks better superficially. Exactly how good the oversight will be is another matter. We don't just want an oversight body, but an oversight body that does it's job well and honestly and that's pretty unlikely. Do we live in a democracy? There are only three political parties with any real chance of getting anywhere; maybe four if you include UKIP. So, whilst we might call ourselves a democracy, I don't really believe in it, as there is nobody I want to vote for and I don't have the option of 'none of the above'. The country is run by people who have been shown to be corrupt, self-serving, greedy and generally of low moral stock. So, the UK is a bit like a company. In theory the shareholders can vote down things at the AGM (and other times maybe), but in reality it never really happens. So, if you really think your vote counts, I'm afraid you're pretty delusional.

"No I don’t mind them knowing that I went to see my mistress. I wouldn’t have been alone in having a mistress, and they would not have had any particular reason to examine the situation any further. The records of me going to visit her would have simply aged out of the system.

The same would also apply to the details of phone calls, emails and texts I sent to my mistress. Do bear in mind that this is traffic information, and it is entirely possible that she could have just been a female friend."

You will do when someone decides to use that information against you!! Give me £10k, or we tell your wife. Do this or we tell your wife etc.etc. Look back through history and no matter what purpose information has been collected for, it has ended up being used for nefarious purposes way removed from its original intent. If it were only used for the stated intent, that might not be so bad, but we all know about scope creep, both officially and unofficially sanctioned.

"A ‘dragnet’ implemented on communications traffic data. Data which would only be accessed on the basis of some other suspicion for both resourcing (i.e. doing much more is costly) and legislative (to examine contents would require further authorisation) reasons. It just doesn’t seem to worry me like it does you."

On the basis of some other suspicion can easily become 'just because I want to'. That's the job of the oversight and if you look back over time, you'll see just how good oversight normally is!! pretty damn bad. Look at all the quangos out there that are supposed to be exercising control and oversight over various areas and are actually doing nothing and being poodles? I assume you'll never complain about the size of your energy bill again as OFGEM (oversight and control) must be doing a splendid job!! Ditto for almost every other area.

"Indeed. Yet the mass populous complain bitterly when the police and/or security services don’t have or react to this information. I’m not saying that you are in a minority of one but you do perhaps have to respect the will of the masses."

A commonly held misconception. Generally speaking, the police and security services already had the information, they simply failed to put it all together. 7/7 is a good example of this. They already had information on several of those involved, yet didn't connect the dots. This sort of monitoring wouldn't have provided any more. Personally, I accept that no matter what happens, the police and security services can't possibly stop everything. I do accept that not everyone believes that and a reasonable number think perfection is possible. Take the murder of Lee Rigby. The people involved were already known.

As a society, we have to accept that unpleasant incidents will sometimes occur and perfect security isn't possible. The police and security services can no more stop every terrorist attack than they can stop every mugging or theft etc. We simply have to accept this and have a realistic outlook on what is possible. I remember tens of thousands of people walking through mainline London stations with me whilst the IRA bombing campaigns were going on. If you happen to get hit, that's just bad luck. We can do something to try and stop it, but perfection will never be achieved.

4
0

Re: Can someone explain ...

"Looking at ‘today’ … tomorrow will take care of itself, surely ?"

I can't deny that it looks better superficially. …The country is run by people who have been shown to be corrupt, self-serving, greedy and generally of low moral stock. … So, if you really think your vote counts, I'm afraid you're pretty delusional.

I can’t disagree with your description of the people that run the county. That said the pond scum category may not apply to all of them.

That said even total dictators eventually work out that treating everybody like serfs is just a bit too much like hard work … If you look back historically as society evolved even monarchs (who believed that they had a divine right to rule) did bow to the will of the populous.

"No I don’t mind them knowing that I went to see my mistress… and it is entirely possible that she could have just been a female friend."

You will do when someone decides to use that information against you!! Give me £10k, or we tell your wife. Do this or we tell your wife etc.etc. … officially and unofficially sanctioned.

I would have laughed. You want 10K to tell my wife that I make occasional texts, calls and emails to a female friend of mine. My wife knows I have known this female friend for years why shouldn’t I contact her?

It is important to bear in mind that this is communications metadata not the contents.

"A ‘dragnet’ implemented on communications traffic data. ….. It just doesn’t seem to worry me like it does you."

On the basis of some other suspicion can easily … energy bill again as OFGEM (oversight and control) must be doing a splendid job!! Ditto for almost every other area.

I don’t think it is valid to conflate the oversight of the scum bag thieving energy energy companies, and the security services. As an aside if you look at the list of prosecutions on the Wikipedia entry for RIPA they deal mostly with unlawful interception.

"Indeed. Yet the mass populous complain .. respect the will of the masses."

A commonly held misconception. …. Take the murder of Lee Rigby. The people involved were already known.

The main set of information reported as missing around 911 and 7/7 by the security services was the communications traffic from the internet. Much of RIPA or indeed the PATRIOT act seems to be intelligence services increasing the capability onto the internet very much in line with other telecommunications.

Just as you have read one interpretation of events into that which is reported I have found reports which show terrorist events being stopped by the use of intercepted traffic data.

As a society, we have to .. I remember tens of thousands of people walking through mainline London stations with me whilst the IRA bombing campaigns were going on. If you happen to get hit, that's just bad luck. We can do something to try and stop it, but perfection will never be achieved.

I too have been in the situation in mainline London stations ... but bear in mind at the time security services were intercepting communications and so on. How many more of IRA campaigns would have succeeded if these communications were not intercepted?

0
0

Re: Can someone explain ...

@Titus Technophobe.

"The main set of information reported as missing around 911 and 7/7 by the security services was the communications traffic from the internet. Much of RIPA or indeed the PATRIOT act seems to be intelligence services increasing the capability onto the internet very much in line with other telecommunications."

Ah. This is what they said, but is now known to be disinformation. A certain man named Snowdon (amongst others) has made it clear they did have the communications traffic and in fact, the content as well as the metadata!! So, this was actually the security services using an untrue excuse for missing them and turning that into a means of openly keeping this information rather than doing it on the sly.

In essence this has been acknowledged for years in some ways. The US Navy has a submarine specifically equipped for tapping undersea fibre optic cables.....USS Jimmy Carter. There were other subs before her as well. So, we need to realise the complaints from the security services around not being able to intercept communications are simply misinformation and not true.

"I too have been in the situation in mainline London stations ... but bear in mind at the time security services were intercepting communications and so on. How many more of IRA campaigns would have succeeded if these communications were not intercepted?"

Earlier you said the security services weren't intercepting the communications!! Here you seem to be accepting that the security services have been intercepting terrorist communications.

The reality is that this will give the security services no more information than they've had for years, maybe decades. The difference now is that because it is done openly rather than clandestine, it can be admitted in courts etc.

1
0

Re: Can someone explain ...

Earlier you said the security services weren't intercepting the communications!! Here you seem to be accepting that the security services have been intercepting terrorist communications.

Yes and no. My original explanation was lacking. What happened was that in the 1980s and 90s the security services had the capability to look at telecommunications metadata. With the emergence of the internet that capability was lost.

Much of RIPA and PATRIOT is extending the security services original capabilities for telecommunications traffic to include internet based communications.

0
0

Re: Can someone explain ...

@Titus Technophobe.

"Yes and no. My original explanation was lacking. What happened was that in the 1980s and 90s the security services had the capability to look at telecommunications metadata. With the emergence of the internet that capability was lost.

Much of RIPA and PATRIOT is extending the security services original capabilities for telecommunications traffic to include internet based communications."

Not true. The security services have been intercepting both metadata and the content of telecommunications for years, well over a decade. Today, they're doing the internet pretty wholesale as well and trying to get more and more as time goes on. The difference now is that they are being open about it, rather than covert as before. This changes the evidential status.

If you think RIPA and the PATRIOT act are about telecommunications only, or even mostly, you really need to read them. They go way further than that.

0
0

Heil Cameron!

I for one think this does not go far enough!

Think of the children!!

Who is checking their bottoms are clean after every toilet visit ?*

I'll tell you - no one!

It's good to see Britain is finally turning into the fascist dictatorism we so narrowly missed out on 70 years ago.

Heil Cameron!

*http://listentothepeople.co.uk/component/content/article/24-wild-imaginings/353-the-bottom-inspectors-from-viz.html

17
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Heil Cameron!

Who is checking their bottoms are clean after every toilet visit ?

You want to know why nobody is thinking of the children? Because if you think of the children you are automatically classed as a pedo...

5
0

What's the emergency?

Are we suddenly under significantly increased threat of attack? I can't find anything in the news about it. Can governments really just introduce 'emergency' laws without having to state what the emergency is?

5
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: What's the emergency?

Honestly, at this stage I'd rather we just got attacked. Nothing's worth living in constant surveillance for.

22
0
Silver badge

Re: What's the emergency?

The 'emergency' is that the European courts decided that the arrangements that were already in place didn't have to continue, one of the numerous downsides to being in the EU as it stands (in the sense that they have effectively decided what our national laws are. Potential down voters please note, I am not a UKIP voter nor am I specifically anti-EU or pro-EU but I am pro EU reform).

I'm not in favour of excessive unnecessary surveillance but, I am impressed by the way this bill has been introduced in that it has relatively short, in political terms, time limits built in.

This seems to demonstrate a degree of common sense that I would previously of thought Cameron/Clegg incapable of.

3
4

Re: What's the emergency?

I'd rather we just got attacked.

Giving succour to the enemy, eh? That's treason! Time for a visit this the reeducation gulag for you...

2
0
Silver badge

Re: What's the emergency?

More like:

Euro Whiney: Spying on your citizens indefinitely is wrong, the current rules are invalid. Keeping all their communications data for 12 months or more is a human rights violation.

UK: Hmm, we'll see about that! Sergeant Porno, we'll show the Euro Whiney just how intelligent I am!

Sgt. Porno: Right Sir, you get the two short planks and I'll get the tape measure.

5
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018