back to article Peers warn against rushing 'enhanced' DATA SLURP powers through Parliament

In the past 24 hours, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has reiterated that the Tories will once again attempt to push for large-scale surveillance of Brits' internet activity, if his party returns to Whitehall after the General Election in May. In parallel with the PM's latest efforts to gain support for more snooping powers …

  1. Amorous Cowherder
    Pint

    What a politician says and what a politician does are very, very rarely one and the same.

  2. dogged

    there is literally nothing you can vote for that won't make it all worse.

    yay democracy.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      1. dogged

        fuck off with your Greens.

        We don't know what they'd do but - and this is important - neither do they. The Greens are the BNP for middle-class people. Idiots with no real understanding of systems who have hacked together an agenda out of newspaper headlines. The only real difference is that the newspaper is the Guardian instead of the Daily Mail.

        Even in a country where the Monster Raving Loony Party still exists, the Greens are the ultimate in pissed-away protest votes. At least some of David Sutch's policies actually happened.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I've had email correspondence with Green candidates who seemed very competent: they gave non-copy-pasted replies to several specific questions on unrelated topics. I'd vote for them if I had the opportunity, but generally either you have to vote for a party, rather than a person, or it's a simple majority voting system so there's no point in voting for anyone other than the top few candidates. The competent Greens I've known weren't candidates in my region, anyway.

          We're doomed by humanity's collective stupidity.

        2. Graham Marsden

          @dogged

          > We don't know what they'd do but - and this is important - neither do they.

          ORLY? A quick google of Green Party Policy on Surveillance comes up with:

          "The Green Party of England and Wales believes that illegal mass surveillance must be opposed. The Green Party will campaign against such surveillance and will act to protect whistle blowers such as Snowden who oppose illegal intrusion by the state."

          http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/record-of-policy-statements.html

          I think perhaps you're thinking of UKIP where their policies are vague and ill-defined soundbites which generally depend on what Nigel F thinks will sound good in the media that particular day (unless he's changed his mind again in the last five minutes).

          1. dogged

            Re: @dogged

            So banning nuclear power is fine with you.

            Okay.

            1. Graham Marsden
              FAIL

              Re: @dogged

              > So banning nuclear power is fine with you.

              So using Straw Man arguments is fine with you?

              Okay.

              1. dogged

                Re: @dogged

                From the link earlier about voting for policies -

                "We would close down all Britain's nuclear power stations and concentrate on renewable energy"

                It's not a straw man and it's not whataboutery when you have to vote for the whole thing or nothing. I'd take nothing over the Greens.

                1. Graham Marsden

                  @dogged - Re: @dogged

                  So you'd prefert to take the state snooping into everything you do and everything you read and everything you write and everything you look at?

                  The difference between the Green's policies on this and seemingly everyone else's is that at least they would allow *us* to have some say in what is being done in our name, rather than the Big Brother Nanny State saying "this is for your own good, now stop worrying your pretty little heads about it, we know best."

                  1. dogged

                    Re: @dogged - @dogged

                    > So you'd prefert to take the state snooping into everything you do and everything you read and everything you write and everything you look at?

                    Yeah, I can take direct action against that with OpenPGP and underground networking. I can even disrupt security snooping networks, smash CCTV cameras, flood GCHQ with heavily encrypted random packets for weeks at a time (and organize groups to help me do so) and generally make such snooping into the joke we know it to be.

                    I can't go build a fucking power station.

                    In an environment where policies come as a package and they will all lead to disgusting new laws, the duty of the citizen become determining which of those laws he can render useless.

        3. CommanderGalaxian

          "Even in a country where the Monster Raving Loony Party still exists, the Greens are the ultimate in pissed-away protest votes."

          And that's exactly the sort of attitude that suits the established parties just fine.

          1. dogged

            > And that's exactly the sort of attitude that suits the established parties just fine.

            Not really, I'd say it about the Tories if their energy policy was to ban nuclear power forever and their defence policy was to grow a big hedge around the UK.

  3. Busby

    After pretty much every attack the government want more surveillance and storage powers. Yet in most cases the offenders were already known and weren't being monitored correctly. What exactly does he think this will achieve other than giving the daily fail & mumsnet lot the illusion of something being done?

    If the government could show any evidence that new powers would help they would, instead the default response to any crisis now seems to be more powers for the security services.

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: Yet in most cases the offenders were already known.

      Have an upvote.

      Apparently (from an article on a different site so remaining unnamed) one of the major issues is that they've got too much data on too many people (French, other EU and US agencies included) and don't have the resources to make much use of it so they literally cannot use much of what they have.

      Standard Government answer: Let's collect more, for longer!

      When you're trying to answer the cries of "something must be done" then it's often a lot easier to do "something" instead of "something effective".

    2. Eponymous Cowherd
      Big Brother

      Illusion

      "What exactly does he think this will achieve other than giving the daily fail & mumsnet lot the illusion of something being done?

      I think you have hit the nail on the head. They need to be seen to be doing something, even if it is completely ineffectual. The correct response is an internal review on how the security services go about their business to ensure it is less likely that those that are "on the radar" don't drop off it and go on to commit an atrocity.

      The trouble is, announcing "MI5 are doing a review on operating procedures" won't keep the frothy-mouth brigade happy, and they are the core Tory vote.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: Illusion

        An internal review ? No.

        Given the documentary "Yes Minister", we now know that an internal review is just to bury the problem, not solve it.

        What is needed is a fully open external review of security procedures. That is the only way we will know what the buggers are doing, what they're doing wrong and have a chance to correct it.

        But, National Security, so it'll never happen anyway.

    3. NB

      It's indicative of how little our politicians understand about data collection and processing that they consistently insist that the best way to find needles in haystacks is to build bigger haystacks.

  4. Sir Sham Cad

    "murders will not crush our spirit or our values."

    No. We'll do that all by ourselves. Let's go legislate away some more civil liberty and right to personal privacy. Because down with that sort of thing!

    *sigh*

    1. MatthewH

      Re: "murders will not crush our spirit or our values."

      Careful now.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not getting my vote...

    "In the past 24 hours, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has reiterated that the Tories will once again attempt to push for large-scale surveillance of Brits' internet activity, if his party returns to Whitehall after the General Election in May."

    Anybody working in IT and/or caring about their privacy must oppose this. Certainly, I do. If I was a Tory voter, I'd no longer be one after this and the recent debacles with regards to surveillance and control (forced nanny filters etc).

    1. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: Not getting my vote...

      Well, I'm certainly against it, but more through the inconvenience it will cause me than through its effectiveness to either track me, or any wrong-doers.

      Anyone who is really concerned about catching criminals and preventing terrorism will see this as a waste of money that will actually make it harder to catch Johnny Jihaddy by burying his online activity in a mountain of data slurped from everyone else.

      Its merely an attempt to be seen to be doing something.

    2. Marki Mark
      Unhappy

      Re: Not getting my vote...

      Not convinced that the other lot are any better...

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Not getting my vote...

      What alternative are you going to vote for? Labour - no, see last time. Lib Dems - they'd be happy to sell their own grandmothers so don't count on any hard and fast policies from them. Farage - good at speaking but comes with a brigade of loons. There is literally nothing you can do.

      1. The Mole

        Re: Not getting my vote...

        I agree, Labour and Conservatives are as bad and totalitarian as each other. Lib Dems (unfortunately) have got themselves into a bad position even when you give them the benefit of the doubt over what they have done behind the scenes to curb the conservatives agenda. UKIP are now seen as the place to go for a protest vote and it scares me what a government with them in would look like. I'd actually for the first time seriously considering voting for the Greens as a valid alternative party except their profile is so minimal I don't really know what they actually believe. With the right PR behind them they could come out as the alternative people who don't like UKIP go for... but I doubt they are going to get their acts together. Shame there's little to no chance of a new sensible moderate party suddenly being formed..

        1. John Sager

          Re: Not getting my vote...

          Trouble is, the Greens have loony policies in so many other ways so even if they are sound on civil liberties all the other stuff is too horrible to contemplate. We really are bereft of choice:(

          IMHO the problem with the Surveillance State is not so much that it goes on - it has to happen at some level. It's that there is no-one we, the public, can trust to do a proper oversight job. Here, oversight means understanding and being able to discuss effectively a lot of sensitive detail that the security services are unwilling to disclose to outsiders, and it goes without saying that the security services would have to trust the overseers as well as us trusting them for the overseers to be able to do a half-decent job.

          1. The Mole

            Re: Not getting my vote...

            I'm sure you are right there about the Greens. And the problem is, as the Lib Dems have found, it is very easy to have good policies in opposition but when in government for some reason the civil service and vested interests (and plain reality) make implementation of them turn into something quite different.

            1. Graham Cobb

              Re: Not getting my vote...

              So, the question of who to vote for to oppose these policies boils down to... which small party, if it finds itelf in coalition, is most likely to choose privacy as the one policy they insist on?

              UKIP? Don't make me laugh.

              Greens? Strong views on privacy but they will always be more concerned about the environment -- I can see them dropping the privacy issue if they can get some of their environmental policies in.

              Lib Dems? Opposing snooping is about the only thing they have been consistently firm on. They seem like the best bet. Unfortunately, the way they are tainted, will they hold the balance of power next time round? Despite that, they seem to be the only choice for anyone who considers this the most important issue at the next election.

              1. Vic

                Re: Not getting my vote...

                Lib Dems? Opposing snooping is about the only thing they have been consistently firm on.

                They were very consistent on opposing tuition fees - until they got the chance of power :-(

                Vic.

          2. edge_e
            Boffin

            Re: Not getting my vote...

            Trouble is, the Greens have loony policies in so many other ways

            They are in fact so looney that if you present people with a list of policies, without saying whose policies they are, ~27% would choose the green policy.

            http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/

    4. David Pollard

      Re: Not getting my vote...

      I'm not sure that the Blair/Blunkett/Straw approach was that much better. Neither is your vote likely to change anything.

      What it it needs is active democracy: for enough people to be regularly contacting their MP, and others, to point out that surveillance by gauleiters does not engender morality.

      1. dogged

        Re: Not getting my vote...

        Your MP is a joke. I say that with some certainty because mine is a joke and in fact an overwhelming majority of MPs are jokes. Bad jokes who exist to turn up sometimes and go into the lobby the whips direct them toward. Sometimes they read out questions or sycophantic congratulations or retarded policy ideas that SPADs have come up with. Mostly they do as they're fucking told or they lose the seat with the only legal smoking bar and the decent salary and the guaranteed fat pension and the endless exploitable expenses.

        Your MP is a place-filler either in it for an easy life or an ambitious untrustworthy deceitful piece of venomous shit or a worn-out timeserver with nothing constructive to add. Unless your MP is an Independent and there are statistically so few of those that I can be fairly sure that your MP is not one.

        There is no democracy. Our political parties are whores to the highest bidders and will do as their paymasters demand. Whichever you vote for, you will still get the same paymasters, the same actual government.

        In this case at least, Russell Brand was right - what use is voting when heads you lose and tails I win?

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Not getting my vote...

          In this case at least, Russell Brand was right - what use is voting when heads you lose and tails I win?

          Given the way politics are on both sides of the pond, I think it's more like: Heads, the people lose and tails, the people lose. The only winners are those to get more power and that's not the people who do the voting.

          1. Kane Silver badge
            Alert

            Re: Not getting my vote...

            "Given the way politics are on both sides of the pond, I think it's more like: Heads, the people lose and tails, the people lose. The only winners are those to get more power and that's not the people who do the voting."

            The only winners are those who hold the coin doing the flipping.

            1. Roj Blake Silver badge

              Re: Not getting my vote...

              "The only winners are those who hold the coin doing the flipping."

              And they make Harvey Dent look like the epitome of sanity.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't the Conservatives oppose snooping laws when they were in opposition and campaigned for better privacy at the last election, or did I just dream that? It's no surprise Labour want to snoop in everything after their love affair with identity cards.

    1. Busby

      They also said no frontline cuts, no top down NHS reorganisations and no VAT rise, I wonder how that lot worked out.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      They let David Davis off his lead because he made all the right noises, but I can't recall any others on the shadow bench very committed to privacy. Once the elections were safely won (with the Lib Dems help) they tied him up again.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Making hay

    When you can't find a needle in a haystack what you need is a lot more hay. Obviously.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Making hay

      They do find needles in haystacks, they just keep putting them back in.

      What the security services really need is more bodies to keep track of the ne'er-do-wells.

  8. Bob Dole (tm)

    With actions like this it is really starting to look like the terrorists are winning.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge
      Unhappy

      With actions like this it is really starting to look like the terrorists are winning.

      Won, the correct tense is won.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Close but no cigar

      1. Based on the reaction - they have won

      2. The "We are Charlie" or "We are with Charlie" moment lasted less than the walk down the Champs Elissees yesterday. Looks like the UK politicos in the front row have failed to understand what are they marching for.

      Charlie Hebdo == being offensive is not a crime. It is a essential, non-revocable and inseparable part of free speech and democracy. Well, to be honest, I did not expect Mr Cameron and Mrs May to get it.

      The ONLY corrective action which needs to be taken after last week is the immediate revision (with the view to revoke most of them) the blasphemy, hate speech and various other laws of the same ilk. While I am sympathetic to the ones being offended, let's face it we cannot draw a universal line (as needed by law) on what offence is permissible and what is not. We cannot regulate how thick skinned we are supposed to be. So being offended inclusive of historic and religious reasons is a normal part of life and the right to offend is a fundamental right.

      By the way the revision of laws across the Eu should go as far as an ultimatum to the states in Eu which have a blasphemy law (Ireland, etc) - they are either in without it or out with it. We cannot have the moral ground to critisize Taleban abroad when we allow them locally.

      It is really sad - it took only a day for the politicos to join the proverbial Christian, Jew and Mulsim from the Charlie front page cover "Charlie Hebdo must be veiled!". Oh well, to be honest, I did not expect anything else.

  9. frank ly

    Wait a minute

    "I think we cannot allow modern forms of communication to be exempt from the ability, in extremism, with a warrant signed by the Home Secretary, to be exempt from being listened to."

    Relace 'the Home Secretary' by 'a judge' and that would be fine. Oh wait, that is already the case. I think that by 'Home Secretary', he means a senior civil servant or member of staff of Downing Street or senior police officer, or council office clerk, or local PCSO ......

  10. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Thumb Down

    I wrote to my local MP last time there was a vote about Big Brother and received a quite cold letter informing me that passing legislation to keep tabs on jihadis was much more important than any civil rights issues.

    I wish that was a joke, but it isn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      MP useless

      I wrote several times to my MP, Sheryl Murray, regarding DRIP, and she point blank refused to discuss the subject.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "legislation to keep tabs on jihadis was much more important than any civil rights issues"

      No it is not. The entire reasoning for our society is based on the notion of civil rights - taking them away voids everything we believe in and everything we fought two World Wars for. Our way of life is ours to decide and should not be influenced by social or religious considerations from people who don't live with us.

      Of course, that also means that we have no right to go abroad and impose our views on how other people should live. Maybe if we didn't do that so quickly, we'd not have this problem in the first place - but it's too late to change that. We do need to stop doing that, though.

      In any case, I strongly encourage you to publicly respond to your MP and remind him that he was voted in his position as a representative of the People, not as tool for the Government.

  11. LINCARD1000
    Stop

    The Hypocrisy Kills Me

    Trying to find an authoritative source for the info but it seems those media shots of the Euro leaders supposedly leading the march didn't show the entire story... it was a photo opportunity on a closed down, empty street.

    A Twitter (I know, I know, hence trying to find authoritative source!) link: https://twitter.com/borzou/status/554606282192465920

    Our... well, your brave leaders showing solidarity. PFFFFT.

  12. Down not across Silver badge

    Fast track

    Funny how much of the suspicious legislation is rushed through fast track to avoid too close scrutiny.

    There shouldn't be any fast track. For any legislation. All legislation should face thorough scrutiny and debate before being passed.

    1. Vic

      Re: Fast track

      There shouldn't be any fast track. For any legislation. All legislation should face thorough scrutiny and debate before being passed

      *Very* occasionally, emergency legislation does need to be passed. *Very* occasionally.

      In such a case, any such legislation should have a maximum duration related to the length of time it had for scrutiny - with no extension permissible. A non-subvertible sunset clause...

      Vic.

  13. Teiwaz Silver badge

    The twits twit

    I found Camerons tweet darkly amusing

    'not crush our spirit or our values'?

    I find my faith in thiis country taking a hit every time he announces more ill-concieved snooping legislation, and I've found this countrys values getting increasingly questionable of late.

    There will come a time when any communication that steps outside the bounds of ever vague social acceptability will result in arrest, detainment and prosecution (which will be probably skipped for efficency). If you're lucky you might be allowed to be re-educated.

    The perpetrators of this future are already in control, and charliehebdo is just another in a long line of 'reichstag fires' that will give it birth.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: The twits twit

      "There will come a time "

      You need to catch up with the current state of affairs a little bit here.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately...

    the future is Borg.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately...

      If only it was, at least the Borg only kept that which made them stronger.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a joke

    Cameron tweets he's joining the JesuisCharlie march in support of free speech.

    Meanwhile back at home, he's actively producing laws that will get people locked up for exercising free speech on twitter.

    What a hypocrite.

  16. FlatSpot
    Facepalm

    Article 8

    I look forward to the highly expensive court cases where these new laws will be challenged against Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Specifically around what is "necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security." ... Discuss....

    Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

    1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

    2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

  17. D Moss Esq

    Wake up and smell the camphor

    ElReg says: "The Tories have steadfastly stuck to its plans to reboot its mothballed Communications Data Bill, colloquially dubbed a Snoopers' Charter, if it returns to government after the General Election in May".

    The Daily Telegraph says: "The Prime Minister said that the Security Services would be given the powers to read all messages sent over the internet, if the Conservatives win May’s general election".

    Funnily enough, the Communications Data Bill said: "Nothing in these proposals will authorise the interception of the content of a communication. Nor will it require the collection of all internet data, which would be neither feasible, necessary nor proportionate" (please see Introduction, p.2).

    Not proportionate. Not necessary. And not even feasible.

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