back to article Home Office denies remote snooping plan

The Home Office has denied it has made any change to rules governing how police can remotely snoop on people's computers. Any such remote hack - which normally requires physical access to a computer or network or the use of a key-logging virus - is governed by Ripa - and the rules have not changed. But European discussions on …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Ian Ferguson

    Reader Reg Research

    Reader Reg Research

    I'd like to ask you a few questions.

    It'll only take a couple minutes, and all the information you give is anonymous.

    If you don't want to, it's fine. But I'm going to keep bugging you ALL DAY to participate, even if you have already.

    Do you want to now?

    Do you?

    How much will you spend on your next car?

    Have you already? Have you changed your mind about anything?

    How much will you spend on your next next car?

    Can you fill it in again for good measure?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Have a firewall? Simple ...

    The Home Office will just make all personal firewalls illegal.

    Instead of crap ideas like this, wouldn't it be better if the Police actually did their job and investigate crime, and the government enforced the law by making sure that criminals are put away?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    big expensive IT solution

    .... that cant really work.

    How to stop terrorism ? Be nice and stop trampling on people's rights. How many new disenfranchised people has Waqui Jacki created ?

  4. N

    They can access BT users data anyway

    All they have to do is ask the Phorm people nicely with a knighthood or something.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Yes, most people are behind a router with a built-in firewall. That said, many of these routers are supplied by ISPs who have a back door maintenance mode to allow the firmware to be updated remotely, and which you cannot block.

    I'm not suggesting that the ISPs include this feature for any reason other than convenience and efficiency, but how long before Knacker of the Yard realises the potential of this feature?

    Actually, the bigger lie is that consumer router/firewalls aren't prone to being hacked themselves - Check the history of the OpenWRT project to see how true this is...

  6. Ash

    Stop any such access eh?

    So HM Gov wouldn't happen to aquire any one of many exploit generators available on the web to create a rootkit for some poor schmo's PC? When just browsing a website or reading an email with an unpatched OS and app combination is enough to root your entire PC, no amount of firewall protection would be enough.

    I suggest we go back to real crimes, like burglary and GBH. All this techno-crime is taking bobbies off the streets!

    Bring back corporal punishment!

    Palin 2012!

    Yeah, i'm finding it hard to take this subject seriously too.

  7. Piezor

    PC Plod

    One of my colleagues decided to share the times article with us this morning which i said is most likely full of it and have been waiting for the reg to clear it up and you haven't dissapointed.

    Now to find the smug git and end his scaremongering of beat bobbies sat outside your house tapping into your wireless network and watching your pr0n.

    I like to think my security is sufficient to combat this sort of thing anyway - not that i have any of that sort of thing on my PC of course.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if I?

    Do all my work behind a firewalled router, on a firewalled PC inside a VM running linux with its own firewall?

    What will they make of that!

  9. Nicholas Wright
    Dead Vulture

    Re: What If I?

    You've got a lot to hide?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    RE: What if I?

    Why ask, the answer is obvious: they'll arrest you for possessing information that may be useful to a terrorist.

    If you know how to stop them accessing YOUR computer then presumably you can stop them accessing Usama Bin Laden's computer as well.

    A simpler solution would be to use an encrypted VPN to somewhere in Eastern Europe (where plod can't access ISP records) and do all your dodgy dealings over that.

    Then plod won't know about them and won't need to hack into your computer.

    However, if you REALLY want to remove the chance that plod will examine your computer in the future then there is a way. It involves closing one eye and holding steady until you've got Whackie Jacquie in the cross-hairs and you're certain of a clean shot. If someone doesn't do it soon then she's going to bring in legislation that makes it illegal to refuse your 5 daily anal probes.

  11. Britt Johnston

    Easy to implement

    A can think of a couple of cheap* ways HMG could sucessfully implement this:

    - licence the German system

    - use the back door(s) in Windows 7

    I suspect the timing is ill-defined because such stuff is still illegal in a few countries. Europe is waiting till the last major one (US?) has set up a legal patch.

    *Both could be had for the price of an internet browser and a back-scratch IOU.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Actually, I just had a thought...

    I like the idea, but,

    See that street light outside your house, one day that'll have a microphone and IR camera on it so it can make sure nobody is plotting and that nobody gathers in groups larger then the size you have a permit for. Maybe a maximum of 3 in a house where one person lives, and then for no longer then a certain length of time. Further to this you must list on your permit who shall visit you and who you shall visit. If at anytime you need to visit or be visited by someone not on your lists you must file for special permission to meet, unless meeting in a peace controlled area.

    If terrorists, drug dealers, yoofs and peadophiles can't go where they like then we're living in a safer society, and if you don't have anything to hide why would you have a problem filling in the forms? They're quick and readily available online or at you're closest peace centre.

    As an added bonus they can check your happiness levels, and if you suffer unhappiness happiness adjusters can visit you at a moments notice, extreme cases of unhappiness may require visits to happiness processing centres.

    Enjoy kids.

  14. Dan Keating

    re: Actually, I just had a thought...

    With the introduction of microphones to surveillance cctv systems - whether we're on the net or not, we can be monitored. When RFID chipping comes in they'll be able to record and catalogue everything done and said automatically. Hopefully they will add some kind of olfactory snooping next so I can punish the monitoring staff with some silent but deadly retribution.

  15. Stephane Mabille
    Jobs Horns

    First step


    This is only the first step. Once the law allows them to access our PC, the next logical step will be to force any firewall to provide backdoor... sounds a lot like cipher chip and other French requirement for a copy of "keys" to decrypt files a few years ago (we all know how those measures were efficient and that no one can encrypt files today.... ).

    But one more steps towards "Why are you complaining? You have something to hide?"

  16. Alien8n

    Amazed no one else has commented on this bit

    The German Interior Ministry explained at the time that "almost all partner countries have or intend to have in the near future national laws allowing access to computer hard drives and other data storage devices located on their territory". But the Germans noted the legal basis of transnational searches is not in place and ministers were looking for ways to rectify this.

    Hang on, so they saying British plod can already do all this, but what they actually want is to allow German Gestapo (sorry, police) access to every pc in the whole of Europe? And that's not a scarier proposition?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comment on ‘Home Office denies remote snooping plan’

    It must be true if the Home Office are denying it.

  18. Paul Taylor
    Black Helicopters

    re: go back to real crimes, like burglary and GBH

    Don't you understand? PC Plod is jealous because everyone else's job nowadays, whatever it's supposed to be called, just consists of sitting behind a computer screen, and he wants to be the same. He just wants to type "burglary at 123 Acacia Ave" into Google and get a signed confession back. So the plan is to log every activity, thereby turning all crime into computer crime. Anything that can't be logged didn't happen.

  19. Jamie Kitson


    If the sort of stuff the Times article mentions was possible and as easy as they make it sound then the police would be the least of our worries.

  20. Toastan Buttar
    Black Helicopters

    Remote access to my drive ? No way !

    "almost all partner countries have or intend to have in the near future national laws allowing access to computer hard drives and other data storage devices located on their territory".

    The law already exists - it's known as obtaining a search warrant. If they want /remote/ access to snoop on the contents of our hard drives, then who could guarantee that they wouldn't use that access to plant dodgy data on our drives and thereby finger anyone they so desire ?

  21. James Pickett

    Oh yeah?

    "governed by Ripa"

    Like Phorm are supposed to be? Does Ms Smith know her arse from her elbow? (No need answer, BTW.)

  22. Anonymous Coward

    I H4X YOU!

    This is what i love about this stupid idea. They think they can snoop on any pc in the UK with whatever means. Im guessing they are just talking about logging isp packets (Cough secure encryption) But if they really want to keylog me. id like to see them try and infect me. In whatever way they can. there are no magical backdoors for them to use. Im sure that there are a few people out there. Who are using custom build os/modified Unix based OS's.

    Yet another impossible idea by the goverment

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Great ideas backed up by poor delivery?

    Security and integrity when dealing with personal details is so important. Like the ID cards = a great idea, I suspect that poor delivery and performance will be the main issues just as they are in this press report.

    I'd bet that data input on ID card front will probably be performed by minimal wage earners (want to buy So-and-so's address, landline and mobile phone details?)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @oh yeah

    "governed by Ripa"

    Like Phorm are supposed to be? Does Ms Smith know her arse from her elbow? (No need answer, BTW.)

    probably. her arse is the only part that has ever thought

  25. Eddie Edwards

    @ Toastan

    You make a good point. Forensic analysis of HDDs requires read-only mounting. "Evidence" obtained by hacking wouldn't/shouldn't be admissible.

    So ... only good for fishing trips then.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Wills noted that the majority of people online use a firewall which would stop such instant access by the police.

    And the assumption is that your hardware or software firewall doesn't already have a back door for them?

    Who do YOU trust?

    @Ash - All this techno-crime is taking bobbies off the streets!

    I'm sorry...I read that as getting all boobies off the streets.

  27. Martin Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Home office denies

    Hasn't this become standard procedure?

    Leak scare story to press, rely on journalists to spice it up a bit.

    Stand up and deny specific claim in the story then quietly introduce whatever it was with a slightly different name anyway.

  28. Graham Marsden
    Black Helicopters

    Why do you need a firewall...

    ... do you have something to hide...???

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Its a bit like popping a .......

    balloon and let it deflate ,and then it is easy to put in the bin. Parallel being that the Govt leaks the story, lets everyone get hot and bothered ,denies it is true, lets it all subside, THEN brings it into being. That way they can gauge the reaction firstly.

    Also, I bet 100% that MS has built in a backdoor to every Windows OS so that they

    can give CIA, Mi6 etc etc etc easy access when required. Imagine it, they would be

    missing a massive opportunity if they didnt have such a backdoor considering all

    the Governments that use it.

  30. Dave
    Black Helicopters

    Firewalls and Encryption

    OK, so a standalone firewall, preferably starting from reviewed open-source and compiled from scratch(*) Next, encrypt all your email, get a static IP address so it's not blocked by spam filters and send all email directly so it doesn't sit on your ISP's server unless it's destined for one of their customers. I was pleasantly surprised to see that when I switched to Sendmail recently (due to old mailserver failing and me being remote), it is negotiating TLS/SSL with the far end (or something claiming to be the far end), and a surprising number of places seem amenable to it.

    (*) Even this isn't 100% guaranteed, it depends on your paranoia level

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't need a bloody title, thank you

    Thanks Reg, I was waiting for this article. It was pretty clear that the Times' article was bullcrap, but always good to have confirmation that it's be impossible for anyone to snoop into our hard drives, short of injecting a virus in our computers. In fact, in *your* computers, I've already moved out of your police state myself. Enough is enough.

  32. night troll

    @ oh yeah

    "governed by Ripa"

    Like Phorm are supposed to be? Does Ms Smith know her arse from her elbow? (No need answer, BTW.)

    She should do, her arse is the only part of her body to produce a usable product.

  33. yossarianuk

    Small sister? (linux ONLY)

    Sounds like one answer to keeping your email private is to try small sister

    It is a way of routing email through the tor network - i believe that it encrypts the senders email also ...

    At the minute ONLY linux is supported, it is coming out for sub prime OS's too in the future.

    I have an IPCOP firewall with snort (this stops any known scans)

    Although this will not stop any supposed hacks on your machines it is a way of emailing without the government being able to monitor you.

  34. Beachhutman
    Gates Horns

    From the people who had no plans to raise taxes

    ...and assured the people of UK that they had legislated, LEGISLATED, to prevent the imposition of University top up fees EVER, comes a denial that they intend to brown-nose the EU's Kommissioners, who are desperate to find ANY way of controlling the internet.

    It is particularly important to get this control of the internet, and the enabling snooping activity, in place before the Irish are told to vote YES this time, or the whole Lisbon Process will (not actually) collapse and (not actually) create a crisis for the EU.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Rusty Shackleford say's RIPA?

    So that means if say Uttersthwaite council thinks your dog is shatting in the wrong place then they can have their people look at your hard drive? Ridiculous you say? Well isn't Dog poo what RIPA is ACTUALLY being used for at the moment? That and the really serious stuff like littering. Britain Grate doesn't it.

  36. Mark

    re: Assumptions

    "And the assumption is that your hardware or software firewall doesn't already have a back door for them?"

    Use Free Software.

    Get a hardware router/firewall and ensure it's compatible with the Linux flash upgrades available or buy one with the linux router flash image installed.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Patriotism comrade

    Help us fight terrorism by being vigilant

    Report anything suspicious

    If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide

    You don't mind bearing your entire life and soul on the internet

    Help us by downloading this active x control and allowing us to protect you by monitoring your internet use

    All information collected is completely annonymous and will not be passed on to third parties


    UK Gov


    Cybercrime is protection

    War is peace.

    Freedom is slavery.

    Ignorance is strength.


    Cybercrime is protection

    Terrorists failed to kill anyone in the UK last year, thank goodness. Only one idiot was injured by a terrorist, almost becoming a Darwin Award candidate (though sadly failing in the process).

    Wacky Jacqui and Geoff Hoon justifying these measures using terrorism is just hysterical to the point of psychosis (=severe mental disorder in which contact with reality is lost).

  39. Mark

    Brown-nosing the EU commisioners

    Please be careful of that assertion.

    There have been at least TWO cases where "The EU made us do it" was a load of bollocks. With biometric passports, the machine-readable passport was enough, but we were told we had to put biometrics on it "to manage our commitments to the international standards". And the HRA that was pushed on us "by the EU" was forced through by Tony Blair as El Presidente of the EU. If it was welcomed, he could take credit. As it was hated, he blamed "the EU" when HE was the one that MADE the EU do it.

This topic is closed for new posts.