back to article Shy, retiring British spies come out as MEGA HACKERS

The UK government slipped out consultation documents on "equipment interference" and "interception of communications" (read: computer hacking by police and g-men) on Friday. They were made public on the same day that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that the spying revelations exposed by master blabbermouth Edward …

  1. Keef

    "the robust safeguards that apply to the police and the security and intelligence agencies in their use of investigatory powers"

    Whaaat?

    The only safeguards are for the authorities who can act with impunity, not us proles.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Yes... but they did seem to try cram as much warm, fuzzy buzzwords as possible into their statements. The translation I got from one statement was... "we can't tell you, but you can trust us". We just have to remember that the safeguards are "robust".....

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      I think you will find that the safeguards protecting the police and the security and intelligence agencies have proved very robust

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...said Secretary of State Theresa May's department."

    "said Theresa May's Ministry of Truth department."

    FTFY

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. The_Idiot

    "...the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that the spying revelations exposed by master blabbermouth Edward Snowden had accidentally made British spooks' data-sharing love-in with the NSA legal."

    Thereby implicitly ruling (whether I agree with their current ruling or not) that prior to the revelations, the sharing being carried out was, in fact, illegal?

    Hello?

    Is anybody there?

    Er - hello?

  5. JassMan Silver badge
    FAIL

    It only takes the government 14 yrs to comply with their own laws.

    "This code is issued pursuant to section 71 of the 2000 Act, which provides that the Secretary of State

    shall issue one or more codes of practice in relation to the powers and duties in section 5 of the 1994 Act."

    Not that it will make any difference:- any code of practice will be ignored by GCHQ anyway.

    1. king_tut

      Re: It only takes the government 14 yrs to comply with their own laws.

      There was already a code, it's just this is the updated version. One thing I'm doing is to do a diff between them - to see if this (as I suspect) is just a reissue as a PR exercise.

  6. moiety

    Is this an attempt to build trust? Because it's way too fucking late for that.

    Can't comment on the implementations because there's no way I'm going to open a PDF from those guys.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Happy

      That's what sacrificial virtual machines are for! Then you only have to worry that they've developed a method, and tucked in into the pdf (not likely at all), to break out of the VM sandbox. The very first use I put VMWare's first public betas (v1.0.x) was exactly that, cruising the darknet before TOR came around. Keeping an eye on the opposition.

      1. moiety

        I did think of that (thanks for the tip anyway!), but decided I couldn't be arsed. The spooks are going to ignore the guidelines anyway, I expect, and after the surreal "it's now legal because you know about it" moment thought it was probably just going to be bollocks anyway.

        Personally, I've decided to take a leaf out of GCHQ's book: Totally ignore any rules and encrypt whatever bits of my data I damn well feel like at the time.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apologies to my next-door neighbours

    just in case they heard my reaction when i read "robust safeguards" - midnight, Sunday, a bit late for that much laughter that loudly.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Apologies to my next-door neighbours

      My roomies have become used to me yelling at the television whenever the news or a political show comes on. No idea about the neighbors though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apologies to my next-door neighbours

        When Thatcher was in power, I bought a mate of mine a foam rubber brick to throw at the TV on such occasions.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your nose is growing Theresa

    "...make publicly available more information about the robust safeguards..."

    So robust in fact that the safeguards allowed them to break the law for years until someone breaking someone else's laws made it all conveniently legal. They make the average crown court defendant lying through their teeth look positively honourable.

    Is this some kind of Schrodinger-esque effect where its neither legal nor illegal till a Home Secretary's repeated 'robust safeguards' 7000 times under an oak tree* on midsummers morning?

    In other news, the government has announced it will be recycling its own output of hot air to power a fleet of GCHQ surveillance balloons.

    *You can only only hope 'naked' isn't a requirement.

  9. king_tut
    Black Helicopters

    Update of existing Code

    As noted in the article, the Interception Code of Practice is an update and revision of the existing guidance. From a rough comparison, they've done the following:-

    - Incorporated the "external" bit of DRIPA

    - Extending mention of privileged comms to include MPs and constituency affairs

    - Taken on board a subset of the IOCCO recommendations from their recent investigation into police use of RIPA against journalists

    - Made assorted other tweaks related to sensitive and privileged communications, e.g. journos etc

    - Made a number of other tweaks, some good, some bad. e.g. the duration of initial warrants in para 3.17 has changed.

    It seems that they've slackened some of the things they may have found to be an arse, while tightening rules that didn't really effect them anyway, but should have some credit for paying at least lip service to the oversight bodies.

    In the unlikely case anyone is interested in the full list of changes, I'll be putting them on my blog at kingtut666.wordpress.com later today.

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