back to article Snapchat jihadist-fearing peers return with LAST GASP Snoopers' Charter demand

As expected, peers are once again trying to sneak in amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill to swiftly pass a law in the UK that would gift spooks and police with sweeping powers to snoop on Brits' internet activity. Amendments to the proposed law were added overnight ahead of the bill reaching the report stage …

  1. king_tut
    WTF?

    Confused

    I'm not sure what they're trying to get out of this. I can sort-of understand the inclusion of the amendments last week, as a way to restart discussion on the subject, and provide an opportunity for supporters to restate why they think such legislation is needed. Although why they didn't do it at second reading, I don't know, other than having the cover of Paris. However, that goal has surely been accomplished - Civil Liberties vs Interception and Retention is back on the radar of those who care.

    So why re-introduce at report stage? There's no chance this will get through the Lords, especially being introduced so late in the bill's progress. In fact, I could imagine the tactics they're using actually causing some peers to vote against, who may previously have sat on the fence. Even if it gets through the Lords, there's no way it would get through the Commons, especially not with an election looming.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Confused

      "In fact, I could imagine the tactics they're using actually causing some peers to vote against, who may previously have sat on the fence."

      <tinfoil hat>

      Maybe it's just to prime them for an upcoming "I told you so" moment they already know about?

      </tinfoil hat>

    2. streaky Silver badge

      Re: Confused

      So why re-introduce at report stage?

      Because then whatever the Tories introduce later looks sane and measured by comparison even though it can't possibly be so.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: Confused

        "Because then whatever the Tories introduce later looks sane and measured by comparison even though it can't possibly be so."

        Hahahaha, you think Labour would be any less authoritarian if elected?

        1. streaky Silver badge

          Re: Confused

          Hahahaha, you think Labour would be any less authoritarian if elected?

          I don't recall saying that?

  2. Brent Longborough
    FAIL

    I'm very sorry, words fail me

    It's about time we all told these peers where to place their charter.

    As Cory Doctorow says, "Fuck Right Off", my Lord.

  3. William Boyle

    And so do his grandchildren!

    Lord King: "I am not a tweeter. We have Facebook and Twitter. Somebody tried to explain WhatsApp to me; somebody else tried to explain Snapchat. I do not know about them, but it is absolutely clear that the terrorists and jihadists do."

    I have news for you LK, so do your grandchildren! Does that make them terrorists? Stop being an idiot and do your job to protect the British people from the overreach of the government that no longer represents them. :-(

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: And so do his grandchildren!

      Lord King: "I believe the deluxe is the one with the real hair."

      /hat-tip to NTNON

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    It's all fine

    I'm sure that eventually they will have their way and in future everything we say or do online will be subject to review by the relevant authorities.

    That being so, I think I'm at last coming around to their way of thinking. In the past I've said some harsh things here about various Home Secretaries, Prime Ministers and Lords, and I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for my words.

    I realise now that they only want to spare me and my family the pain of having our lives upset by someone somewhere doing something.

    In my defence, I can only say that when I said those things I was a mere inexperienced youth, unaware of the realities of life.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: It's all fine

      What flavor (flavour) was the Kool-Aid and why aren't you sharing.

      Since there's no Kool-Aid icon ---------------------------------------------------------->\

      Yes, I know what you were doing. I hope you'll take my comment in the same spirit. :)

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: It's all fine

        Irony is not just something to flatten creases on shirts

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: It's all fine

          "flatten creases on shirts"

          Flatten creases? Nobody told me.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Political hacks in the Lords

    All this shows that there are more ignorant political hacks appointed to the Lords after they have become unelectable for the lower house.

    There should be reform in the Lords with all the life peers being removed and the heredity peers brought back. That way the HoL becomes what it is supposed to be - a place that stops the excesses of the HoC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Political hacks in the Lords

      There should be reform in the Lords with all the life peers being removed and the heredity peers brought back.

      A copy of the Electoral Roll and a pair of dice would probably yield better results.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        @AC

        Same for the house of commons.

  6. JohnMurray

    Lord King:

    The British people are at a higher risk, long-term risk, from the British government, than from terrorists.

    Particularly as the British government seems to go out of its way to enrage and empower said terrorists.

    However, it seems to me that many people are under the impression that ignorance is prompting this freedom/data grab: Wrong. If this fails to go through ¨they¨ will attempt to railroad it via a legislative back-door (tacking it onto a bill to regulate the colour of public toilet seats, for instance)

    This is just another power grab. You go-on considering them to be sad old duffers; I´ll continue to consider them a bunch of power-mad lying, thieving, tossers.

    1. Captain DaFt

      JohnMurray: "You go-on considering them to be sad old duffers; I´ll continue to consider them a bunch of power-mad lying, thieving, tossers."

      Lord King: "I am not a tweeter. We have Facebook and Twitter. Somebody tried to explain WhatsApp to me; somebody else tried to explain Snapchat. I do not know about them,"

      Well, JohnMurray, you're free to do so, but I'll keep regarding them (and all politicians) as frightened sods that can't comprehend the pace of change in the World, and keep constantly flailing about trying to remain in control at all costs. (It's why they became politicians in the first place, normal people just get on with their lives and try to get by.)

      ..."but it is absolutely clear that the terrorists and jihadists do."

      So... "I can't understand all this change, and am terrified of those that do."

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      >You go-on considering them to be sad old duffers; I´ll continue to consider them a bunch of power-mad lying, thieving, tossers.

      Isn't that what *most* of the Lords said (nicely) last time some government stooge tried this?

    3. king_tut

      The UK parliament is vastly more restrictive on such matters than the US, where sneaking in pork is a major sport.

      The Lord's can't tack this onto any old bill - they self-police that any amendments must be relevant to the subject matter of the bill. See http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1968/feb/06/administration-of-justice-bill#column_1077 for when this came up in parliament. See also section 8.54 of http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldcomp/compso2013/10.htm

      In the Commons, there is also a requirement for relevance for amendments in committee (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmstords/900/body.htm#65), but I'm not sure about second reading.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @John Murray - Government threat

      "The British people are at a higher risk, long-term risk, from the British government, than from terrorists."

      Arguably, the statistics suggest this is also true short term, if we equate the British Government with the Police. (Which we shouldn't - the Police exist to protect the citizens, and should be protecting us FROM the government.)

      Let's look at the stats:

      Deaths from terrorism in the UK in the last decade, 59, virtually all of them in one incident ten years ago (56 in the 7th July 2005 bombings in London).

      Deaths in traffic incidents involving police cars in the last decade: 306

      Deaths in police shootings in the last decade: 23

      Deaths in police custody in the last decade: 206

      I've left out the 'suicides shortly after release from custody'

      (Source IPCC)

      Makes you think...whatever the precise reasons for the deaths involving the police (and they obviously weren't deliberate attempts to cause deaths, unlike the terrorists) could some of the bottomless anti-terrorism budget be spent reducing the number of deaths involving the police? To be fair, their driving does seem to be improving in recent years.

  7. Christoph Silver badge

    "Snoopers' Charter – a term which Lord West claimed was "emotive claptrap"."

    Calling it a Snoopers' Charter - emotive claptrap.

    "If you don't let us spy on everything you do, YOU'LL ALL BE MURDERED IN YOUR BEDS BY TERRORISTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" - reasoned debate.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about an amendment that says that...

    ...Britain can no longer be allowed to invade foreign lands and murder their indigenous populations?

    Would solve a lot of problems.

  9. Paul

    they can pry my GPG password out of my cold dead fingers

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Paedophiles and terrorists are allowed to keep their GPG keys secret

      If you do not decrypt an encrypted file when the police tell you to, you get five years in prison. A paedo or terrorists would get far worse if they did. The fun comes when you email a file full of random numbers to Theresa May called 'plans_for_wmd.txt.gpg'. How is she going to decrypt it?

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Paedophiles and terrorists are allowed to keep their GPG keys secret

        "If you do not decrypt an encrypted file when the police tell you to, you get five years in prison."

        Actually it's worse than that. If you don't decrypt the file upon demand after being released, you will go back down.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Your bargain has been accepted."

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's the puppeteer?

    Snoopers Charter ... a term which Lord West claimed was "emotive claptrap"

    Rich, considering what they themselves are trying to pass off as reasoned argument. Presumably we're supposed to recall their former job titles, take note of the "Lord" bit, and tug our forelocks in deference to their knowledge and access.

    I do wonder who exactly has their hand their Lordships collective backsides and making them jump on demand. There are plenty of obvious suspects, but I'd have thought most of them would have at least furnished these clowns with more compelling briefing notes than 'I don't understand it but the terrorists do'.

    Like all the disastrous law passed by the previous shower, we'll have this shoved down our necks in the end, like it or not, because those putting the arguments forward just don't ever seem give up, our parliament as a whole is stuffed with people incapable of understanding why this is a bad idea that will not work, and they are in any case far too concerned with their place in the pecking order to even try working it out.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Who's the puppeteer?

      "I do wonder who exactly has their hand their Lordships collective backsides and making them jump on demand."

      Nothing so complicated. They're party hacks. Tom King as a minister under Margaret Thatcher wafted through a number of departments. Lord West is an ex-admiral but a Labour peer. Labour wanted this when they were in office. The shameful thing is that the Conservatives were against this when they were in opposition & have done a clear volte face, maybe the result of selecting a Blairalike as leader instead of David Davies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who's the puppeteer?

        Blair's New Labour cherrypicked Thatchers successes; Cameron did the same with Blair's. To my mind, with the exception of the money peddled for influence, the single greatest problem with British politics is that none of them really have any genuine principles or driving ambition at all except for the acquisition and perpetuation of power for their party. Policies are simply seen as good or bad if they contribute to that goal, and I suspect, sadly, that policies like the Snoopers Charter are probably seen as more vote winner than loser with a chunk of the tory vote - at the least if something goes bang, they're seen to have 'done something'. Depressing really.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Who's the puppeteer?

        "Nothing so complicated. They're party hacks."

        When you push past the "party" bits, you'll find the dread hand of Sir Humphrey Appleby telling the ministers what to think and say - party hacks come and party hacks go but the civil service persists despite them all.

        It would be more informative to find out who in the home office is pushing for the laws/amendments and keeps bringing it back up like last night's pavement pizza, then expose what they have to hide/gain.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I am not a tweeter.. but it is absolutely clear that the terrorists and jihadists do"

    I am not a sponger off the state. I have not been gifted unearned power. But it is clear that the Lords are spongers to the tune of £300 a day plus their various directorships and other establishment conveniences, and have been gifted ludicrously unearned and unmandated power.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: "I am not a tweeter.. but it is absolutely clear that the terrorists and jihadists do"

      You'll be happy to know that other 300/day spongers ripped the arguments apart last time this came up and will continue to do so every time it comes up.

      Unless it's somehow sprung as a rider on an unrelated bill with no notice it dfoesn't stand a chance of getting past the Lords, let alone the Commons.

  12. Warm Braw Silver badge

    How to put terrorism in a good light

    At least terrorists put their own lives on the line and are transparent about their objectives. By comparison with this other unelected bunch of would-be oppressors, they seem almost admirably honest.

  13. phuzz Silver badge
    Flame

    "I do not know about them, but it is absolutely clear that the terrorists and jihadists do."

    I don't understand it therefore it must be witchcraft!

  14. Jonathan Richards 1
    WTF?

    Another Bill suggesting open-ended legislation by Order

    Proposed Part 3A (1) enables the Secretary of State to make orders to "ensure that communications data is available to be obtained from telecommunications operators ..." It does not specify what those orders might entail, and does not limit them in any significant way at all. Part (2) says [ with elisions by me for clarity]

    An order under this section may, in particular ... provide for ... the entering into by such [telecommunications] operators of arrangements with the Secretary of State or other persons under or by virtue of which the Secretary of State or other persons engage in activities on behalf of the operators on a commercial or other basis for the purpose of enabling the operators to comply with requirements imposed by virtue of this section. [emphasis added]

    On plain reading, this seems to enable a Home Secretary forcibly to billet a PCDC (Parasitic Communications Data Collection) Team within a telecom operator, without paying said operator.

    But that would prompt outrage, you say? Their Lordships seem to have thought of this. The very next sub-para says

    [An order under this section may, in particular ... ] impose requirements or restrictions on telecommunications operators or other persons or provide for the imposition of such requirements or restrictions by notice of the Secretary of State. [emphasis added]

    Again, plain reading suggests that this empowers a Home Secretary to draft an order to telecoms operators saying "Get on with it", and maybe "You are not permitted publically to disclose or discuss this order", or any other wizard wheeze that he or she may think is expedient.

    There is a following passage, in which the SofS is required to consult with operators, OFCOM and the RIPA Technical Advisory Board, before issuing an order, but it doesn't say that he or she must pay any attention to the consultation outcome, and I for one worry that some future Home Secretary would drive on regardless.

  15. moiety

    If any emergency legislation is needed, it's a small amendment that says something to the effect of:

    If you don't understand a subject, you are forbidden to pass laws on it. No exceptions.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      I'd like to extend that sentiment to voting as well please.

      1. moiety

        Alas, your honourable self, one cannot require the hoi polloi to have a minimum awareness; one can only educate the shit out of one's subjects and wish for the best. Hope for the future and all that.

  16. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "So why re-introduce at report stage?"

    They do this kind of thing in the US too. It seems, these politicians (mainly ones trying to ram in pro-Recording Industry Ass. of American and anti-civil rights and anti-privacy provisions) have such a low opinion of the public and other politicians, they think they will not even look to see what has stuck into a bill before they pass it.

    As for Lord King -- I have full disrepect for you. Sometimes, someone is just misguided, or simply has a different point of view, I can disagree strongly with their viewpoint and still have respect. However, almost bragging about how people have tried to explain a topic to you, but you don't understand it or aren't willing to understand it.... but you're going to promote laws regulating that topic anyway? That is flat out stupid.

    1. phil dude
      Coat

      the dangers...

      of inbreeding.

      P.

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