back to article Law changed to allow GCHQ hacking ... just as GCHQ hauled into court for hacking

Government legislation to exempt GCHQ from prosecution on charges of illegal hacking has been passed and come into effect – apparently torpedoing an ongoing claim against the surveillance agency being heard by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. Last July, a coalition of internet service providers and international …

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'It's not illegal when the government does it'.

Sounds like something Nixon would say.

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Black Helicopters

Good thing he's dead, then.

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Devil

It seems that Tricky Dick's body might be dead, but his spirit lives on--kind of like Sauron.

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Well... his spirit has shown up in the US via Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and now Obama. It seems to work and there's no reason why it shouldn't have spread to other countries,

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Don't forget "Echelon" Carter. There's also Eisenhower and the creation of the NSA & since Nixon was his understudy.... Really though this predates thethe Republic with the interception and "undetectable" opening and copying of the mail so this all has standing as precedent.

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Good point on Ike. I forgot about him...

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This is what the Human Rights Act is for

The thing about "rights" is they are not actually rights at all. They are government dont's.

This provision is basically the equivalent of legalising burglary, if you're a rozzer.

Given that our parliament is too supine to exercise proper oversight, we need the courts to protect us.

The much maligned Article 8 (the one that the Daily Mail hates so much) as well as protecting your right to family life, protects your home and your privacy.

There may well be a strong argument that the exemption introduced is incompatible with Article 8.

If you get rid of human rights, you are trusting your government.

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Re: This is what the Human Rights Act is for

People who are disenfranchised will create their own legal solutions. And there is no getting them back. What eventually happens is that prisons have to swell to accommodate them but sooner or later people just get used to being outlaws. Easier to live with now that Australia has its' version of a dem...oh...wait

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FAIL

Re: This is what the Human Rights Act is for

Colonel Panic wrote:

The much maligned Article 8 (the one that the Daily Mail hates so much) as well as protecting your right to family life, protects your home and your privacy.

There may well be a strong argument that the exemption introduced is incompatible with Article 8.

You might want to actually read it, and take note of the comprehensive list of exceptions to the rights.

Right to respect for private and family life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

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Thumb Down

If you can't win...

Just move the goal posts...

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Re: If you can't win...

They're learning from the badgers

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Big Brother

Well, what a surprise!

The Tories have a track record of changing the law when they look to be on the losing side of an argument.

Now our broken electoral system has given them another five years, expect to see plenty more of this.

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Re: Well, what a surprise!

Grayling as justice secretary was a great fan of this. He even managed the trick of getting his changes thrown out in court because they conflicted with changes he himself had previously put in place.

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Unhappy

Re: Well, what a surprise!

To be fair, I bet the Labor Party would not be above this either. They're track record on surveillance/civil liberties/intrusive regulation and inspections was pretty crappy when Blair and Brown were living on Downing Street.

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Re: Well, what a surprise!

The Tories have a track record of changing the law

Just for balance, Labour were just as bad (remember the double jeopardy law they changed so they could re-try the suspected Lawrence murderers). It was also Labour who introduced most of the surveillance legislation in the first place.

Broken electoral system or not (and I tend to agree) I reckon this would have happened if Labour had won.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, what a surprise!

Broken electoral system or not (and I tend to agree) I reckon this would have happened if Labour had won.

Indeed. Because what we have isn't democracy, it's drip drip drip dictatorship.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Well, what a surprise!

This has been buried by ALL members of the previous parliament, so you can't blame any one party over another.

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Re: Well, what a surprise!

I should point out that I have no love for Labour and I'm entirely sure they would have come up with their own way of weaselling out of this...

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Re: Well, what a surprise!

"To be fair, I bet the Labor Party would not be above this either."

What, you mean the Australians have had a hand in this?

Oh, I see, you probably meant the Labour Party.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, what a surprise!

I should point out that I have no love for Labour and I'm entirely sure they would have come up with their own way of weaselling out of this...

Then why make it party specific in the first place? This would only matter if there were any significant objections from what can now rightly be called the shadow side, and as far as I can tell there have been none.

What matters is the retrospective excusing of something that was wrong at the time when it took place. To me, that publicly declares transparency and accountability as dead and buried, which is a significant portion of why you can call a nation democratic. From a privacy perspective, this effectively puts the UK on a list of places not to be.

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Re: Well, what a surprise!

> Then why make it party specific in the first place?

Because they were the ones I was thinking of at the time, for instance with IDS getting the law retroactively changed to stop people sueing the Government for illegallly forcing them to work for free at Poundland etc.

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Re: Well, what a surprise!

What matters is the retrospective excusing of something that was wrong at the time when it took place.

This is precisely the main issue I have with this matter. Never mind whether you think this law change is right or wrong.

All legal action should be conducted under the law as it stood when the event took place. Laws should never apply to events before they came into force.

To make an example: Today, it is illegal for me to drive without insurance. Say I did so anyway, but tomorrow that law was changed. I should still be prosecuted, as I broke the law. It does not matter that it is no longer illegal. The fact is that I broke the law.

Similarly, today it is legal for me to drive with a certain level of alcohol in my blood. If I was pulled over, and found to have a BAC just under that limit, but then the law was changed tomorrow to zero tolerance, I should not be prosecuted as I did not break the law at the time.

What matters is the law at the time.

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Headmaster

Re: Well, what a surprise!

I'm American, so I have joined the war against unnecessary use of "buy-a-vowel" in my vocabulary. Makes things a little less labor-ious. :)

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Roo
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Windows

I sincerely hope that our legislators have nothing to hide...

... because if they do have something to hide they won't be in a position to deliver on their manifesto (as if they gave a toss anyway).

On the bright side it looks like Dave & Theresa have saved me bother of wasting 10 minutes voting in ~4-5 years time.

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May 3,

May 3, May 3, humm

Was there something going on around there that would have filled up all the newspapers and the TV schedule?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: May 3,

Ok, some of us aren't locals. What WAS going on on the 3rd? An election?

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Facepalm

Re: May 3,

The election was the 7th.

big things on the 3rd were

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-32572838

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-32578038

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32572408

but he was probably referring to this

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-baby-born-recap-wait-5628278

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Anonymous Coward

"There was no public debate"

Does that mean this bill was not debated or voted upon by MPs, and not published in Hansard or whatever?

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Black Helicopters

This raises another serious issue

How are we,the public, expected to keep up with all this legislative change?

After all, you can't use ignorance as a defence when you inadvertently break the law.

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Facepalm

Re: This raises another serious issue

I think that at least in this case, the intent was that the public would definitely NOT be able to keep up with this particular legislative change.

Instead, how about a nice lengthy, public debate on whether traditional fox-hunting should be allowed? Or perhaps whether bangers and mash should be designated as the official comfort food of the United Kingdom? Maybe a long discussion on an act honoring Britain's Roman heritage through the return of bread and circuses for the masses?

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Anonymous Coward

Scrutiny?

How can the government make legislation with public scrutiny?

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Re: Scrutiny?

They have been able to do so to some degree for quite some time. Google the term 'statuatory instrument' if you don't believe me.

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I can only hope

There is grounds to challenge on the basis of the human rights act. That would really piss them off.

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Big Brother

Re: I can only hope

What Human Rights Act?

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Wouldn't it be nice

... if our spies spent more time spying on the baddies instead of pissing around creating ever more elaborate mass surveillance programmes for domestic use.

The next James Bond film is going to be really boring as our hero, bathed in the glare of a monitor, hacks into yet another thousand home routers in Cornwall. Gasp at Q's exploding iPad and the souped up Google BMW on autopilot running off the road when some light drizzle buggers up its sensors.

Cheers

Jon

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Black Helicopters

Re: Wouldn't it be nice

"... if our spies spent more time spying on the baddies instead of pissing around creating ever more elaborate mass surveillance programmes for domestic use."

But that would be against their current charter, after all - the 'baddies' aren't the enemy - the public is. None of the 'baddies' can remove their power, and they are doing their damnedest to ensure the public cannot either.

Do I hear the tones of an operatic female vocal indicating substantial body mass?

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Surely the suspected criminals here are no less guilty if the law is changed after the fact ? They broke the law AT THE TIME. That's what makes the act criminal. What it is now is irrelevant.

The government might, in the same way they did for Alan Turing, offer a post-trial and perhaps post-mortem pardon if they judge the criminal acts to be non-criminal in the light of later laws. But the point is, the civil servants deliberately flouted the law as they knew it, and, unlike Turing, in the course of their work. That's what makes them, and their managers, unfit for office. They can't be trusted.

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UK law does actually allow for the laws to be changed retroactively. Whether they should take advantage of that is another issue entirely, but if they can get it through Parliament then it can both criminalise (yes, you can do something legal and then it suddenly becomes illegal after the fact) and de-criminalise past behaviour

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Enjoy it while it lasts

Retroactively criminalising acts (or even increasing the punishment for them) is another thing that's outlawed by the Human Rights Act/ECHR: Article 7 specifically deals with it.

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Unhappy

Everyone is doing it.

Here in the Northern Colony, our government is in the midst of passing legislation which will retroactively shield the RCMP from impending charges. Our government says our national police force works for the government. I always thought they worked for the citizens but it appears the times are changing.

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Anonymous Coward

I have some speeding tickets..

.. from when I went 5 mph over the limit a couple of years back. Now that road has its speed limit removed. Does that mean I can get my money back now?

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Anonymous Coward

All you need to know about UK Government

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'. It's often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that's helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.

“This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach."

And those quotes, even though they came from David Cameron could have been from either of the political parties in the UK (no, there's no such thing as Lib Dem any more, UKIP are about to implode and SNP hmm, OK, three parties)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All you need to know about UK Government

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone...'

Exactly, the public should be utterly outraged at this abuse of the law and be completely intolerant of Cameron/May's (further) attempts to erode our rights.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FSM

Eric King, the Deputy Director, criticised the "underhand and undemocratic manner in which the Government is seeking to make lawful GCHQ's hacking operations."

He then went on to say, "SURPRISE MOTHERF**KER"

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When there's one rule for them, and another for those, do fools only follow such rules.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. No one rules and has command and control of cyberspace ...... although it is increasingly being realised the space to be in command and control of for power down on Earth.

It is though an irregular and unconventional place which does not suffer from a lack of intelligence in agents/state and non state actors at their work, rest and play.

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IT Angle

Re: When there's one rule for them, and another for those, do fools only follow such rules.

https://youtu.be/s6VaeFCxta8 - A-HA, Hunting High And Low + @ 2:42

Would one argue that the song and its visible voilee dress is full of some kind of enchanting beauty?

"This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear" - Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strength_(Tarot_card)

To keep one's shark away of arrows would be a well and quite understandably excusing temporary decision and an intelligent step forward until it's not perfectly clear what to do. T = K90 C already, and rising, we've missed the lucky fall. Well, LOVE*, one's sunglasses, are enough well silver-plated to worry about some weird extra quantum passing by (-:

just cheer one up bro if

https://youtu.be/ssx5yHwiEOs , Camouflage (Naweed Remix) - Love Is A Shield

*Live Operation Virtual Environment, @SATOR

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Retrospective Law?

I thought that it wasn't legal to apply changes to laws retrospectively? This was why that broadcaster was given a very light sentence for child abuse, because he'd done it when the law was less severe.

Perhaps there's some difference when an act is amended, or perhaps when it's done through the statutory powers they used. Please let me know if you know the actual answer?

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name a 20th Century dictator...

Cameron seems to be Increasingly using the language of former fascist and communist dictators with his drive to protect freedom by restricting freedom. Gchq's shenanigans are only another facet of this whole sorry rhetoric.

I'm waiting for the UK enabling act next

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Roll on the spirit of meanness...

Another Tory "fuck you and stick this middle finger where it hurts"

Also, it's getting close to that time when I have to leave this dear place with its sick government.

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