back to article UK.gov plans central database for all your communications

The Brown government is considering a central database of all UK communications data including times and durations of phone calls, emails and internet access for every British citizen. The draft bill is still being considered by ministers and a Home Office spokeswoman told us no decision had yet been reached. The spokeswoman …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    It's all in the database

    If the TV licensing can't get it right and not send me both a renewed TV licence and a summons to court for not having one in the same post - how on earth can anyone have any confidence in this type of Stalinist infiltration of my privacy?

    "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

    Sound familiar? It's Article 12 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  2. Tony Humphreys
    Black Helicopters

    Numnuts

    How dare the government gather my information like this.

    I foresee a market for home mail servers too, and VPN's to a foreign server, and anarchy too.

    Free society? Ahh the good old days, and we fought a war against this!

  3. Matthew Flint
    Stop

    *All* emails?

    Seems a bit pointless to me, when anyone can circumvent the government's email storage plans by using Gmail (or any other offshore webmail provider) via https, or by running their own offshore IMAP/SMTP machine with SSL.

    Duh...

  4. George Johnson
    Alert

    Yeah right!

    1. They lost several important DB exports on CDs, "in the post".

    2. Took them years to get a simple thing like the vehicle reg db up and running

    3. The NHS IT systems are still in a mess after, what is it now 8-9 years?

    4. They will most likely trust EDS to run and ultimately cock it up.

    5. Cost shed-loads of public cash, given to orgs like EMC and HDS for the petabytes of storage required to do this

    Piss-up and brewery, spring to mind!

  5. Ted Treen
    Pirate

    RIP?

    RIP Act:-

    Freedom R.I.P.

    Liberty R.I.P.

    Privacy R.I.P.

    One assumes Gordon Brown's unused first name is Kenneth or something similar - making his initials a highly apt KGB.

    Although I will now install PGP or similar - just for the buggeration factor - it appears more and more than "Ownlife" is moving from being discouraged to being prohibited.

    And if any tw@t misses the point completely, and chants the NuLab mantra "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear", then I'll swing for the b@st@rd...

    Cue for a quick chorus of "Oceania 'tis for thee"?

  6. Joel Stobart
    Thumb Down

    Can't Imagine that they can fit all of that data on CDs?

    So how are they going to lose all of this information on a roundabout? or by posting it? Government are going to have to resort to some of that new-fangled interweb stuff to really cock this one up.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spam

    With the amount of spam mail the database will get full pretty quickly.

  8. Adrian Challinor
    Paris Hilton

    Laugh or cry?

    This just smacks of big brother, but in huge, massive letters. We are aready the most watched people on Earth. I heard a statistic today that said that although we have 1% of the worlds population, the UK has 30% of the worlds CCTV cameras. Has this led to a reduction of crime, killings, even arrest rates? No. Do we feel safer because of this? No. Joe Hoodie just pulls his hat down a bit lower as the knife goes in.

    So why will having a massive database of communications make us safer? Did the NSA and Echelon stop any terrorists? Didn't seem to help New York.

    Can you imagine the fun that hackers will have with this? Or the more sensational of the Sunday Papers? This will make the Child Benefit fiasco look like a mere comment overheard in the pub.

    The only bit that makes this laughable is that the probability of the Government IT being able to deliver this is just not credible. The sheer size of the data store alone is going to be huge. This will make the Passport system, the NHS system pale in to insignificance. Managing this will be a nightmare. So, it will be outsourced. Then the data doesn't even belong to UK Gov Ltd anymore, it belongs to some vendor. With the management being done from the US and the coding done in India.

    The Telco's will, of course, suggest that this is a "good idea", and for them it is: it puts the problem of storing all those call records, emails, SMS, MMS messages on to the Government. At a stoke it makes their problem move back to simply one of billing records - and billing, tricky and hard as it is, is a much simpler problem to also keeping the content.

    I can see a few vendors wanting to get in on this act: Hello? EDS? Sorry HP? Are you out there? Seems I need to buy in to data storage firms and/or integrated delivery companies. They are the only ones who will benefit from this.

    Paris - obviously, because even she wouldn't take on something this big

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    only the densest of criminals

    It is quite obvious that criminals and terrorists will not be caught by this. In normal internet usage anyone who is concerned about their privacy (not only criminals and terrorists that is) will be perfectly able to use anonymizing servers and vpn. Ofcourse only the dense of criminals will miss out on this fact. This also means that unless the authorities intend to store content (and not only addresses) then their database will only be useful for surveillance of the unaware (and not criminal) population. Unless the government is run by people who are completely ignorant of even the most basic aspects of the impact of this kind of technology (seems unlikely that everyone is a complete fool) this would give conspiracy theorist some more fuel. In any case there is not need for a conspiracy when misplaced zeal can do a better job in a chaotic world. As Stalin is reported to have said once - you do not need to actually catch any criminals to run a country - ten millions of ordinary citizens will do just fine...

  10. Tom Haczewski
    Black Helicopters

    Duh...

    "Unregistered mobile phones and VoIP services like Skype mean that the proposed law will catch only the densest of criminals."

    Of course. Because this is yet another surveillance system put in place to spy on the general public under the guise of thwarting 'terrorism' or 'crime'.

    Call me a cynic, but CHRIST - is it not obvious?

  11. Grahame

    Internet Usage Stats?

    So what’s the betting they use this information to prosecute illegal downloaders by applying the same principles as the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. I guess it will go something like this:-

    They will specify an amount of ‘unidentified income’ in this case bandwidth, then issue of confiscation order based on a value per megabyte. You will of course get the chance to offset this at a hearing as long as you can prove the bandwidth was not used for illegal file transfers.

    Or more likely, they will just create a new internet tax.

  12. Eponymous Cowherd
    Paris Hilton

    Stupid Criminals?

    ***"the proposed law will catch only the densest of criminals"***

    Which is problem with all of the "Big Brother" technology this idiotic government is so keen on.

    ID cards, CCTV, ANPR, Internet and phone recording, DNA databases, etc, etc.

    All well known, all easy to avoid by any criminal or terrorist with an IQ greater than that of a hamster.

    Paris, 'cos there isn't a hamster icon.

  13. Steven
    Stop

    Oh goodie, more info for the goverment to lose in the post...

    Do they never learn?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surveillance of the innocent

    Dear ECJ,

    You are to consider whether the Data Retention directive is legal.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/10/data_retention_directive_challenge/

    This directive broke new ground, specifically it caused data to be logged for innocent people, creating the basis for monitoring the private transactions of people not suspected of any crime. Extra data was logged, including location data, and the requirement to anonymize or discard data as soon as it had served its purpose was effectively bypassed by this directive.

    Now UK wants to move this into a big fat database under it's own control, and the German Interior minister is seeking to make such a database continuous searchable to see who can be arrested.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Sch%C3%A4uble

    This is the same minister who defended indefinite detention without trial and argued for extra-judicial killings of suspects. The Nazi's are back and the EU gave them the tool they needed with this directive, and we must keep our comments anonymous, lest they go on fishing expeditions against us.

    I politely ask that you restore individual privacy rights and protect us from the Nazis.

    Yours faithfully,

    Anonymous Coward.

  15. Andrew
    Dead Vulture

    Time to Encrypt?

    I'd fully recommend starting to encrypt your emails and stuff you don't want prying eyes to see. Perfectly legal. http://tinyurl.com/45k5wm

  16. Neil Greatorex
    Coat

    How are they going to store this data?

    As one /. user commented: "Now is the time to buy shares in storage media manufacturers"

    Still, the sheer volume of information that would need to be stored precludes some Civil Service numpty losing it "in the post".

    I'm on my way...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another brilliant idea not thought through.....

    I'm sure EMC, IBM, & Hitachi will be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of selling yet more big storage.

    But worry ye not, as for every idea like this there are:

    several other acts of parliament that will

    contradict it

    require loads of improbable safeguards.

    a failed procurement exercise (Incomplete requirements).

    a failed procurement exercise (Costs too much)

    a failed procurement because the wrong department had the lead.

    a failed delivery (requirements changed)

    a failed delivery (politically motivated timescales)

    a general election.

    a failed delivery ( Data providers not ready )

    a failed delivery because the Authority thinks the program should be run like the St.Pancras HSL.

    And I can think of so many other reasons why this won't work, just ask yourselves who will own this, and if you think why the Home Office, think again, because there are several competing agencies within the Home Office who'll want it, the DTI or whatever it is this week, OfCOM and several others I can think of.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Sleep Walking?

    > We have warned before that we are sleepwalking into a surveillance society

    Warned? Wake up! We're there!

  19. Mike Crawshaw
    Unhappy

    Feature Creep...

    "It applies only to information around communication - the time and duration of your chat, ***not its actual content***."

    "Yet" is the word to add there... it's obvious that there will be:

    "a requirement, under certain circumstances, to examine the content detail of certain communications in order to validate those communications as valid and legal, for instance, the difference between phoning an Auntie in Pakistan for a recipe and phoning a cousin in Pakistan at the same telephone number in order to have a terrorist communication. We need to know what you're saying in order to keep you safe. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

  20. Dave

    Driving us back to the stone age

    What with voice, internet, text, mail logging plus roadpricing/tracking and the other reg article today - mobile tracking in shopping centres it's getting silly.

    More and more people will abandon technology just so they can have some privacy - driving the UK into an (technology) economic slump, the knock on effect of which is that fewer and fewer people will be required to run the technology industry, and therefore fewer people will wish to study it, putting us even further behind the rest of the world.

  21. Fragula The Furry

    Pink Doughnut

    One wonders what is so compelling about *electronic* communications.

    Shurlley even the densest of terrorist cells could simply pop it in the post, send it via courier, pop round on a pushbike, etc.

    Of course, even the densest of governmentalist would know that.

    Which, knowing a little of how things work in heirarchial bureaocracies, leaves the justification of allegedly £1.200,000,000.00 expenditure on the donut in the west of Cheltenham as a likely motive.

    Shurly better to let it out as flats cut price to illegal immigrants, and scoop a few quid back!

    Nah.. too sensible for government.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Gary Myers
    Gates Horns

    It'll never work!

    It will only take one person to work out how to send mal-formed junk to the database and we'll all do it. As it will be contracted out to the highest bidder, they will settle on an M$ solution, so it should be quite easy to blow up!

  24. Colin Guthrie
    Thumb Down

    Roll your own

    Phone (mobile+landline) records aside, how do they expect to monitor everyone's emails? I'm no terrorist, but I still roll my own SMTP server. My ISP's get blocked far too often by RBLs. If the ISP is made to inspect my SMTP traffic and record it all the same, them this will require the DPI stuff that the Candian ISPs are getting in trouble for right now.... this really would be an invasion of privacy then! Even if they have a transparent proxy if they insist on delivering my mail for me, I would soon notice this due to the headers on mails I send (and the increased bouncebacks due to RBLs). If this happened I'd simply route all SMTP traffic on my home/office networks to servers I control outside of the UK. It's hardy rocket science.

    This is yet another useless proposition that will serve not to catch those that are doing wrong, but to spy on those of us doing nothing untoward... I don't like it.

  25. Dan Silver badge
    Flame

    More policy laundering

    "The government is blaming Europe for the changes."

    ...

    "The directive was issued in response to the terrorist attacks in London in 2005."

    So (once again) the UK government pushed for this directive in Europe and then said "oh, we can't do anything about it, Europe's forcing us". Bunch of dishonest cretins.

  26. Kev
    Coat

    Can the last person

    Leaving this police state turn out the lights...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Well, that's ok then

    Since I'm not a citizen of the UK I can happily keep plotting ...

    Of course, does the UK have citizens at all? I thought you were all mere subjects.

    / Mine's the one with the foreign passport

  28. Jeff Deacon
    Black Helicopters

    Blame who?

    "The government is blaming Europe for the changes. The European Data Retention Directive seeks to ensure that investigators have access to this information, as they do under existing UK law, but does not call for centralised, government-run databases."

    In this case, as in many others, blaming the EU is seriously disingenuous. Which UK Home Secretary was it who pushed this proposal through the Council of Ministers? Charles Clarke? "Nothing to do with us, guv", slips too easily off their tongue.

  29. scott
    Black Helicopters

    We're all crims

    It's about crime *and* terrorism, but the sheeple are led to concentrate on the terrorism thing. To me it's about crime. Drug barons sure, but they already have the powers and infrastructure in place to go after "big" criminals. This must be something with a much wider net, aimed at the general population. Tax maybe? Slightly overstuffed bins, disability badges the wrong way round or other high crimes?

    They say it won’t hold the comms content – but that’s like saying a big company’s online telephone book doesn’t hold content. Of course, having the name, location etc make wonderful keys for an index….

    So, they decide I might be an environmental criminal, like leaving the metal lid on a glass jar in the glass recycling bin . They crack open my comms as they think they’re onto Mr Big.

    They will discover from my email I must be a massive consumer of "hot chick pr0n, v1agra and fake Rolex" – fair cop there.

    What I'm worried about is they'll genuinely believe I'm the sole heir to a fortune (ONE MILLION NINE HUNDRED and THIRTY TWO DOLLARS!!); and assign spies to follow me around, waiting for me to meet with that kind gentleman from Nigeria with slightly dodgy English to finalise the transaction, and grab the inheritance tax I’m obviously avoiding.

  30. Peter Fielden-Weston
    Thumb Up

    Now is the time

    to start sending large amounts of random data disguised as encrypted emails.

    Just tune your radio onto static and feed that into your sound card input. lots of lovely random data. This is also good for creating 'one time pads' for truly encrypting data. Remember to transfer these by hand though.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Of course...

    As someone who was a child of the armed forces (the MOD lost my details) and now a child benefit claimer (good old HMRC) I have had all my details put in the public domain already so I find it hard to get upset about the idea of them creating a database of who I call and email. The fact that this whole thing is totally unfit for purpose shows how little technological savvy there is in government and how a child of 13 (yes, I have one they could ask) could easily point out the flaws in this and many other plans. Add to this the fact that some grossly incompetent group of technology antichrists such as EDS will no doubt get this rather large pork barrel and you have a recipe for a govenment sponsored version of Phorm.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Dont worry

    This type of monumental project will never succeed. Just for a second think about the size of the task here; let alone the size of the data.

    The data:

    Take the number of mobile phones, multiply by the mean number of calls made per users = mobile phone records. Same for landlines. Then add text message stats to the phones.

    For emails, take the number of broadband users and multiply by the mean number of outgoing messages per user. I guess incoming will have to be excluded just because of all the spam - however, for evidence it'll be needed.

    I can't estimate the numbers here, I would think they are colossal if you're going to keep the records for, say, 10 years.

    The task:

    UK ISP's could be forced to comply. Email servers held in the states (e.g. hotmail) and other countries may not provide the necessary information - with SSL the task of eavesdropping web based mail may be too onerous.

    People will object, in the UK through the courts and then at European level.

    Then there is the coordination effort, project management and governance.

    Perhaps by 2025 something will be in place, by then the IT landscape will hopefully have changed somewhat and many of us will be on our way to retiring.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    WTF.

    Before this government gets it's hands on any more of our data it should have to prove that it (and any successor) can be trusted with it.

    To date their record is abysmal.

    Not only do they not seem to have any clue about how to implement large-scale IT projects but they also have an appauling record of carelessness with the personal data of private citizens, an addiction to surveillance, an aversion to telling the truth, a tendency for knee-jerk politics driven by the media and a bad habit of drafting laws with fuzzy boundaries that they can consequently subvert for purposes other than those that were given as the reason for creating such laws in the first place (the abuse of anti-terror laws being an egregious case in point).

  34. Anthony Sanford
    Thumb Down

    Guess who gets to pay for this

    So we are heading towards a recession, the treasury says it doesn't have have any more money, we are already breaking our governmental borrowing rules, so who gets to pay for this pink elephant?

    One guess, you and me.

    I'm totally fed up with these ill thought out, grandiose, schemes, that we have to pay for.

  35. Ivor
    Stop

    No no.... Tuttle..

    not Buttle.

  36. b

    Seriously?

    I actually don't believe you.

  37. jimbarter
    Black Helicopters

    Somebody set up us the bomb

    All your data belong to US.

    righto, that's trucrypt installed with a hidden partition, my offshore servers are up and running and my tinfoil hat is set to 'exclude all'.

    Sod brown and his neo-fascist state.

    time to include those CIA trapping keywords as a plain text footer in my already encrypted emails again.

    taliban, bush, assasinate, bin-laden. god is great.

  38. Bill Smith
    Pirate

    Idiots

    For fucks sake, how will you tie URL's to a person - Mr A goes to cybercafe A and goes to A.com then he goes to cybercafe B and goes to B.com - how the fuck do you tie them together. I have said it once and I will keep on saying it, keep parasitical politicians away from computer technology, they dont understand it and never will. Wankers!

  39. Adrian Challinor
    Coat

    RE: Only the densest of Criminals

    " ... seems unlikely that everyone [in government] is a complete fool..."

    I think that observational evidence does not support this statement.

    Mines the one with the cryptographic label.

  40. Slaine
    Unhappy

    not just "Emails" - "Communications"

    So presumably all those nice friendly XXXvideO questions posed to Gob-on Brownshirt will need to be incLUDEd, along with all those megabytes of stupID puppy pictures, paperfolding exercises, "trunkmonkey" vids, Perelli calendars and powerpoint soundbytes too. I think perhaps now is a good time to switch to manufacturing online data storage servers. Looks like there's gonna be a massive increase in demand.

    OM(f)G... I am the regular recipient of seXist, lewd and (distinctly anti-)religious jokes - I'm gonna get 20 years to life.

    @ Tim Spence: "1984... 24 years behind schedule. And probably over-budget" - PMSL - if it wasn't so very true.

  41. Steve Kelly

    YAY

    As a DBA this is good news for me :))

  42. AndyC

    Mirrors Edge...

    For some reason, this game just keeps sounding more and more real...

    http://www.on-mirrors-edge.com/

    So, how do I becmoe a runner? :)

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Disinformation

    I think that this political manouvering is a disingenious activity. They could have focused on important things like:

    NHS for example:

    a) Our leaders like IT? - well the NHS is still waiting for a useful system....

    b) Superbug? - The hospital where I live has proudly elaborated upon that they now only have approx 400 patients suffering (down from over 600 in previous years). Oh dear me, I remember when recently visiting a town in Holland that the local hospital encountered their one (!) patient with a superbug for years - what a scandal that became! This was nothing they were proud of!

    ... yes I know - focusing governmental resources on something beneficiary to the 'subject' - in my dreams. Paris - well it is rather obvious...

  44. Alain Moran

    easy peasy

    If Mr A visits his email while visiting site a.com, and Mr B also visits his email while visiting b.com then any data collation routine worth it's salt would tie them together pretty easily.

    And it doesnt need to be email either ... anything that has you log in would give you away.

  45. David Savage
    Dead Vulture

    What the bet gov is exempt

    How can the same people who feel it is appropriate to hide expenses think its ok to collect all our data. No wonder uk gov wouldn't speak out against Phorm they want to do the same thing.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Simple - set up a political party!

    Vacuuming up all communications, cameras on every corner, profit motivated private companies with Police powers, peon local bureaucrats with gold plated pensions and the power to surveil and fine at will. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear though!

    Ooh – unless you’re one of our beloved masters (I mean elected leaders) who go absolutely ballistic if there is even the faintest whiff of their communications being intercepted or used against them. “Shall we do some more shredding of Mr Blair’s expenses dear??”

    So, set up a political party then get that special dispensation those weasels will obviously have put in place for themselves.

    Mark my words – when things finally snap in Europe, it’s not going to be pretty. The Italians are already burning gypsies/Roma out of their ghettos. I don’t think it’ll be long before people in the UK start lynching council/govt spies. Noticed how lampposts are all curvy these days? More difficult to hoist someone up that way…forward thinking on the Councils’ part.

    Mines is the one that’s bullet/tazerproof, doubles as a sleeping bag, and has a survival kit sewn into the lining…

  47. Matt

    Missing the point?

    The government are playing to the Daily Mail crowd, and they don't care how much the idea (such as it is) costs or how impractical it is (completely) they only care about getting votes and looking tough on crime and terrorism.

    Your average voter doesn't really grasp any of issues which is why ministers can talk such arrant nonsense about 100% secure databases and get away with it.

  48. Shinobi87

    with our lack of cash

    if it did happen it would proably end up on a SQL 7 box that's been sat on a shelf for 5 years waiting to be thrown out! "we havent got the cash just wang it on there and hook it up to a telephone, no one will ever know"

  49. Mike Richards

    Sounds like the Major government all over again

    When the Conservatives realised they were going to lose the next election they started ramming through ever more objectional legislation in the knowledge that the next government would never get round to repealing it. Labour realise the game is up for them this time round, so they'll get this on the books and wait to return to power to continue the Blunkettisation of Britain.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    number

    number one, hoard all data.

    number two, make using encryption a crime. As only criminals have something to hide.

    number three, make polluting a connection a crime (no running bots to make so much chaff) also ignorance is no excuse so you best not get a spy bot. Remember in this modern era the law doesn't need to prove you guilty, you must prove yourself innocent.

    number four, use data to remove unwanted elements of society (sexual deviants, social deviants, commercial deviants.)

    number five, ????

    number six, PROFIT

    As an aside, just becouse they'll find it hard to make such a system work doesn't mean I want them to have the legal framework to do it at a later date.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Peace in our time

    I can’t wait! I don’t really like some of my neighbours. I, like anyone with a smidgen of IT nouce, can learn how to hack my neighbours wireless connections. All I need to do is leave a nice fat greasy trail of communications dirt leading directly to their doors and voila, problem solved. Via their router, surf some moojidin websites, some basic chemistry websites, some random VOIP traffic to Afghanistan, some SSL connections to the Cayman islands – and a few other unsavoury sites (like theregister.co.uk). Off to Gitmo with them, and peace on a Sunday afternoon at last!

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    we have nothing to fear

    Except that the uppers will be exempt from all recording of activity and that the next step will be reading all your mail and recording all your phone calls and recording all your internet activity...oh wait, they're already doing all that. Well then, it can't get worse can it? Oh, yeah. When you get locked up because they got your information mixed up with mr. spermbrain in the next flat over and they got no way to ever valildate the data and you're not allowed access because of "national security", you know.

    Best be getting my pitchfork and flaming fagot to go...

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Encrypt emails?

    I may be completely wrong, but I believe that any form on encryption on electronic storage media or files must be surrendered at the request of Mr Plod!

    Anyway, I think this is all another storm in a tea-cup. I think this was simply another one of those silly meetings held at the Home Office nothing will ever come of it, still best be on your guard anyway, don't trust sneaky Gordo one iota!

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    ... and we all bought the Govmt Flame again

    Nine times out of ten when we see outrageous Govmt proposals like this, they're just a smokescreen to get us all heated up, whilst something much more important slides under the radar ... I don't know what it is - but it will become obvious in the next few days - shortly after HMG announce "This proposal was part of a due diligence exercise which quickly became apparent was unworkable for the moment".

    I hate being a cynic sometimes

  55. Nano nano

    National Database ?

    See the appropriate "Yes Minister" episode ...

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A quick taster...

    Before we all get too excited this is just a balloon the govt is sending up to check on what the response would be. They often do this just to see if they'll run into any flak.

    So we have to fight back, by making enough noise so that the stupid dickwits realise this is a waste of money and time.

  57. Mike Richards

    Clearly a rebranding is needed

    No longer will we have to put up with the old, backward-looking 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland', instead welcome to the sleek 'Airstrip 1.0 experience: brought to you by EDS'.

  58. John
    Boffin

    Very little thought again

    Just flood it with rubbish. It isn't difficult to cobble a program to send rubbish to servers. Hell, I get rubbish every day in me inbox. What are these coded messages minister? Most programmable devices (even remote controls) could send enough rubbish to make it the equivalent of a digital landfill (can I have dibs on that phrase please?)

  59. Guy Herbert
    IT Angle

    Re: Idiots

    "For fucks sake, how will you tie URL's to a person - Mr A goes to cybercafe A and goes to A.com then he goes to cybercafe B and goes to B.com - how the fuck do you tie them together."

    Oh, the Home Office has thought of that: get Mr A to present his ID card and get the cybercaff to log is against his session.

    This isn't a technological schema, it is a bureaucratic concept: every part of government that wants information on the people will have to ask the Home Office for it - for reasons of "efficiency". Bingo! The Home Office is the master department, and everyone in Whitehall will have to recognise that <strike>building a ....</strike> <em>Working together to protect the public</em> is the most important mission statement of them all.

  60. dave lawless
    Boffin

    Cue the death of email over SMTP.

    They should make it mandatory for everyone and give free access to the data collected.

    If everyone has it, we're all equally f'ed in the a.

  61. Rob Redhead

    They don't even consider how much storage they would need

    There is probably some old US mainframe from the 1960's going cheap... you know the one that fills a building & has lots of lovely (not) reels of magnetic tape spinning round accompanied by lots of disco style flashing lights just like on Voyage to The Bottom Of the Sea... Which is where all the Nu Lab dickweeds belong they are clueless about anything regarding IT. If EDS says it is so they believe them.

  62. Inspector_Morse
    Alien

    Enigmatic patriots unite

    XBITJF BWQKPQ! "F XRGODPS GIHS PTBDDB MZ SMUCQ VV RCVBQZ TBY TPSHQYN XCFNFRA EKD FVGJOCJPRZ."

    SESFOV UGNXB

    CLUE 1: Download from here: http://www.xat.nl/enigma/

    CLUE 2: REG

    CLUE 3: F>U; C>K; W>I; T>S

    Next, steal* a mobile phone and text the clues to fellow bad guy/girl. Dump phone in ocean / incinerator....

    Next, steal another mobile phone and text the encrypted message. Dump as before.....

    Job done.

    * alternatively buy a cheap PAYG phone, paying with cash, and dispose of as above (100 fathoms or gas mark 200 is recommended).

    Have fun with the Enigma simulator - it's excellent tip-ware. Meanwhile, despair at the ineptitude and knee-jerk reactions of the UK & US Governments.

    If you cannot be arsed with the Enigma simulator, the encrypted quote is:

    "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government."

    Edward Abbey

  63. Dave Bell

    Want to bet the ISPs have worked out what it would cost?

    Nobody seems to be all that clear on just what data is involved, but the government was planning to have the ISPs store the info, which they're supposed to need to keep for billing purposes.

    I bet you that the government pushed for more data to be stored, the ISPs worked the sums out, and told the government to put up the cash.

    And now this.

    I just wish that I could get on this IT gravy train.

  64. Dom

    No wonder...

    that the Gov/Home Office where trying to sweep Phorm under the carpet. It was a "prequel" to the real Nu Labour policy - spying on the masses en mass.

    I can see it now; swearing on the telephone would incur an automatic fine for a breach of the public order act. Hang on, my "private" phone call was made in the "privacy" of my own home. Why am I getting fined? Because the database is a public database. Now give Us [Gov.co.uk] the contents of your bank account!

    Adolf Hitler would be so proud of Nu Labour. My father fought in WW2 to maintain freedom. Thank God he is no longer with us, to witness this shameful preposal.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It ain't gonna stop..

    Guys, face it. This is NOT going to stop until the country has been turned into what used to be Russia, just slightly warmer in the winter (unless you're a pensioner because they won't give you enough for fuel either).

    Let's take comparable events. Let's take, say, fuel. Eventually, a club got fed up enough to protest, leading the government to proudly announced they'd have a word with the oil companies (since they take the lion's share of the costs that was class A BS, as is any "energy saving" initiative because Brown is not going to curtail his own wasteful habits, but I digress). It got a bit noisy and inconvenient for a week or so, then life resumed. The prices are now substantially higher but all is quiet, as if nothing ever happened.

    Now let's take privacy. Step by step this has been moved to the point of total surveillance (with the help of US "friends" who started this whole game at Menwith Hill many years ago). Protests? Nah. A bit of grumbling, that's all, because everyone is busy working their nuts off to earn a living against a tide of tax increases (some visible, some hidden), inflation and more noise about rising crime - convenient, no? Also a tad conflicting..

    It's really far too late to stop it, unless the whole lot goes at Westminster, and that will no longer happen because the balance of power is no more. Not a chance. Game, set and match.

    And the beauty of it all (from the surveillance side)?

    Those under surveillance paid for it themselves. *That* is irony..

  66. Charles Smith
    Go

    Simple Cure for this

    Write to your local MP and indicate that you will vote against the Nu Labour Police State. A bit of employment insecurity will enhancy their grasp of reality.

  67. Rob Redhead
    Stop

    RE: Simple Cure

    Unfortunately even if you vote for one of the other (Blue, or Yellow) monkeys Toffry or LibDum nothing will change they are all in thrall to their masters in Brussels. Crime crime sexcccrime 1984 ( apologies to the Eurythmics) They have directorships & consultancy jobs lined up when we sack them

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Completing big brother's jigsaw

    Curiously, it seems the only really anonymous practical means of communication we have left now is the postal service. You can't even go and meet someone anonymously in person any more because of CCTV and ANR.

    So I wonder how they're planning to knobble the postal service? I bet even retired army officers from Tunbridge Wells would have something to say if the government started systematically opening letters. So maybe there'll be something in the OCR that they use to sort letters that recognises everyone's handwriting? Or will they x-ray all the envelopes? Or maybe they'll analyse the DNA? Or force you to use envelopes with an ID stamp on?

    At least with the, ahem, regularity of postal deliveries they can't time the traffic!

    Anyone know if they track carrier pigeon movements yet?

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not to worry

    This will not take off. They couldn't f***ing sort bags at T5 without shipping them overseas - do you think this bunch of f***wits could find their own a**e with their hands, let alone manage a massive database that is updated thousands of times a second and never ever going to decrease in capacity? Given the shining example that NHS-(H)IT has been, this is not likely.

    If at all they do manage to get something up and running, rest assured the real crims and terrorists will not be on it.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear MP

    Your cash arrived and the bombs are ready. Who do you want me to blow up? Leave your answer in the usual blog.

    By the way, thankyou for the photographs.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Royal Mail Rescue Package

    Even though I know that the Royal Mail has been wrecked by the government, I think this is probably their attempt at putting things right.

    If they record every piece of electronic communication, we will all have to resort to sending each other letters... tada!

  72. Ash
    Pirate

    No encryption, no quarter.

    It's not time to encrypt everything. It's not time to hide beind your sensibilities and your morality; they're being stripped away in favour of domination.

    It's time to take to the streets. It's time to take up brick, chain, and hammer.

    Would you exchange a walk-on part in the war, for the lead roll in a cage?

    (Anonymous? What's the point.)

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    I have nothing more to add..

    Except to say that this would be utterly disgusting and i agree with the view others have held here about what would be an abomination and rape of privacy and any plausible stance to a 'innocent until proven guilty' system.

  74. bobbles31
    Coat

    At what point...

    do we stop calling it "Sleepwalking into a surveillance society" and start calling it what it is?

    A deliberate attempt to create the Orwellian nightmare by individuals with a vested interest!

    The only question for me is where to emmigrate to.

  75. b
    Go

    Write to your MP

    Labour mps are sh*tting themselves right now.

    Make it plain that you will be binning them because of this proposal and all the other nasty indefensible rubbish they've rubberstamped over the last few years.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    One thing which amuses me..

    This site is full of champagne socialists. Always winging and calling for things to stop, but i doubt anyone here's actually taken any REAL action to do anything to change it.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    I doubt the alternative party will be different

    Just because Nu Labour are f'ing things in the A, it doesn't mean the opposition will be any different! If the Conservatives get in power I could only see things getting even worse (Conservatives are never about the right of the individual but the right of the state), and well LibDems could be just as big a puppet themselves!

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @number (AC) + Ash

    @number (AC)

    Number five - sell our data to advertising companies.

    @Ash

    The cops certainly know the revolution is coming. Gun an knife amnesties are to disarm the general public. Its pretty obvious that no criminals are going to hand in their weapons.

  79. b

    This site is full of champagne socialists.

    I'm not any kind of socialist thanks very much.

    Belming icon please.

  80. Jon

    @ bobbles31 et. al.

    Anyone want to set up an emigration service for UK Citizens fleeing persecution ?

    I am seriously thinking of it ... If the paperless office is truly here, and video conferencing is cheap, why do you need to work here ? You can keep your job, live anywhere else while dodging the criminal amount of tax and surveillance of your personal life. Leaving it to whatever company you work for to complain about their lack of privacy .....

    As for those who work in more immediate service industries, then come along - 'cos we all need you as well, and we would like you to be free.

    Calling for the mass emigration from HMP UK.

  81. James Pickett
    Pirate

    At last..

    A use for spam! I'm tempted to sign up for some 'medication' and put a .gov.uk address...

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @ 'b'

    "I'm not any kind of socialist thanks very much."

    Okay, first top points for missing what a champagne socialist means in this context (instead taking thing a little too much on the literal, and missing the point).

    And secondly, do you never complain on here, and if you do, what have you ever done to see it changed? If nothing, you my friend, are a champagne socialist ;)

  83. David Pollard
    Joke

    AC - Anyone know if they track carrier pigeon movements yet?

    Don't think so, but keep a look out for announcements about comprehensive measures to control bird-flu.

  84. b
    Stop

    belming icon please

    what have you ever done to see it changed?

    I've written to my mp. To the newspapers. To the BBC. To the house of Lords.

  85. Jon
    Unhappy

    What Have I done ?

    Pretty much everything except armed revolt my friend - protesting (civilly of course), working from the inside, working from the outside; writing to MP's, taking active part in the socialist workers (and respective splits). Not doing much of anything at the moment except battening down the hatches, preparing the kids for what's to come, locating places to move to when push comes to shove, boning up on survival techniques, getting ready basically. If you think that's taking things a little too far, well, I fear is that is not going to be enough.

  86. Bob Hoskins
    Thumb Down

    A guilty system.....

    .....recognizes no innocents.

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