back to article How innocent people 'of no security interest' are mere keystrokes away in UK's spy databases

Classified mass-surveillance manuals for UK spies have been published today amid a legal battle against the British government. The newly obtained documents set out Blighty's secret do's and don'ts for monitoring populations. The files acknowledge that chapter and verse on the lives of people "of no security interest" lie …

Trollface

Nothing to hide

Nothing to fear

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Re: Nothing to hide

If you're not doing anything you have nothing to fear.

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Re: Nothing to hide

As Herman Goering once said.

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Re: Nothing to hide

If you don't understand, you don't know enough to fear.

Ignorance is bliss.

Security is safety.

Overlords are always benevolent.

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Re: Nothing to hide

Three people (and counting) don't understand the troll icon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nothing to hide

You haven't done anything wrong because, frankly, you haven't done much of anything.

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Facepalm

Re: Nothing to hide

"Three people (and counting) don't understand the troll icon."

Just running with a theme, no misunderstanding required.

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Great, they've got an acceptable usage document. My wifes business has an IT usage document which she will never read. I downloaded it for her so that forfills one of the steps to become PCI Compliant.

You can read through it and question the points but unless the organisation it is relevant to enforces it then you're wasting your time hoping that it may be of interest.

People know what they're allowed or not allowed to do in life. They make a choice if they should do the right thing.

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Anonymous Coward

This is accessed through Stone Ghost, which is logged and tracked.Much easier to scrape Facebook for personal info.

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Unhappy

We thought if they had acces to everything they'd abuse that access

And boy, were we right.

And note, these are the trivial examples of misuse.

Others include

Making sure spouses are out of the country to ensure risk free adultery.

Tracking someone's movements to ensure they have no alibi if you're planning to commit a crime your going to frame them for.

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FOI

So..if they've admitted that they hold stuff on me, can I lodge an FOI request to see what it is?

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Re: FOI

A subject request under the DPA would be the appropriate route. You might need an FOI request to find out where to send the DPA request.

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Re: FOI

And a DPA request first to find out if they hold any data on you so you can use that in the FOI request to find out where to send the DPA request

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Dynamics

"The way things are supposed to work is that we're supposed to know virtually everything about what [government officials] do: that's why they are called public servants.

They are supposed to know virtually nothing about what we do: that's why we are called private individuals.

This dynamic - the hallmark of healthy and free society - has been radically reversed. Now, they know everything about what we do, and are constantly building systems to know more. Meanwhile, we know less and less about what they do, as they build walls of secrecy behind which they function. That's the imbalance that needs to come to an end. No democracy can be healthy and functional if the most consequential acts of those who wield political power are completely unknown to those to whom they are supposed to be accountable."

---- Glenn Greenwald

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Windows

Re: Dynamics

Intelligence exists to protect the Public, but is not a Public Service. Law Enforcement is a Public Service.

Privacy is a Right won on abiding by the Law. There are critical roles where privacy has to be peremptorily renounced.

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Re: Dynamics

"There are critical roles where privacy has to be peremptorily renounced."

Let's accept that premise for now; the conditions for those "roles" (I think you meant "situations") should be clearly laid down for all to see, with a list of who can do the renouncing, under what conditions, for how long, and detailing what penalties will be applied by whom for misuse. We are a looooong way from that being the case.

I do not agree that there are situations where the privacy of *everyone* is peremptorily renounced just in case it will be useful in the future - yet that is where we are.

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IT Angle

"...that is where we are..."

...now.

Agree.

Should we participate in this talk? Most people still feel this is not of their concern. ['Don't care. Nothing to hide']

.....

"...should be clearly laid down for all to see, with a list of who can do the renouncing, under what conditions, for how long, and detailing what penalties will be applied by whom for misuse..."

...Aren't those part of the regulatory agreements that FBI has been suggesting 3 years now to be negotiated?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dynamics

> Intelligence exists to protect the Public, but is not a Public Service. Law Enforcement is a Public Service.

That sums things up quite nicely.

(Not too sure about your second paragraph, on the other hand)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "...that is where we are..."

> .Aren't those part of the regulatory agreements that FBI has been suggesting 3 years now to be negotiated?

Errm... what does the FBI have to do with MI5's work? Isn't that taking American interventionism a bit too far?

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Unhappy

Concerns about data quality

Even advocates of "nothing to hide nothing to fear" should have this concern.

Scant consolation when the door is kicked down at 4:30 AM and a Glock is held to your kid's head - that it's because some minimum wager mistyped a postcode somewhere down the line on the way to Big Brother's data warehouse.

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Re: Concerns about data quality

Is that you, Buttle?

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Re: Concerns about data quality

Those 'advocates' are not concerned for one very simple reason,they have been brainwashed by NEW LABOUR into believing that whatever a 'Labour' government says,must be true.

Thus the young are ALWAYS 'on-message',they are the absolute conformist in society,be it on immigration,privacy,gender-bender policies,you name it,they aggree with it,no questions asked,'Pavlovian' dogs in all but name.

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Gimp

Re: Concerns about data quality

"Those 'advocates' are not concerned for one very simple reason,they have been brainwashed by NEW LABOUR into believing that whatever a 'Labour' government says,must be true."

Wow, you really believe any Government minister has the brains to do this?

Blair liked the idea but this was cooked up by a cabal of senior intelligence civil servants centered around the Home Office and GCHQ.

The loose wording of the 1984 Telecomms bill suggest they may have been at it during the Miners Strike under Thatcher.

Data fetishism is a disease, not a political viewpoint.

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WTF?

"not of interest"?

You don't get it, do you? We're all of interest. The purpose of these things is not to see patterns and stop terrorism* it is to spot the patterns of people who do terrorism so they can use those patterns to target people who are not keen on the govt of the day or the security apparatus in place.

Everyone matches some part of the some terrorists' (or drug smugglers' or paedos' or whatever the bogeyman of the day is) profiles, so it's trivial to have people escorted away for several months and their equipment forensically analysed for any infringement then prosecuted for that.

As long as the people know the government/security services are spying on us then, as per the panopticon, we'll be too afraid of being caught to step out of line or criticise the status quo. We're not there yet, but it's only a matter of time before a comment like this gets me an interview with my local friendly plod for not being pro-establishment enough and possibly a bit subversive and maybe some re-education is in order.

* maybe it will do that sometimes, but that's just a nice PR story to keep people onside.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: "not of interest"?

"...Everyone matches some part of...profiles, so it's trivial to have people escorted away for several months"

Some caffeine overdosed Google 'wizard', maybe? Far from trivial, and costly, in my point of view.

Don't like those AI super-inflated sweet dreams, anyway. Big Brother supercharged Global Merchandising.

But don't get me wrong. This persistent environment has been cooling the Digital World. If continuing on this path, it will stop being a platform for people.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "not of interest"?

> You don't get it, do you? We're all of interest.

No. Not all of us. Least of all this girl I met last week. God, what a bore, I pity the poor bastard who has to go through her text messages and Farcebook posts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "not of interest"?

You aren't married, are you?

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UK Telecommunications Act of 1984

What a perfect year to have passed that particular bit of legislation.

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Big Brother

Why do we need a snooper's charter then? Looks like they've got us by the short and curlies already.

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Re: Why do we need a snooper's charter then?

You know why, the whole purpose of the current Investigative Powers Bill is to effectively make the current covert data collection, as exposed by Edward Snowden, overt and legal.

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Meh

Re: Why do we need a snooper's charter then?

and why if it was unlawful weren't the perps prosecuted before this Bill? Is the Bill retrospective before it got set in place?

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Re: Why do we need a snooper's charter then?

re: " if it was unlawful"

From the expert analysis, It wasn't! Just that the way the laws had been framed allowed much room for interpretation, which various politicians and agencies found helpful not to draw public attention to, hence why it was covert.

What is interesting about the IPB is that if a communications provider includes more information in it's ICR's (Internet Connection Records) than specified in the IPB and/or GCHQ et al expect to receive more information from an ICR inspection request than is specified in the IPB there will be a potential for legal redress; an option that isn't available currently...

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Meh

I know I'm suppose to be outraged by this BUT...

... the truth is I'm really not.

I genuinely do not have a problem with the spooks having data on me.

I do have a problem with some jobsworth from the council having access to it though.. presumably so that he can check that I'm putting the correct recyclables in the correct bin.

And seriously, some of the tinfoil hat wearing in this thread is beyond ridiculous.

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Big Brother

You can go collect your Good Citizen medal. And when you are shot because some spook thought that your habit of smoking on the balcony every evening at 7:45 sharp was the sign that you are in communication with terrorists, you can be consoled by the notion that you tacitly agreed to all this.

Go in peace, citizen: Big Brother is proud to have assimilated you.

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Re: I know I'm suppose to be outraged by this BUT...

"I genuinely do not have a problem with the spooks having data on me. I do have a problem with some jobsworth from the council having access" --- isJustabloke

Whilst I understand to some extent, you are basically saying you have more trust in people who are paid to be dishonest (if about nothing more than who they work for).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I know I'm suppose to be outraged by this BUT...

Each to his own. Personally I find it pretty easy to put the right recyclables in the right bin.

Always thinking and saying the right things to comply with the government of the day: less so.

Do you see the problem here?

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Re: I know I'm suppose to be outraged by this BUT...

And seriously, some of the tinfoil hat wearing in this thread is beyond ridiculous.

Why? A few short years ago you'd probably have been happy to believe that there was no vast data-scooping by SIS. Snowden put an end to that happy belief. But since then the revelations have continued to come. But still some people think that this is OK, that the increasing loss of their privacy is an acceptable cost for some perceived "protection".

Give it a couple of years, and the the e-call system will be added to the abused data list. Your every motoring movement permanently recorded for the perusal of government, and probably visible in real time. Add in ACPO's ambitions on facial recognition and even if you're on foot and without your phone, then you'll be tracked and recorded by CCTV. The Bank of England's chief economist has called for an end to cash. Smart meters and Internet of Tat will be funneling even more data in GCHQ's vast scoop over the next few years. With the extremists of government wanting backdoors and breakable encryption, it won't be a case that government could know everything about you, it will be the case that they will know everything about you.

How much do you trust GCHQ in their official capacity? How much do you trust their staff? How much do you trust the lying halfwits of Westminster, their business mates, or (in their official capacity) all other government departments, local government, and government agencies like HMRC? I don't trust any of them as far as I could throw the lot of them.

But if you think that's a tinfoil hat belief, at least you're (currently) free to hold whatever opinion you want

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Or when they do accidentally shoot you for leaving the wrong block of flats at the wrong time while looking a bit Brazilian - they will have lots of stuff about you to leak to the press to detract attention.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Boffin

Tin Foil Hats

Does any know wether TFH actually work (is there a CEN/ISO standard, there wouldn't be a BSI one for obvious reasons) is actual Sn / Al Foil adequate or do we have to move to the Magneto Helmet standard?

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When I worked in GCHQ -

we always used to ??????? ??? ??????. It was quite normal, every day I would ???????? ??? the ??????, and most of my colleagues would do the same.

It wasn't at all unusual to see someone ????????????? the ????????, and sometimes it was done with a very large ??????? ???????? ???????

The ???????? were perfectly ????? ??????, and it was easy to ???????? ??? ?? ??????. If someone saw you ???????????? they would ?? ???????? ?????? ????? to a ?? ???? with a ????? or a ??????????????, but that didn't seem to deter people ????????? the ????????? ????????.

I understand that nowadays the policy is to ????????? ??????? ? ?????? ???? ????????? ?? ????, and when the situation warrants it to also use a ?????? ??????. Even so, people can still ?????? ???? ?? ????? a ????? without using a ??? ?????? ?????. The trick is, of course, to ???? ??? the ???? ??????, but I guess everyone knows that now. The general public don't seem to realise that there is a lot of ????????? going on.

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Mitchell and webb stargate style

Look, I'm not happy about calling you all here for this meeting, but I just want to emphasise that the UK spy database is not to be used as a timetable planning tool.

I know its useful to see exactly when your wife gets out of work or where exactly you kid is in town to pick them up.

But some of you have been use it this way. Steve.

Not all workplaces are privileged to have a database of all data on everyone in this country and beyond you know.

Etc.

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Anonymous Coward

UK Parallel Construction

I don't recall seeing evidence of these massive databases in court records. Yet its apparently been used repeatedly in secret.

So this leaves a very big problem.

The courts have been told an evidence trail that is different from the real evidence trail. A new trail has been fabricated. That would be perjury, falsification of evidence, withholding evidence.

So does the Bulk Person Dataset leak show evidence of it being used to prosecute crimes? Because we now need to go through those crimes and review the evidence trail presented to the court.

Perhaps the fake evidence trail just hides this illegal search of bulk data, or perhaps its substantive false evidence. Since the true evidence trail was not cross examined or seen by the court, we don't know.

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Why is this a surprise? I did a stint at Dixon's Stores Group head office many moons ago (owners of PC World and Currys) and I hadn't been there 2 hours before one of the analysts I was working with looked up my personal purchase history on the main customer database, and whilst he was at it, looked up all my neighbours too, and told me who had the biggest TV for example.

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Staff self-searches

Everyone else nowadays doesn't think twice about doing a 'selfie',so why should these staff hesitate/

I would hope that Tony BLAIR would be top search term at GCHQ,but then,we know that the NSA would have 'scrubbed' any data first.

Talking of Internet Explorer not loading or indeed, downloading,that's down to Microsoft,I know, because no matter what version I use,I know that my IP Address has been 'tabbed' by Microsoft in the service of the NSA.

They even ignored my request to desist in their activities,despite my threat to take them to the ECHR,which is why I have to ALWAYS use Firefox for any downloads.

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Slx
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The 1984 Act

Can we please refer to it as the 1984 Act from now on?

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IT Angle

Just one Thing, Intelligence Community:

THANKS.

On knowing the Systems are primitively designed to be all or nothing. We Always made the bet for the first option.

As have come to conclude for some weeks now. This is not an IT issue. IT [as a Community] was -simply- not invited to this elite party.

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So they know there's been breaches for stuff like birthday checks? And have in place a maximum penalty of three months in prison? Have any of them every actually been prosecuted? I reckon a half dozen civil servants sent to the slammer would start to get the message across to the rest of them.

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Bronze badge

'a maximum sentence of three months in prison and a fine for misuse of data.

... and I'm betting this sentence has been handed down by a beak exactly ZERO times.

Also besides the analysts who's job it is to do the searching, there will be some back room BOFHs with unfettered access to this data.

The mere existence of this data means there is potential for abuse, leakage, theft and more abuse. I say burn it with fire, or nuke it from orbit.

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The Flip KISS Side of COIN ..... COunter INtelligence

With free unfettered access to all and any information, the fact that State Intelligence Services do not make better use of it and IT is very revealing of the lack of in-house and sub contracted out sourced expertise made available to them, although the larger truth is probably such lacking expertise is due to it choosing the private sector vector for the greater benefits in its armoury of delights.

Is it wise for the likes of a snoopy spooky agency to be thought to be taking instruction and guidance from a gaggle of Parliamentarians or does it prove, beyond any shadow of doubt, the Circus is intellectually bankrupt and totally and fundamentally unfit for Future Greater IntelAIgent Game purpose?

And that is a critical systemic problem and catastrophic vulnerability, both practically real and 0day, which is always to be exploited exhaustively, caused by a lack of top classy prime leadership, and that is a top executive personnel issue which needs to be addressed in order to solve the enigmatic dilemma. Failure is always surely a top down process? Shit prime administrations deliver shit primed programs.

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