back to article Facebook-based privacy campaign to spam Wacky Jacqui

More than 3,000 people have agreed to protest against the privacy threat from the government's forthcoming consultation on communications data... by joining a Facebook group. Participants in "CC all your emails to Jacqui Smith Day" plan to bombard the Home Secretary's inbox with their daily trivia to register opposition to …


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  1. Martin

    It isn't

    If the irony (or perhaps appropriateness?) of protesting against the growth of monitoring and retention of communications data via a business whose raison d'être is the monitoring and retention of communications data isn't too much for you to bear

    Hmmm tough one - nope its not so now it has one more member

    I'll get my coat, mines the one with the tinfoil hood

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Feed the machine

    Whilst spamming Jacqui's mailbox is admirable, how long do you think it would take for her to get a) a mailbox whitelist set up, b) a new mailbox?

    Surely it would be better to feed the machine. I remember the docs that Phil Zimmermann wrote for early iterations of PGP, and I paraphrase because I don't have the original docs. 'If all mail was sent using a postcard, the postman wouldn't read them. But if one person sent mail in a sealed envelope, the curiosity would get the better of him, and the desire to find out what was inside would be too strong to resist.'

    So why not, instead of spamming a government official, spam the machine by encrypting all messages whether they contain useless information or not.

    Surely that would have a greater impact?

    And of course, if the rozzers knocked on the door with RIPA in their hand, feel free to hand over the keys - then they'll realise they're wasting their time by reading encrypted trivia...

  3. Colin Millar

    You cynical old gits

    I suppose you deliberately ignored the voluntary nature of arsebook membership just to get that cheap snigger about the ironing.

    Nice to see we can count on the Reg to never pass up the chance top take a potshot at the Life 2.0 crowd.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Lionel Baden
    Thumb Up

    hmm legally spamming .gov

    Im signed up :)

  5. Al Iguana

    yeah but

    Facebook is a data-miner, but you don't have to sign up for it. Everything you post on Facebook is posted because you WANT it to be public knowledge. Not so with the govt plans, which will (apparently) monitor every email, website, phonecall, whether you like it or not.

    So it isn't necessarily ironic, more making the point that we're happy for people to spy on us IF WE CONSENT TO IT. (Although, since we voted this govt in, I guess we consented to it, although I don't remember voting for Gordon or Jaqui)

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Forward the SPAM

    I wonder if I can set up the SPAM settings at ISP/GMail etc just to send on the SPAM.

    I get a handful of emails in my Inbox and hundreds (if not thousands) filtered out to the SPAM box that I normally don't even see. They're welcome to all those ads for cheap meds etc. Maybe they could even save some money for the NHS. :)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    great another useless group to sign up to!

  8. Tim

    C'mon, it is Friday

    It is bad enough that for some reason it is impossible to post comments to the story "DABetamax shop boosters 'could break the law'" (unless I'm being particularly dozy, which is possible as lunch was an all you can eat job, with a sazzy polish waitess too, hubba hubba), so I turn to a Jacqui Smith story with all due expectation of a full blown Playmobil fest. What a disappointment. Surely it is not another credit crunch cutback infringing on our chortlespace?


    @1hr 26mins to go


  9. Ash
    Thumb Up

    @Feed the Machine (AC)

    No, they wouldn't. When the data curned up as garbage, they'd say you gave them the wrong key, are perverting the course of justice, and put you in jail.

    Good thinking, Sherlock.

    As for bulk-mailing Jacqui, won't this fall foul of anti-spam and computer misuse legislation?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    What happens to teleconference details?

    I seem to spend half my life nowadays in teleconferences with different parts of my company in the UK and overseas. To access one I have to dial a freephone number then enter a pin number for the particular group discussion that I wish to join.

    So when the communications monitoring bill goes live will all the terrorists be using teleconferences? Or will BT be logging which source number entered what pin and telling the government that too? Is that legal?

    If they don't, then the telecomms records will simply show that thousands of people, terrorist and saint alike, dialled the same number at the roughly same time. Pretty useless. Oh and these teleconference services also have access from a zillion other coutnries via local numbers. So the source number probably won't be available anyway.

    Or they could just use the old trick of using a PABX with voicemail forwarding, or just taping two public phones together with mouthpiece to earpiece.

    Imagination is all it takes really.

  11. Geoff Mackenzie

    @Ash (Feed the machine)

    It wouldn't be garbage, just irrelevant, uninteresting trivia.

  12. LaeMi Qian Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    I think s/he meant that when they decrypted the messages they would find emails to Aunt Agnes about if her cat got better. Encrypting everything including the trivial so the important stuff is harder to spot was the point of the post. Sherlock.

  13. Syd

    Isn't this illegal?

    Looks to me like a "DoS" attack!

    (We need an "Evil Jacqui Smith" icon... 'cos she knows where you live!)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Feed the machine

    Unless the divs set the date for the spamming at some distant point in the future, the chances are good that it'll have some effect. I've worked with govt IT before, if nothing else the bureacracy will get in the way.

  15. Matt
    Thumb Down

    Will this work?

    If it's all CC'ed to her, can't she just ignore all e-mails where she is not in the To line (or is in the CC line)? I wouldn't be surprised if she already does something similar.

    You might overload the mail servers, but isn't the aim to "bombard the Home Secretary's inbox" rather than the servers.

    Forwarding our spam would probably just get filtered too.

  16. PT

    @ Feed the machine

    "..spam the machine by encrypting all messages whether they contain useless information or not"

    I'm all for that, but unfortunately, the number of people I email regularly who even have GPG installed - let alone use it - is one. I can't get people to go to the trouble of installing it even when we have commercially sensitive material to exchange.

  17. Elmer Phud

    Slap in the Facebook?

    I wonder if will try to prosecute Facebook for a DOS attack? Fairly limp one maybe, but running the servers where your clients are conspiring to clog up governmental computing kit could be seen as allowing a security threat to be carried out. It's the sort of thing that the litigation junkies would slobber over.

  18. SkippyBing Silver badge

    f**k the kids

    Would someone please think of me and not use a picture of her Wackiness to illustrate this article on the front page. It's bad enough I know the woman exists.

  19. Bob Hoskins

    Never mind the spamming.......

    ......why doesn't someone just shoot the bitch in the head?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @@Feed The Machine

    Problem is folks, thats exactly the point.

    It *isn't* a postman, or someone who might be interested in an individual communication or not.

    Its an unthinking datacentre full of very expensive comms kit whose very purpose is to watch the torrent of trivia and let the humans know when something of interest passes through.

    This already happens to your phone calls ... do a bit of research on project Eschelon. Sponsored by the NSA, who I imagine are tugging at various leashes to get 'partner' global powers to plug their bits of the internet into it.

  21. Rob Burke
    Thumb Up


    CC your email to Wacky Jacqui day - love it. Would be nice if it was a continuous thing.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had a dream

    in which politicians were no longer required, their role instead subsumed into a body politic conducted over the Web, whereby every citizen got the opportunity to put their side on every movement of the Government machine, a true democracy where the opinions of every single voter were treated with equal weight, without bias, without old school ties, without colour, creed, sexual preference or political leanings entering the equation.

    Between the heavyweight political actions we've seen occurring on both Facefuck and Speek Ure Branez, that dream has now been shown in its true light. Close escape, really.

  23. Chris Lovell

    @ Ash

    "As for bulk-mailing Jacqui, won't this fall foul of anti-spam and computer misuse legislation?"

    As I believe all legislation put in place refers to unsolicited *commercial* email, happily this should be completely legal.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    AFAIK there's no law (yet) which stops one encrypting any "trivia" or " rubbish", One persons "rubbish" is anothers "booty".

    I have wondered whether a similar technique (say, lots of random/erroneous search terms) would render any kind of Google log trawling for the purposes of profiling more difficult).

    Encouraging mass mailing/spamming of an individuals email account may be something else though...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I personally believe the model that the Interception Modernisation Programme will indeed be that of the NSA. Russell Tice, the whistleblower who revealed details of his NSA work in the warrantless eavesdropping programme, has made further revelations on NSBC this week. Now it maybe that he is just a disgruntled ex-employee with an axe to grind, but it could well be true. He confirms all the paranoid conspiracy theories about the NSA listening in to everything is pretty much true. It is not Echelon. There are a variety of programmes operated (e.g. Stellar Wind). According to James Bamford's book 'The Shadow Factory' Echelon was the name for operations in the old days when it was relatively easy to set-up listening stations around the world tapping into all the signals bouncing around between satellites & over copper wires. Today is much harder as fibre optics is used & it isn't as easy as previously. That's why the UK government would need to set-up a nationwide network of 'black boxes'.

    The most recent revelations are that everything that is going over the communications system: faxes, e-mails, phone calls, web searches, etc. are all collected for NSA analysis. It all gets filtered through the massive supercomputers (as no human workforce could possibly monitor everything) where it gets flagged up for further investigation by people. Apparently all sorts of things could trigger an investigation: a series of short phone calls, use of certain keywords, etc. Reminds me very much of that scene out of The Simpsons Movie where Marge & the kids are caught on the train because the NSA overheard their conversation. Certainly sounds like a boring career. Anyway the information is then stored in massive data warehouses. It might be later data-mined & cross referenced with credit card records. Apparently journalists were particularly targeted for surveillance. Further info here:

    and here:

    I have little faith in this government's reassurances about the purpose of the IMP. I suspect they sorely want their own ability to intercept communications like the Americans. I wouldn't be surprised if they intend sharing it too. They would probably data-mine for suspicious patterns, who's talking to who, etc. I suspect the easing of data transference between government departments is to allow a legal basis to build up a detailed profile of the entire populationby sharing tasty titbits. Unfortunately I think everything will be pulled in. Certainly one article has suggested it will make things a lot harder for investigative journalists:

    One interesting thing Tice mentioned (& others have touched on in their comments) in the Ars Technica article is that the amount of information is the biggest problem. So it is possible that generating more false information maybe some kind of cover. But apparently even that base might be covered as the NSA are (according to Bamford) buying even more powerful supercomputers capable of utterly astonishing number-crunching.

  26. Kanhef

    re: I had a dream

    It's a nice idea. But look at the BBC's 'have your say' or the comments on youtube for why it doesn't work. Better is a meritocracy, where the most knowledgeable and competent have the greatest influence.

  27. Steve Roper

    Defeating Echelon

    is done easily by embedding the following code in your email signature to be sent with every email, and encouraging as many other people as possible to do the same:

    <div style="display: none">

    bomb aircraft AK47 grenade RPG RDX fertiliser evade detection alert cell operation


    Your email recipient sees nothing, but you can bet your boots the spooks will be running around like mice on meth trying to track down that lot!

  28. John B

    I'd like a camera up my...

    If you want to find a government snooper IRL, look for a single issue pressure group that's being reasonably effective at pissing off the rich. Then look for their back office staff, treasurer, secretary, webmaster etc. The most effective and diligent will be a spook.

    I'm only saying this because I help run a couple of .orgs and we need some more volunteers. Help us get better at overthrowing democracy!

  29. Lionel Baden

    @ any who thinkits illegal

    Im guessing its a pretty fine line tbh but at the end of the day spamming to her mailbox or screaming down a megaphone outside her office would both normally be considered illegal and would have the chaps in blue turning up to tell you to piss off

    But as a protest you kinda have a certain immunity. Its not like the goverment can take away our Free Speech to say [CENSORED] So its as simple as that

  30. Dave Silver badge

    @Steve Roper

    Who needs a hidden div?

    Just make it part of your standard signature:

    "This email has been scanned for:bombs aircraft AK47 grenades RPGs RDX fertiliser plutonium anthrax and other viruses. None were found at this end. Etc..."

  31. Rob Foster
    Thumb Up

    Spamming - Noooo

    This wouldn't be spamming or an attempted DoS attack as the Government's plans are to have a copy of everything anyways.

    So we're just helping them by sending them copies.

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