back to article Reborn UK internet super-snooper charter to be unveiled today

Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed this morning that under existing UK laws her department receives half a million requests to intercept communications data in the country every year. Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans to greatly increase the amount of internet communications information kept on file in the UK …


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  1. Bernard M. Orwell

    Filthy, lying, cheating....


    That is all.

    1. RocketBook

      Re: Filthy, lying, cheating....

      They are politicians. Of course they are.

    2. Stuart 22
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Filthy, lying, cheating....

      Which has been carefully recorded (with pix) by you know who. And you wonder why when a new Home Secretary is appointed they quickly change their tune from challenging you know who into legislating their every command into law.

      Murdoch is an amateur by comparison ...

    3. \\\

      Re: Filthy, lying, cheating....

      Time to make manifestos legally binding.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Filthy, lying, cheating....

        "Time to make manifestos legally binding."

        Politics is the biggest area where there is no requirement that the practicitions be fit for purpose.

        I reckon they should have to pass a morality test, general awareness test etc. before being allowed to even run for public office.

        Working in a bank I have to pass loads of tests to prove that I know what constitutes bribery and corruption etc. so that I can spot it and report it - the general message being that it isn't acceptable. Isn't it about time we forced our SERVANTS to some level of standards?

    4. nexsphil

      And the amusing thing

      The amusing thing is that we've given the most corrupt sector of our society carte blanche to do *anything* they want. The more heinous the better. The more heinous, the more likely we are to ridicule each other over the "impossibility" of any such suggestion, allowing politicians and other leaders to get away without the slightest public scrutiny.

      We're our own worst enemy - it's in our nature to blindly follow "leaders", and so we do. Regardless of who or what those leaders are. We have to grow up, realise our own shortcomings and start fighting them if we want a better world. Any politician without public support would crumble immediately - the real enemy is within ourselves.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another stupid and impractical law

    I'm off to invest in storage manufacturers

    I came here via Tor (I may not have done, but could have)

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

    "without a warrant" - that's the significant point.

    If you think I'm misbehaving, do as you have to do for a phone intercept and show your suspicions to a judge; if he agrees he will provide a warrant. Then and only then is it reasonable to start sniffing at my contact/search records.

    It's bad enough that the commercial players are doing their best to profile me; I do not care for the government which is supposed to be looking out for my interests to do so.

    The argument is made - every time - that this is necessary because of (totally unquantified) terrorism and (totally unquantified) paedophile thread. These are both groups - as was pointed out in the discussion between May and Davies this morning - who are quite aware of the many ways in which this could be averted - throwaway phones and internet cafes being the immediately obvious methods. But because this remains unqualified, I cannot and will not trust.

    I am not amused. Cease this nonsense forthwith.

    1. Shonko Kid

      Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

      The technology they're looking at is so easily circumvented that the only terrorists and paedophiles they'll catch are the stupid ones. Let's hope there aren't any with a f*cking clue.

      A much clever way would be to do something like TV's The Mentalist, send everyone in the country an official looking letter that says they've been caught doing Bad Stuff (tm) and they have to report to they're local nick at a given time for questioning. I bet that would catch more than this invasive bullshit.

      1. Stuart 22
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

        "The technology they're looking at is so easily circumvented that the only terrorists and paedophiles they'll catch are the stupid ones."

        I have wondered about that. Maybe they are not as dim as you think and part of the strategy is to highlight those of interest from the rest of us. Could it be that those who choose to try and screen their communications is exactly the target audience for the real heavy guys at GCHQ concentrate their firepower on?

        Hiding the fact you are hiding stuff is a little more tricky ...

        1. Shonko Kid

          Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

          "Maybe they are not as dim as you think..."

          Possibly, but I subscribe to the 'Never assume conspiracy, when idiocy will suffice' school of thought. I think they're exactly as dumb as I think they are, given they do stupid things like take secret documents out of the office and leave them on the tube.

    2. Nigel 11

      Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

      On the other hand, there ARE records of your phone usage (and everyone else's). There may be no records of your internet usage. So they're going from one extreme to the other. I'm reasonably cool with the concept of my internet usage being logged (I know that this visit to the Reg is logged). Those records should not be available for the authorities to trawl through without a warrant.

      As for the practicalities ... VPN to overseas ISP in secrecy-friendly jurisdiction, anyone? Switzerland might be a good choice for a non-criminal who believes in privacy.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        @Nigel 11

        There's a fundamental difference between a phone connection log and an internet connection log: when I make a phone call I explicitly connect to a single point. When I go to a web site, I know *nothing* about the other sites it talks to, the silent scripts running, the redirects... indeed, if it's been got at and is, say, redirecting to a porn site or warez site I could end up anywhere. And what about all the adverts? Where are they served from? Does everyone suddenly become responsible for the entire internet?

        Also - who made the connection? Me? The missus or kids? The bloke three doors away who's overheard me mention the password? The bloke who has permission when he visits? Is it time to open a wireless link simply to have plausible deniability?

        Since this is not intended to store the contents of the message, just the connection information, this is basically a sigint fishing trip - aha, he connected to *him*, guilty. After the event.

        Stupid stupid stupid.

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon


        "VPN to overseas ISP in secrecy-friendly jurisdiction, anyone? "

        I saw this on BBC news this morning and SHE (the devl) has said that whilst it's trivially easy to circumvent, anyone doing so is obviously a criminal.

        Using encryption/TOR etc will become a criminal act pretty soon I reckon.

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: @Nigel

          What you've just said is that any UK employee of an overseas business accessing that business's intranet via a VPN is obviously a criminal.

          Not sure if you intended irony or not.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: @Nigel

            I didn't say it, the current Queen-bitch-of-the-Universe said it.

        2. Nigel 11

          Re: @Nigel

          "Using encryption/TOR etc will become a criminal act pretty soon I reckon."

          At which point the real crims with a clue will switch to steganography. Send a completely innocent-looking photograph with an encrypted payload steganographically concealed in the noise. Perfectly encrypted data is indistinguishable from noise.

          And don't send it. Just post it in a public place. As public and as popular as possible.

          Don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    3. madick

      Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

      Totally unquantified? Not quite true; Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) report published May 2011:

      " ... 513 people arrested and 132 offender networks broken up in the UK in the past year. " (2010)

      However, according to May, there were >500,000 requests for intercepts last year (2011). Either this is cr*p success rate, or the intercepts were primarily for other purposes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?


        You missed something: 513 arrests is not the same as 513 convictions. People keep talking about arrests, not convictions, and 132 offender networks means what exactly? Is that the number of PC's seized?

        So the concept of 'unquantified' is correct: We have been presented with only part of the picture and told 'This is it: Proof of how bad things are' when it's nothing of the sort. It's not even a meaningful indicator, if you really think about it.

      2. Wayland Sothcott 1
        Big Brother

        Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

        You need to look at the effect of this legislation not the stated intent. This is not a Ronseal product.

        If people know they are being watched they will behave themselves. Clearly paedos and terrorists are better organized than to get caught by this so obviously the label on the tin is a lie.

        If they told you the legislation was designed to scare you into thinking you could be fitted up as a paedo or terrorist based on flimsy evidence then it would not affect your behavior, you would just laugh at them and carry on downloading stuff.

  5. Shonko Kid
    Black Helicopters

    Offshore VPN

    I see a rise in the market for off-shore VPN hubs.

    Perhaps some sort of sea-worthy barge, a whole rack of servers and a satellite uplink?

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: Offshore VPN

      A pirate ship. Y'arrr.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I foresee an anonymous attack on the UK government is imminent.

    Just as well the UK isn't hosting a very large event soon, as that would be an ideal target.

    1. Ian Yates
      Black Helicopters

      You do know that your incitable comment has been tracked and monitored, don't you?

      1. Ogi
        Black Helicopters

        As I presume mine has been for upvoting his comment... I am now an accomplice to incitement!

  7. Tony S
    Big Brother

    What could possibly go wrong?

    We can trust the politicians; they are fully honourable and only ever look out for our best interests.

    We can trust the civil servants; they are totally up to speed on the various laws & technology and would never dream of abusing the powers they are given, or assuming powers that the law does not give them.

    We can trust the police; their only goal is to ensure that they catch the real criminals.

    We can trust the lawyers; to them the law is sacred and inviolate.

    We can trust the lobbyists and political "advisors"; because they are nice people


    1. Ian Yates

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      We can trust that the system will be infallible and produce no false-positives.

  8. DrStrangeLug

    We could have had this years ago

    If we had lost WW2.

    1. g e

      Re: We could have had this years ago

      Maybe we just lost WW2 **really slowly** then

    2. g e

      Re: We could have had this years ago

      Actually, thinking about it, perhaps it's like an extension of Godwin's law....

      Over time any given system of government will turn into a cynical self-serving police state spouting Nazi-esque proaganda as to why they have to do the things they need to do.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We could have had this years ago

      And the Germans own most of the Eurozone.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While they are at it.........

    Why not allow the police to beat innocent people up and rifle through their pockets.

    Oh stupid me, missed that piece of legislation pass parliament a while ago.

  10. b b

    Look at her comments in The Sun

    "I just don’t understand why some criticise these proposals. They must either not get what this data is and how it’s used or just can’t grasp its importance. By trying to stop the police having access to this tool, they are risking both justice and public safety.

    Conspiracy theorists will come up with ridiculous claims about how these measures infringe freedom.

    But without changing the law the only freedom we would protect is that of criminals, terrorists and paedophiles — and that is something I am not prepared to let happen"

    Typical emotionally charged rhetoric.

    Everytime I see news like this, I die a little on the inside. Is there genuinely not a single soul in government who understands how this series of tubes we call the interweb actually works? Equally depressing is the fact the we as a populace have given up questioning the gruel they feed us and seem to blindly accept it on faith.

    No Ms Harmon, with ill conceived, blanket legislation without judicial overview, I fear it is far more than just the freedom of criminals, terrorists and paedophiles that you erode. It is not a black and white issue where only the bad guys will suffer if x, y and z are not done.

    But that wouldn't make for a good soundbite now would it?

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: "No Ms Harmon..."

      I think you mean Ms May.

      1. hplasm
        Big Brother

        Re: "No Ms Harmon..."

        hard to tell the difference, really...

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Re: Look at her comments in The Sun

      "Equally depressing is the fact the we as a populace have given up questioning the gruel they feed us and seem to blindly accept it on faith."

      Too many people are too busy checking their Facebook profile or watching latest utter codswallop reality TV or X-Factor shite on the box to even care what state the country is getting into. All they see is "DO YOU WANT YOUR KIDS ABUSED OR BLOWN UP? WELL DO YOU?!?! THEN HELP US NAIL UP THE PAEDOS AND TERRORISTS!!", in the Sun's latest, one-sided headline and that's all they think they need to know.

    3. Wayland Sothcott 1

      Re: Look at her comments in The Sun

      No we have not given up fighting this. No the people in government understand very well how the InterTubes work. Notice how she tries to head off the 'conspiracy theorists' by predicting what sensible people will say. This is not the action of a person who does not get it. It's the action of a person who has an agenda, the same agenda as all parties once they are in power.

      The populace does know but are fed so many lies that it's hard for them to really believe they know or to see an alternative. Most people do not want to assassinate politicians or set fire to London but this is what they will do if they are forced to confront the problem. Rather than get really really angry and do a Raul Moat, most people watch TV entertainment or play computer games.

      We are given sensible outlets for our frustration such as signing on-line petitions or voting in elections. These things are carefully designed to make us feel like we make a difference without actually making a difference. It does not matter which party is in power, all they will do is use a different method to bring about the same thing.

      At some point there is going to have to be a massive 'cleansing' in this country. Anybody found without a bloody meat cleaver in their hands just wanting to get on with their life will be slaughtered as will anyone wearing a suit and anyone in politics. We are talking massive bloody revolution when people finally get bored of Simon Cowell, kill that fucker fairly early on I expect.

  11. nsld

    I hade to laugh

    They want to monitor gaming sites, facebook and so many other high traffic websites where exactly are they going to store all this data in a format thats searchable?

    I have less than 100 friends on facebook and the level and rate of updates from them alone is massive, thats before you consider twitter or any other form of social media with continual updates. After all, is having an update pushed to you a communication between two parties or an automation process? If I put up a status update that was illegal would all my friends be prosecuted for getting the update?

    And equally how do they store the data in real time in a manner that doesnt bring the interwebs to its knees? Especially with gaming pings? Ironically the xbox generation arent going to tolerate the gaming experience degrading and may well end up as the people who fight hardest against this.

    The real criminals and terrorists will find ways to get around this, the rest of us will have to put up with slower service, disfunctional voip etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hade to laugh

      'They want to monitor gaming sites, facebook and so many other high traffic websites where exactly are they going to store all this data in a format thats searchable?'

      Might be time to train in big data handling. I suspect a lot of very well paid, completely useless jobs will be created by this policy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I hade to laugh

        sorry, I'm not laughing. the last time I talked to a national telco BT engineer about this - (who was fully informed in the planning and design of the system) (and I'm talking about discussing this in bloody August 2011! BT Quote = 'not yet worked through the implications,' my arse!)

        The monitoring boxes will be many and pervasive. they will do routine packet inspection but are also live real-time trigger signature driven, similar to the old top-secret 5-eyes only UMBRA keyword list. the trigger signatures are generated by a ›‹›‹›‹ country and ›‹›‹›‹ and ›‹›‹›‹›‹ organisations.

        This is nothing less that the creation of a UK national (internet)DNA database where the unique footprints' of every citizen's interactions & private correspondence will be stored, forever.

        If anyone would care for the well paid completely useless job in this endeavour then you could do worse than click here, though of course, other sensor providers are available.

        (..................................^ is just a random google hit from big uk data-handling)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't worry, your phone call, which you thought required a warrant, will be carried over an IP backbone, and logged.

    It reminds me of the (very) old joke: How do you apply for a job at the NSA? Call your grandmother and ask for an application.

    Have a nice day.

  13. Anonymous John

    "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

    Totally unrelated to the fact that Shiny Dave is up before Lord Leveson today, of course.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

      "Shiny Dave"

      That made me laugh.

      1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

        Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

        I always think he's got the look of a cabbage patch doll about him.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

          He is Iggle Piggle in The Night Garden, AICMFP.

          1. Robert Ramsay

            Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

            "Like C3P0 covered in a layer of wafer-thin ham"

        2. Wayland Sothcott 1

          Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

          The whole cabinet has been plucked from the cabbage patch.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans" .... confirming the plot is lost.

      ""Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans" ...... Totally unrelated to the fact that Shiny Dave is up before Lord Leveson today, of course." ..... Anonymous John Posted Thursday 14th June 2012 10:33 GMT

      Yes, .... the vainglorious leader of the Coalition Party is up before Leveson and pontificating wonderfully ........ and trying very badly to convince everybody that in the great scheme of things, politicians/gangs of privately funded wafflers intent on being elected as a government to get their sticky mitts on the public purse and ensure that taxation pays for pretty much everything they plot around the Cabinet table and in private secret meetings off the public record, are still relevant and wield power, whenever every man and his dog know that control is exercised by others elsewhere, considerably better skilled in royal and ancient and dark and mysterious arts, and they do their bidding whether they think they do or not and are always react to events rather than drivering them.

      Has Cameron reached three figures yet, in his appearance before the cameras and Leveson, with his " get the message across" sound bite?

      Who do you imagine runs the world? What smart little clique?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    So where are we heading?

    It goes like this:

    1) Govt introduces above legislation

    2) A new craze develops of including certain words ("bomb", "terrorist", "nuclear") in every message sent.

    3) Govt makes it an offence to use certain words in communications

    4) People move to other words instead that mean the same thing, but in a kind of code.

    5) Government develops a team of people who's job it is to crack down on such terms as quickly as they come into use.

    6) People switch to using VPN's, TOR's

    7) Government makes it an offence to attempt to circumvent monitoring

    Now I wonder which country has already gone down this route?


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