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. Josh 15

    Hiding behind child protection is an age-old trick...

    Ms May speaks with forked tongue. On the one hand, she trumpets the recent 'smashing' of 'a major international child pornography website', yet on the other she is insisting a huge new data mining infrastructure is required to catch paedophiles. This insistence is also at odds with the latest IWF report, which informs us that not only is there no child porn hosted in the UK whatsoever, but incidents of foreign hosted CP are in major decline, as is the mythical notion of 'commercial' CP, something that if it ever existed anywhere else but in the minds of over-zealous poilcemen, is now more elusive than ever by all accounts.

    The Home Secretary cannot have it both ways. Is there a major CP industry here in the UK, or elsewhere, necessitating these draconian, invasive new laws - laws which will affect the rights and privacy everyone in the UK using online services? Has this been demonstrated by CEOP and by the IWF beyond all doubt?

    If not, I suspect that what we are looking at here is yet another ACPO job creation scheme funded by taxpayers for the benefit of ex-coppers looking to top up their already generous pensions. After all, if it's good enough for CEOP and IWF why wouldn't they want to expand the wheeze? 'Child protection' is the gift that just keeps giving.

    As you were.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Is ms May one of the *four* Ministerst believed to actually *be* in charge of their departments?

    Or is she one of those being used as a sock puppet by her senior civil servants?

    What do you think?

    The IMP was championed by the head of SOCA at the time (a PPE) the former head of MI6 (another PPE) and the Head of GCHQ (Degree in particle physics IIRC)

    IE their *direct* understanding of what is actually *involved* (and it's cost and complexity) is precisely f**kall.

    Dettica (formerly Smith Associates and a BAe Systems subsidiary) where looking to supply the hardware for the DPI. You can bet their snouts are still looking to get deeply into this trough.

    And £2Bn is what the HMG is looking to pay the *ISP*s for the work.

    The *real* cost for the new hardware, systems and staff at GCHQ (24/7/365 naturally) will be *secret* (so as no one is meant to know what it is no one will be embarrassed should it rise a bit. IIRC the average govt IT project is 2.5x the original estimate, IE 150% over budget, but I'm not current).

    As for the "No single database" BS if they mandate a *standard* database layout which *all* ISP's have to clone it then becomes a problem in disseminating a common query to the set of local servers and aggregating the results for unified display.

    Note they have been clear it's not *content* they are after (*yet* that is).

    But remember that comms information would probably include any *data* fields passed back to the website.

    Make it clear to your government.

    99.999% of the time you have No need to ask, No need to know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is ms May one of the *four* Ministerst believed to actually *be* in charge of their departments?

      When I last heard Detica and BT discussing the black-box installations it seems they were going to be sent 'signatures' from some centralised point. The "scarfing"(analysis/comparison) of the passing citizen data traffic was to match/search for trigger signatures. The supply of trigger signatures would ultimately be from the cloud of cybersecurity initiatives - maybe ITU maybe NSA.

      On the plus point - it could look for virii and stuxnets , but I gather it would also spend time on ACTA enforcement - with the scarf seeds coming from Hollywood. As the CCDP boxes are DPI - deep packet inspection systems - that can actually manipulate and CHANGE the citizen data-traffic , like PHORM did of course ( but PHORM just went for the adverts.) This CCDP system could, in some dystopian future, reroute all internet mentions of "Gorgeous George" away from respect webpages to or could make all postings supportive of IMP/CCDP

      THE VERY BIG DANGER is that this CCDP product, the DPI box, will in a very short period be simply absorbed into the internet infrastructure. the CISCO/ERICSSON Switches & Routers will run IMP/CCDP scarfing and data analysis functions just as a software load, just as another real-time application. This functionality will inevitably come. It would be nice to debate sensibly and seriously and define how surveillance will respect the 2013 bifurcated European Data Protection laws.

  3. Sarev

    I know how to make us all safer...

    ...we should handcuff all our citizens to radiators in their houses and place them all under 24/7 CCTV supervision. I bet that'd cut the crime rates massively and we're half way there already...

    I can't help but be aghast at the utter contempt displayed towards us by anyone who attempts to justify some crackpot legislation by saying it will "help to catch criminals". Yes, it's easy to think of ways to cut crime - the trick is doing so without pissing all over everyone else's freedom.

  4. Mike Richards Silver badge

    So she writes an opinion piece in The Sun (who's attitude to lorranorder is best summarised as flog-em-an-hang-em-and-flog-em-again-for-a-good-measure) outlining her proposals and *then* tells Parliament.

    Remind me, didn't the Tories berate New Labour for doing just this?

  5. rpjs


    Why don't the Home Office just have the honesty to rename themselves the Public Control Department and give the shade of Wilfred Greatorex the credit he deserves?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "leaving us here in Vulture Central to wonder if that's because instead there will be a clutch of small ones."

    Or there already is a large database.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm thinking this means...

    ... GCHQ boffins have finally cracked the TOR network.

    1) There's been a spate of TOR "dark web" related "revelations" in mainstream media recently. It never used to get a mention, probably because The Powers That Be didn't want Joe Public finding out about it.

    2) The surveillance kit and associated legislation would be completely pointless if all the baddies had to do was use TOR (if they weren't using it already).

    3) The real reason the legislation got dropped previously was because someone at GCHQ pointed out that the baddies were using TOR and that there was no point causing a fuss over surveillance laws until they'd cracked it.

    Don't misunderestimate the compute power of the Concrete Doughnut - they've been developing their own data storage and mass data analysis systems for some time. For example, they've had the capability to decrypt SSL in real time for ages.

    Don't ask me how I know... ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tor is 'owned' by United States Navy with US Patent No. 6266704 (1998)

      IRAN has been regularly finding ways to identify activists using Tor

      first they noticed that Tor used to identify itself with the keyword `Tor' in the Organization Name field of its own SSL Server Certificate

      cue arrests/torture/shooting

      then IRAN noticed that the Tor certificate Time-To-Live data field was unique amongst internet certificates

      cue arrests/torture/shooting


      google 'bugdoors'

      google 'workfactor reduction'

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: I'm thinking this means...

      "Don't ask me how I know... ;-)"

      I call rumormongering.

      If you really knew, you wouldn't be posting here.

      Also, what SSL traffic? DES, 3DES, AES256?

    3. M Gale

      Re: I'm thinking this means...

      It is not only easy, but pathetically easy to crack a certificate-based encryption mechanism, when you control the certificates.

  8. Eduard Coli

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

    That is hardly any way to talk about our dear MPs!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a business opportunity

    If this happens it is time to investigate the formation of a business club - which happens to also provide access to the Internet using a well encrypted vpn, bouncing of let's say a country where your IP address is private property (banks, mountains, chocolate, border of the EU - you get it) and then for each outgoing connection opens a secundary ghost connection - both going to a TOR engine somewhere else (all you need is a large enough pipe) ... good luck catching anything with that ...

    No sir, we are not an isp, this is an invite only club with HQ (somewhere very far away)

    No sir, we are not retaining any data, this is for our members only

    No sir, this is completely encrypted end-to-end and no servers in the UK/EU or US ...

    Eat that MFs !

    And I'll throw in a small bonus: a randonized ghost will send emails and perform lots of complicated surfing in the UK when there is capacity (with non static ips of course) so this will steadily increase the required storage capacity as some generated emails will be 10-50 MB with attachments, all encrypted and uncompressable ... Store stat MFs ...

    Who is the bitch now ?

  10. Derek Currie Bronze badge


    I personally have turned in UseNet pedophile sites. I comprehend. However: We all know damned well that this is the gentle, careful, don't scare the peasants, passive propagandist, logically justified creation of a POLICE STATE.

    Blethering promises by anyone, including a respected home secretary, are worthless tripe. What's on the paper with the signature? Oh I see: AN ORWELLIAN POLICE STATE.

    There are no excuses for citizen abuse, ever. There is no rational for citizen abuse, ever. There is no great and noble cause that abuses citizens, ever. KILL THIS CRAP NOW while we can. We don't need police state laws. We all know they'll be ABUSED. There's always some pyschopathic nutjob or silly party who'd love to go to the extreme and abuse us all using the 'law' as their justification. It's inevitable. Don't even remotely allow the possibility of this being able to happen.

    NO POLICE STATE, EVER. Responsible freedom for all, forever!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No U-Turn

    Channel 4 News' analysis tonight suggests all the media's negative criticism & online fury have only slowed the passage of the bill, not stopped it. The coalition's chief worry doesn't seem to be their massive hypocrisy but the fact the media presentation of the bill has been mishandled. While I would prefer this proposal never sees the light of day again I am realistic enough to know the coalition's MPs are craven enough to vote this in. I hope they suffer an electoral backlash, but if this proposal is past I will definitely restrict my internet usage.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The New Politics

    I'm wondering what we'll find out this gets used for unofficially, unless of course they abolish the 30-year rule... I think it would be an ideal tool for setting up an extra-judicial political control system. The grey men see the way things are going in Spain and Greece, and don't want that happening here when the real austerity starts to bite and disillusion turns to discontent. Having this data in private hands eases plausible deniability and circumvents the tedious bureaucracy of authorised access. All we need now is a new version of the Economic League (remember them?) to implement "Nudge Economy" ideas in the political arena. Look for minor politicos suddenly going quiet; civil rights campaigners "seeing the error of their ways"; the awkward squad coming round to a more respectable way of thinking, as their private lives become the property of... well you don't need to know who owns you now. For those who won't be chilled out, there's always a public scandal (I'm starting to wonder about Julian Assange and Dominique Strauss-Kahn). And the current lacklustre crop of MPs need have no worries that anything better will come along to supplant them - the gardeners will weed out any tall poppies before they get noticed. Welcome to the Decline and Fall.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The data fetishists are still *very* much in place.

    The collect-everything-all-the-time


    They want it all (and they want it *now).

    Which BTW was the original motto of what became the Red Bridgades.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: The data fetishists are still *very* much in place.

      Not to mention the fun they will have gathering information on celebrities and other high profile people. Such personal information will be very useful for blackmailing opposition politicians or union bosses into backing down.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Random webpages

    They want to hope nobody omes up with the idea of a massively distributed app that randomly loads thousands of webpages 24/7 and is used by millions of people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Random webpages

      There's a plug-in for Chrome & Firefox called Trackmenot that randomly searches Google & other search engines for random queries & occasionally clicks on them.

  15. Maty

    Terrorists and paedophiles don't scare me half as much as the Home Office.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Terrorists and paedophiles don't scare me half as much as the Home Office.

      Nor should they .

      The HO "cure* is *much* worse than the disease.

  16. tfewster Silver badge

    Let me see if I've got the timeline right...


    Labour propose IMP

    Public outcry

    Tories & Liberals jump on bandwagon, condemning IMP


    May: Labour lose general election (correlation does not imply causation, but their contempt for

    the taxpayer was a major reason I voted against them)

    November: ConDem do a U-turn and resurrect IMP

    April 2012: Proposals become widely known, causing public outcry

    ??? 2010 Will Labour now condemn IMP ? Possibly on cost rather than moral grounds.

    May 2015: General election. Might a "courageous" pursuit of unpopular* legislation affect the election campaign & outcome? Would the opposition parties take advantage of this in their election campaign?

    June 2015: Target date for implementation of unpopular* legislation.

    * Depends how you spin it

  17. Packet

    And this is what we fought 2 world wars for?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Anglo-Saxons, go home!

      Technically, WWI wasn't the UK's business. And definitely not the US' business. Getting swept up in "anti-hun" propaganda doesn't count.

      1. Jay 2

        Re: Anglo-Saxons, go home!

        What happens in the Balkans...

        Yep, in short the start of WWI was more or less the same as 2 blokes having a bit of an altercation in the pub, in which they both drag in their (slightly reluctant) mates before it all kicks off because no-one involved is willing to lose face and walk away. And in that case the US is someone minding their own business until someone bumps into him and spills his pint...

    2. M Gale


      More cynical types might suggest that WW1 was actually about Iraqi oil (how things change eh?)

      For more information from one of said cynical types, I recommend Robert Newman's Apocalypso Now, on audio CD or, well, Youtube. Also see Caliban to Taliban and his other various works.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    It looks like the UK will be playing "Enemy of the State" for real.

    There's at least one Jon Voigt character at the back of this s**t.

    They are professional *bureaucrats*, not intelligence staff.

    Sadly no one is penciled in for the Will Smith role.

    Which will make *everyone* an EOTS.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crime would be detected easier if we left our doors open for the Police to go around and look through our things, but would you like that?

  20. Chris Sake

    Cunning plan

    By the Royal Mail. Is it not curious that they have recently increased the postage rates?

    CCDP may drive not only those of the Paedo 9/11 persuasion, but we ordinary mortals, to forsake electronic communications and use letters again.

    Result: profits all around for the RM.

    Reminder to self: must dust out my old microdot kit.

  21. Chris Sake

    Liberty Crossing

    Does this work anyway?

    [According to the Internet:] The National Counterterrorism Center in Virginia sucks up data from various agencies (reputedly over 1,270 US government and 1,930 government-contracted companies), yet failed to identfy Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber, even though intelligence had been provided about him to the CIA.

    As some tame ex-general said, "The complexity of this system defies description. We can’t effectively assess whether it’s making us more safe.”

  22. BingyBongy

    Even worse...

    The quote that is most worrying seems to have gone unheard - "The idea is to update legislation to stop them (criminals) being able to cover their tracks and keep their communication secret"

    How would you read that? Are they going to try and ban encryption, VPN's etc.....??????

  23. chr0m4t1c

    Think of the adults

    >"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.

    Was that the one were they then arrested a load of people who turned out to be the victims of credit card fraud but went ahead and destroyed their lives then put them on the "no smoke without fire" rumor register just to be on the safe side and make sure they couldn't get another job?

    Or am I thinking of a different child pornography ring?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't think 'Internet anonymity is my right' is going to work on this one lads.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Checks / balances?

    You have to be sensible. If there is a genuine serious credible threat the options should at least be looked at. If there is a clear process for starting an investigation (i.e. not just a fishing expedition), judicially approved controls required in advance and some form of third party review, I'd be OK it.

    In short, there would need to be controls to stop feature creep into it becoming a casually and widely abused system for police to go dragnetting for low hanging fruit to improve their crime catch numbers. It is possible to do, the issue is we don't trust the people who implement these things to not abuse it.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Checks / balances?

      "If there is a clear process for starting an investigation (i.e. not just a fishing expedition), judicially approved controls required in advance and some form of third party review, I'd be OK it."

      Err. There already *is*. It's called the RIPA.

      And since the UK *already* stores comms data historically under the EU Data Retention directive for the *maximum* time required (the EU DRD was written in the UK) that is a not a problem.

      It's *real* time access they want to this data.

      Of *everybody's* comms data

      On demand.

      Without a warrant.

      Does that change things for you Mr (or Ms) AC?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what about people who host their own email servers?

  27. Frank Butcher
    Black Helicopters

    planning apps

    Gov wants to build new third runway at say, stansted, Locals rightly get up in protest. They form a group who become quite successful in repelling Gov land grabbers. WayHAy , it turns out the leader of said citizens searched <porn> or other nasty website, it leaks out. And can we trust the police with this stuff? They look like they are ready to sell out their Grandmas (+romance with Wayne Rooney) already, so no, we cant. Teh gov are in the pockets of large Corps and other interests, who are desperate to spy on your every decision.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. The People

    Teresa May is the uk's Hillary Clinton

    The two despots meet to plot the next nazi take over / police state. (small steps)


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