back to article We know this isn't about PRISM, Matt Warman MP. But do you?

Former consumer technology editor at The Telegraph and current Conservative MP Matt Warman derailed an NSA whistleblower's attempt to deliver evidence on GCHQ spying, raising questions about the committee's competence to scrutinise the government's draft surveillance bill. The MP offered distracting and irrelevant counter- …

  1. Alister Silver badge

    He really doesn't get it, does he?

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Why would he get it - he's a politician...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do we turn British spies against British people? Yes/no

      > "He really doesn't get it, does he?"

      No he understands, he's deliberately obfuscating. There will be quite a few bad actors involved in pushing this through, tricks like this are par for the course.

      To be clear and simple:

      There are two parts to the bill, the first part is essentially uncontrolled insane free for all with all data for GCHQ with negligable PRE-oversight. "Pre" because the oversight is done on best example cases to obtain the data. Once the data is obtained its a free for all.

      The ISP part, is the old Jacqui Smith one. Instead of a central database, it is an indexed decentralized database. They use the word "filters" but its really queries. The queries bypass the need to justify the search, it replaces a judge with a dialog box. Stripping out the judiciary from the system.

      There's a lot of misleading BS going on. For example Theresa May says the Wilson doctrine is still in force, yet MPs private data is in that set and subject to the same searches, so that's not true. Its just a lie designed to deceive. There is nothing stopping an officer for running a query to see an MPs kids internet browing history without a warrant if he happens to want to.

      She says its not mass surveillance, but it is surveillance of everything by everyone. How is that not mass surveillance? Of course it is, she's doing her bold-faced-lie thing again.

      Cameron insists that the current illegal data trawl being done by GCHQ against Britains, has "DISRUPTED" 7 terror plots (or 6 depending on who you ask). But there's no corresponding court cases or details to verify. The word 'disrupted' is not 'foiled', or 'prosecuted', its a word chosen specifically for these PR caims. so they're hiding some magic meaning behind that word. Obsfucation there.

      Plus was it the lack of a warrant that would stop these terrorist case? If so are you saying a judge wouldn't have issued the warrant? And if so why? Are these so dodgy legally that a judge wouldn't allow them? Disrupted means what exactly?

      In one sentence: Do we turn our spying machine against our people? Yes/No.

      The answer is no, obviously, so lies, obsfucation and deceptions are needed. GCHQ at this moment has masses of leverage against MPs. In their heads they're making excuses like "I meant to search for cup holders when I accidently typed in cuckold and was so shocked I watched it for an hour", to explain away their dirty little secrets.

      So there will be a lot of foot shuffling, people too afraid to do their jobs and kick this out.

      Perhaps that was Theresa Mays intention in November when she revealed the mass surveillance, perhaps it was a shot across MPs bows, to remind them she knows their grubby little secrets if they don't cooperate!

    3. Fraggle850

      He DOES get it, he gets it very well...

      ...which is why he's using the standard politician's approach of talking across someone in a way that seems to answer them but that actually steers the conversation away from the awkward subject that they don't want to talk about. That's why he keeps banging on about PRISM and filters. Obfuscation pure and simple, no doubt at the bidding of someone with a vested interest in not actually having a sensible debate about the subject.

      FFS Binney is not some woolly-minded liberal arts grad on an internship at the EFF; he's one of 'the men', an ex part of the Mil Ind Complex. Despite his having fallen out with the US TLAs I'd assume he's still on the side of the intel analysts on the ground.

      But hey, why change long standing UK govt policy and actually start listening to EXPERTS? Much better to stop the experts talking, that way they can all get on with the serious business of minsterial empire building and playground bullying that serves for 'modern' politics in the UK.

      Never assume politicos are thick - that's what they want you to think (cf bumbling BoJo)

    4. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Holmes

      As Upton Sinclair put it...

      It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Maybe he does... depends on who's yanking his strings. The catch is, whether he gets it or not, you'll soon be "getting it" if this thing passes. We have the same situation here in the States. All our comms and data via the Internet belong to someone else.

    6. Gartal

      He really doesn't Get it.....

      Looking at what is provided from the transcript, I think that 1984 and Double Speak is live and well.

    7. Mike Richards Silver badge

      He doesn't need to get it...

      ...he just has to vote the way the government tells him.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In fact, what it would do is to make serious democratic and judicial oversight, which many argue Prism lacked, a key component of British law. That would be progress that everybody should welcome.

    If I understand this correctly and maybe I don't but is the IPB not a way for the government to avoid the judiciary?

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      My understanding is its not quite that simple.

      There are aspects of the IPB that are a slight improvement - one is the incorporation of more judicial reviews but this is far outweighed by giving them insufficient oversight and the fact that they are attempting to legitimise the gathering of far more data.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @gordon10

        I'm of the understanding and by quoting the MP that there is no judicial review for the IPB, it's all an undertaking by the home secretary, that's what I find quite puzzling by his comment.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Judicial oversight in the IP bill is nothing more than a judge, with years of training in jurisprudence, verifying that a minister, who could have been a bricklayer the week before the election & may not have any relevant qualifications, has followed the correct procedure in issuing a surveillance warrant.

        The judge makes no assessment of the evidence whatsoever, the judge does not even see this evidence and crucially providing the minister has followed the designated procedures, used the correct colour ballpoint and so on the judge cannot revoke the warrant.

        We need to prise this power out of the hands of ministers and put it in the hands of the judiciary, the convenience of ministers and the security services should not be a concern.

        1. Fraggle850

          @AC

          > minister, who could have been a bricklayer the week before the election

          I wish, might at least get some straight talking instead of the arse-covering doublespeak that the professional political class trade in.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "democratic and judicial oversight"

      I think you're confusing political with democratic.

      What this bill does is attempt to legitimise the abolition of the presumption of innocence and to redefine "due" in the concept of "due process of law". Last year we celebrated the presence of that latter concept in the last 8 centuries of English law. We celebrated it by abolishing it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It does the exact opposite

      "In fact, what it would do is to make serious democratic and judicial oversight,"

      It legalizes the current ILLEGAL situation of "Mastering the Internet", there is no law permitting bulk surveillance data of British citizens by its spying agency. Parliament passed no such law. GCHQ were/are specifically prevented from spying on British, our spying agency has been turned against us.

      So yes there is zero democratic oversight currently, but that is because we have a rogue agency and a few people in government who helped conceal that crime from Parliament.

      It puts a judge in IPC to vet requests for content and data feeds. So he sees a demand for [datafeed] for [purpose]. But once the datafeed is there, it strips even the pathetic protection on that data. There's no enforcement of [purpose] or check, or penalty. No inspector even asks them, and the feed data can be handed on without monitoring or control. It's a data free for all, he's there to rubber stamp it. [purpose] will be compelling (imminent terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction!! Quick rubber stamp it!) and he will never see all the misuse so he's fed a false version of reality to obtain a rubber stamp.

      It also strips judicial protection for most data, so most data is accessed without a warrant and no oversight. This is done by classing stuff like URLs as "not content". Magically clasiifying all that private data like that means ever man in a high viz jacket can see it.

      It strips democratic oversight. To get a data feed for particular agency requires a law be passed in Parliament. With checks and balances, with monitoring and penalties for its abuse, and so on. This replaces that with a politically issued warrant (typically the Home Secretary), and there is no further checks once the data feed is established. So Parliament would not know how the data is being abused, and neither would the judge who initially signed off on it.

      No democratic oversight, no judicial oversight, a rubber stamp added.

  4. Warm Braw Silver badge

    I realise it's defeatism...

    ... but when our elected "representatives" (though they seem representative only of each other) are ao woefully or willfully ignorant, democracy has failed. If even a fraction of MPs actually believed in basic civil rights, or even just had qualms about the ends justifying the means, noone would ever have dared propose this bill. If we have to rely for our liberty on this self-referential, self-regarding and self-rewarding institution, there really is no hope for us.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Perfect Product for Breaking Bads

    Might I suggest SMARTR AI Engagement with Programming Implementation of Presentation Applications in Future Virtual Reality Shows/TerraPhormed Actualities for Global Viewing.

    Such makes Media and AI de facto Worlds Leader .

    Capture and copycat that GCHQ into upping upper stream programming with upper upped main stream media programming kitted out virtually, both in means and memes for future MAGICal missions.

    :-) cc @HeadUKCivServ @OECDgov

    cc Bank of England @bankofengland

    1. Roo
      Windows

      Re: Perfect Product for Breaking Bads

      Hi Skippy, what's that you say ?

      "The people must set up a marketing outfit that harvests internet traffic information and stores it in a distributed database that can be accessed by anyone" ?

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Perfect Product for Breaking Bads

      Hmmm? .. What am I done and always a'telling you?

      “Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous] systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms,” they write in a letter presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aries.  ..... https://www.rt.com/news/310882-wozniak-musk-hawking-ai/

      1. Fraggle850

        Re: Perfect Product for Breaking Bads

        @ amanfromMars 1

        This is the first time I've actually understood the text of one of your posts! Shame it's a quote from elsewhere but at least I finally get it: you're paranoid about the AI future! Is that why you always write in impenetrablese? To stop the machines from parsing your comments and building you into their AI knowledge-base? Very clever...

        1. dotdavid

          Re: Perfect Product for Breaking Bads

          "at least I finally get it: you're paranoid about the AI future"

          More like he's an AI himself.

        2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Perfect Product for Breaking Bads and Failing Radical Projects

          This is the first time I've actually understood the text of one of your posts! Shame it's a quote from elsewhere but at least I finally get it: you're paranoid about the AI future! Is that why you always write in impenetrablese? To stop the machines from parsing your comments and building you into their AI knowledge-base? Very clever... ..... Fraggle850

          Paranoia is as a helpless stranger and alien in Perfect Productions, Fraggle850.

          1. Fraggle850

            Re: Perfect Product for Breaking Bads and Failing Radical Projects

            Hmm... based on that last statement I'm coming around to dotdavid's assessment of your true nature. If I'd used the phrase 'you have legitimate concerns' instead of 'you're paranoid' what would your response have been? I don't intend to single you out and am glad that you don't seem to take offence as that was not my intention, I'm just curious as to where you are coming from.

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              Re: Response Request ...... Curiosity Sated or Whetted?

              If I'd used the phrase 'you have legitimate concerns' instead of 'you're paranoid' what would your response have been? I don't intend to single you out and am glad that you don't seem to take offence as that was not my intention, I'm just curious as to where you are coming from. .... Fraggle850

              No concerns at all actually, Fraggle850, legitimate or otherwise, in either reality or virtual reality fields, is my honest response and fully indicative of the deep state of current affairs and emerging unfolding novel situations.

              All before one nowadays in certainly active/proactive/HyperRadioProActive networks, are marvellous opportunities to virtualise and realise and exploit the present with future content, and, if of a raging and raving capitalist bent, to monetise and prosper obscenely from the globalise exercise, for it knows of no boundaries to impede such as is QuITe Quiet Quantum Revolutionary Progress with Leading AI other than the maintained ignorance and retained stupidity of Man.

              And thanks for the question, Fraggle850, and the opportunity to clarify and amend wrongful views.

              1. Fraggle850

                Re: Response Request ...... Curiosity Sated or Whetted?

                > knows of no boundaries to impede

                Not so sure, I reckon there are a few 'unicorns' that are due to unsettle that notion. But yes, the successful ones will screw the masses to the betterment of their market cap.

  6. Mark 65

    Nothing worse

    There's nothing worse than someone who thinks they're smart, especially when they're an MP and think they know something about IT.

    1. Chika
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Nothing worse

      Need I restate the Adams principle of power? That those wishing it should on no account be allowed to attain it?

      Actually the problem, as is often the case, is divided up into the political - a politician has an idea about achieving something but has no idea how to do it - and the bureaucratic - the politician is used merely as a front for the civil service whose agenda is generally unpalatable to the general public.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I wish I could remember names

        Speaking of civil serpents, a few days ago someone round here mentioned the name of a long term senior civil servant in or near the Home Office who has been in the background of this kind of thing for decades. I meant to go and read more about this nice gentleman.

        I forgot the name and the context therefore stand no chance of finding it again without help. It might have been Charles something.

        Suggestions?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wish I could remember names

          Charlie Farr?

          1. Alexander J. Martin

            Re: I wish I could remember names

            He's a very interesting figure. We're keeping an eye out.

            1. Jediben
              Big Brother

              Re: I wish I could remember names

              He scared the hell out of that Chakrabarti woman from Liberty (X) so he can't be ALL bad.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I wish I could remember Charles Farr's name

              Thank you (and AC with Wikipedia link - well worth a look:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Farr )

              That's the guy. "Interesting figure" indeed.

              "We're keeping an eye out."

              Oh good. Just be careful out there.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I wish I could remember names

            Charlie Farr makes for interesting reading. Particularly the theatric stuff he does: "he was behind the siting of missiles on residential buildings during the 2012 Olympics."

            So 1) Seems to be a master of fearmongering, I guess he'll put on a show when this comes up for a vote.

            Also this bit: "In May 2014, Farr made a witness statement on behalf of the government..... and explanation of how security services can legally monitor Facebook, Google, Twitte usage of UK citizens."

            So 2) hes the man who turned the spooks against their own country.

            He drafts these "spy on Britains with warrant" bills. For both parties, all of them.

            So 3) he's the primary cancer.

            And the most troubling bit of all

            "Farr is not answerable to Parliament, and certainly not a conventional civil servant. Instead he has never stopped acting like a spy"

            So 4) If ever there was a personality type who would abuse surveillance data on Parliament, that is the type.

            Interesting. I always thought it was group-think that drives this, it seems to be one-bitter-man think.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wish I could remember names

          That was me talking about Charlie Farr over at

          http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2016/01/06/ispa_submits_response_investigatory_powers_bill_parliament/#c_2738829

          A deeply fascinating person who I feel should have more of a spotlight shone on him

          ...deeply fascinating in the same way that watching an approaching train when you're chained to the tracks is

        3. Kane Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: I wish I could remember names

          I do wonder what ol' Charlie boy has on Mr Warman...

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

            Re: I wish I could remember names

            "I do wonder what ol' Charlie boy has on Mr Warman..."

            He doesn't have to have anything on Warman - he can offer him a hit of the most potent drug there is: Power.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing worse

      "There's nothing worse than someone who thinks they're smart, especially when they're an MP and think they know something about IT."

      I work with them. You are entirely right.

  7. 2460 Something
    Big Brother

    I continue to be angered by the completely bald face lies our MPs insist upon spouting. They think that by answering a question with a statement demonstrating no grasp of said question that everyone is fooled. Or, just as likely, that they don't have to enter into an actual discussion of the facts because how can you discuss something when they refuse to acknowledge it. Every time I hear one of them dodging questions reminds me the Jeremy Paxman/Michael Howard interview 'Did you threaten to overrule him?' asked many times, restated that only a yes/no answer was required and yet Michael Howard, a slimy grease ball like most politicians, would not answer the question. Which quite clearly proves the affirmative to everyone watching but I bet he was patting himself on the back afterwards.

    History has successfully demonstrated that there are no workable solutions as everything always comes back to the full on corruption we appear to have today.

  8. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Black Helicopters

    Warman gets it

    He was stonewalling and trying to disrupt the evidence of an expert. Which is much more chilling than incompetence.

    1. sysconfig

      Re: Warman gets it

      Indeed, the main problem is that our elected representatives willfully ignore any facts presented to them. I'm not sure whether or not I want to know why. It draws a gruesome picture of the current state of democracy; I doubt it gets any better if we know the true motivation behind it.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    Options, options.

    1) Warman has done enough background reading to say something stupid and keep repeating it

    2)Waman has a naive faith in the British security services and does not understand "filter"==query on f**king huge database of everything

    3)Warman has been bought

    4)All of the above.

    There is no "none of the above" as I'm pretty sure those options cover any reason he'd say what he said and keep on saying it.

    They are data fetishists. This is not a logical policy. It's a disease and one day it will be recognized and treated as such.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The quicker this bill is passed the better

    Because then it'll be a quicker trip to the ECHR or ECJ to get a drubbing.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "Because then it'll be a quicker trip to the ECHR or ECJ to get a drubbing."

      Interesting strategy.

      Personally I'd preferred it get chopped up (from about 200 pages) and a large number of its gagging provisions (starting around ss54 IIRC) be removed.

    2. Fraggle850

      @Doctor Syntax Re: The quicker this bill is passed the better

      I like your optimism but you should bear this in mind:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35090994

      I suspect that the EU courts will no longer have any jurisdiction over human rights in the UK before the year is out.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @Doctor Syntax The quicker this bill is passed the better

        "I like your optimism"

        Optimism? That was pessimism.

        "I suspect that the EU courts will no longer have any jurisdiction over human rights in the UK before the year is out."

        In that case HMG will end up with similar problems the US has re Safe Harbour when it comes to doing business with the rest of Europe. Then they find a few large companies deciding to migrate their HQs to other parts of the EU.

        1. Fraggle850

          Re: @Doctor Syntax The quicker this bill is passed the better

          Looks like we'll be comprehensively screwed then.

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