back to article Mobile operators question net snoop plan

Mobile networks are incapable of carrying out the massively increased internet surveillance being demanded by intelligence and law enforcement agencies, MPs and peers heard today, raising further doubts over the technical feasibility of the plans. Major technical upgrades would be required for mobile broadband providers to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I don't see any evidence of that"

    .. because you are ;-

    a) deliberately blind to the facts

    b) ignorant of current affairs and have avoided all news in the last 4 years

    c) technically illiterate

    d) a government puppet hired to "think of the children"


    e) all of the above.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Need to lie better... Hehe here is where the IMS idiocy caught up with them

    This statement by Voda and Co is a lie. Almost like they hired Tony Blair to work for them I guess.

    As a result of deploying LTE (or the very last 3G releases) all mobile traffic becomes IP and traverses a newly established universal policeman - PDC.

    This network element has the following capabilties mandated by the standard:

    1. Legal intercept

    2. Deep Packet Inspection

    3. QoS, Resource Admission Control and Policying (driven via a suitable IMS/TISPAN policy engine). This is in fact the main reason for the existence of this network element. While making every breath you take a billing event you make is the marketeer's dream it tends to catch up with you sooner or later. In this case quite clearly it did.

    Prior to Rel5 all mobile data traffic traverses a similar entity - the GGSN. Once again most GGSNs have all the necessary legal intercept capability. Even if they did not the traffic is also run through a number of proxies and a DPI in order to detect obnoxious users trying to violate the holy right of the operator to more revenue.

    And so on.

    So in fact, the mobiles do not have a leg to stand on when objecting to snooping. Their networks are perfectly engineered to do so.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    In standard != implemented.

    If it's not useful, it won't get implemented by the vendors

  4. Piloti

    @ Anonymous Coward 1st July 2009 15:01

    Yep, that's about correct.

    The only caveat is the 'storage / retentions' question ; ie how long is the info' held for.

    Yes you are correct in suggestion they have the capability, but it is not always the case that the info is kept very long; storage is often limited to a 30 day period, after which pre pay users have forgotten and post paid have had their last invoice......


  5. Al 4

    Millions for access

    The big problem I see that the ISP's have as a complaint is the way the data is to be stored. The gov wants instant access so they can do all they're searching easily and normally data this type and quantity would be stored near line using tape libraries. If they're required to store all of the information on disks cost is only part of the problem. Can you imagine the power requirements for an ISP to keep a petabyte of data online? Whose to pay for that expense, you that's who. After all this cost will be just a line item on the bill that will keep going up as the need for storage of the data will increase at a rate greater than the decrease in cost for storing it (power isn't getting any cheaper and is only expected to increase as carbon caps come into play).

  6. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "I don't see any evidence of that"

    Gamble then went on to say that he had seen no evidence of the Pope being a Catholic or bears shitting in the woods, so, obviously, these claims had no factual basis...

  7. c 1


    what a load of bollocks. The ability to "legally intercept" traffic on mobile networks has been part of the standards for a long time. From personal experience every carrier that I know keeps detailed logs of everything their customers do for a considerable time. One particular carrier has these logs available for support purposes in real time - the last 30 days activity of every customer is stored and available at the click of a button (URLs visted, IP layer information etc.). This is allmlinked back to phone number associated with the service.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    The consultation document is interesting

    A key item seems to ge the Govt wants *all* the data for a user neatly collated so they can collect it, on the off chance they need it. And that will include all the IM and PAYG users.

    Does that sound like something a bureacrat would think up to make their life easier?

    Note. None of the cases listed as *proving* they need this capability actually show any reason to hold data for mor that a couple of months at most. IE All the activities where the information was wanted happened shortly before the Police or Security Service became involved and the data started to be held or requested.

    So either the Govt wants the comms providers to do a *hell* of a lot of extra work and store it for a *long* time afterward (500k warrante issued. c20m mobiles roughly is c2.5%)


    They want *all* data to be supplied to them.

    Ant the *claim* (No actual cost model for this. Just a figure like the £12bn for the whole IMP they seem to have plucked out of the air.) they will supply c£200m a year to do this, and that will be sufficient.

    I believe only being able to charge the government for each subscriber they ask will curb HMG's fetish for this data.

    Thumbs down because it's still excessive.

  9. Yossarian

    Silly Government

    Security experts have been trying to convince people for years to check for the little padlock icon.

    It would be amusing if the day after this goes live 99.9% of the web traffic of the UK goes through offshore https proxies / pop3s / imaps etc negating the entire exercise.

    Obviously the criminals that they say this is meant to target already use these so it is only to satisfy NuLabours 1984 tendancies.

    German secure proxy available to anyone who wants to pay my extreme beer tab...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    "Mastering the Internet"

    I'm pretty sure my dear old mum got a book called that from the library. It told her how to use Internet Explorer and how to use Google. Lovely.

    Maybe GCHQ should be given a copy for Christmas?

    Any other meaning that the phrase could possibly have is just as ridiculous and only goes to show how out of touch they are.

  11. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    Thumb Up


    good on yer t-mob

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Need to lie better...

    Yes, the standard includes the capability to intercept for law enforecement but that means when law enforcement turn up (or fax or phone) with a court order (or without), that the data of the subject can be intercepted and stored. Not that all the data for every single person is stored in the worlds biggest archive for 10 years.

    The standard also includes deep packet inspection. This allows identification of the type of service being used (HTTP / VOIP / Streaming audio) and allows the service to be given priority / blocked / billed accordingly. Not that the router can reverse-engineer packets from this weeks version of MSN messenger / Ajax webmail/chat and work out what is going on bofore forwarding the packet to it's destination at a rate of 10 packets a second.

    However there are plans afoot to put enough FPGAs into a cabinet to easily do that at 100Gb speeds. (Just think how fast you could win the next RC5 competition with that!)

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