back to article GCHQ: We can't track crims any more thanks to Snowden

The Snowden revelations harmed GCHQ’s ability to monitor the communications of crime lords, leading to some vanishing off the grid and the abandonment of other surveillance operations, sources have told a British newspaper. Intelligence officers claim to be blind to more than a quarter of the actions of the UK’s worst crime …

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  1. G R Goslin

    So

    So we're going to see a vast dimunition of the hordes of crime lords, and such, being daily dragged before the couts. What crime lords, and such, I hear you say. So, shortly, the list of hospitals, libraries, schools, homes for the aged, will be swelled with the closure of prisons, too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So

      The Intelligence Community is getting nervous now that people are starting to ask how with all of their spying they failed to notice the largest cyber attack the world had ever seen. (Sony) Now we know. They are blaming Snowden.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So

      Not to nitpick, but "dimunition" isn't a word; "diminution" I guess is what you're shooting for (pun intended).

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: So

        Dimunition- two bullets, one to the body one to the head.

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: So

          Dimunition- two bullets, one to the body one to the head.

          Mornington Crescent!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So

            Only if playing by Guerilla Warefare rules. If using the standard El Reg Forum variant, you can only get to MC after both amanfromMars AND Ledswinger have both commented.

            1. fearnothing

              Re: So

              I'm playing the Jake wildcard. Any action that makes sense is now illegal, and this rule is only cancelled if you perform a reverse four-thirds maneuver with directions given in Tongolese.

              1. HOW many?

                Re: So

                Ahem. Its a three fourths manouver AND you have to call it before making the ply.

                No, ply - *you* know what I mean.

                Oh, and whilst its all rather bad and unfortunate etc, am I the only one not crying in my beer and instead thinking, 'Well yes, but didn't they pull down the roof on their own heads by wholesale trawling which caused Snow Don to have a crisis of conscience or something which triggered the whole expose'?

                No doubt that's just too niaive and there'll be a dark windowed van outside the house shortly to point out to me that's not what you're supposed to wonder about on a public forum or something.

      2. Wade Burchette

        Re: So

        @AC -- "Not to nitpick, but "dimunition" isn't a word; "diminution" I guess is what you're shooting for (pun intended)."

        Thank you. You embiggened my vocabulary with that cromulent explanation.

  2. Bob Wheeler
    WTF?

    Silly Question #1

    > Communication suppliers – historically willing facilitators of wiretapping – are “refusing to hand over evidence on the likes of drug smugglers or fraudsters” because they do not pose a “direct threat to life”

    OK, silly question, but if you have a warrent, signed by a Judge, won't that get the 'communication supplies' to hand over the info?

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: Silly Question #1

      "OK, silly question, but if you have a warrent, signed by a Judge, won't that get the 'communication supplies' to hand over the info?"

      I think they are saying that if communication suppliers have stopped illegal wiretapping then the security services can't boost their 'detection' figures by sending them to jail any more. Oh, wait ...

    2. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: Silly Question #1

      Beat me too it. Unless the people they spying on are the ones who would be handing the info over.

      1. bonkers

        Re: Silly Question #1

        erm, Silly Question number two,

        what the fuck are GCHQ doing getting involved in what the daily mail thinks the politicians should be telling consenting adults in private what they should and should not do? It's a public health concern, not a national security issue.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: Silly Question #1

      "OK, silly question, but if you have a warrent, signed by a Judge, won't that get the 'communication supplies' to hand over the info?"

      Of course they'd have to hand over the information with a proper signed warrant, unless they want to see the inside of a prison cell.

  3. seacook
    Facepalm

    Too eager to share

    GCHQ should not have been so eager to share their methods and data with the NSA. If the NSA did not have GCHQ's jewels they may not have been collected by Snowden.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too eager to share

      Yes, "collected" or "copied" but not stolen as the article incorrectly suggests. Even "illegally copied" would be OK, although that's not really been proven.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too eager to share

      Or the stupid yanks should not have employed unreliable staff like Snowden. I hope he is enjoying life with Putin's low life.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Too eager to share

        Or, the stupid yanks should have played by the rules from the git-go, and Snowden would have had nothing to report.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Too eager to share

          Quote: Or, the stupid yanks should have played by the rules from the git-go

          Sharepoint. Gets you every time. Now what exactly is Sharepoint and to be more precise a multi-agency sharepoint installation security certificate? C-inexistent?

          Bazooka, aim at foot, look into exhaust pipe, fire.

          If it was not for Snowden it would have been someone else, this was a disaster in the making all along so they should put the blame squarely whichever colonel Cathcart spec'ed and whichever General Scheisscopf authorized the system in the first place. He is guilty. Not the Snowdens of Yesteryear. They are a casualty on this battlefield, not someone who actually sets it up.

          1. Thomas 4

            Re: Too eager to share

            Its hard to feel sympathy for GCHQ being unable to do illegal surveillance. They'll just have to waterboard and torture their suspects like every body else does. ^^

  4. James Micallef Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Suggestion for law enforcement

    Why not start investing more in ACTUAL police and detective work such as building trust in the community so locals will be happy to tip you off to any wrongdoings, have cops actually walking a beat, and some good old-fashioned undercover work.

    That way, you might catch some real criminals without snooping on everyone indiscriminately

    1. Bob Wheeler
      Joke

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      But that is just so much hard work, old school thinking, get with modern digital era.....

    2. David Pollard

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      Perhaps the authorities could take note of the findings of Professor Nutt, and the committee members who resigned when he was sacked. To decriminalise recreational drugs would free up a great deal of police time and reduce the volume of clutter on law enforcement radar. Also with fewer doors being kicked in to no real advantage there might over time be an improvement in public co-operation.

      http://drugscience.org.uk/

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      As we all know drugs king pins do all their meeting in the open in the middle of streets so that everyone can see them. So if we have police walking the streets they could easily pick them out so that is bound to work well. Sadly in many communities many of the residents work for the drug sellers so that is bound to work well.

      Of course no one knows or more like cares about the toll free numbers they can call to report a crime.

      Does not one think before posting?

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

        "As we all know drugs king pins do all their meeting in the open in the middle of streets so that everyone can see them"

        Hence my reference to undercover police work. maybe you should read and understand posts in their entirety before criticising

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

          I can read what did you think interception was if no 'undercover'. Mind you your special pleading to continue whatever you like is noted.

          Have you seen the stupid response to undercover work that has been running for years?

          The last drugs free for all went so well back in the 1800s didn't it. Personally I would cut the drugs with something useful e.g. cyanide and sell that cheap for a while. It could clean up the drugs market and give the undertakers some useful business

          1. Schultz

            AC: Personally I would cut the drugs with something

            You are disgusting! I hope other people show you more compassion than you show them.

          2. HMB

            Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

            The last drugs free for all went so well back in the 1800s didn't it. Personally I would cut the drugs with something useful e.g. cyanide and sell that cheap for a while. It could clean up the drugs market and give the undertakers some useful business

            David Blunket!!! When did you become a register commentard? :O

            "Machine gun the prisoners!"

            P.S. Do you get some sort of satanic loyalty card for advocating mass extermination of people? Are they like nectar points?

          3. beep54
            Facepalm

            Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

            AC: "Personally I would cut the drugs with something useful e.g. cyanide and sell that cheap for a while. It could clean up the drugs market and give the undertakers some useful business"

            This was actually tried by the US government during Prohibition. It had zero affect of the usage of alcohol, but it DID certainly increase the undertakers business.

          4. HOW many?

            Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

            Or your throat?

            You can practice if you like.

          5. simonb_london

            Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

            "Personally I would cut the drugs with something useful e.g. cyanide...", or continue to support prohibition which has the same effect.

          6. RobHib
            Flame

            @ Anonymous Coward--Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

            ..."cut the drugs with something useful e.g. cyanide and sell that cheap for a while. It could clean up the drugs market and give the undertakers some useful business.

            Damn bloody stupid idiotic response!

            Trouble is we've already too many of the population and people in power who, like you, work on gut reaction and warped thinking rather than rational logic and sense. As with you Anonymous Coward, they hide in the shadows and contribute little or nothing to society except Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

            This story quotes an unnamed official—surprise, surprise! It's not only Anonymous Cowards like you who hide and remain unaccountable but also the Secret State that's prepared to work underhandedly, unlawfully and without proper public accountability that's much of the cause of society's woes today. GCHQ, NSA, DSD etc. are just the current focus—tips of the iceberg that's the whole government edifice and infrastructure which is regularly underhanded and less than honest with the Citizenry.

            It's small-minded people like you who really screw up our governance which often leads to stupid or unacceptable outcomes such as exacerbating/perpetuating the drug problem. Whilst the crims and con merchants are without doubt disreputable and antisocial, at least we can usually understand their logic and rationale.

            In so very few words the great H.L. Mencken, famous journalist, critic and satirist, sums up with ease illogical and dangerous beliefs such as yours:

            "For every difficult and complex problem, there's an obvious solution that's simple, easy—and wrong!"

      2. fruitoftheloon

        @AC Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

        Dear Ac,

        you seem to be quite right....

        J

    4. JohnMurray

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      Maybe real crims are not what they are looking for?

      Maybe, just maybe, real crime is not the agenda?

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

        "Maybe, just maybe, real crime is not the agenda?"

        Of course they're after 'real' criminals!

        It's just that, in the US at least, there's been enough laws passed to make everything you do a potential felony!

        http://www.threefeloniesaday.com/Youtoo/tabid/86/Default.aspx

        Therefore, monitor everyone, because they're all felons!

      2. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

        "Maybe, just maybe, real crime is not the agenda?"

        Fighting crime is not what secret services do.

        Crime fighting is the task of the police. The task of secret services is, obviously, secret.

        However in the public image "fighting crime and terrorism" sounds much better than "spying on (foreign) people to know when to intervene in order to prevent a public uprising". So they now claim to do the former, even though they have to business in doing that.

    5. jason 7

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      I live in a city centre so get a lot of anti-social thuggery going on.

      I once said the to the Police Inspector in charge of the city centre night time crime division at a public forum that I thought it would be a good idea to have a couple of officers on a Friday/Saturday night do a tour of the roads and residential back streets from the main nightclubs areas like security guards do.

      Basically just making sure folks knew there was a Police presence keeping an eye on the darker streets and lanes in the residential areas in an effort to reduce the anti-social goings on. Drunks get up to all sorts when they see a dark alley or lane off the main street.

      She looked puzzled and stated "I do not want officers patrolling in areas where there is nothing going on!"

      I replied "With all due respect but as a resident living in this difficult area, 'nothing going on' is exactly what I want!"

      She had no clue about preventative policing. All she understood was clocking up figures to slap on monthly performance reports. Creating a safe, crime free area just did not compute with her.

      What are they teaching at Hendon these days?

      1. RobHib
        Unhappy

        @ jason 7--Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

        "She had no clue about preventative policing. All she understood was clocking up figures to slap on monthly performance reports."

        The Police has always been a club of insiders so it's always been difficult for the public to figure out how effective policing actually is. Ages ago, it occurred to me that along with regular police recruits we should have conscription to boost police force numbers. Police conscripts, say after six months training, would go on to perform basic policing tasks for another 12/18 months before being eligible to leave.

        No only would this make more time available for regular police to solve major crime but a major and very significant side effect would be that eventually many thousands of ordinary citizens would know how the policing system works from the inside. Politically, this would be a very effective way to improve Police efficiency through increased public awareness and understanding of policing difficulties. But perhaps more importantly it would make the service more accountable and transparent (as both insiders and outsiders would always be watching with eager eyes).

        Of course this would never happen: unlike the army whose objectives are more clear-cut, any now-knowledgeable ex-police conscripts who attempted to lobbied for changes would be instantly accused by permanent police insiders of attempting to undermine the Force, etc.

        Shame it would never happen, as until the 'Them-and-Us' mentality barrier is broken down, policing cannot be truly efficient and effective--if for no other reason than the trust between the Police and the Public will never reach the level that it ought to be at.

    6. linicks

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      Dead right - and now we have CCTV all over the place, and every time there is a crime all we get is grainy, out of focus hoodies doing it. I can't think of ONE instance that anyone gets caught from it, let alone stop crime.

      All that money could have been spent on Bobbies on the beat (and not what you see now with car patrols (the only time I see them) filling up kebab shops at 20:00 hours).

    7. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      Why not start investing more in ACTUAL police and detective work ...

      In order to catch a fox, you have to think like a fox? To be clear, I am not defending the government overreach that has been well documented on this topic, but misuse of a tool does not mean that it lacks valid uses. The tools the various three letter agencies are lamenting the loss of or lessened effectiveness of often have legitimate uses which are now out of reach due to past misuse. It seems disingenuous, though, to simply complain that they can't do the job because the well has been poisoned while still holding the vial. As far as building trust in the community: that pooch has been thoroughly screwed.

    8. HOW many?

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      You are an Agent Provocateur (and I claim my free negligee)

      Damnit sir - That would cost MONEY.

      Oh, and time and effort and an unaffordable &/or impracticable change of culture.

      So we won't, so there.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      I used to walk my dog in a London park at night. The cops and their dogs would patrol in a van. The electric fan on the van's radiator would kick in every few minutes making it really easy to hear them coming. I used to play the game of walking behind a tree at the same rate that the van slowly passed. They never saw me so if I had been a criminal I would not have been caught.

      The cops were too lazy or stupid to actually walk with their dogs and get picked up at the perimeter.

    10. Medixstiff

      Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

      "Why not start investing more in ACTUAL police and detective work"

      Because the idiots up top listen to the bean counters and the sales people, who talk up "operational efficiency" and how "our software and solutions" can do all manner of made up BS.

      It's the same with Police forces and most government agencies that save costs by firing people, payroll is the number one expense to any organisation, they don't understand that coppers in cars patrolling, cause people to pull their heads in, speed cameras don't.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to eliminate drug lords

    Legalise drugs. And just think of all those lovely taxes. You need some more of those, don't you?

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: How to eliminate drug lords

      > just think of all those lovely taxes

      So no drug lords, just drug lord smugglers?

      Actually, drug lords are a fact of life in a free society, as is murder and paedophilia.

      If you think you've found a criminal, get a warrant.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: How to eliminate drug lords

        "If you think you've found a criminal, get a warrant."

        And if the criminal is operating in a country that won't respect your extradition request?

        1. LegalAlien

          Re: How to eliminate drug lords

          Oh well, we'll just have to let Bolivian criminals be the... err problem of f*ing Bolivia then! What sort of stupid comment is that?

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: How to eliminate drug lords

            Because the country may not be on friendly terms with you. Meaning you're between a rock and a hard place. Going after him's bad enough, but you can't leave him there, either.

            1. Rattus Rattus

              Re: How to eliminate drug lords

              Of course you can leave him there! Or do you think you're the world police, just like America?

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: How to eliminate drug lords

                Fine, then, leave the existential threat there to destroy you...

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