back to article Home Office accused of blocking UK public's scrutiny of Snoopers' Charter

The UK's Home Office has been accused of making "it near to impossible to provide a meaningful response" to the public consultations which campaigners fought legal battles to have included in the Investigatory Powers Act. In an open letter to Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, lawyers and civil society campaigners complained that …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Er, ou est le poulet?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Dans l'arbre, avec le singe.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Ah! Sehr gut!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for the memory of Eddie Izzard at his best :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The watchmen watchers of course who are watched by the watchmen watchmen watcher watchers who are...

      You get the idea.

      It's actually supposed to be the electorate in a democracy as they have the power to vote in the people that serve the people and act in ways that are for the people.

      What we actually have is 3/2 party system where laws that are not for the people and actually against the people traverse the parties leaving us with no power to stop it or get them reversed at the next election.

      In summary politicians are self serving leeches who make the vogons look good.

      1. veti Silver badge

        The gummint is supposed to custard the tarts.

        They're elected, so answerable to the electorate. But in the past 40 years or so, we've gruesomely undermined that accountability by looking over their shoulders all the time. When we put so much work into micromanaging the buggers, it becomes that much harder to blame them for fucking up.

        Hell, look at Brexit. That's completely our mess. And we got it by "not trusting our politicians".

        Not that it's, generally, a good idea to trust politicians too far. But it's also not a good idea to distrust them too much, because then they can't do their jobs, even if (outside chance) they're genuinely, honestly trying to. Just look at the US, anytime in the past 15 years, to see what comes of that.

  2. Simon Ward

    Pfft - you've got to wonder whether or not Amber Fudd actually *knows* what's in that document, much less understands it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      She's searching it for those elusive Hashtags right now...

      (I'm surprised we're even allowed to comment, every other Broadsheet has prevented comments on this topic. The 'new' post Rusbridger Guardian is a shameful imitation of its former self).

      El Reg is a lone wolf, in this regard. Great informative article regarding the mess.

      She was no better at the department of Energy and Climate Change. Needs to resign, she has no credibility left.

      We need someone that has the intelligence and ability to play a harpsichord, not punch through it with their fists, at the first opportunity.

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "ability to play a harpsichord, not punch through it with their fists"

        So you favour May rather than Clarkson?

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: "ability to play a harpsichord, not punch through it with their fists"

          Theresa?!!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "ability to play a harpsichord, not punch through it with their fists"

          "So you favour May rather than Clarkson?"

          Anybody who favours Clarkson needs their head examined.

          1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

            Re: "ability to play a harpsichord, not punch through it with their fists"

            "It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." Who was this, Maslow? Anyway...

            Clarkson: "every tool is a hammer."

          2. MrDamage

            Re: "ability to play a harpsichord, not punch through it with their fists"

            Depends, how about Jeremy Clarkson? At least you know some of the MPS will get that punch in the face they've been missing out on for all these years.

      2. billse10

        "Needs to resign, she has no credibility left."

        She had some in the first place??

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "you've got to wonder whether or not Amber Fudd actually *knows* what's in that document, much less understands it."

      She doesn't need to. Her Perm Sec will have assured her that they're fine; "these are codes of practice that Harrods would sell you".

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      "wonder whether or not Amber Fudd actually *knows* what's in that document, "

      Of course she does.

      Does like the other 8 or 9 previous sock puppets who spouted this line.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Pfft - you've got to wonder whether or not Amber Fudd actually *knows* what's in that document, much less understands it."

      The Home Office could give the Borg Collective a good run for its money. Every Home Secretary eventually "goes native", rolls over and becomes merely the latest mouthpiece for the same old policies and objectives. Which, I hasten to add, tend to regard such trivia as democracy, privacy and freedom more as inconveniences to be circumvented than values to be protected.

      The real test of a politician in the job is not whether they are absorbed, but for how long they actually manage to retain any semblance of individuality and integrity.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exactly...

    Loose Translation: Who guards the watchers.

    1. Oh Matron!

      Re: Exactly...

      That *used* to be Europe, but, well...

  4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

    Well done everyone. Keep up the good work and pressure on this issue.

    "What's this then? Romanes eunt domus? People called Romanes they go the house?!"

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

      Well spotted.

      Do you expect anything different from a government that is openly considering Henry VIIIs powers to bypass parliament and enact legislation and is planning to set those powers in stone in a "Great Repeal Bill"?

      Just in case they need it again to deploy the troops once the discontent at 10% inflation in a few years hits the streets.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

        Do we even have any troops left after all the cuts?

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

          We have one or two, but they have almost no working equipment and anything that does work is US built and owned, and will only work with direct authorisation from the Pentagon.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

          "Do we even have any troops left after all the cuts?"

          No problem. The Government will just recruit some psychopaths volunteers and give them black shirts in lieu of uniforms. Possibly also a bundle of twigs to show their authority.

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

            "Possibly also a bundle of twigs to show their authority."

            Rees-Mogg ha sempre ragione!

            (they'll send him out to lead the rallies while they retire safely to their second homes in Florida.)

        3. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

          Re: Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

          "Do we even have any troops left after all the cuts?"

          Shortly to be outsourced, no doubt.

          Idly wondering what a Dad's Army version of la Résistance would look like...

      2. Marcus Fil

        Re: Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

        Too much of the nation's infrastructure is vulnerable and in practice undefendable. You don't worry about the odd riot on a sink estate though God knows that puts the willys up the powers that aren't. You worry when the National Grid goes sideways at 2 am mid February and GPS and GSM are subject to hundreds of 10W jammers. Hell hath no fury like a middle class spurned - cause they knows how stuff works - or not.

        You can demand that encryption is weak and record every damn phone call you like, but people who are smart enough to know they are likely surveilled are smart enough to route round it. How long did it take to find Osama? He may have been smarter than the average bear bullet, but how would he compare next to some of the nations' (sic) best gamekeepers turned poachers?

        People who sneer at Snowden and label him a traitor are missing the point. The real traitors are those walling themselves in against being called on their own self-interest and public failures - and removing everyone's right to freedom and privacy in the process.

        The stupid (you know who you are lady) taking bad advice from the power seekers and turning it into populist sound bites would do well better to STFU; instead listen to the much scourned real experts whilst they are still, actually, on the same side. God help all of us when there comes a time when they are not - it cannot end well so best not start it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

          Hell hath no fury like a middle class spurned

          They do not care. As far as they are concerned the technical middle class is bound by a sufficient number of shackles to be not worthy of their attention - mortgage, kids in university, etc.

          They do have a point - In my student days I did not give a damn and I stood my ground for 40 days against the government security forces (in another country).

          I will not do it now. The key word is NOW. It will take making the middle class a class of dispossessed for them to start doing what you describe. This is at least 3-5 years down the road and any one of us who can, will be gone somewhere else by hook or by crook rather than risk our families in this. That is the reality here - we would rather take our shackles elsewhere than break them and do something. The Tory government will fulfill their migration targets - do not worry about it. Not because of immigration decrease. Because of emigration increase.

          By the way, what you are describing will happen not because of active action, but because there will be nobody left around to fix the infrastructure and run it. A grid designed by politicians will tank at 2am on a February night without an engineer sabotaging it.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It’s Too Late

      "A neighbour came over to me as I was gardening – and I explained I was retired – they then asked if I was going to become a trader."

      Maybe your laptop was latching onto his wifi.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It’s Too Late

          Could be just a coincidence

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It’s Too Late

              "The number of people willing to commit the crime is much higher than you would expect,[...]"

              It worries me when people in law enforcement are happy to break laws for their benefit in their private lives. It does suggest an institutional malaise that presumably encourages such thinking.

              While we are throwing sayings about - "Power corrupts - absolute power corrupts absolutely".

              How Theresa May is wearing her religion on her sleeve is a sign of someone who will believe that "the end justifies the means".

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

                Re: It’s Too Late

                "While we are throwing sayings about - "Power corrupts - absolute power corrupts absolutely"."

                Lord Acton: "All power tends to corrupt, absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely."

                The old boy was an example of the way the British used to be - despite being a Roman Catholic (at a time when the Pope had just ruled that democracy, science and progress were evil) he was a social progressive who was appalled by over-reaching politicians. We need people like him today.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: It’s Too Late

                  There ARE people like him in politics today. Jeremy Corbyn for example. The problem is he gets ignored because he isn't shouty enough and the majority of the mainstream media are in May's pocket.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: It’s Too Late

                    You're kidding, right???

                    The modern day Michael Foot only without the conviction, charm and charisma.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: It’s Too Late

                      > "The modern day Michael Foot only without the conviction, charm and charisma."

                      That's exactly the point, he isn't charismatic or flamboyant. But if you actually listen to what he has to say, its obvious he isn't a lying toerag and actually gives a shit about the people of Britain.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: It’s Too Late

                        its obvious he isn't a lying toerag and actually gives a shit about the people of Britain.

                        but equally obvious that the people don't ever want to go back to the kind of Britain he wants. Hell, even the French have given up on that sort of socialism.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: It’s Too Late

                    The problem is he gets ignored because he isn't shouty enough and the majority of the mainstream media are in May's pocket.

                    He gets ignored because he wants to take the country back to the early 1970s, and the majority of the public still remember that from last time.

                    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Rimpel

    So they expect people to respond to the 413 page document in 6 weeks, yet it will take them 3 of those weeks (20 days) to respond to a letter???

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well spotted - if we assume 20 days to read 2 pages and respond, it would be fair to give (412/2)*20 = 4120 days for a response, but as 11 years is a tad impractical I think at least doubling the response time would be a good start :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      doubling the response time

      If the text was all version controlled, you'd be able to check the diffs at each revision, and easily spot the bits that had changed, and those that had been left alone, and so focus your attention efficiently.

      Could we perhaps upload the drafts) of the Snoopers' Charter to Github?

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: doubling the response time

        Don't need Github for that.

        V1.0. All your data are belong to us

        V1.1. Unless you are an MP, you're exempt cos we're sure you are reliable and trust worthy.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: doubling the response time

          V1.2 Unless you're not, in which case we'll get MI5 to overthrow any government you might try to form.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: doubling the response time

            You've just hit on a very important point.

            Lets say someone decides to form a political party like UKIP (if you can call it that) did but on the basis of protecting peoples freedoms and privacy then the government now has the power to discredit any person who is trying to do it while making sure no one can use it against government.

            I hadn't thought of it that way.

            Sneaky bastards.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: doubling the response time

            in which case we'll get MI5 to overthrow any government you might try to form.

            That's actually MI6's job. Honestly , how many James Bond movies does it take for that to sink in?

            :)

      2. Conundrum1885

        Re: doubling the response time

        (soapbox)

        If someone does this, its probably going to rival a Hollywood blockbuster as "Most downloaded .torrent"

        Also why in hell are we as a society allowing a few people to decide something this important? This is the same Government that brought us classified patents where inventors end up living in abject poverty because they have to start from scratch each time.

        IP laws are a total mess

        (/soapbox)

  8. tedleaf

    It's too late,your not going to get anything changed,fuhrer May and her ilk have already decided,those who voted the Tories in at the last joke election knew precisely what they were voting into power,far too late now,.most of you will be on the list to get hit with the next set of tax rises,which will get pushed through no matter what they "promised" in their manifesto,the poor people in the UK are almost tapped out as an income source for the govt,so all you nice white middle class Tory voters are next on the list,and look at all the goodies and freebies you have to be taxed and to be cut..

    If you thought 33% basic tax was bad in the 70's-80's,just wait until the govt decides that they cannot hang on an longer and push through massive grabs on your unearned,stolen wealth..

    Have a nice day,sleep well (while you can)

  9. 0laf Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Did you really expect a Government consultation to consult with the stakeholders? Really?

    You must know that a 'consultation' is a political opportunity to publicly justify a position already decided upon in private.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      >You must know that a 'consultation' is a political opportunity to publicly justify a position already decided upon in private.

      Bodes well (not) for Brexit then...

    2. Winkypop Silver badge
      Big Brother

      RE: Consultation

      Government consultation is just code for: "Selling the message" or "Bringing the people on a journey"

  10. Adam Jarvis

    Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

    Sometimes, we look for complex 'terrorist reasoning' why someone did something when it can be the simplest, the most straightforward reasons that can get overlooked.

    Things that cause frustration and people to snap, and our daily reliance on technology to get things done.

    Driving in London is frustrating, especially without working Sat-Nav.

    If Khalid Masood was simply trying to find a particular location, one of the interesting things is that using Google Maps (in a web browser at least), just at that key point where Khalid Masood 'flipped' prevents you from crossing Westminster Bridge on that side of the road.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/WestminsterBridge

    (Click the arrow one place forward on Google Maps/Street view, to see you are prevented from continuing on that side of the road). You have to move to the right lane, to use Google Maps/Streetview (traffic heading towards you to cross the bridge) using the mapping.

    Maybe Google maps has being restricted to prevent showing the bridge since the incident.

    An interesting anomaly, all the same.

    1. BoldMan

      Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

      If you go back to the map view and click on the little man, you see what routes have been mapped by their camera car and across the bridge there is only one route - they obviously haven't mapped it in both directions because what is the point? However their cars have had to negotiate the different lanes at either side of the bridge, so you get multiple pathways through the junctions. Not really suspicious, just Google mapping bollocks.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

        Google's mapping bollocks now? Bloody hell! They are getting invasive now, aren't they.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

          "They are getting invasive now, aren't they."

          Give them an inch and they take a mile.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

            >Give them an inch and they take a mile.

            You are confusing Google with the Ordinance Survey

      2. Adam Jarvis

        Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

        Didn't make it totally clear. I was accessing via an iPad/iOS earlier which does actually prevent you from continuing and does 'stump' you, i.e. it's not obvious how to continue across the bridge. On a laptop its less obvious, as it just switches lanes, to oncoming traffic. Just thought it was an interesting anomaly, as its exactly the point he got frustrated and flipped.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

        There is one lane in either direction across the Bridge for Cars, the other is for Buses/Taxes. The mapping just 'stops' at that key point on the bridge, towards Houses of Parliament. That shows it's being masked either by Google/Security Services (anyone can request this for Privacy reasons, though).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

      Driving in London is frustrating, especially without working Sat-Nav.

      Buy a map, learn to read it, plan your journey.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

        "Buy a map, learn to read it, plan your journey."

        It's many years since I drove in London, but I did exactly that. (pre-satnav days anyway, so no choice). Not being a local, I chose what seemed like the most obvious and best route from NE outer London to SW outer London. It took most of the day to get there thanks to Vauxhall bridge and the surrounding routes being totally snowed under with barely moving traffic thanks to roadworks on the bridge.

        I found out later there was a multi-year rolling programme to refurbish/resurface all the bridges and I'd picked the worst possible route. And no, the traffic news on the radio is fairy useless if you aren't a local because they almost always refer to local landmarks that I know F-all about.

        Nowadays, my satnav would almost certainly have found a better route for me.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

        Buy a map, learn to read it, plan your journey.

        FFS. A Paper Map? In London?

        You'd be transgressing the white line into a bus lane/restriced lane before you could say boo to a goose, while at the same time, average speeds are being measured.

        Italy is even worse, with their bollard style cameras at the entry/exit of villages. Try navigating around the outskirts of Venice, Italy without Sat-Nav, they have local vehicle access restictions/times on certain roads.

        A paper map won't get you very far (without incurring fines) anymore, especially if the road layout is unfamiliar.

        It's very easy to find yourself naturally driving at circa 80mph within free flowing traffic on UK motorways, yet lots of new Highways agency cameras are being installed as part of Smart Motorway upgrades and set to trigger at 79mph on M25/M4, without additonal notification (signage switched off).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google Maps/Streetview - Westminister Bridge.

          set to trigger at 79mph on M25/M4

          If you can't tell when you're driving at 9 MPH over the speed limit you should perhaps hand in your licence.

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Lessons are never learned by that and those with severe learning difficulties.

    Bad laws/legislation/right dodgy rules and regulations are always a mind field to be mined and full of absolutely fabulous opportunities for renegade rogue and second and third party exploitation. And those created in a closed shop environment are the greatest for ensuring and securing delivery of catastrophic goods/unforeseen unexpected events.

    Such has always been the case …. since forever. Do the mentally retarded never learn seriously simple lessons?

    Future problems will be suffered in-house and that is where the most carnage will be centred.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lessons are never learned by that and those with severe learning difficulties.

      @amanfromMars 1

      Did you by any chance write the stuff Theresa May was telling Andrew Neil earlier?

      I take that back, you would have probably made more sense, and been more honest. Didn't mean to insult you with such a cruel suggestion.

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Odd Odious Fish Out of Water are as Minnows in the Sees of FCUKing Great Sharks

    @amanfromMars 1

    Did you by any chance write the stuff Theresa May was telling Andrew Neil earlier?

    I take that back, you would have probably made more sense, and been more honest. Didn't mean to insult you with such a cruel suggestion. .... Anonymous Coward

    Ms May does tend to hyperbolic waffle with not substance being readily made available to support the blusterous rhetoric ..... but what else would one expect from the Parliamentary Pantomime Mind.

    Leaders that does not make, for all before and trailing after them is fake for media production direction into future sight and sound programs/sublime tele audio visual pogroms.

    And no offence or insult taken, AC, for the suggestion is only cruel if never to be true, tried and tested and failed.

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    SMARTR IT Systems Paint Better Beta Pictures for Greater IntelAIgent Games Play

    Further to Odd Odious Fish Out of Water are as Minnows in the Sees of FCUKing Great Sharks ......

    Whenever your/one's view of worlds and these times is so easily made news and movies with sublime programming of/for reality, why ever do you tolerate the horrors and privations presented to you to make everything a struggle and so miserable. Such a nonsense is confirmation of a madness which intelligent imagination can conquer with alternative media tales and advanced virtual reality trails.

    And whenever you yourself are intellectually challenged and compromised and unable to produce such novel goods, fear not, whenever the gift is within the easy grasp and remit of sundry A.N.Others who be not puppets crash testing dummies.

    Would the fool following a folly find such a fabulous opportunity with myriad zeroday vulnerabilities to exploit, an existential threat with innumerable invisible and intangible Persistent Advanced Cyber Threats or a Surreal Treat to be enjoyed and enjoined?

    What is IT to be for you in the near future and longer term? More of the same austere chaos or everything changed and greatly different?

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