back to article Home Sec: Web snoop law will snare PAEDOS, TERRORISTS

The Home Secretary has defended her department's decision to resurrect net-snooping plans that were abandoned by the previous Labour government in 2009. Theresa May, writing in The Sun, finally put forward her opinion two days after the tabloid's sister paper – The Sunday Times – ran a story containing a small amount of …

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  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Dear Ms May

    Our major concerns with Terrorists and Paedo's is the risk of being falsely labelled as one by some ignorant civil servant snooping on our private conversations and jumping to the wrong conclusion.

    Might I suggest a read of the badscience.com website and that you educate yourself and your flunkies on the likelyhood of false positives when there are a very small number of actual villains? ie you will ruin far more innocents lives than catch criminals.

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  2. Richard Wharram
    Unhappy

    "Paedo 9/11"

    Was the lame mantra The Daily Mash predicted Ms May would be spouting today.

    Satire is not as funny when it turns out to be completely true.

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    2. John G Imrie Silver badge
      Happy

      It's...

      Paedogedden!!!!

      Smiley icon because the Cake episode was almost as much fun.

  3. Matt 75
    WTF?

    what exactly is the difference...

    so, all the government has to do to be able to snoop on an 'ordinary person' is brand them a 'suspected terrorist'?

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: what exactly is the difference...

      Your dog took a crap in the park, clearly you are a terrorist.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: what exactly is the difference...

      "so, all the government has to do to be able to snoop on an 'ordinary person' is brand them a 'suspected terrorist'?"

      No.

      Your information is watched by *default*.

      No branding necessary. Also no warrant. Of *any* kind. That's the change.

  4. phuzz Silver badge
    WTF?

    "Last year...[bad people were caught]".

    So last year they caught some bad people, without any new legislation, so, er, why do we need new legislation if the security services seem to be doing just fine without it?

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Exactly

      This point cannot be over emphasised. We have the ability and the systems to do this, with some form of control, to make sure only reasonable and necessary snooping is done. I have yet to see a justification for the change.

      The risks of the status quo is that the warrant granter just rubber stamps meaning there is no control - but (s)he would be in hot water should the request, in actual fact, be ultra-vires.

      The risks of the new system would be that it is abused, or there would be fishing expeditions against, say, troublesome privacy activists, or even that some scroat in the outsouricng company would just decide to have a look at what <insert celebrity/fit chick on the bus> has been up to.

      This is a dangerous slippery slope, and I hoped it had died a death with the last Government.

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "Last year, police smashed a major international child pornography website based in Lincolnshire. They then used internet data analysis to find other suspected paedophiles," she said.

    Well from there own admission the current laws and internet data analysis techniques were enough to be able to do their job so what's the justification to increase the surveillance?

    1. Richard Wharram

      "what's the justification to increase the surveillance?"

      "Paedo 9/11"

      Repeat...

      :)

      1. Irongut

        Re: "what's the justification to increase the surveillance?"

        It will be Paedo 9/11 times 2,356.

        And, nobody knows what that is.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "what's the justification to increase the surveillance?"

          You mean 1927.63 recurring? That's terrible!

          Seriously Ms May, are you genuinely that ****ing stupid, or do you think we are? Oh yes, "There's no big central Government database" - instead you want to insist that all the ISP and social media sites store the data instead, at their cost.

          Privatised snooping, so to speak.

          Your party threw this out during the last Parliament, and 100% of Lib Dem and about 50% of Conservative MPs are against it. Labour are of course massively for it, except that it's a Conservative plan now so they're against it.

          Even aside from the stamping on civil liberties, it can't even work anyway for a multitude of reasons.

          As to your ****ing stupid quote of "nothing to fear" - Do you have curtains at your windows? Are you happy to tell everyone in the Metropolitan Police everything you do online? How about everyone in your constituency?

          No, of course not. Yet you have "nothing to fear" by doing so, right?

          1. thenim
            Gimp

            Re: "what's the justification to increase the surveillance?"

            That's where you are mistaken...

            This only applies to the plebs, the bourgeoisie are free to continue their hedonistic ways unabated...

            In one fell swoop, the entire population of the UK have been classes as terrorists and paedophiles - time to ship the lot to the counterweight continent methinks (oh wait, that was tried before)...

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: time to ship the lot to the counterweight continent

              Smashing idea, assuming you mean the politicians. Perhaps our counterweight cronies could arrange a welcoming party consisting of the ten deadliest species of, oh I don't know, pick any animal group you like really.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what's the real story?

    The article doesn't make it clear what's being proposed; just that the government would like to be able to analyze internet usage after-the-fact (like checking out what phone calls someone has made).

    It sounds like they're going to require ISPs to retain a database of your internet traffic (similar to some corporate firewalls); but for how long and what processes are required to access it?

    So instead of government using taxes to do the spying, they'll make the ISP's do it for them. This has the advantage (for the government) that people will pay for it through higher charges for internet services (ISP's will just pass the cost to the consumer).

    I expect, because it is a Tory initiative, that a few companies will spring up to assist the ISPs with their snooping; each with its own set of Tory non-exec directors (Phorm a queue please).

    1. Miek

      Re: So what's the real story?

      "I expect, because it is a Tory initiative," -- wrong, it is a security services push. The security service basically keeps coming back with the same proposal re-branded with a different name every couple of years.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So what's the real story?

      From what David Davis said it looks like they'll want to keep the stuff for 2 years (better than the NSA in the US who, according to James Bamford, have stuff over a decade old they haven't managed to decrypt yet).

  7. SJRulez

    No central database - just lots of little ones

    "no central database" would be created for such a system.

    Yep they thought that out well, they can keep saying there wont be one as its likely there wont. The suggestion seems to be the ISP's will have to store the data so technically they are right and can believe themselves when they say.

    1. Doctor_Wibble

      Re: No central database - just lots of little ones

      Ah, yes - "no central database" - deny something that nobody has said - I seem to recall the last government took exactly the same line. Smith wrote in the Mirror, May writes in the Sun - different parties, same tactics.

      Could be mis-remembering but I don't think any of these plans (current or previous) ever actually involved a single big central database, did they?

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: No central database - just lots of little ones

      Of course, since the ISPs don't actually get a commercial benefit from recording anything or keeping it safe, the quality of the data and the security around it will utter shite and it will be available to anyone who goes looking, quite possibly with write access.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No central database - just lots of little ones

      Or just one database mirrored among multiple locations, its not central in that case.

    4. Graham Marsden
      Big Brother

      Re: No central database - just lots of little ones

      Remember the actual quote was: "There are no plans for any big government database"

      Not "We will not create a big government database" but only "there are no plans (yet) for a big government database"...

      1. Frank Haney
        Black Helicopters

        "No plans..."

        The exact quote from Teresa May was "There are no plans for any big government database. No one is going to be looking through ordinary people's emails or Facebook posts. Only suspected terrorists, paedophiles or serious criminals will be investigated,"

        And El Reg fell for it. "The Register can't help but note the language here: To repeat, May said no big government database would be created"

        To repeat: no she didn't. She said they haven't got around to planning a big government database. Yet.

  8. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    hmmmm...

    "Only suspected terrorists, paedophiles or serious criminals will be investigated," said the Home Secretary.

    So their out is, everyone will be a suspected terrorist, paedophile or serious criminal. Until proven otherwise.

    1. Si 1
      FAIL

      Re: hmmmm...

      Yes, I spotted that bit of bullshit too. First she said: "No one is going to be looking through ordinary people's emails or Facebook posts."

      But if that's the case, then how will they know to investigate or suspect someone of being a terrorist or paedo in the first place? They have to snoop in order to know!

      And of course as we all know any terrorist/paedo/criminal with at least two brain cells to rub together will know to encrypt and obfuscate their communications so that they're impossible to track/read. An utter waste of tax payers money.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: hmmmm...

        "No one is going to be looking through ordinary people's emails or Facebook posts."

        Software isn't a person.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: hmmmm...

          That's not the point.

          The real danger of this kind of thing is that having arrested someone on suspicion of $crime$, they want to be able to trawl though everything that person has done online in order to find something, anything to pin on them. Regardless of what it is.

    2. Oliver Mayes

      Re: hmmmm...

      Like how councils were granted powers to spy on people with the promise that only benefit cheats and tax dodgers will be targeted. Fast forward 12 months and they're using it for anyone they suspect of doing anything wrong from littering to not clearing up after their dogs. Emphasis on 'they suspect'.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Flame

      Re: hmmmm...

      ""Only suspected terrorists, paedophiles or serious criminals will be investigated," said the Home Secretary."

      So just *like* the justification for the RIPA.

      BS then. Sounds like BS today.

    4. Jimmy 1

      Re: hmmmm...

      Given that we all accept that paedophilia and terrorism are loathsome crimes, could Saint Theresa be persuaded to amend her proposed surveillance legislation so that it includes another category of criminals, namely the incompetent, self-serving politicians who pose a far greater threat to our national stability.

      Not content with destroying our economy with their free-markets, deregulation and 'greed-is-good' bullshit, they are now busily dismantling OUR public services for the enrichment of their entrepreneurial friends.

      When I refer to entrepreneurial friends I naturally include Tory Blair and his New Labour parasites.

  9. Grahame 2
    Alert

    No central database = network of mandated privately held databases accessible in real-time (net result, same damn thing)

    Strong safeguards (today) = burdensome red tape (tomorrow)

    Serious Crime = All crime is serious, otherwise it would be be crime, would it?

    Paedos, Terrorists and major criminals = whatever floats ya boat to get it passed, we will widen the scope later.

    This would all seem to be deeply cynical and paranoid, except when you take into account history on various other laws ( RIPA, Terrorism Act, POCA etc etc...)

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      "This would all seem to be deeply cynical and paranoid, except when you take into account history on various other laws ( RIPA, Terrorism Act, POCA etc etc...)"

      Don't forget the extradition treaty changes with the US, which were brought in to streamline the extradition of terrorists, and is now used against anyone.

      At the end of the day, this really does stink of 1984. Maybe Orwell was a prophet?

  10. K Silver badge
    Joke

    'think of the children'

    isn't that the problem in the first place!! Ba Doom tsssch

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Hello, we're strategically incompetent"

    This does nothing but show us that the politicians are all incompetent, they still don't understand what they're doing, and their political colour --nulabour isn't labour any longer, and whatever this is supposed to be looks the same shade of vile from increasingly many angles-- has become completely irrelevant.

    It's all made up out of regurgitated and largely made-up threats, as for the last ten years they may have been snooping disproportionally much, safety was not affected. The only security we gained was the utter and complete certainty that "the authorities" are unable to deliver on the promise even if we sacrifice bloody everything to their false gods.

    Any promise of "we won't go to $extreme, only halfway, honest" sound exactly like the rattling of that box of ID cards ("for foreigners only"... and some other "soft targets", selected for your convenience) you're clutching behind your backs.

    Of course we all know this. The only difference is that it's become too transparent, that the political system has worn threadbare. It's the one trick they can perform to meet the demand for ponies from the bureaucrats; carefully managing the outrcry until it can be ignored.

    What about we change the tune, and do something fancy with their pattern? Leak one more scandal every sunday, and one extra come next april fools?

    And keep on doing that until we've cycled out all the people who've up 'til now held any government position whatsoever, political or mere bureaucrat alike, for someone with at least half a clue, and who isn't part of the babyboom generation.

    No More Ponies.

    1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: "...who isn't part of the babyboom generation"

      The top public faces are not babyboomers anymore, though no doubt the Whitehall mandarins are. Cameron, Osborne, Clegg & Milliband are all GenXers.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One word describes it

    Fascism.

    The central tenet of this Government seems to be." It's alright for us to do as we please, but you plebs cannot." If you disagree with us, you must be a paedo, terrorist, or whatever we deem you to be."

    It won't be long before those against the malignant, cancerous Government are whipped off to the soon to be built 'concentration camps' with the 'arbeit mach frei' signs above the gates. They are half way there already with the free labour thing, it is just one more small step to complete their goal.

    Anonymous for obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One word describes it

      Both the Reds and the Blues believe this strongly.

      The only difference is that the Reds think central Government should pay private companies to hold the data while the Blues think the data should be held by private companies at their own cost.

      The real solution is of course the death penalty for career politicians and senior civil servants.

      - What do you mean, what for?

  13. Tom 15

    Bah

    The Lib Dems have been hoodwinked on this one but it's a major issue for their membership. A lot of Tories don't seem to like it either, so I expect to see a U-Turn and it quickly filed away somewhere for the next Labour lot.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Bah

      Hopefully it will spell the end of her tenure as Home Sec. for the Malodorous Ms May also.

      Shall we see if our current lot can get through as many Home Secetaries as the last incumbents? I'm beginning to wonder why anyone ever takes the job anyway. I can't recally anyone's career doing well from it in the last 20 years or so. Michael Howard might have had a better chance of leading the Tories if he hadn't been resposible for the Criminal Justice Act that stamped on civil liberties back in 1994. The job seems to be a bit of a honey-trap for incompetent authoritarians.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Bah

        Thank God for that, we'd be utterly screwed if they were competent.

  14. Chris Miller
    FAIL

    Relax

    It's a government IT project. Which means that (after many years and spreading several billion of our money among the usual suspects) it will be quietly dropped.

  15. Is it me?
    Stop

    Lets be realistic shall we.

    The UK government does not have the budget to spy on everyone.

    The Security Services have enought to do chasing terrorists, let alone spying on every one.

    The Police have enough to do catching criminals than worry about which porn sites you visit.

    And the latter sums it up probably, how many of you think that the fact you might visit a porn site, might come back to haunt you. Or maybe that troll eMail you sent to someone when you were drunk.

    This act is about allowing the police and security services to check your communications history once you are identified as a suspect in the same way that they do for telephones and then use it as evidence.

    There is just too much internet activity to watch everybody, and targeting someone just because you can is bonkers, they have quite enough to do as it is. You guys need to get a grip, and work out just how much what you fear would actually cost to do, even if it were practicable which it ain't.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Lets be realistic shall we.

      Moore's Law means that the surveillance and data mining will be ever-increasing.

      There is huge potential for misuse of this, for selective prosecution, for finding things to pin on someone you don't like but can't arrest (such as political opponents!)

      Oh, and a counter-example: That couple who got thrown out of the US because the bloke had tweeted something that DHS decided was suspicious.

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    3. Oliver Mayes

      Re: Lets be realistic shall we.

      "The Police have enough to do catching criminals than worry about which porn sites you visit."

      Except that they don't, they're so obsessed with arrest figures that the majority of police work these days seems to be focussed on parking fines and minor speed offences. The police stopped caring about actual crime when they realised that it looks far more impressive to 'catch' people illegally downloading music form the internet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lets be realistic shall we.

        "The UK government does not have the budget to spy on everyone."

        Which is why they want to offload the costs onto the ISPs - and who will pick up the tab for that I wonder? (again)

    4. Velv Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Lets be realistic shall we.

      First they came for the communists,

      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

      Then they came for the trade unionists,

      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews,

      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

      Then they came for me

      and there was no one left to speak out for me.

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