back to article Woolwich beheading sparks call to REVIVE UK Snoopers' Charter

Nick Clegg has been warned that his opposition to the controversial Communications Data Bill could leave Britain "at risk" after a soldier was beheaded in Woolwich, London. The deputy prime minister is coming under increased pressure to rethink his stance on the draft law, dubbed the Snoopers' Charter. The bill, if passed by …

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  1. g e
    Stop

    Right.

    Because everyone posts:

    Just beheaded an infidel in #Woolwich. Allahu Akhbar! #islam #jihad #PraiseBe

    (Or discusses it on the phone/email/etc)

    1. Titus Technophobe
      Stop

      Re: Right.

      However this does seem be an example of where targeted monitoring of the communications of these individuals might have stopped this happening.

      This barbaric murder of an innocent man in the name of Islam does seem to be have been carried out by; at least one individual known to the security services, an individual already know to have extremist views and people who don't seem to have concealed their intentions.

      1. localzuk
        Thumb Down

        Re: Right.

        The police and security services already have the tools to do targeted monitoring of individuals. In fact, the security services had been monitoring these 2. So, this proposed law won't actually help in this sort of circumstance at all.

        1. Titus Technophobe
          Thumb Down

          Re: Right.

          They were known to the security services, how much was known is really the question?

          Had the security services been in a position to look at with whom they had been communicating might they then have had been better able to assess these people as a danger to society?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Right.

            @ TT - possibly, but that of itself is hardly a justification. There is an instinctive desire to think ' if only we did/allowed/banned X then Y would not happen '. This sort of thinking is as seductive as crack and has been used by the weak and manipulative throughout history to repress and control people.

            The simple truth is that life is messy and bad shit sometimes happens to good people for no reason. We should not allow tragedies to debase us.

          2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: Right.

            Someone being 'known' to the security services does not mean that they are a risk.

            The security services will know something about everyone who has ever held security clearance or who has physically visited one of their location. They know something about people who have visited countries in the Middle-East, Asia, or the Ex Soviet Union countries. They know about anybody who has held public office, especially if that office manages sensitive data. There are probably any number of demonstrations or events where they will identify the people who attended, and keep a record of the people, so know about them too. Any of you reading this could be known to them in one way or another.

            Just because you are known to the security services does not mean that you are automatically a terror suspect. Sometimes people are known for good reasons. Sometimes they are known but not judged to be a risk worth pursuing. Sometimes they get it wrong. Sometimes they have not got the correct resources.

            @Titus. If you were to say that one in a hundred of the people who fit a particular profile that they know about may be a risk (and I emphasise that this is a number plucked out of thin air), then that means that 99 completely innocent people may end up being monitored.

            So if you (for example), were next to a group protesting about Margaret Thatcher, took part in a Student protest about fees at the Houses of Parliament, were a member of CND, went on holiday to a former Soviet country, the Middle East, East Africa or Pakistan, and regularly use TOR or encrypted Bit Torrent, you may be on their list. How does that make you feel. Good? Still want to give them the power to look at what you are doing online?

            1. Titus Technophobe

              Re: Right.

              @Peter Gathercole

              So if you (for example), were next to a group protesting about Margaret Thatcher, took part in a Student protest about fees at the Houses of Parliament, were a member of CND, went on holiday to a former Soviet country, the Middle East, East Africa or Pakistan, and regularly use TOR or encrypted Bit Torrent, you may be on their list. How does that make you feel. Good? Still want to give them the power to look at what you are doing online?

              At least three of your points above apply, and to be honest it would not concern me should the security services which to look at the IP traffic data on my internet connection.

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: Right.

                At least three of your points above apply, and to be honest it would not concern me should the security services which to look at the IP traffic data on my internet connection.

                Would it concern you if your monthly ISP bill went up by 5% to cover the costs of this pointless monitoring? What about 20%? what about 50%?

                1. Titus Technophobe
                  Stop

                  Re: Right.

                  If it stopped something like the above happening no it wouldn't concern me .... average ISP what £15 ... 20% another £3.

                2. Vic

                  Re: Right.

                  > Would it concern you if your monthly ISP bill went up by 5% to cover the costs

                  If this snooping were actually to prevent such atrocities, I wouldn't bat an eyelid at a 500% increase.

                  But it won't. It's just yet more security theatre.

                  Vic.

              2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: Right.

                @Titus

                I deliberately made the list as wide as possible so that most of the readers would fall into at least one category.

                I know I have latent consistency theory tendencies, so may be slightly paranoid about these things. The point I am trying to make is that if they use something like the list I presented as the initial trigger for monitoring, they may well end up seeing other things that you do that are less acceptable. I am pretty clean (in fact I only fall into one of my own list categories - I'll let you guess which), but will definitely be on their known list (for good reasons only, I hope).

                I do nothing that *I* feel is worthy of their attention for bad reasons, but that does not mean I am happy for them to monitor my Internet traffic. I think that if you take the defence that "I do nothing wrong so I have nothing to fear" ignores the fact that you don't know what *they* think is wrong, and there is nobody to challenge their view.

                (BTW. If one of the three that you do is porn, then I suggest that you restrict yourself to sites that certify that all their models/actors/actresses/participants are over 18, because if you have images - photographs or other types - of people engaged in sexual acts who are or appear to be (in the eyes of the investigator) under 18 cached on your computer, even as a thumbnail in your browsers image cache, you almost certainly are guilty of infringing the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, sections 62-68).

          3. Alexander Hanff 1
            FAIL

            Re: Right.

            Which they could have done through a RIPA warrant, which are very easy to obtain.

            As stated, the police do not need additional powers - RIPA gives them the ability to intercept communications - the reason they want extra powers is because they want powers that do not require judicial oversight. All this crap about them needing Communications Data Bill to look at communications is a red herring - they want sweeping powers to look at -all- communications -all- the time - they want to silo everything. They hate the fact that there is oversight in place to (in theory) prevent the total erosion of privacy and turn the UK into a police state.

          4. teebie

            Re: Right.

            They were already known to the security services? So this sounds like exactly the sort of thing that could be covered by getting a warrant to tap their communications

      2. MrXavia
        Thumb Down

        Re: Right. @Titus Technophobe

        That's the point, targeted monitoring, i.e. AFTER a court order is obtained!

        the Snoopers charter removed the need for a court order....

        Although while it might stop idiots such as these if you can monitor communications, it would not stop anyone with a decent education... Right now I don't bother encrypting... if this bill passes, I might start a new business selling encrypted communications to the masses....

        1. Titus Technophobe

          Re: Right. @Titus Technophobe

          @MrXavia .... it is the 'traffic data' that would be monitored. Not the contents, encryption wouldn't do a heck of a lot anyway.

        2. Mike Ozanne

          Re: Right. @Titus Technophobe

          Firstly the relevant statute, RIPA does not require a court order even for "Intrusive Surveillance" , merely the consent of the Home Secretary or Justice Secretary. Gathering data at the level in the proposed bill can already be done with the permission of a senior official. Obviously the security services, having had these two individuals drawn to their attention choose not to implement even this level of surveillance.

          Secondly it seems clear that the security services failed to correctly assess the information that they already possessed. Massively increasing the size of the haystack to be sifted isn't going to help.

          As you say frustrating the proposed intelligence gathering is not exactly rocket science. Also many more people than the Jihadi nutcases will start using VPN's, anonymous proxies, re-mailers, twin key encryption etc, so not even the adoption of those measures will indicate likely valid subjects.

          1. Titus Technophobe

            Re: Right. @Peter Gathercole

            Yes as a list of examples so wide you might as well have just put either are you on the electoral register or indeed was your birth registered at Somerset house. The intention of the Communications Data Bill was to collect information and use it for targeted investigations. It wasn't to do 'fishing expeditions'.

            How might this have helped in this instance? We know that the perpetrators weren’t exactly covert in fact they went out of their way to publicise their activities. It would also appear that they were radicalised by their internet activities.

            I can think of a couple of examples of how this data might have helped:

            If they had posted their intentions prior to just maybe they could have been tracked down via IP information?

            Alternatively just maybe knowing what internet sites these two had visited which had caused them to be radicalised could provide a list of possible other fanatics in the UK

            BTW I don’t do a heck of a lot of porn, and if this is your main concern as another commentator remarked, get over it the security services aren’t going to be that interested.

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Re: Right. @Peter Gathercole

              "Alternatively just maybe knowing what internet sites these two had visited which had caused them to be radicalised could provide a list of possible other fanatics in the UK"

              I will concede that this could be useful information, but it is likely that this will be obtained after the fact, as I'm sure that all their possessions are now evidence. I would be very surprised if the sites they were reading weren't already known. What you consider subversive information may be perfectly acceptable to other people in the world. As you said, what the security services would like to be able to do is identify everybody who is reading those sites, not necessarily the sites themselves. But this may still finger people who are just curious about such rhetoric.

              "If they had posted their intentions prior to just maybe they could have been tracked down via IP information?"

              Well. Did they? There is an "if" in your statement. I think that you would probably be surprised by how many people post such statements without any intention to actually carry anything like that out. I have said many times that I would like to drop a bomb on a certain campus in Redmond (there, I've done it again), but I will never really carry that out. If the police reacted to every casual threat that was tweeted, mailed or blogged, they would be very busy indeed.

              My comment about porn was to try to show how little people understand our laws. I Am Not A Lawyer, and I certainly don't think I know everything that is illegal (like photocopying the Queens Currency, selling Creosote to individuals who are not in the fencing trade, or allowing ragwort to grow in your garden - all of these are against the law).

              My list was intended to be wide but not so wide it would not cover everybody.

              You've still missed the point that if they are allowed to do this without proper supervision, at some point they will in a way that is likely to be objectionable to everybody.

              1. Titus Technophobe

                Re: Right. @Peter Gathercole

                Well. Did they?

                It was an example. I believe that 7/7 bombers did.

                You've still missed the point that if they are allowed to do this without proper supervision, at some point they will in a way that is likely to be objectionable to everybody.

                Investigatory Powers Tribunal?

          2. Titus Technophobe

            Re: Right. @Mike Ozanne

            Firstly the relevant statute, RIPA does not require a court order even for "Intrusive Surveillance" , merely the consent of the Home Secretary or Justice Secretary. Gathering data at the level in the proposed bill can already be done with the permission of a senior official. Obviously the security services, having had these two individuals drawn to their attention choose not to implement even this level of surveillance.

            OK ….. you want to have a pop at the security services

            Secondly it seems clear that the security services failed to correctly assess the information that they already possessed. Massively increasing the size of the haystack to be sifted isn't going to help.

            It is connecting the data together that allows an intelligent assessment. Just maybe knowing the communications details would have helped rather than hindered the assessment.

            As you say frustrating the proposed intelligence gathering is not exactly rocket science. Also many more people than the Jihadi nutcases will start using VPN's, anonymous proxies, re-mailers, twin key encryption etc, so not even the adoption of those measures will indicate likely valid subjects.

            True but then again it is ‘ the who, when, where and how of a communication, but not its (encrypted) content’ that the bill proposed to collect.

      3. Bluenose

        Re: Right.

        You have made an invalid assumption. The law being proposed does not provide access to content (so no use in monitoring as they may simply saying "how are you and have you got a cold?" Secondly the primary purpose of the Act is to support investigation (after the event) by allowing the police and security service to see where they have been, where they went online and who they might have called.

        At best this law would have provided the police and security services with the names of a few people these two lunatics have had contact with but no real evidence as to whether they were involved in the attack (planning or knowledge of it).

        Events such of these are impossible in the main to prevent since the planning and execution (no pun intended) can be undertaken by one or two individuals meeting on a bench in the park on Saturday afternoon during a performance of the local brass band. These are the terrifying attacks that leave every policeman, security official and government minister in fear because they know that the only way they can be prevented is by pure luck. For example by stopping their car due to a problem with the insurance or because someone did not replace the duff headlight bulb.

      4. NomNomNom

        Re: Right.

        "This barbaric murder of an innocent man in the name of Islam does seem to be have been carried out by; at least one individual known to the security services"

        What? you are saying they were under the employment of the security services? I suppose that makes sense yes. This is probably the only way they can rush the snoopers charter through.

        1. Titus Technophobe
          Thumb Down

          Re: Right.

          @NomNomNom .... err yes, not really worth a comment, is your reading ability really that poor?

      5. Dan 55 Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Right.

        They were already known to the security services. Instead of passing a snooper's charter to make us all magically safe from people already known to the security services perhaps we should pass a bill to make us all magically safe by making the security services do their job properly?

        No, scratch that. I'm sure the security services were doing the best they could too. There can't be 100% safety and making up new laws won't magically change that. Perhaps allocating more resources to the security services will slightly increase safety, but that doesn't need new laws.

        1. John Sanders
          Flame

          Of course...

          """They were already known to the security services."""

          Like what happened in Boston, the problem is that the security forces have completely forbidden to "profile"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Of course...

            Unless you mean Boston, Lincolnshire, different country, system, laws, population. Do catch up. They went thre own way in the 18 th century.

          2. mikeyt

            Re: Of course...

            Sez who?

      6. stuff and nonesense

        Re: Right.

        Targeted monitoring is acceptable, the wholesale monitoring of the populous is not.

        No-one knows (outside of the security services) what was known about these individuals. All that has been released is that they were on a list.

        An attack of this type doesn't need a huge amount of planning. There is no need to co-ordinate with other perpetrators. There is no need for a huge amount of money to fund the operation. There is little need for any communication outside of the 2 individuals who have been shot and arrested.

        You would need to be very careless to leave a trail for anyone to follow if you were planning an attack of this type. Anyone can get a knife or a meat cleaver from Tesco or Asda. Planning can be done over a beer while watching a movie. External communication is not needed.

        So back to the article, Politicians of all colours want control, the security services need to have access to everything for the politicians to have the control they want. Just because there is a horrific incident does not justify wholesale surveillance.

        Application of existing laws - incitement to (commit crime) should be applied to the people preach hate. Existing wire tap laws should be used where there is intelligence pointing to a crime.

        Judges and the home secretary should remain in the path required to get a warrant to execute a wire tap/ internet monitoring.

        With regard to the reference to Islam, NO religion on planet earth preaches hate. These people were acting outside of the teachings of their faith.

    2. Dave 15 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Right.

      Of course Just beheaded.... would hardly help prevention.

      As we pointed out the first time they tried this Stalinesque bull, it won't work and it won't help. Boris has sunk any hope of election as anything beyond baffoon hair consultant by suggesting the police had 'compelling' arguments in favour,

      1. zooooooom
        Happy

        Re: Right.

        The electorate has made it perfectly clear they do want a baffoon hair consultant in charge - whats your point?

    3. cannon
      Big Brother

      Re: Right.

      innit...

      not sure if the public are gullible enough to believe this as our slave masters have already stated they were know to mi5 who have the ability to phone, email tap everyone & snooping certainly didnt stop this.

      & the ppl will cheer away their freedoms to in the name of safety to themselves or more importantly their children!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right.

        The wholesale monitoring of a population by its government is a tool of fear and leads to self-censorship beyond what they can hope to achieve with acceptable 'laws'.

        See 'Stasi' and see how the law abiding people of East Germany felt about them.

        "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

        This includes the despots who want to look up my pants.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Right.

      Arg not those stupid hashtags again!

  2. Matthew 25
    Stop

    How?

    How does the police trawling through my on-line presence let them know weather I own a machete?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How?

      My exact point. What was the IP address of the said ex-devout-christian turned devout muslim when he went around on a rampage? Was it IPv4 or IPv6? Where exactly is machete specified in the /etc/services files and how does "use machete" map onto a 5-tupple? Did recording it help in any way?

      _BOTH_ suspects were known to security services. Not that the security services could have done anything in this case as there is bugger all they can do against a low tech nutter.

      You can prohibit machetes, swords and guns. Chainsaw? Hedge trimmer? Meat cleaver? Not really. None of them has IP addresses either (at least for the time being in IPv4).

      FFS...

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: How?

        I'm not sure how it would work, but I can't escape the feeling an (IPv6) Internet enabled chainsaw would sell really well!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How?

          "I'm not sure how it would work, but I can't escape the feeling an (IPv6) Internet enabled chainsaw would sell really well!"

          Brings a new meaning to the phrase 'ping of death'.

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: How?

        Chances are that if you have an IP6 address, then you are probably much more identifiable than if you stick with IP4. This is because it is less likely that an IP6 address will be re-allocated. You will either have it forever,, or at least for a good long time.

        But even if you are using a temporary IP4 address with NAT, your ISP will probably be able to identify the account holder and probably the physical location of the point where it touches their infrastructure, just as long as they take account of timezones and DST correctly!

        Although I don't agree with it, the presumption is that they could profile a person who was becoming a risk by reading their blogs, forum posts, browsing history, email, IM and SMS messages and even purchasing history (how did you buy your machete), and once identified, single them out for even greater surveillance. Once under surveillance, they can be caught before doing any damage.

        But this effectively means that they will need to watch all people who match certain criteria, including many who aren't, and never will be, a threat to society. It's a really difficult problem which will always upset some people on one or other side of the argument.

        My view is that as soon as government agencies have the ability to look at what people are doing without sufficient safeguards, they then will eventually abuse that ability, and look for things that have not been sanctioned by this legislation. Anything. Being a member of a particular political party or religious group. Or an anonymous blogger about personal freedoms. Or an infrequent copyright infringer. Or harbouring anti-AGW thoughts. Or being upset with your local MP. Or a consumer of legal on-line porn. Or an objector to HS2. Anything.

        Is everybody who supports this charter sure they are squeaky-clean?

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Re: How?

          "Is everybody who supports this charter sure they are squeaky-clean?"

          The self righteous are always sure that they are a)squeaky-clean and (fallback) even if some of their behaviour isn't they have a good cause for it, not like the rest of us.

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Matthew 25 Re: How?

      "How does the police trawling through my on-line presence....." Your pr0n downloading habits are probably of zero interest to anyone other than Google, and would not warrant the limited resources available to the Police. Get over yourself.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Your pr0n downloading habits are probably of zero interest to anyone other than Google

        Oh well, it's probably ok to get rid of any right to privacy, because it probably won't be abused. There is no way terror legislation would be used to randomly harass people, probably.

        Fail indeed.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Your pr0n downloading habits are probably of zero interest to anyone other than Google

          "Oh well, it's probably ok to get rid of any right to privacy, because it probably won't be abused. There is no way terror legislation would be used to randomly harass people, probably."

          Indeed.

          RIPA used to find out what schools catchment area a couple live in. Unthinkable.

          Freezing terrorist assets applied to coucils who deposited cash into Icelandic banks. Ridiculous.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Your pr0n downloading habits are probably of zero interest to anyone other than Google

          The pr0n will be used however if you vote for the wrong party, voted UKIP recently, tailed by S.B. for a week. Pr0n on pc equals reason to detain ALL your i.t., video cameras, still cameras, dvd players (includes games consoles) mobile phones etc etc for enquiries... EQUALS fucted up life.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How?

      I bet Google Now knows

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How?

      If said item was purchased on-line, or you'd bought a sharping stone suitable. Hell even looking at the 'scary-sharp' sharpening technique on youtube might raise concerns. I have 2 machetes, a billhook and a hedge layers slasher, my favorite kitchen knife is a small but very sharp cleaver, but as a Scout camp site maintainer and a chef these things are just normal tools, as is my .243 for putting venison on the table!

  3. Professor Clifton Shallot

    Nice population, it would be a shame if something happened to it . . .

    "Reid, the former Labour home secretary, said the bill was a crucial weapon against terrorists and warned that it would take "some huge tragedy" for Britons to see the need for legislation."

    Is that a threat?

    1. g e

      Re: Nice population, it would be a shame if something happened to it . . .

      I refer the honourable gentleman to the Television series House Of Cards starring Ian Richardson...

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Nice population, it would be a shame if something happened to it . . .

      I read that as "some huge tragedy" in the sense of some brain virus rendering us all irreparably stupid.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    With the lad not even buried...

    the political opportunism kicks in.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      Re: With the lad not even buried...

      "the political opportunism kicks in."

      It does not take much for a data fetishist to break cover and make a grab for the goodies.

      Truly they have no shame.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: With the lad not even buried...

      B.LIAR and the gun-grabbers after Dunblane spring to mind... "An armed society is a polite society"

  5. Ragarath
    Facepalm

    Exists already?

    "They need to look again at the bill, which has a lot of changes to stop it being a snoopers' charter. This ability is something that exists now, and will disappear. I have no doubt that if it goes we will be more at risk, so the deputy prime minister is, I believe, putting the country at risk."

    If the ability exists currently, why did Woolwich happen and how will keeping it prevent another? Or am I reading the above wrong?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Exists already?

      It happened because in a population of ~60 million there will be some homicidal maniacs no matter what you do.

      No, you are not reading it wrong as what is being said is largely bollocks. This, for all its tragedy, is not a terrorist act causing mass panic. It was simply some religious nutters out to make a statement and will do nothing to help whatever twisted "cause" they spout.

      1. Shasta McNasty
        Flame

        Re: Exists already?

        Please explain to me how allowing the security services to have unrestricted access the phone/online records of these nutters would prevent the stabbing of the bloke in the street?

        The opportunist politicians are only marginally better than the arseholes who murdered that poor guy.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Exists already?

        "No, you are not reading it wrong as what is being said is largely bollocks. This, for all its tragedy, is not a terrorist act causing mass panic. It was simply some religious nutters out to make a statement and will do nothing to help whatever twisted "cause" they spout."

        Damm right.

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Here we go again...

    First off, the nutters who carried out the Woolwich attack are just that: barking mad, eye-rolling, loony, nutters - they're not terrorists.

    Secondly: when will the anal control freaks who we elect to manage our society realise that total safety is not possible. Would the Snoopers Charter detect nutters who send each other letters in the post? No? Then the mail delivery people must be required to open every letter and record who it was from and who is was delivered to (but not the content, obviously). And what about nutters who actually talk to each other face-to-face? Better require everyone to register everyone they meet during the day then? Too complicated - how about everyone just wears a GPS enabled tracking device 24/7 - that should make everyone totally safe. Won't it?

    For the hundreds of millions that would be spent enabling the Snopers Charter on the off-chance it might save a couple of lives now and again, why not spend the same money on the NHS, or improved roads or any of a dozen other things that would save hundreds of lives every year? Or is the life of a poor sick child worth less than that of anyone else?

    </rant>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here we go again...

      I believe those two nutters were already known to be a risk, but the idea that snooping on EVERYONE would some how have allowed the police to divine when and where a loony flips is ridiculous.

      A pox on all of those political weasels :(

    2. Bill the Sys Admin

      Re: Here we go again...

      Don’t know I would say that they were terrorists.

      "The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes"

      I would say they fall under that very easily. They are still barking mad but terrorists nevertheless IMO.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Here we go again...

        "The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes"

        So a mugger with a knife who relieves someone of their wallet, as a protest against the political system which means he hasn't got the money to buy drugs, is now a terrorist?

        I don't think so....'terrorist' as a description has been sadly devalued (mainly by politicians and the security services) - terrorists are people like the IRA bombing town centres in the hope of intimidating governments into making political change. Crazies with a political/religious agenda are not terrorists, and the so-called anti-terrorist legislation isn't going to make a blind bit of difference to them.

        And anyway, surely they'd only be 'terrorists' if the public permit themselves to be terrorised by their actions. Tell them to get stuffed and just keep calm and carry on.

        The chances of being killed by a terrorist or other nutter is substantially less than that of being killed by a police car * - are we terrified of police cars? Do we call for them all to be locked up?

        * 147 civilian fatalities from April 2005 to March 2009. - http://www.citizensreportuk.org/news/2011/02/20/road-deaths-resulting-from-police-pursuits-responding-to-emergencies-and-other-causes/)

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Here we go again...

          @Pen-y-gors Quite agree. The whole aim of a 'terrorist' is to cause widespread panic and, well, terror. I don't think many have been terrified by a small group of nutjobs murdering an innocent man, and I'm not convinced that there was ever much chance that they would be.

          It's a tragic mindless act of murder, perpetrated (technically we should still say allegedly, not proven in a court of law yet, but I think we've all seen the video) by what's best described as a tragically deluded group of individuals who set out to cause harm thinking they were going to (what were the words...) "start a war in London tonight".

          It doesn't make the loss any less, especially for the victim's friends and family, but calling this a terrorist attack is completely misusing the word.

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: Here we go again...

            Terrorism is violent crimes committed for the purpose of intimidating people to achieve political purposes. These people had political aims, they committed a violent crime for no other purpose than to further promote their purposes, they even hung around to make sure their message was heard.

            You can say it is inept terrorism, you can say it is ineffective terrorism, you can say it is lone wolf terrorism - it's still terrorism.

            1. Palf

              Re: Here we go again...

              I would say a little chat with their mullah is called for here.

        2. Dave 15 Silver badge

          Re: Here we go again...

          I doubt very much that locking all the police and their cars up would make a great deal of difference.... except of course in preventing threats being made by the police to cheese producers who occasionally create a single few minutes of wild entertainment and fitness activity on a Gloucstershire hill

        3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Re: Here we go again...

          ...The chances of being killed by a terrorist or other nutter is substantially less than that of being killed by a police car * - are we terrified of police cars? Do we call for them all to be locked up?...

          These are, at least, mostly accidents - though few policeman ever get done for 'due care and attention'..

          Of more interest is the total number of police-related deaths: 121 for last year alone. The greatest number of these (62, or about 50%) are deaths in or after police custody - many related to police 'restraint', tasering or incapacitant spray. The next largest number (32, or about 25%) is of 'suicides in custody'. RTAs are about 15% of the total...

          http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/Documents/research_stats/Deaths_Report2011-12.PDF gives more data

        4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

          Re: Here we go again...

          "And anyway, surely they'd only be 'terrorists' if the public permit themselves to be terrorised by their actions. Tell them to get stuffed and just keep calm and carry on."

          Excellent point.

          In fact it appears only the politicians are being terrorized into talking b**locks about the Snoopers Charter.

          Real people recognize you can't stop a couple of random nutters being nutty.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Here we go again...

          I hope you've included Police Officers killed in the figure, they are civilians too...

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Miek
        Linux

        Re: Here we go again...

        ""The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes"" -- Facism

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Here we go again...

      First off, the nutters who carried out the Woolwich attack are just that: barking mad, eye-rolling, loony, nutters

      Steady on, I don't think it's been confirmed they were members of UKIP.

    4. knarf

      Re: Here we go again...

      We already do, its called a mobile phone

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here we go again...

      What angers me is a soldier, well trained, has no way of defending himself against guns & knives, because only criminals carry guns in this country...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Here we go again...

        The thought of a load of squaddies wandering around with guns is far more frightening than the thought of a couple of random religious nutters.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Here we go again...

          Especially to the politicians... Jolly Jack with guns would be even worse!

    6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Here we go again...

      "For the hundreds of millions that would be spent enabling the Snopers Charter on the off-chance it might save a couple of lives now and again, "

      That's "hundreds of millions" a year to the ISP's.

      The amount GCHQ will spend remains a secret.

  7. Schultz

    Crime prevention unit

    So the police wants the tools to become a crime prevention force. I wonder how much information and control they require to predict and prevent all crime.

    As a practical approach, they should surely start by confining probable criminals (males aged 16-35) to some kind of supervised camp.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crime prevention unit

      Well, you can watch a docudrama on that. It is called Minority Report.

  8. Piro

    The guys were already known to the authorities

    More snooping wouldn't have done shit. Clearly the attack was not avoidable as such - if you brazenly attack someone in the street like this, it's extremely difficult to prevent that first act. However..

    Why did it take 20 minutes for armed police to arrive at a scene where someone had just been hacked to death? I'd say that's more important to look into. But no, let's concentrate on wasting time and money collecting masses of almost entirely useless data. Clearly the way forward.

    Cocks.

    1. Maharg
      Unhappy

      Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

      Taken from Met Police statement.

      "We have also addressed the speculation there has been about how long it took the Met to respond yesterday as this incident started to unfold. Police first received a 999 call from the public at 14:20hrs stating a man was being attacked, further 999 calls stated that the attackers were in possession of a gun. We had officers at the scene within nine minutes of receiving that first 999 call.

      "Once that information about a gun or guns being present was known firearms officers were assigned at 14:24hrs. Firearms officers were there and dealing with the incident 10 minutes after they were assigned, 14 minutes after the first call to the Met. We must be mindful that the IPCC are investigating the police response to the incident.

      To be honest that doesn't sound all that bad to me, given the amount of cuts the Police, including the armed response teams have had to deal with over the last 2 years, I can just see the MP’s, blaming the Police, just like they do the NHS,

      “Why did it take you 14 minutes to get an armed response unit to the scene?”

      “Because you made us sell our cars, fire half our officers and the bus was late”

      1. SteveK

        Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

        Surely it would become:

        “Why did it take you 14 hours to get an armed response unit to the scene?”

        "Because all but one police officer is now tasked with sifting through every single email and website access of 60 million people, and that one officer was off sick"

      2. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

        From what I understand the nearest cop shop was a few feet away.

        Anyway, I suspect sacking half the police and crushing their cars would save more lives (including those of newspaper salesmen) than it would cost.

      3. davidp231

        Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

        “Because you made us sell our cars, fire half our officers and the bus was late”

        And you made us sell all our guns so we had to waste time printing some.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

        "We had officers at the scene within nine minutes of receiving that first 999 call."

        Given that Woolwich police station is on Market Street, which is just off Wellington Street, about 600yds from where the soldier was attacked, nine mins seems a long time.....they could have had a car there within about 20 seconds.....esp as Woolwich Court (which is pretty high profile in terms of cases seen there) is almost opposite the police station and they are almost certain to have had fire arms (and officers certified to carry them) available at the station....even if the early reports mentioned a gun was seen.

        (An ex-Woolwich resident)

        PS I too am very sad at the savagery that has been carried out...Woolwich has had it's fair share of issues over the years - the Woolwich pub bombing happened at the other end of the same street where this young soldier was murdered.... :(

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

      Yes these guys were already known additional monitoring would have done squat.

      What is funny is immediately as soon as this happens the focus is again on "we need better monitoring" rather than someone asking the security services "why did you do nothing to stop these men you clearly knew about?".

      Wouldn't surprise me if the spooks let a few known terrorists run loose to help them revive the fear and demand more powers. 7/7 did after all happen many years ago, the plebs need to be scared again.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

        Wouldn't surprise me if the spooks let a few known terrorists run loose to help them revive the fear and demand more powers. 7/7 did after all happen many years ago, the plebs need to be scared again.

        I'm not sure I go in for that conspiracy stuff, but I can quite believe they might have been considered low risk and allowed to run loose (with monitoring) in the hope that they might lead to someone not considered quite as low a risk.

      2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

        ...Wouldn't surprise me if the spooks let a few known terrorists run loose to help them revive the fear and demand more powers. 7/7 did after all happen many years ago, the plebs need to be scared again....

        That was near enough what was done with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. They were wars with no specific achievable aim in mind, but they DID stir up a lot of bad feeling in the Middle East. And bad feeling in the Middle East is ALWAYS good for the intelligence and military budgets...

        Remember that the Berlin Wall had come down ten years earlier, and the Cold War had finished. That was VERY BAD for said budgets and career paths. They were frantic for a reason to continue to exist, and really needed a 'single really powerful enemy' - as anyone who watches James Bond films knows. That's why all these occasional random attacks by various groups or individuals pissed off by what is happening in the Middle East are 'really coordinated by the shadowy master-minds of Al-Qaeda'...

    3. Magister

      Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

      "Why did it take 20 minutes for armed police to arrive at a scene where someone had just been hacked to death?"

      That is a very sensible question; but I bet that you wouldn't like the answer.

      With such a low tech incident, I'd bet that there were a lot of people walking / driving by that had not the slightest idea that anything was untoward. It might well have taken at least a minutes (maybe more) before someone actually thought to even contact the emergency services.

      It's been identified that the 999 service gets a ton of waste / hoax calls every single hour of every day; they now have to try to work out if the call is genuine or yet another prat playing silly buggers. This will take more time and they might wait for a second call to confirm the first.

      Even if they do accept that it is a real call, they might have difficulty in identifying exactly where the incident is taking place. The majority of people are not too good at giving clear locations or directions and the service might require 2 or 3 calls before they can say for certain where the incident is taking place. (This can be made worse if the caller gets through to a control room in a different part of the country and doesn't realise that "the top of the high street" doesn't help place the incident that well)

      They then have to alert the police; yes they have a direct line, but it has to go through a specific chain of command, all of which will take a little more time. The emergency services cannot request armed response; that can only be requested by an officer at a certain level (not sure what it is in the Met, probably an inspector).

      Assuming that there is an armed unit available and not already dealing with a case elsewhere, they have to get out of the building and into a vehicle. Even if they get kitted up when rolling (which is normal), this also takes several minutes.

      They then have to get to the location from where ever they happen to be; anyone that has driven through London traffic will know the issues. Even under blues & twos, if they are more than 4 miles away, it will still take over 10 minutes to drive there.

      20 minutes is not a great response time; but I can see why it would take that long.

      The boys (and girls) in blue are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination; but they usually do try bloody hard and deserve a bit more support than they generally get.

      1. Piro

        Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

        I understand there would have been problems/limitations, but I'm merely pointing out if there's anything that needed improving, it would be that, not surveillance.

        Of course, respect must go to the police officers that put themselves at risk in this and countless other situations around the country.

        But it's no secret that the Tories have been slashing their budget. Spending more of it taking people off the street and into an office trawling through data is definitely not the way forward.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

        "When seconds count, the Police are only minutes away"...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

      Also - this happened outside army barracks where there are buildings full of well trained soldiers - some of whom will be armed. WtheF didn't somebody run into the barracks to get help?

      I know the army don't have the same *extra* rights as armed police, but if it's happening right there outside the base, to one of their own soldiers... ?!?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

        More importantly if just ONE of the civillians who was near was armed & trained, they could have intervened, taken out the criminals and rendered first aid before the police even turn up...

        While I would not say it is the right of everyone to carry a gun, I would even go so far as to say all police should be armed, then the nearest cop can intervene rather than waiting for a special armed force to turn up....

        restricting weapons only takes them out of the good guys and puts them in the hands of the bad guys...

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

          More importantly if just ONE of the civillians who was near was armed & trained, they could have intervened, taken out the criminals and rendered first aid before the police even turn up...

          More importantly if just ONE of the civilians who was near was armed & trained, they could have intervened, killed the criminals before they could be interrogated and shot a couple of by-standers by accident.

        2. NomNomNom

          Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

          "restricting weapons only takes them out of the good guys and puts them in the hands of the bad guys..."

          Then how come the bad guys in this instance only had one rubbish gun?

          It's because most criminals can't get hold of decent guns because they are so illegal.

          If guns are widespread the criminals will have easier access and choice and they are going to be the ones coordinated and shooting first.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

          "restricting weapons only takes them out of the good guys and puts them in the hands of the bad guys..."

          You are a complete bell-end, you know that!

          The bad guys will own guns without or without laws and that's a given but at least at the moment the few armed and correctly trained Police can shoot an armed criminal knowing he is in the wrong for waving a gun around in public, they know quite clearly that they are in the right and the nutter is in the wrong to have a gun out in public space.

          When I see gun manufacturers making special small version assult rifles and pistols in shocking pink for small 6 year old girls to be able to handle ( yes they do exist and are sold openly in the States ) I know the world is in a sad state.

          Controlling guns stops us having even more killing technology on the streets, as proven so horrifically this week you don't need a gun to kill someone, your local B&Q has all you need. Gun laws stop kids thinking gun violence is acceptable in a civilised society. I see a Copper with a gun I get concerned and rightly so. I see a Copper with a gun and he looks edgy, good! I want him to be on edge and alert because he has a killing machine in his hands. A gun is a tool that deserves respect and that Copper has trained and earned the right to handle that weapon, he did not wait 7 days for his license and then simply pickup 2 hand guns at the local supermarket because there was a special BOGOF offer that week on Glock's!

        4. Maharg

          Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

          Got to disagree, if any of the civilians nearby had have been armed it would mean that guns are easy to get hold of, dramatically increasing the chance that instead of having an assortment of stabbing implements and one pistol this attack could have been carried out with a large number of firearms.

          If they had more guns, they would not hesitate to fire at everyone else with a gun around them, and there would have been a much higher death toll, and a much more dangerous situation for the police to deal with, as it is the police shot them as they were running at the police to attack them with blades, change that to a couple of semi-automatics and the result would have been a lot different.

          I’m proud to live in a country where guns are a rare thing, and the only way I would accept being able to buy a handgun is if I had to be trained to use it, and it was strictly controlled the way the Swiss do it.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Other soldiers

        I was surprised at that.

        I would have expected to have seen two wet piles of mush surrounded by angry soldiers. But none were there.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Other soldiers @MJI

          Most military bases have unarmed civilian security (I kid you not). There will be military armed guards somewhere on the base at any time, but every soldier checks their weapon in to the armoury when they are off duty.

          I believe that there have to be specific orders in order to allow weapons and ammunition to be issued for use off-base, and that would not have happened (in the British Army) for an incident like this. Even if it were protecting a fellow soldier, off base it is the Police's responsibility. British soldiers are in every way professionals.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: Other soldiers @MJI

            I out to point out that I was referring to UK military bases in the UK.

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              Re: Other soldiers @MJI

              "I out to point out that I was referring to UK military bases in the UK."

              It might have been a very different story had the soldier been carrying a side arm however AFAIK most British troops do not have side arm training and I don't think it's been anything like a common practice (in the UK) since the resolution of the Northern Ireland situation.

              It's one of those simple ideas that would have serious consequences.

          2. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Other soldiers @MJI

            As I have had relatives in all 3 services, I still find these typers of attacks shocking, and the lack of protection a little worrying

  9. Daggersedge

    The ones who should be monitored

    The ones who should be monitored are the ones who let Britain become a hellhole of diversity. The ones who should be monitored are those who let the 'religion of peace' flourish in Britain. It's the ones who provided benefits upon which Islamic fanatics could live while they preached their hatred of all things Western who should be watched. Yes, the ones who branded as 'hate criminals' and 'racist' anyone who spoke against all this should have their lives ripped apart.

    No, wait, they shouldn't be monitored. Why waste the time and the money? Just take them out and shoot them.

    But nothing will happen and in a month or so, the mainstream media will cease to speak of this barbaric murder. Islamic fanatics will continue to preach hate and will continue to take over parts of Britain. I'm glad I left Britain. France is, by no means perfect on this point, but at least it banned the burkha.

    1. Titus Technophobe
      Thumb Up

      Re: The ones who should be monitored

      Yes. Hats off to the French or even burkhas.

    2. Maharg
      Facepalm

      Re: The ones who should be monitored

      Does it strike you at all odd that when the PIRA, Continuity IRA, the Real IRA, the Low Fat IRA, the ‘I Can’t believe it’s not the IRA’, the IRA vegan society or whatever kills a British solider or PSNI officer its we call them ‘Dissident Republicans’ and blame social aspects, British past actions and lack of cross community projects

      but when a Muslim carries out an attack people blame Islam and start talking about getting rid of ‘those who do not belong’ (Read- brown people).

      I can’t remember ever seeing anything about sending Catholics back to where they came from.

      Unless I misjudged you and you do refer to Dissident Republicans as “Christian extremists”…

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: The ones who should be monitored

        @Maharg - actually, at the time of the IRA campaigns in England I seem to remember there was an awful lot of hostility to Irish people/Catholics there, along the lines of 'why don't they all go back to Ireland'

        Agree that it does seem to be an excuse for Daily Fail readers to call for the deportation of anyone answering to the name of Johny Foreigner (even if they were born in Lambeth/Bradford/Cardiff/Glasgow)

        1. Maharg

          Re: The ones who should be monitored

          That’s true, I get told by my dad (an Irishman) about the signs on B&B houses in the 60s & 70s, “No Blacks, No Irish No Dogs” , but you kind of hope we have moved on from that.

          My point was about attacks in recent times, although reading back I could have made that more clear

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Irish hostility

          Told this about a work mate of my Dads.

          Was in pub having a drink.

          Irish person spouting off about how good the bombings were.

          Was told to shut up.

          Did not shut up.

          Got thumped, 1 hit knocked out.

          Police let Dads work mate off.

          Ambulance men dropped the stretcher.

          What was funny was that another workmate was irish and would have done the same thumping, he was also my source of quality Irish jokes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Irish hostility

            At least the Irish were polite and gave us a ring before the bombs...

            Whats the fastest game in the world? Pass the Parcel in Belfast pub

      2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: The ones who should be monitored

        ...I can’t remember ever seeing anything about sending Catholics back to where they came from...

        Um... The Garden of Eden?

        (Pause for obligatory Joni Mitchell Woodstock riff....)

      3. MJI Silver badge

        Re: The ones who should be monitored

        Hmm I did read that one was a recent convert, and it looks like proper Muslims are very upset at what he did in their religions name.

    3. Tom_

      Re: The ones who should be monitored

      I'm not convinced you'll be missed.

    4. sabroni Silver badge

      @Daggersedge

      Actually, having read your post I can see the argument for monitoring peoples communications...

    5. John Sanders
      Unhappy

      Re: The ones who should be monitored

      You summarised how I feel.

      But it is not just Britain who did it, it is the entire western world.

      Wait until the believers achieve 20% of the population on any western country.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    brownie point scoring

    why are politicians so depressingly predictable?

    Dear Mr Reid,

    When you draft your snooping bill don't forget, for Christ's sake, to cover tracking all the pigeons, 'cause, you know, them terrorists are crafty bastards, will go to ANY lengths to stay under your gazillion £££ radar.

  11. Gordon Pryra

    The police already knew about these guys

    And from the looks of things, not a lot happened.

    So what was the point in giving the police the powers they already have?

    It seems that either

    1) the police knew about them, but had no resources to put to actually making use of the data they had.

    2) the police knew about them, but chose to do nothing

    3) The more stringent powers that the police could call into play here were not of any actual use?

    After all, if they know about someone and they feel there is a risk then they can target whatever they want at them, this new charter being primarily the ability to make investigations look prettier in court after the fact.

    1. The BigYin

      Re: The police already knew about these guys

      Simple. If they don't use the powers they have, they can claim they don't work and that they need more powers.

      All increasing surveillance does is force people into using strong encryption which makes the situation worse.

    2. Titus Technophobe
      Thumb Down

      Re: The police already knew about these guys

      4. The police knew about them, but they didn't have any evidence

      The way the law works is that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Just maybe communications data might have provided that evidence?

      1. Andrew Jones 2

        Re: The police already knew about these guys

        .....Unless you are guilty of breaking a law in another country that you haven't actually physically stepped foot in - and then it's guilty until proven innocent - and you are shipped off to said country to be detained until trial.

        - or -

        The media decides you are guilty....

      2. Eponymous Cowherd
        Thumb Down

        Re: The police already knew about these guys

        Titus Technophobe wrote:

        "4. The police knew about them, but they didn't have any evidence

        Errm yes, and how do you think the police go about collecting evidence?

        Yep, they apply for a court order when they have reasonable suspicion that someone is up to no good for such things as wiretaps and search warrants.

        These pieces of filth were known to UK security forces and could have (should have?) been under surveillance anyway.

        It it, frankly, disgusting, that Reid, at al are using this incident to introduce this liberty eroding scheme. It just says to the terrorist scum: "yep, we're scared, you're winning". We should be sticking our stiff little fingers up to these cretinous pieces of filth and carrying on as normal.

        1. Colin Miller

          Re: The police already knew about these guys - too many possibilities, too few resources

          Or

          5) MI5 knew about them, but judged them to be low-level background noise, two of several thousand. There are higher priority targets, and not enough resources to keep every person who attracts MI5's attention under surveillance.

        2. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Re: The police already knew about these guys

          John Reid serves on the board of G4S, he stands to do very well from more security legislation.

  12. The BigYin

    Or...

    ...educate people that one sky fairy is no better than another sky fairy because their (probably) is no sky fairy at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm not sure that would do the trick (although I am all for it for its own sake, obviously).

      This behaviour could just as easily be produced from perceived political or ethnic concerns - basically anything that can be manipulated into an 'us v them' scenario where dramatic action allows a fantasist to see himself as an adored hero (or unjustly reviled hero or feared tyrant or whatever).

      Why they can't indulge this side of their nature by playing some fantasy role playing game like us normal people I don't know . . .

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: The BigYin Re: Or...

      "....one sky fairy is no better than another sky fairy....." All for that, but with the added proivso that those that refuse to keep their skyfairy superiority views to themselves get locked up, and those that use their skyfairy beliefs to excuse violence be locked up for life in a loony bin. Works for Christian nutters as well as the Islamic variety. If people need religion as a crutch to get them through life then that's their business, just as long as they keep it their own business and don't start making demands on others.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To Quote Yasser Arafat

      "Having a war about religion is like having a fight over who's got the best imaginary friend."

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Or...

      All the sky fairies are actually the same sky fairy

  13. Steve Evans

    Knew it...

    Right from the moment the incident happened I was unhappy with the rapid "terrorist" labeling.

    I thought Ms May will be out saying "We warned you" any moment now.

    Resurrecting the snoopers charter would be pointless, they'd already snooped on at least one of the "men" involved and not deemed him a threat.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Control Doesn't Equal Safety

    Even panopticons aren't safe. One of the suspects may have been radicalised in prison & isn't prison meant to be a monitored environment? Prisoners can get access to drugs despite anti-smuggling measures; prisoners attack each other & can make weapons from everyday objects despite high security. So you're telling me we could prevent this sort of attack with communications data? I doubt it would've made any difference.

  15. Miek
    Linux

    It's sick and disgraceful that the politicians are using this squaddie's death as an excuse to further push the unwanted snooping charters they have been proposing for the past few years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can guarantee that there is an American/Israeli data mining solution available for the right price. A non-exec directorship may also become available for aspiring lobbyists. Budget increased, jobs created, terrorism problem solved.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The London killing cannot ever be used as an excuse to wiretap me!

    I'm not a terrorist, I don't believe in these fair tales of Alla or God and Jesus.

    Seems to me we should be watching those who are not "British" AND who have a belief in fairy tales! or are stupid enough to believe a "preacher/bullshitter".

    Bloody religion breeds nothing but hatred! Let’s eradicate this scourge on humanity!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Obviously!

      "The London killing cannot ever be used as an excuse to wiretap me!

      I'm not a terrorist, I don't believe in these fair tales of Alla or God and Jesus.

      Seems to me we should be watching those who are not "British" AND who have a belief in fairy tales! or are stupid enough to believe a "preacher/bullshitter".

      Bloody religion breeds nothing but hatred! Let’s eradicate this scourge on humanity!"

      Stated in calm and hate-less language. If they didnt kill each other over religion it would be some other poor reasoning. Maybe colour, sex or hat. You cant eradicate stupidity, you have to try and educate as many people as possible.

      But if we had an educated people we wouldnt have some idiot calling to wiretap everyone because a couple of nutters already under police surveillance decide to go kill someone.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: AC Re: @Obviously!

        ".....But if we had an educated people......" There is this liberal Western failing that seems to think all Islamists are poorly educated and have been "deceived", and that all we have to do is talk nicely to Islamists and they can all be convinced to be good little citizens. This flies in the face of evidence that not only are they deadset against any form of reasoning, but that many of them are not only well-educated but also lived comfortable lives before they decided they wanted to be jihadis (bin Laden, Civil Engineer and multi-millionaire from billionaire Saudi family; Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Master Surgeon for the Egyptian Army, came from a well-off background; Abu Zubaydah, Computer Science grad, left Saudi by choice to "work" in the West Bank; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, studied Mechanical Engineering in the States (!), came from a rich Kuwaiti background; Mohamed Atta, Engineer and Architect, was from a well-off family and his father was a lawyer, and was studying in Germany when he went off the rails; Anjem Choudry, former solictor, born in the UK and educated here). Whilst I'm sure the imams are not giving them a balanced view in their sermons, the jihadis CHOOSE to be jihadis despite their education and knowledge of the West, and that once they become so very, very few can overcome their Islamisation.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Re: AC @Obviously!

          Ooh, look - down votes without any counter. Denial won't stop terrorist attacks by Islamists, you know. Oh, I see the problem is you don't want to see.

  17. PassiveSmoking
    Thumb Down

    According to the (admittedly unreliable tabloid) press, the perpitrator of the atrocity in London was already known to the intelligence agencies. They just didn't take the threat he represented seriously enough.

    Aside from being morally bankrupt and the legitimate concerns over powers introduced to fight terrorism being used to hound people who post explicit fanfiction or make racist jokes on Twitter, data mining pretty much everybody's communications would just generate a vast amount of "white noise" which could only make potential threats even harder to detect.

    And at the end of the day, there's no amount of snooping that could really protect you from random violent acts perpitrated by a psycho with a meat cleaver under his jacket. But such events are so rare anyway that there's little sense worrying about it.

  18. Neil Woolford

    Old lawyers saying...

    "Hard cases make bad law."

    Layman's translation; if you base your laws on the worst behaviour possible it is a poor basis for a general law which would cover a wider range of less extreme cases. In other words, a general law is better drafted for the average circumstance as this will be more common.

    So don't use this vicious and unusual crime to pass legislation that will creep into general surveillance for many purposes.

  19. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I told you so. Now I have to surveil you. For you own good.

    Reid, the former Labour home secretary, said the bill was a crucial weapon against terrorists and warned that it would take "some huge tragedy" for Britons to see the need for legislation.

    Rule #1 of bureaucracy: Never let a good crisis go to waste

    Old' Orwell warned us about those guys ... "when they strike, they strike hard."

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    like others on here I was disheartened when this pair of idiots were branded terrorists.

    My first thoughts as to the reason behind it was not about the legislation that some politicians are trying to get pushed through but rather "How long before they "discover" links to $evil_state_of_the_day and try to use it as justification for action against $evil_state_of_the_day"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We don't need a snoopers charter

    We already know who these people are. What we need to do is start rounding up religious extremists.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: We don't need a snoopers charter

      First they came for the religious extremists, but I did not speak out because I was not a religious extremist.

      Then they came for the murderers, but I did not speak out because I was not a murderer.

      Then they came for me. Fortunately them rounding other people up had bought me enough time to escape.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: We don't need a snoopers charter

        "Then they came for me. Fortunately them rounding other people up had bought me enough time to escape."

        A very good point.

  22. MrXavia
    WTF?

    WTF???

    Are they mad?

    I have no problem with our police being able to monitor our communication, BUT only after a court order has been obtained, it is the lack of need for a court order I am against!

    And this incident would NOT have been stopped if the snoopers charter was in place...

    Why? Because they were 'known' to intelligence services already, so why were they not being monitored? why had they not obtained court orders to monitor their phones, etc?

    1. Jimmy 1

      Re: WTF???

      "Why? Because they were 'known' to intelligence services already, so why were they not being monitored? why had they not obtained court orders to monitor their phones, etc?"

      On a yearly basis roughly half a million intercept warrants are applied for and granted to security services, police and other agencies. So who is to say that the Woolwich murderers, who were already known to the security people, were not under surveillance?

      Even so, judgements have to be made about who requires 24 hour observation and who falls into the category of "religious nutter". Imagine the resources needed to monitor the UK's internet population and you might begin to see why wee Johnny Reid and his buddies at G4S (don't laugh) are anxious to get their hands on some nice fat government contracts.

  23. Sir Alien
    Holmes

    Human rights? Pfff....

    Here is how I see it.

    Everyone has human rights and we should respect that. I am talking real rights, not the "my 50 inch TV right" kind. In my opinion if you wilfully with planned intent murder someone then you should lose your human rights on the basis that you denied someone else theirs (the right to live i suppose)

    These two should not be executed/jailed but rather when they come out of hospital make them work the rest of their lives in a hard labour camp to pay for their crimes. Crush rocks till their days end.

    Chances are though they will go to the hotel reception (court) and then get sent to their fancy hotel room (jail). And for all those categorising based on religion, do not forget that every religion has extremists and all extremists should burn equally.

    I also wholly agree that snooping powers will have done nothing to stop this. The first thing to happen when everyone "knows" they are being snooped on is encrypted communications will become so commonplace that the law effectively becomes useless.

    Sir

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Human rights? Pfff....

      encrypted communications are illegal. if you encrypt something then the law demands you give them the key. If you don't give them the key you've broken the law.

      1. MrXavia
        Facepalm

        Re: Human rights? Pfff....

        That's the problem, while they can ask for the key, if you have been planning something nasty, why would you give it?

        Also if they are monitoring communications, they can't ask for the key..

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Human rights? Pfff....

      "I also wholly agree that snooping powers will have done nothing to stop this. "

      What makes you think that is its purpose?

  24. Mike Richards Silver badge

    I had quite forgotten

    Just how unpleasant and individual John Reid is. So his intervention has done one good thing.

  25. addo

    With this story it makes one wonder who engineered this tragic attack.

  26. sandman
    Unhappy

    This one isn't going away

    We (and I mean this collectively) are one of the most surveilled states in the world already. Surely it would be better to increase the numbers of MI5 officers who would then be able to maintain surveillance on "persons of interest", rather than decide happily to monitor the entire electronic spectrum (exaggerating for effect) on the off-chance of finding something? However, we seem to have a group of people in politics (supported by some sections of the media) who really want to abrogate to the state the sort of rights that many totalitarian (carefully avoiding Goodwin's Law) regimes would be envious of.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: This one isn't going away

      we could just declare everyone in the country is now an MI5 officer. That way everyone will be under MI5 observation. Any terrorists who kill people will be in breach of their employment contract and could be given a disciplinary warning.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: This one isn't going away

        ...Any terrorists who kill people will be in breach of their employment contract and could be given a disciplinary warning....

        Actually, if we give everybody a 'dounle-0 number', then they'll ALL have a license to kill, and we won't need to worry at all...

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: This one isn't going away

        "we could just declare everyone in the country is now an MI5 officer. That way everyone will be under MI5 observation. Any terrorists who kill people will be in breach of their employment contract and could be given a disciplinary warning."

        Creative and positive.

    2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: This one isn't going away

      ...Surely it would be better to increase the numbers of MI5 officers who would then be able to maintain surveillance on "persons of interest", rather than decide happily to monitor the entire electronic spectrum (exaggerating for effect) on the off-chance of finding something? ...

      They don't want that. And they really don't have a great interest in monitoring everyone in the UK either. What would be the point?

      Basically, what they want is to be able to do anything they like, without any barriers, checks or controls. The easiest way to achieve this is to put through a law saying that they can snoop on anyone, and then there is no need to produce a reason every time they want to snoop on a person they think might be dodgy.

      After that law, they'll want a law saying that they can pick up and hold anyone they want without charge... Oh, sorry - I forgot - they already did that....

      So long as you have done nothing wrong, or don't look as if you're going to do anything wrong, or don't get accidentally confused with someone who might possibly be looking as if they might do something wrong, you are quite safe....

      (N.B.) The words 'Something Wrong' are generally defined to mean anything that a person in authority thinks should be stopped from happening...

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: This one isn't going away

      "However, we seem to have a group of people in politics "

      Only partly right.

      The reason this BS has persisted through roughly eight sock puppets home secretaries are the group of current and ex senior spooks who want it.

      Blunkett, Reid, Smith, May et all are the front persons.

      If you've seen Enemy of the State you need to look for the John Voight types.

      Who are Thomas Brian Reynolds?

  27. billse10
    Megaphone

    seriously?!!

    only the lowest of the low of the scum end of the political class would try to make political points on this. Oh, look, John Reid. Was expecting the real low-lives like Prescott or Livingstone - or a complete fool like Galloway.

    Political idiot reaction to this incident? Ooh, look, an opportunity to get on TV and talk cr*p.

    Local reaction to this incident? Keep calm and carry on (apart from a few overheated comments from a very small number of people -and when the EDL started making noise the other night, most people locally said they'd only make things worse and give more publicity to criminal acts so they should shut up and go back to the hole they emerged from)

    I know which attitude I prefer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: seriously?!!

      Yep, the locals are used to seeing stabbings and the squaddies are used to getting killed.

      Black male stabbed to death in London. No story.

      Squaddie killed by IED in Afghanistan. No story.

      Black muslim convert kills squaddie in Britain.

      TERROR ON OUR DOORSTEP!! COBRA MEETINGS!! INCREASED SURVEILLANCE!!

      This is work for the police and for MI5, not MPs and tabloids.

  28. NomNomNom

    why dont we cut off terrorists hands and replace them with robot hands which only the police can control? then the police could remotely drop things like knives and guns.

    if only we had done something like that in the first place it would have stopped this horrific 9/11 style event in woolworths happening.

  29. Paul 164

    Is Lord Reid a fucking idiot?

    How on Earth would having the snoopers' charter stopped this?

    In fact I don't believe it would stop or foil any terrorism, but will definitely persecute people in the UK for minor things whilst providing people who have access much material for their amusement - for example "Mr. Bloggs from Cheltenham was viewing that animal porn again!"

    1. NomNomNom

      but if we dont have the snoopers charter and a child goes missing how will you justify that?

      imagine terrorists and pedos working in conjunction. we need to do something before this happens.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        ...imagine terrorists and pedos working in conjunction. we need to do something before this happens....

        If anything cried out for a 'Won't somebody think of the children! this is it...

        Terrorists and Pedos, eh? How about Terrorists VERSUS Pedos? Terrorist Ninjas Vs Pedo Pirates? I think we have a film title here somewhere. Or at least an internet meme....

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Childcatcher

          "Terrorists and Pedos, eh? How about Terrorists VERSUS Pedos? Terrorist Ninjas Vs Pedo Pirates? I think we have a film title here somewhere. Or at least an internet meme...."

          IDK. The cover art would probably fall fowl of the cartoon porn law.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Meh

        "but if we dont have the snoopers charter and a child goes missing how will you justify that?"

        I think that's what the Candian minister asked when their govt tried to pass this rubbish.

        "imagine terrorists and pedos working in conjunction. we need to do something before this happens"

        Indeed the dream nightmare opportunity scenario that politicians cream worry over.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. billse10

      "Is Lord Reid a fucking idiot?"

      I don't know. Is rain wet?

      1. NomNomNom

        Lord Reid makes me wet

    4. Vic

      > Is Lord Reid a fucking idiot?

      Yes.

      HTH, HAND, etc.

      Vic.

  30. JP19

    "it would take "some huge tragedy""

    No it takes huge media and political hype and hypocrisy.

    One squaddie getting knifed in London is a "huge tragedy" while the 444 squaddies and uncounted 'insurgents' that have been killed in Afghanistan so far is just business as usual.

  31. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    A few important points to note:

    1) The Woolwich attack, whilst horrific, was not a terrorist attack; it was a murder carried out by a couple of nutters using a car and a machete.

    2) They were apparently already 'known to' the security services. This didn't prevent this from occurring.

    3) Knowing who they were talking to, and at what time would not have provided any information as to what they were planning to do.

    4) There is, as far as I know, no such thing as thought crime yet - thinking about killing someone is not illegal, although of course, conspiracy to murder is, although I believe an attempt at murder has to actually be made. (obviously IANAL).

    5) Monitoring more people in an attempt to gather intelligence doesn;t work; it basically adds more hay to the haystack, making the needle harder to find. As mentioned above, the perps were already known to the security services, what is actually required is more REFINED observation of 'people of interest', with proper oversight (i.e. with a warrant).

    6) The infrastructure required for the 'snoopers charter' would be very complicated, and very costly. We, the tax payer, would have to bear this cost.

    7) It is a part of human nature that we tend to overestimate the risk from rare events, and underestimate the risks from common ones. To put this in perspective, you have a 1 in 8 chance of dying from heart disease, a one in 50 chance of dying in a road traffic accident, a 1 in 560,000 chance of being struck by lightning, and a 1 in 20,000,000 chance of being killed in a terrorist attack. These numbers are culled from Google, so don;t rely on their accuracy; the point is, that many more lives could be saved by spewing the cash on road safety measures, or educating the masses on the risks of playing golf in a thunderstorm, and that anyone advocating such an obvious waste of time and money is an idiot.

    8) Article seven of the EU charter of fundamental rights states: "Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications." This is not a right worth sacrificing for the illusory benefits that this act would fail to provide.

    7) Article ten of the same charter states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.". Whether you like it or not, this allows people the right to want to commit atriocities (but obviously not the right to actually commit them).

    8) Oh yes, and article eleven: "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers." To paraphrase Voltaire, "I disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A few important points to note:

      completely agree although would add a couple of things:

      7) It does indeed allow people the right to want to commit atrocities, but when they start to discuss those "wants" with other people and they become "how could we", there is a fine distinction between that and conspiracy. Who decides where that line is?

      8) picky but I believe it was Voltaire's biographer who came up with that line, as a summary of some of Voltaire's positions

      but the most important point you've made is probably the reference to Article Seven. An act that allows interception and storage of communications data without even requiring a warrant is definitely interfering with that, and we should be told the names of the Stalinesque drafters of this silly Bill and then have them on TV defending their indefensible position.

      1. Vic

        Re: A few important points to note:

        > Who decides where that line is?

        The Jury.

        Vic.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to be against Internet monitoring...

    ...but after this tragic attack at Woolwich, I kind of agree now that we need this bill.

    I want to keep my family and children safe from more people like this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I used to be against Internet monitoring...

      and this Bill will do precisely nothing to help protect them from people like this. People organising "spectaculars", maybe - only maybe - and if there's evidence against them then the police / security service should be required to get a warrant: they should not be allowed to monitor whatever they damn well feel like, with no oversight to speak of, and no comebacks against the monitoring people if they monitor innocent people just on the off-chance.

    2. Piro

      Re: I used to be against Internet monitoring...

      Sorry, it won't work. Obvious trolling.

    3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: I used to be against Internet monitoring...

      The US government already tracks damn near anything they want online including reading our email and it didn't stop the Boston Marathon bombing. Also, don't think it won't get abused should you go looking for a job or rub someone's ex the wrong way.

      Perhaps someone should put together a feature showing the global history of similar government steps toward paving the road to hell with terrorist like fear mongering good intentions. They could start with witch trials and the Spanish inquisition and slowly step forward through Nazi control of Germany, J. Edgar and McCarthyism and wind up with modern day governments ringing very similar bells all to protect the shpeople.

  33. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Not all the millions of CCTV cameras or all the phone and e-mail monitoring would ...

    have stopped this attack.

    Why should the majority of the British public be stripped of their privacy because of a couple of khat-chewers decided to off a soldier?

    At least the Met will be able to track the pair AFTER the deed was done, just as happened in the subway explosion. Then they can put the videos on YouTube.

    And that feminine nutter from Maidenhead, MAY, simply illustrates her ignorance when she claims this multi-billion white elephant she wants would have stopped this. Reid is as technnically challenged as MAY is.

    In any event, the PLOD took 15-20 minutes to turn up on the scene, enough time for the dummies to make a few speaches to cameras. So what would all the technology have done to change the timeline?

    Time for MAY to go.

  34. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Meh

    9/11/2001 3 planes, c18 terrorists and 4000+ dead.

    2013.

    2 nutcases and a machete.

    Who do you think is winning?

    Unless the politicians let them win by falling for this grossly disproportionate and useless law.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know if anyone knows this, but I thought I would mention it.

    In the cases of:

    * Fraud

    * Terrorism

    You have no right to silence.

    None.

    Not even a little.

  36. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Big Brother

    Predictably, the scumbags are using the Woolwich murder to further their creepy Stalinist Big Brother ideals. I don't find it difficult to imagine that they rubbed their hands with ghoulish glee when they saw the headlines.

    The fact that it's coming out that the security services already had them under surveillance - thus proving that the "very important" law is neither necessary nor relevant to the case in hand - seems to be being cheerfully ignored in order to further their cause. Which is, quite possibly, the cause of receiving large cheques from people who make "lawful intercept equipment" for "consultancy fees".

    More pork, vicar?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      next you'll be suggesting all of our politicians are not the law-abiding, tax-paying, honest and honourable people we should expect them to be? As opposed to the Archers, Hodges, Galloways of this world that found their way to Parliament?

      Can't be coincidence that a law proposed by the Home Office while Stalin was PM has been rebranded and re-proposed under a new govt - clearly the politicians didn't propose or draft it, some officials in the Home Office [Special Projects/Orwell] project office must be fairly heavily involved. Some of whom are clearly low enough to lie about this proposed law solving all of the "problems" they claim, and some politicians (notably Reid) are both gullible enough to fall for it and simultaneously so absolutely shameless and opportunistic that it makes Mr Stringfellow look shy and retiring.

  37. N2 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Epic fail

    Just when big brother could have intervened, security services fail to act in time. They had been watching them for 8 years, just how much time do they fucking need to decide someone is a threat?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just Like Tony Blair

    Who invenetd the Ricin plot hours before a parliamentary debate !

    How conveninet?

    And that C**t from Maidenhead, she behaves like a mentally challenged witch hunter ! Personal vendetta against specific people. Worse than Thatcher.

  39. dhopeyork
    Pint

    As I understand it the communications bill would give all sorts of organisations access to your email and browsing history. We are not just talking a select group of police officers. Right now you can always go to a judge and get permission to monitor communications which is fair enough.

    Remember, if organisations have access people do. Your next door neighbour who works in a council job might be able to access it or anyone in police backroom roles. If a colleague can't access it they won't struggle to find someone who can. The plan was to open it up to numerous people. Even if this is rolled back it may open up later. This always happens.

    The point is anyone who wants to will be able to find who you have contacted and the sites you browse from the register to porn, political sites or whatever. At best it is incredibly intrusive at worse information could be abused to cause serious embarrassment or blackmail or for a political party to cause hassle for those who oppose it.

    Then we should remember the extra costs and regulation for isps raising prices and barriers to entry.

    In this country we should have a relationship with the state where we our monitored in case of guilt. That isn't how it is meant to work!

    D Hope, York

  40. YARR
    FAIL

    s/serious crime/thought crime

    "These agencies use communications data ... to investigate and prosecute serious crimes."

    Correction: thought crimes - just express an "incorrect" thought in the eyes of the globalist thought police and they'll bug you ceaselessly. What their intentions are is anyone's guess. Perhaps they actually want to provoke terrorism / extremism to justify their own existence?

    Despite their failure to prevent this crime from two suspects whom they were already monitoring, they want to extend the surveillance state to everybody. This failure demonstrates that spying on everyone wont improve crime prevention, as no one planning a serious crime is going to advertise that fact. Neither does making it obvious to individuals that they being monitored prevent them from committing a serious crime.

    The snooper's charter is really about containing genuine opposition to the "New World Order" of corruption where everyone has a price and anyone who resists morally is branded a "dangerous extremist".

    If they were serious about preventing terrorism or extremism, they would tackle the root causes, such as stopping endless military interventions, restricting global capitalist exploitation and resultant failed multicultural societies that put diverse groups in conflict at a local level.

  41. Medical Cynic

    Limitations required

    The last time this was mooted, it seemed that everyone from the council parking attendant upwards would be given access to these data.

    It would probably be justifiable if access were limited SOLELY to the intelligence services.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's plenty of evidence gathered already, it's just that there isn't enough security service staff to process it all.

    If they get more powers and more data how do they intend to process it all?

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