back to article UK Home Sec's defence of bulk spying: We 'found' a paedo (we already knew about)

The Home Secretary has given a written statement to a Parliamentary committee explaining why she believes GCHQ's bulk surveillance activities are needed. Earlier this month Theresa May stumbled when asked to deliver an "operational case" for bulk interception by the joint committee providing pre-legislative scrutiny of the …

Anonymous Coward

> 53 per cent were deemed to be frivolous or vexatious

I wonder if those determinations would hold water when viewed by an impartial observer.

What do they view as "frivolous" or "vexatious".

This is the problem with closed-door justice.

It's not enough that justice is served. It has to be seen to be served.

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Credibility

Does May have any left?

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Re: Credibility

Did she have any to start with?

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Unhappy

Re: Credibility. Does May have any left?

So what if she doesn't?

The group behind this will simply tell the next sock puppet the same story, which they will be either unable or unwilling to call "bu****it" on.

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Anonymous Coward

And every byte will be passed onto the NSA and the other signatory nations or Five Eyes. She does not mention that bit.

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Unhappy

Isn't it the 11-eyes or something now?

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Flame

Thanks for the examples, Theresa!

Thanks for proving that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then. Now, tell us how many innocent people are getting surveilled, or having their web browsing histories saved for the forseeable future, in case they ever decide to do something even remotely controversial.

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Gimp

"Now, tell us how many innocent people are getting surveilled, "

You're not thinking like a data fetishist.

To these people there are no innocent people.

Only ones they haven't found something out about that can be used.

No that doesn't make sense to a normal person.

But these people are not normal.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't see what the problem is.

These laws are only to allow our government to see what we're doing here.

We can safely assume the yanks are already able to.

About the worst that's going to happen, is that a small number of people will find their careers altered, because the government is never going to admit that they're directing nutters away from sensitive posts.

There are full blown communists, fascists, islamists, etc living in this country, and it's not like we're abducting them from the streets.

I myself wrote completely lost it with my local council last year and my local politician over a planning issue, and it's not like I'm languishing in some jail in Cuba.

When people are abducted from the streets, and GCHQ stop hiring people with families, then I'll worry. Until then, I'm more worried about Jihadists.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't see what the problem is.

LOL!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't see what the problem is.

Nice satire, but jihadists are a statistically irrelevant threat. Mass surveillance on the other hand changes the very nature of our society.

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Re: I don't see what the problem is.

First they came for the spies, and I didn't speak up for I an not a spy. Then they came for the police using RIPA, and I did not speak up for I am not police.

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Re: I don't see what the problem is.

Right up until they find something to pin on you.

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Re: I don't see what the problem is.

Your chances of losing your life/being injured in a motor vehicle accident in the next 12 months are much higher than your chances of being killed/maimed by a terrorist attack.

Your happy family home is more likely to be disrupted and irrevocably changed by the loss of your job and house during the next financial crash than by the actions of a (known) paedofile.

Sorry, what was your point again?

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FAIL

So with *all * that time to prepare and the whole of the Home Office to help her out.

This is what she produces.

1 "sort of" terrorist

1 already known paedo buying it from a web site.

This is it.

This is the best she can come up with justify universal data collection of every email, txt and web site's meta data (where "meta data" includes a shedload of stuff like user passwords) visit in the UK

Lame.

It would seem the civil servants contempt for parliament has rubbed off on her.

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Re: So with *all * that time to prepare and the whole of the Home Office to help her out.

You're right, it doesn't make sense. Theresa May isn't stupid, far from it she's a shrewd political operator in the running to be Prime Minister. So why does she come across so unprepared? She's got the whole Home Office predicting likely questions and preparing answers for her so she can't actually be as surprised as she makes out.

Maybe its a way to divert the committee's attention - and that of the media - away from the real point of the Bill, whatever thst is (my guess would be the database slurp that's tacked on the end like an afterthought but it might be something in the metadata collection).

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Re: So with *all * that time to prepare and the whole of the Home Office to help her out.

It would seem that if this were the corporate world, with that rate of "return on investment" that the departments engaging in this would be made redundant really fast. I shudder to think how much money has been tossed into the drainpipe for this. Not just in your country, but mine also (US).

It would be interesting to see a cost breakdown and if perhaps the money (yours and my taxes to our governments) could be better spent.

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Re: So with *all * that time to prepare and the whole of the Home Office to help her out.

Well, she hasn't produced anything as both Daesh terrorist and paedo website were already known and tracking communication with either does not require bulk collection.

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"Theresa May isn't stupid, far from it she's a shrewd political operator..." -- Adam 52

Well; most politicians, however 'shrewd', are certainly not all that far from stupid. Success as a politician, regretfully, relies on some other qualities rather more than intelligence. To some extent, possessing it, let alone demonstrating it, is often regarded as a bit of a disadvantage.

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Re: So with *all * that time to prepare and the whole of the Home Office to help her out.

"Theresa May isn't stupid, far from it she's a shrewd political operator in the running to be Prime Minister. So why does she come across so unprepared? She's got the whole Home Office predicting likely questions and preparing answers for her so she can't actually be as surprised as she makes out."

Some idle musings on a rainy sunday morning that may (ha!) or may not apply:

No party*, administration or ministry is a monolithic block, ever. There is always some serious infighting, a jockeying for position, personal vendettas.**

Could be May has deeply offended one or several of her Sir Humphreys and now they are yanking her chain a bit***. Could be someone else thinks her being in the running to be PM is above her station and she needs to be cut down to size, so to speak. Who knows?

*There is some sort of proverb in Krautistan that loosely translates as "What's the comparative form of 'mortal enemy'? Fellow party member!"

**This has, of course, nothing to do with 'getting the job at hand done'. Which is probably one of the reasons only occasionally you'll find any engineers in the very top spots

***There is another sort of proverb that says "Wer glaubt, daß Abteilungsleiter Abteilungen leiten, der glaubt auch, daß Zitronenfalter Zitronen falten", but so far I couldn't come up with a translation that really works. Sorry. Anyone who wants to give it a try?

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Re: So with *all * that time to prepare and the whole of the Home Office to help her out.

"There is another sort of proverb that says "Wer glaubt, daß Abteilungsleiter Abteilungen leiten, der glaubt auch, daß Zitronenfalter Zitronen falten", but so far I couldn't come up with a translation that really works. Sorry. Anyone who wants to give it a try?" --- allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

How about ...

"Expecting the brains of the Department (company, division, group) to be in the Head of the same is like expecting to find pants in the pantry"

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" To some extent, possessing it [intelligence], let alone demonstrating it, is often regarded as a bit of a disadvantage."

Yep, just take a look at how Jeremy Corbyn has been treated.

(....watches the balance of up/down votes with interest....)

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Bring your own tinfoil.

I dont know why you lot continue with this. GCHQ will continue to collect the data whether its illegal or not. They always have done, and always will.

They are the "Secret Service" Is that not a giveaway? They are not just allowed to hide what they do, they are required to. If you don't want them to know, then its a good idea to leave the electrons alone.

As my granny used to say: "The only way to keep a secret is not to tell anyone".

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Re: Bring your own tinfoil.

At the risk of being flamed into oblivion, and with the knowledge that other views of the issue are both possible and nothing I would seek to deny anyone the right to hold, by the same logic (at least it appears similar to me):

.

I don't know why we continue to have laws against robbing banks. Bank robbers will continue to grab the money whether it's illegal or not. They always have done and they always will.

.

Feel free to insert any activity, currently covered by legal restriction or otherwise, for 'robbing banks'. Does it make any sense at all?

Whether or not anyone will continue to carry out an action is not, to me at least, any reason not to make a noise about it, seek to restrain it or bring it into the light if those who wish to do so find the 'justification' for the activity to be lacking.

Of course, I'm probably talking rubbish - I'm an Idiot... (blush).

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Re: Bring your own tinfoil.

By making something illegal we can seek redress against transgressors and discourage the actions in others, obvious in the case of individuals but vital in the case of government and other otherwise unaccountable groups.

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Re: Bring your own tinfoil...... @scrubber

By making something illegal we can seek redress against transgressors and discourage the actions in others, obvious in the case of individuals but vital in the case of government and other otherwise unaccountable groups. .... scrubber

Waging war is surely always illegal until some idiots in governments justify it. Stupidity apparently knows no bounds. And the masses accept it as normal. And that is touted as an intelligent species?

What a joke.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." .... Albert Einstein

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Re: Bring your own tinfoil.

The difference here is ISPs would not have to support it, not collect sensitive data (to be spilled like TalkTalk, etc) and not have to increase our bills to provide the gov with data that probably has bugger-all value.

If GCHQ have a limited budget and only cable taps then they have to prioritise what they do, and that probably means setting filters on the real-time taps, etc, to manage data volumes. Also it means the every petty bureaucrat cant go an a fishing expedition against you without going via GCHQ and that kind of raises the bar as I'm sure they have better things to do that field questions about the sort of petty things that most people get in to disputes over.

That is the point, yes we need spy agencies but we also need rules for what they are allowed to do (and that in my view allows for interfering with computers, as that is by nature a targeted activity), and who they are answerable to. What is being proposed is a mass data and power grab by the gov without any meaningful justification.

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Anonymous will have a field day.

What happens WHEN (not if) some of this slurped data falls into the wrong hands. Though to be honest, I think anyone who wants it is "the wrong hands."

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Thumb Up

Theresa May's Bogeyman Checklist

* Terrists [√]

* Paedos [√]

* If you've not done anything wrong, you've nothing to hide [ ]

Oh well. As Meatloaf said, "two out of three ain't bad".

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Re: Theresa May's Bogeyman Checklist

* If you've not done anything wrong, you've nothing to hide [ ]

Shirley: if you've not done anything wrong then we have missed out some of the rules.

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Timed out?

53 per cent were deemed to be frivolous or vexatious

31 per cent were given a “no determination”

10 per cent were out of the jurisdiction of the IPT; and the remaining

Six per cent were out of time

Presumably the six percent out of time were the important and valid complaints that they ignored while weeding out the frivolous, vexatious and out of jurisdiction cases - the weeding process taking so long that the others expired.

And what the hell does "no determination" mean??

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Timed out?

Exactly.

Are they saying they effective ignored 100% of the complaints?!?

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Anonymous Coward

Time to get real

Authorities are not going to disclose to the public and the crims what they are able to learn from computer monitoring of mass communication. The people who least understand the need for monitoring of mass communications are the one's who complain the loudest. Maybe they should invest some time in educating themselves on digital crime and the world we live in today? Then they might have a clue as to why monitoring mass communications is a necessity not an option.

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Re: Time to get real

With such stunning naivety and all round ignorance the world will truly be a wonderful place to live in if views like yours are in the majority. Two things from this..

1. The vote needs to be means tested for intelligence

2. The prospect of trial by jury should frighten everyone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time to get real

You sound like Quintus in the film Galdiator:

"People should know when they are conquered."

Presumably you think nanny knows best as well?

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Anonymous Coward

Too late.

In 2014, GCHQ analysis of bulk data...

...in 2013 GCHQ identified a UK national using sites containing images of child sexual exploitation...

So they now admit to collecting bulk data since 2013 at least

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Big Brother

"Carefully directed searches of large volumes of data also allow the security and intelligence agencies to identify patterns of activity that significantly narrows down the areas for investigation and allows them to prioritise intelligence leads."

This may be true.

That does not necessarily make it right.

"All citizens must wear a GPS Tag 24/7 so we can track who dumped that body we found". Somehow I don't see there being the same public support, despite that being the effective result of the proposed legislation.

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M7S
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The issue with objections to this not having any effect...

..is that not enough people understand the issue, so it needs to be put in terms they might understand.

Now, whilst I support the idea of effective law enforcement, to protect the public and try to keep costs to the exchequer at a reasonable level, I have some concerns about a broad trawl of everyone's data, and mixed views on how far we should allow the various services to go to, well, serve us (although no objection to the principle as I like not being murdered, robbed etc).

If you passed a law saying that if a wanted person was believed to be in a particular parish, that every house in that parish could be searched without further warrant, including during the dead of night by a stealth team of ninja-like officials (so as, considerately, not to wake us) with skeleton keys there might be some disquiet. If you then said that in fact these searches would take place regularly, regardless of suspicion, then people might even tut in disapproval. If you said that searching every house in the country found one alleged paedophile a year, then perhaps more of the public might take a different view of the proportionality of the actions involved.

Similarly if you proposed that everyone walking jauntily down a street could have their pockets surreptiously picked for any document, post-it note or till receipt to be quickly copied and this copy then filed and indexed prior to its return, on the off chance that evidence of criminality might later be revealed then there might even be a sigh of disapproval over the newspaper at breakfast.

On the other hand if the authorities were able to somehow show via regular (and perhaps independently inspected, hopefully to satisfy the distrustful) public reports that they were eliminating things like illegal pornography (and I'll leave the debate on what should constitute this alone here) and the trade in things like fake/dangerous pharmaceuticals by simply tracing the payments, and then having the bank terminating the arrangement with the payment processors, repeat, repeat, repeat etc until solved (or reasonably close) and also similarly stopping the villainy that preys via the internet on the gullible with various scams then there might be a bit more support and acceptance of the need for and practice of widespread trawling of "our" private information.

Working on the peripheries of the finance industry, and being aware of the amount of KYC and AML that is required and in our case complied with, I still find it hard to understand why blatantly illegal material can be purchased via conventional payment cards yet the moment wikileaks became embarrassing some years ago, their ability to accept donations could be terminated in a heartbeat. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/13/wikileaks_visa_victory/ Perhaps the authorities might like to reassure us with visible and understandable results in order to restore the trust that we'd like to have in them, and then work forwards from there.

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Anonymous Coward

Bulk Data

"GCHQ analysis of bulk data uncovered a previously unknown individual in contact with a Daesh-affiliated extremist in Syria who was suspected of being involved in planning an attack against the West.... GCHQ was able to use bulk data to identify that he had traveled to a European country."

Bogey man of the day! Bingo!

Meanwhile in Poland and Hungary, the governments are entrenching, and installing mass surveillance to keep the populace in check and remove the democratic checks and balances. Courts are being stacked so that laws cannot be enforced against the governments, and control of the media is being taken away.

EU if fighting back by claiming its a breach or the process directive. ECHR has already declared bulk mass surveillance on grounds of National Security illegal.

But that would never happen in the UK right? A civil servant would never ignore Parliament and simply come up with some fanciful interpretation of an old telecoms law. Right? Parliament wouldn't reject mass surveillance only to have an individual overrule them. You'd never strip out judicial protections from the surveillance system either? Make it so ridiculously loose that the most minor of hi-viz jacket official can see the most private details of the most important politicians and their families without a warrant? A system designed to be abused?

No that would be some OTHER country not UK.

And you lot have/would never used [bulk data] against journalists, politicians, judges, campaigners etc.? You never spied on the Guardian over Snowden for a foreign power for example?

No, of course not, you're GOOD STASI, all the other STASI are deluded BAD STASI, fooled into thinking they were the good guys.

Enough.

ECHR has ruled mass surveillance on claims of "National Security" illegal. Parliament never authorized it, Farr is out of control. Time for you donutters to yield to the democracy and obey the f**ing laws of the country you are supposed to represent.

How much of your surveillance effort is currently directed as passing this surveillance law?

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It is all sbout

It is all about ensuring that the general population are cowed and scared into behaving themselves. If you can't fart without the thought police beating down your front door you certainly can't organise protests, can't organise labour, can't organise anything that might possibly upset the status quo. Thus the rich get to continually add to their pile of wealth while the rest of us squabble over the occasional microcurmb. What is the statistic... I think it is 62 people own half the worlds wealth. In the UK 1% at the top have more than 55% of the rest....

No wonder they want to keep their beady little eye on the plebs... the situation is worse than in France before the revolution, Russia or China.

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Missing the point.

The government, along with various departments of lackeys and lickspittles, but without oversight of Parliament, have been carrying out mass surveillance of the British public for the last 15 years. This latest bill is just another attempt to justify their criminal actions, and its floundering already.

When are the arrests going to be made?

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