back to article Review mass-snoop laws regularly, says RIPA daddy Blunkett

Every Parliament must conduct a "complete review" of the controversial Regulation Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) as a safeguard against the expansion of its use, former home secretary David Blunkett said today. As home secretary in 2001 Blunkett was responsible for introducing the complex rules surrounding the use of the …

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Facepalm

And in other news

I think Philip [sic] Snowden was a traitor to his country and a thief but I actually think he opened up some of these bigger issues in a way you can’t do [otherwise].

While in the UK many people consider Blunkett a traitor to his country, a thief, a liar and an hypocrite. I could go on. Oh and of course Blunkett never supported any larger issues than his wealth and vanity.

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Re: And in other news

Well, at least Mr Ed "Phil" Snowden never charged his GF's train tickets to the UK taxpayer's account. Talking about thievery and all that...

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Re: And in other news

Exactly how does Blunkett expect him to have opened up those issues without exposing them to the public as he did? *Any* other approach would have just got him "Yes, yes, it's a problem, we'll look into it, now go away and be quiet".

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Re: And in other news

Blunkett belongs in the Tower of London for recklessly abandoning this country's border controls.

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Re: And in other news

You thought Blunkett was bad? Do you even remember how bad Peter Mandelson got?

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Devil

Small omission in the article.

"“There is a general agreement among politicians ans spooks now that if you review regularly you can stop the dangers that people have identified”

Here, fixed!

And Mr. Blunkett, FY, with a chainsaw.

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Oh dear

"Speaking at the (ISC)2 security conference in London, Blunkett told The Register that the expansion of the act’s powers to include snooping on journalists goes into "areas that it was never intended that people should have authorisation for.”"

This is the whole point of laws being passed that have a limited, and well defined scope, rather than the large number of poorly worded and overly broad 'anti-terrorism' laws his party passed. (Not that the current lot are better, by any means, but credit where credit's due...)

Rather than a 'complete review', how about we take all those poorly thought out laws, scrap them, and replace them with something fit for purpose. The truth is, that after hundreds of years of democracy, very few new laws are actually needed, but politicians need to do something to continue to justify their own extravagant existence. The problem here is that the laws that get passed tend to increase authoritarianism, and the powers of parliament. Certain powers held by the Home Secretary, for example, should, in a proper democracy, be held by a member of the judiciary. I'd be much more confident in the oversight of all things terrorism related by a senior judge who is not influenced by the five-year election cycle and his own political image.

It's not like terrorism is a new thing, and we handled it perfectly well in the '70s and '80s when the IRA were blowing things up, without any of these new laws.

The only really new thing we have to contend with in the last few decades is the advent of the internet, and there's no reason existing laws cannot be amended to cover such changes where they are insufficient (e.g. laws covering theft, fraud, etc.) The actual problem lies in the fact that a lot of crimes are now committed remotely from another country, so the thing our politicos should be focussing on is the establishment of international treaties to clamp down on things like phishing, spamming, and various international internet cons.

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Re: Oh dear

>It's not like terrorism is a new thing, and we handled it perfectly well in the '70s and '80s when the IRA were blowing things up, without any of these new laws.

^^

THIS.

When did people become such cowards?

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Re: Oh dear

Just to add to that; you're four times as likely to be killed by a lightning strike than by an act of terrorism.

If we took the vast sums of money being spent on snooping on everyone and used it to educate people on road safety, and increase police patrol cars, so people could be nicked for driving stupidly, rather than going over X mph where there's a camera, then we'd save a lot more lives, and probably have a significant amount left over to pay off some of the still-increasing budget deficit.

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Re: Oh dear

I'm inclined to agree. They keep calling it 'The War on Terror'... Well in that case any time one of these fuckwits wants to spend billions of pounds of our money and further curtail our already limited personal freedoms to protect us from something less likely to kill us than choking on a peanut, then they should be shot for 'cowardice in the face of the enemy'.

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Re: Oh dear

There have been far more citizens of this country forced into despair and suicide by benefit 'sanctions' than there have been people killed by terrorism. Who then are the enemies of the people of the UK?

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Re: Oh dear

In 2013, three pedestrians were killed in collisions with cyclists:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Causes+of+Death#tab-data-tables

The ONS statistics show no deaths from any terrorism-related cause in the UK in 2013. I suspect any that might have occurred (and the only one I can think of that might count is the killing of Lee Rigby) would be included in the 309 deaths by assault. That's one death by assault, out of the 309 that the government is not spending obscene amounts of cash trying to prevent, and which all that cash failed to prevent anyway.

It's very difficult to find out exactly how much the UK government spends on 'anti-terrorism' each year, and it's even arguable that they may have prevented a few deaths. Either way, it's almost certainly infinitely more that has been spent on educating cyclists on safety, or on reducing the risks of any of the common preventable causes of death.

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Re: Oh dear

There have been far more citizens of this country forced into despair and suicide by benefit 'sanctions' than there have been people killed by terrorism. Who then are the enemies of the people of the UK?

According to the ONS statistics, in 2013, suicide was actually the leading cause of death in the 5-34 age bracket amongst both males and females.

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Re: Oh dear

> Just to add to that; you're four times as likely to be killed by a lightning strike than by an act of terrorism.

> something less likely to kill us than choking on a peanut

> There have been far more citizens of this country forced into despair and suicide by benefit 'sanctions' than there have been people killed by terrorism.

> The ONS statistics show no deaths from any terrorism-related cause in the UK in 2013.

And yet you all still doubt the worthiness of the resources spent on anti-terror measures. What better evidence can there be of their efficacy?

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Re: Oh dear

And yet you all still doubt the worthiness of the resources spent on anti-terror measures. What better evidence can there be of their efficacy?

Without publishing details of all the attempts that have been stopped, (something that the security services refuse to do), it's the same efficacy as my personal anti-supernova measures, which prevent our local star from going supernova. You don't want the local star to go supernova, so continue to fund my patently effective, trade-secret anti-supernova measures. 5 million a year is a paltry sum to pay to prevent supernovae :)

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Re: Oh dear

"When did people become such cowards?"

Plenty of reasons. The UK happily embracing American culture, to the detriment of its own. Trusting the flatulent cant of incompetent politicians who place more emphasis on style than substance, and who put their own self-interests ahead of the people who elected them. Mainstream media (yes, I'm looking at you lot over there, BBC) too afraid to directly challenge the government, especially Blair's junta. A populace who has been conditioned to expect The Government (TM) to regard them as people, when in fact each of us is just a tiny fraction of one statistic on a minister's report. A wilful blindness to America evolving from freedom to fascism and a consequent inability to tell Washington that Europe has forgotten more about tackling terrorism then they've yet learned.

If I were planning a terrorist campaign, I think I'd start by taking out all the TV stations and assassinating everyone importing American films. Cutting off the prolefeed might, just might, provoke the somnolent, the complacent and the downright stupid into taking a long hard look at themselves once their propaganda machine had gone and they actually had to think for themselves.

Hell, we can dream...

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Re: Oh dear

"It's not like terrorism is a new thing, and we handled it perfectly well in the '70s and '80s when the IRA were blowing things up, without any of these new laws."

The surviving members of the Guildford Four, Maguire Seven and the Birmingham Six would probably disagree.

Bloody human rights and due process. It was so much easier when you could beat somebody with a phone book until they confessed to whatever it was you were investigating...

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Re: Oh dear

Actually...Remember Margaret Thatcher's banning terrorists from the "oxygen of publicity"?

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2010/sep/15/real-ira-debate-oxygen-publicity

That worked so well, Thatchers children (Blair, Cameron etc.) carry on that line of thinking...

Oh, wait...

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Re: Oh dear

Of course they will say that the reason you are more likely to get struck by lightning is BECAUSE of the crazy "anti-<insert your favourite topic here>" laws. Which of course can't be disproved.

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Re: Oh dear

>It's not like terrorism is a new thing, and we handled it perfectly well in the '70s and '80s when the IRA were blowing things up, without any of these new laws.

Although we did have laws allowing us to round up and intern people without charge or trail based on their ethnicity.

We also took the same uncharged presumed-innocent people up in helicopters, put hoods over their heads and threw them out. They were only a few feet off the ground so it was classsified as "enhanced questioning" rather than torture by the inquiry, although the eu and Irish govts disagree.

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Re: Oh dear .... Hell, we can dream...

If I were planning a terrorist campaign, I think I'd start by taking out all the TV stations and assassinating everyone importing American films. .... Mike Smith

I thought you might have imagined politicians rather than policemen as a logical starting point for an effective and more widely supported terrorist-like campaign, MS, given that they themselves are so active in the field and so heavily media represented. But it is an ugly weapon with precious little sophistication to ensure malfunction.

Makes you wonder what media are doing pimping and pumping their stores of austere and terrible news?

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Re: Oh dear

Are we to expect, tfewster, the banning of a relatively new television station by a dodgy hacked and cracked system and wannabe Blunkett type, because the views expressed and aired are difficult to impossible to ignore and declare untrue ......... http://rt.com/op-edge/212587-assange-democracy-mass-media/

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Re: Oh dear

The families of those murdered by terrorists in Omagh, Shankill Road, Loughinisland & Greysteel (among many others) I imagine would also disagree.

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HMB

Re: Oh dear

Not everything american is bad, that's a tad racist! There's loads of intelligent and thought provoking american media, not all of which is released in the cinemas.

We never did become cowards from an american influence, we just got taught to be afraid by the powers that be, the new labour government that was completely pussy whipped by the Dick-Bush administration and we all got screwed. It wasn't american culture that caused us the problem, it was the failing of our political elite to have a mind of their own. They were told to disseminate the "Scary Terrorists Plan" and they did so. Bizarrely after that, Tony Blair got filthy rich, but I'm sure that's got nothing to do with it. :P *cough* war criminal *cough*

Do you remember how our wonderful and impartial state media, I mean BBC, completely failed to call into question the Iraq War until it was all too late? I seem to remember hearing about journalists being made to tow the line. Conflation between Iraq and Afghanistan was the order of the day and somehow it got everywhere. It was very creepy. We had to go get the Taliban's none existent weapons of mass distraction from Iraqistan.

Say what you like about Margaret Thatcher, evil or good, at least when she caused us pain she did it from her own convictions instead of being a puppet.

I'm so sick of our politicians.

I personally wish we had a Barrack Obama of our own, at least he tries to get a few good things done, even if some rich Americans kick and scream against giving more people access to healthcare.

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Re: Oh dear

> Not everything american is bad, that's a tad racist!

The comment is a tad daft.

The Americans are not a race of people. They are citizens of one country - the USA. Using the term racism in this way (by a lot of people) causes the term to lose it's impact and, to be honest, it's meaning.

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Re: Oh dear

>It's not like terrorism is a new thing, and we handled it perfectly well in the '70s and '80s when the IRA were blowing things up, without any of these new laws.

Hang on. Have you forgotten internment? Prevention of Terrorism Act? Internal exile? (Not to mention the removal of every wastebin in England.)

Yes we responded somewhat better, in treating the boyos like the useless tossers they were. But the politicians fell into some of the same traps, even then.

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Is David Blunkett a commentard?

Just so far every single comment has one down vote.

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Re: Is David Blunkett a commentard?

It's hard to determine whether it's astroturfing or just obscene ignorance on the part of the downvoter. Either way, that individual appears to be too cowardly to add their own comment by way of explanation.

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Re: Is David Blunkett a commentard?

"It's hard to determine whether it's astroturfing[...]"

It's rubbish astroturfing if it's a single, solitary vote.

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Re: Is David Blunkett a commentard?

But all the upvotes were by his giude dog - which is quite tricky if you only have paws

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Re: Is David Blunkett a commentard?

> Just so far every single comment has one down vote.

That's probably just Matt Bryant, his insane fascist rebuttal comments hidden behind a shield of moderatorboredom.

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Anonymous Coward

"..expansion of the act’s powers to include snooping on journalists.."

I don't think the problem is in an expansion of the act's powers. Rather, it is in the predictable abuse of the powers originally incorporated in the act, which is why it was such a bad bit of legislation.

Mr B can't hide from the fact that he bears a significant level of responsibility for this abuse.

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Odd how when they get their gong and transit from the Lower to the Upper house they tend to start making the occasional "common sense" statements.

Perhaps Laws should be formulated in the Upper House and sent to the Lower House for approval?

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Flame

In honor of the Moderatrix

ODFO Blunkie

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Time for a spot of code review

The basic problem here is that it is obscenely easy for the government to enact new laws, and rather difficult to obsolete out old, or unused ones. As an earlier comment wisely pointed out, after a couple of thousand years of civilisation in Britain, you'd think we would have the legal structure we need pretty well sussed.

Actually, we do have a fairly well sussed corpus of laws. Most of the law is Common Law (as in what judges have decided in the past) and Contract Law, as in what is and is not fair to agree to, and which rights cannot be signed away. Most of how to handle criminals is also fairly well sussed, which is why laws like RIPA are so damaging; they throw a spanner in the known-working legal structures that already exist and also serve to highlight the fact that our politicians do not understand cryptography, and do not understand what "This is effectively impossible" means.

Thus, we are effectively letting deranged monkeys with sledgehammers loose in a watch factory if we let politicians prat about with fundamental legal principles like this.

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Re: Time for a spot of code review

Dr Dan I agree with you:

Bliar;s although not the only only government to pass a welter of often unecessary laws was certainly the worst in my memory.

This from the Telegraph in 2010; Every year, there are 20 or 30 major Acts of Parliament. That is up to 350 substantial pieces of legislation over the past 12 years, each spawning dozens of secondary regulations. Since 1997, the Home Office alone has introduced 60 Bills, launched more than 100 consultation papers, made at least 350 regulations and created an astonishing 271 new offences. In his 10 years as prime minister, Tony Blair presided over more than 3,000 new laws, more than 1,000 of which carried jail terms; Gordon Brown added hundreds more. Labour created new offences at twice the rate of the previous Tory administration, which had been bad enough in this regard.

Illustrates what he was about and it looks as though Dave is continuing capably in Bliar's footsteps with more freedom limiting rubbish, seemingly just to justify him and his cohorts remaining in the House.

Few laws seem to be passed for the genuine benefit of society as a whole so much as representing some individual's or party's personal axes they wish to grind. ID cards spring to mind.

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Re: Time for a spot of code review

Most of the laws passed in the past few years have had the intention of 'Making the politician look good' regardless of the effect of such laws.

You only have to look at RIPA itself, launched with the fanfare of chasing terrorists and peados, ended up being used to spy on people who've let their dogs shit on the grass.

The anti-trolling laws being touted round at the moment... I'd like to know why they are needed because we already have laws about issuing threats to people... which are not being enforced so we need another law that will be used at some point to stifle political debate rather than go after the trolls who abuse people.

Great result.

But then its easier and far more productive in terms of getting people to vote for you when you issue "spazzy new laws to catch peados and bad people" rather than a boring home office press release about 27 people done for sending threats to other people

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“There is a general agreement now that if you review regularly you can stop the dangers that people have identified,” Blunkett said.

"There is a general agreement". Weasel words. Is that "I agree with myself generally"; "me and my rich buddies agree"; Or something else? Not implementing bloody stupid ideas would be -in my view- better than regularly reviewing them. On past form, if there's a concept that Blunkett agrees with, it's time to hit the pause button and seriously rethink it.

Last week the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that GCHQ did not act unlawfully by carrying out mass surveillance using the interception of communication powers in RIPA.

Well of course they did. Lawmakers investigate themselves. Find selves not guilty. Amazing. Also passing a law so that those involved in such shenanigans have plenty of loopholes to play with and then saying "it's legal according to this law wot we just passed" is more than a little disingenuous, if not actually fraudulent.

"I think Philip [sic] Snowden was a traitor to his country and a thief but I actually think he opened up some of these bigger issues in a way you can’t do [otherwise].

Traitor and thief. Big scary words. A consensus definition of traitor seems to be "One who betrays one's country, a cause, or a trust, especially one who commits treason.". So fucking over 99% of the population by treating them as criminals doesn't count, does it? Also DNA Bioscience would definitely seem to be betraying the trust of the country; and would probably have counted as thievery if he'd not been caught with his hand in the till.

Blunkett can still go and fuck himself. With a cactus.

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Law of unintended consequences...

"expansion of the act’s powers to include snooping on journalists goes into "areas that it was never intended that people should have authorisation for.”"

Oddly enough, that's what Jim Sensenbrenner (one of the fathers of the PATRIOT Act in the U.S.) was saying about the NSA's mass snooping.

The fact is that if you give bureaucracies various powers, then they inevitably push those to the limit looking for terrorists/water wasters/people who are suspicious about immigration/tax cheats/obese people/hunting enthusiasts/animal rights advocates/etc.

These pols pass their laws, and then they fail to perform the administration to keep the actual machinery of government from running roughshod over the people the laws are supposed to help.

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Blunkett was a moron. if he didn't already expect RIPA would get extended and abused just like every other law does, then he's far too dangerously clueless to have been given the authority to make such laws.

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“There is a general agreement now that if you review regularly you can stop the dangers that people have identified,” Blunkett said.

There is a general agreement amongst, errr, me, that the person who steered RIPA through parliament should say "and it's all my fault" before criticising anyone else's use of his law

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Anonymous Coward

Blunkett the Wanker !

He cant even spot & find his own willy to wave it and talks about stupid laws ! Needs his mistress (whom he fast tracked thru immigration to do that for him).

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Review and Reality...

“There is a general agreement now that if you review regularly you can stop the dangers that people have identified,” Blunkett said.

Who agrees with this? He makes a statement and offers no context as to who agrees.

The way I see this review of the Act is similar to what happens here in the States: a lackey delivers a 1000 page pile of paper for the act to each MP. The MP looks at the stack... mumbles to him/herself... as says: "Oh, very well. It looks good to me".

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FAIL

Blunkett is the last person who should be giving moral pointers

Blunkett must be one of the more amoral politicians in Britain, if not the world.

On many levels he is little better than the scum in a sewage works. RIPA was written to breach British citizens Rights, such as they were, which today are practically non-existent.

Blunkett was the mechanism through which the unbalanced extradition treaty between the UK and the USA was implemented.

He also betrayed the spirit of the Labour Party. (I am not a supporter)

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