back to article More delays for's net snooping programme

Protests from ISPs and phone providers have further delayed government plans to massively increase monitoring of phone calls, web browsing and emails, it's revealed today. As a result of concerns over costs and technical feasibility, it is now expected that the legislation necessary to implement the £2bn surveillance programme …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm not afraid of crime or terrorists (beyond random bunch of yobs threatening violence on walkways from time to time)

    I am scared of the police and government.

    And until they give cartoons rights I'm not a criminal. How long till they pass that travesty of justice and common sense anyway?

  2. mmiied

    are they?

    going to be recording all phone conversations as well in roder to keep tract on terriosts?

  3. The Original Ash

    Wrong name

    They should have called it the Community Linked Interception Trust for Objectionable Risk against Infants in Society Act.

  4. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

    "seek more technical detail"

    There is no need to "seek more technical detail".

    What they want to do is impossible. Unless they are going to ban encryption, or force every Skype-like company (or bloke with a good idea) in the world to backdoor their communications protocol.

    No going to happen. Why waste any time and money on this ? There are already perfectly good ways to get warrants to search computers.

  5. irish donkey

    Just give us the data... NOW!

    We don't know how to store, read or use the data to prevent terrorism but we want it all now.

    We can plan our data fishing trips once we have it securely stored on the flash drive in my pocket

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    I remember reading something about that was vageuly derived from No Such Agency, paraphrased it implied that there were no rules or laws, just get the job done.

    Serious security and traffic analysis is going to go ahead irrespective of what the John Lewis List (previous) best customers confabulate about it!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Different emissions from different organs

    The BBC reports this as "UK surveillance plan to go ahead". Who's agenda are they serving?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for People to Adopt Widespread Encryption

    Though to be honest maybe we shouldn't be worried. According to stuff I've read in the US online press the NSA (despite all their number-crunching capabilities) have to let as much as 70% of all intercepted traffic unanalysed as they simply don't have enough human specialists to look at it, & they probably never will. To be honest I'm beginning to suspect that all this money is being wasted on something that may not or will ever work or, will at least, have to play catch-up with current technology. A recent book on the NSA's record is that it isn't that good at picking up obvious warning signs (e.g. 911, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Vietnam war, etc). Scrapping might not be such a bad thing.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    I like the doublespeak

    "Communications data is crucial [...] in keeping people safe."

    Meaning that without government nanny oversight, you won't be safe. It's official: No need to grow up to be responsible, the government will keep an eye on you *anyway*. Anything from now on will justify their "precautions", and if nothing happens, they'll claim "success". Either way, the nanny is proven right.

    "It is a highly technical area and one which demands a fine balance between privacy and maintaining the capabilities of the police and security services."

    More doublespeak: It's technical, so it's hard, so if we get it wrong, well, let us err on the side of security. No, dear ignorant nanny, you are so wrong it is painful. If you don't listen to us and get privacy right, we lose it for at least a generation, more likely until well after the current civilisation collapses.

    The thing is that you don't need to panic and set up the most draconian traps imaginable. Once you suspect someone, you can set a tap just like you'd do with a telephone, and only after a judge says you can. The internet really is not so different that this would not work, and more does not gain us the people enough to be worth the cost to us. But you aren't thinking of us, are you? You're thinking of you and how to defend yourself against your own citizens.

  10. King John


    "Those who would sacrifice essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    Think that quote is correct.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Camera logic

    This all comes from a Government that believes that cameras are a "deterrent". Indeed, this is just another step towards becoming a police state, no better than some of the communist bloc.

    Um... CLITORISA?!?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Watching the Watchmen

    1. Evidence of Serious Criminal Activity

    2. Criminal Investigation

    3. Warrant

    4a. Log suspect(s) Data/Voice with ISP/Telco co-operation

    4b. Install trojan recorder / logger on suspects computer

    4c. Seize / Confiscate Suspect Computer

    4d Bug Suspect Home / Car / Office

    5. Arrest suspect or Discontinue Investigation

    Why exactly is there a need to extend these existing powers? I don't see any valid reason to increase surveillance capability - in fact I think there is a strong case for providing greater transparency, control and regulatory review of these intrusive state sponsored surveillance capabilities in order to protect law abiding citizens from abuse of power.



    Monitoring everyone's communication data all the time is not proportionate.

    Where suspicion of criminal activity requires investigation, that is where surveillance should begin, once judicial oversight has been enacted and a warrant obtained.

    So the cops won't have two years worth of previous comms data to trawl through ready and waiting for them at their convenience. Tough!

    That's the price of freedom. You don't spy on citizens and monitor and record their every move as a matter of routine. Not in a democracy. Not in a free country.

    You do do these things in a Police State. (heh ... do do)

    And no, it's not the case that you're not spying on people when you record their activities but don't get around to looking at the recordings. It's still spying. It's still surveillance.

    It's still an affront to freedom and liberty.

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    " Home Office officials are today understood to remain set on implementing IMP."

    Not MPs

    Not even Ministers

    Not the general public (those that have some idea what this would mean)

    The officials.

    They seem such shy and retiring folk, although we do get the odd AC coming out from under the stone to say they have our best interests at heart.

    Anyone who knows Cardinal Richelieu's pround claim that "give me 7 lines from an honest man and I will hang him" know better than to put such capability in the hands of anyone so hidden.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    ah bugger

    why does the government not concentrate on enforcing the laws we already have? Crime is out of control despite how they fudge the numbers. They have proven that they are incompetent on every level. If they can't get a hospital computer database up and running they don't have much chance of anything more technical. I sincerely doubt Gordon Brown would know how to lick a stamp. Lets just waste more billions hooray. Or we could save billions and get rid of all the politicians :-) they are so out of touch with the working man/woman. I suspect they have not been affected by the recession. Cocks.

  16. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    @Tom Chiverton 1: "What they want to do is impossible"

    Just because you don't know how it can be done doesn't mean its impossible.

    Also a lot of what is said online is unencrypted. E.g. Facebook, emails etc.. etc.. etc..

    Even our comments on here, if they had access to the ISP they could collect the comments at the point it passes via the ISP. Then they do know every poster from home and they can narrow down who is the likely poster from work. Also data mining and profiling is a lot easier when you already have a clue its all from the same poster.

    But this isn't for policing. Its ultimately for political gain sold to us with FUD as it will fail to be of much use for policing and yet it will become ever more useful for policial gain. You wait, it won't be long before this will be used to detect everyones political views in detail, so they will profile us all into groups for or against them. But then as you can't see how they can do it, I bet you also can't see how they can make use of this data to manipulate, distract and quitely fine and punish ever more people who stand against them. Go back to sleep.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    Time for El'Reg to open up port 443 so we can continue to post freely.

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Time and TIDE and CyberIntelAIGents wait for Nothing and Consequently are Light Years Ahead? *

    "GCHQ has already begun preparing for its role collecting and mining the terabytes of data with its own separate but closely related project, Mastering the Internet." ..... Presumably that is the new Spooky SurReal Spy System for Augmentation with Cyber Security Office facilities and/or a Blithe Bletchley Boffinry-Type BroadBand Discipline which is HyperRadioProActively BetaTesting for Catastrophic Live Vulnerabilities in All Manner of SCADA Operating Systems/Phishing Networks/MetaDataMining Operations. ..... Best Imagined by Cowboy Operators in No Such Agency Great Games Play, on the Western Side of the Atlantic Pond, as a Successful Covert Railhead Programming Project ...... and a Wall Street Darling of a Perfect Tempestuous Storm.

    And worth an Absolute Fortune too on the Open Source Securities and Treasuries Protection Market.

    * And Shared as a Question for those into Denial Comfort Blankets ..... Defence Notices and National Security Letters ....... which are Useless in Super Sub Atomic NEUKlearer CyberWareFare Programs, which I suppose the IDiot Cloud Crowd will go A'Cruisin' along to with their CyberWar ScareWareFare Competition, which will be AI Phormed Opposition ..... and thus easily Groomed for Defeat?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The danger

    The danger is that you put the infrastructure of control in place, and control becomes dictatorship.

    In the past the control mechanism was put in place, usually in response to war. So the second world war created surveillance and control mechanism in place across eastern Europe. Along came the USSR and turned those mechanism into satellite dictatorships.

    Here the UK is experimenting with treating British people as threats to the state to be monitored. Only this time it's not *people* spying on people, it's *machines* spying on people. That requires a far smaller elite to keep control that normal dictatorships need. You don't need agreement from a machine to spy on a person and if the data is misused the computer won't tattle to the press.

    It's tempting to be glib about this, the 'it could never happen here' mentality. But it's only 1975 that Spain emerged from the Spanish dictator Franco.

    Look at Thailand now, the government is a defacto military one. The military took over and removed Thaksin, they held another election under their control. The people still chose a leader the army didn't like. So they kicked out several of the MPs, and chose a different leader and when people protested, they were shot at, then rounded up and their IDs taken. That's another country an inch away from a military dictatorship.

    It can flip like that, one minute a healthy democracy, the next a dictatorship with an unelected leader and his loyal supports who know best. And they always do know best, it's always, 'trust us it's for your own good'.

    So think carefully what real threats travel the internet. To me, the only thing coming down the internet is free speech, and no government should be afraid of free speech.

  20. Sillyfellow

    retain capability ?

    how can the enforcement agencies retain something they don't have yet?

    sounds like a bunch of blustering nonsense to me.

    they want 'necessary laws' to allow them force, i mean enforce, things to Increase their capabilities, which isn't retaining anything, it's getting something new. dumbasses.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 1642

    Cameras do have some effect on speeding as you know you've been caught. It's the police who sit there with camera cars and catch you speeding- then do nothing to stop you or inform you until the fine comes through- that are utterly ineffective from a safety point of view.

    And the Communists weren't quite as underhand about this whole police-state thing as Brown's lot are becoming.

    Personally, I believe that they should be able to build up the IMP- so long as it also covers posted and couriered mail, phone conversations and a massive increase in ANPR, coupled with the government being utterly 100% responsible for everything. If your child falls over, you get compensation. If there's a terrorist attack the government makes sure that everyone affected has twice the average standard of living. If a politician or policeman lies and steals then he/she's jailed for 30 years for a gross abuse of the public trust.

    If they can't promise such a fair system where everyone's absolutely safe so long as they obey the law, this plan shouldn't be put into effect.

    Maybe it should be called the "Futureproofed InterceptioN / AnaLysis" (FINAL) act of New Labour? Because their end is nigh!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @AC 16:42

    it's not becoming, it already is a police state.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Camera logic

    CCTV are a damn fine deterrent, since it was installed around here I haven't seen any of the boys in blue on the street. It might be expensive but if it keeps tazer wielding thugs off the streets it's worth it.

  24. Anonymous Coward


    - Seu Vizinho está fazendo muito barulho?

    Your neighbor is making too much noise?

    - Sua empresa ou escola precisam medir o nível de Ruído?

    Your company or school need to do a background check?

    - Sua Obra precisa de Laudo para Certificação?

    Need to certify his work report?

    - Precisa de Prova para entrar na Justiça?

    Need to get evidence in court?

    Evidence against your neighbour? Screw over a competitor? Need some dirt on a rival? Want to discreetly ruin a reputation? Or just have some fun harassing someone!

    VOTE now for the UBERDATABASE! Just a small fee and our unregulated dirt digging private eye or corrupt public official will get/set the data you need to succeed!

    Vote now for mass surveilance! As demonstrated by the STASI and corrupt states worldwide!

  25. Graham Marsden

    "rejected this idea on privacy grounds...

    "...preferring to outsource storage to industry."


    "Why, yes, Minister, we'd be *happy* to do all the Government's storage for it! Of course we'd need to be able to scan all the data for... (whispers to BOFH: what was it for?) ... ah, yes, revenue integrity!"

  26. kevin biswas

    @Different emissions from different organs

    Yeah, what is with that ?. The BBC and the Independent's headlines are almost totally opposite.

    The Independent: " 'Big Brother' database canceled by ministers "

    BBC: "UK surveillance plan to go ahead"

    WTF ?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Safe, baby, safe

    Just keep repeating that soothing mantra at that subliminal level that can only be heard by the Daily Mail reading classes, reassuring them that Big Bro really is there to help them, not to nail them.

    Thanks, but I don't need 'safe' - at least not in the way they mean it.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What Irks Me

    No matter how high you set the barrier, the bad guys will always find inventive new ways of jumping over it.

    If we were minding our own business and keeping out of other people's affairs (as in Afghanistan for example) and we secured our perimeter then the terrorist thread would be substantially reduced - at much lower cost than this reckless stupidity of trying to impose increased security.

    And Paris whilst we are talking about breaching a perimeter.

  29. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Big Brother

    @AC 16:24

    "Communications data is crucial [...] in keeping people safe."

    But this is true....

    What it dosen't tell us is which people i.e. keeping the ruling clases of the Kleptocracy safe from the great unwasked from find out about MPs expenses and such like and how they are selling the country to big business.

  30. Dennis O'Neill

    It's all a waste of time anyway

    As lots of previous comments have made the privacy/intrusion arguments better than I could, I'll pass on that and move on to a much more practical problem that no one in power seems to have contemplated - how in the name of all that is holy will they sift through all this traffic for the tiny snippets of a clue that will lead to something concrete?

    A CIA man once said in an interview that the problem with looking for any criminal activity is one of scale. 99.999% of the population is fundamentally honest and is trying to hide absolutely nothing. Therefore, in general, 99.999% of all communications are trying to hide nothing. So finding that 0.001% (if it's even that much) is like looking for a needle in the world's biggest haystack as it is.

    So why on earth are the powers that be trying to pile a billion times more hay on top of an already colossal stack?? They're just making their jobs even harder than it is now.

  31. Mithvetr

    @ Various

    @ AC 15:57

    "The BBC reports this as "UK surveillance plan to go ahead". Who's agenda are they serving?"

    Well now, let's see. Whose agenda would the state-run national broadcasting agency be serving? Hmmm...

    @ AC 16:07

    "A recent book on the NSA's record is that it isn't that good at picking up obvious warning signs (e.g. 911, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Vietnam war, etc). Scrapping might not be such a bad thing."

    Chaff. As has been said a zillion times before, automated flagging systems can be made useless if enough people are willing to pepper their communications with enough trigger words and phrases.

    @ AC 16:42

    "Um... CLITORISA?!?"

    What a lovely name. Is it Italian?

    @ AC 17:10

    "Why exactly is there a need to extend these existing powers?"

    There isn't. There hasn't been a need to extend any of the powers that have been extended since 2001. They're doing it because they have an excuse to stir up hysteria and frighten the population shitless about terrorists and paedophiles and all that other bunk... But the legislation for dealing with these things has been more than adequate for decades. Everything a terrorist could do has been covered by existing law: every new 'anti-terror' law introduced since 9/11 has been surplus to requirements, and intended more for the control than the safety of the population.


    "So the cops won't have two years worth of previous comms data to trawl through ready and waiting for them at their convenience. Tough!"

    I imagine that quite a lot of 'cops' ('coppers' in Britain, no matter what GMP and the Met might prefer to call themselves) are breathing a sigh of relief that they won't have to trawl through two years' worth of inane babbling bullshit every time someone's accused of something. Many people seem to imagine that what ACPO wants the average street bobby also wants. I can only assume that these people have never experienced a management structure.

    @ AC 18:09

    "Crime is out of control despite how they fudge the numbers."

    It's not 'out of control' by any measure. That's The Sun talking. Crime is of concern, yes, and it can have a serious effect on those who experience it. And yes, some areas are worse than others. But there are plenty of places in the world you could go if you want to see what crime looks like when it's *really* 'out of control'.

  32. David Pollard

    The CSI factor

    The BBC recently reported, "Lord Justice Leveson said witnesses were reluctant to come forward because of the mistaken belief that forensic and expert evidence was paramount."

    Be explained, "There can be a temptation, certainly in the eyes of the public, to think there can be expert evidence to prove the essential point in a case to the extent that you don't need regular, old fashioned, normal witnesses anymore.

    "And I fear that this has an impact on willingness to help the police to pursue their inquiries, 'DNA will do it', or whatever."

    I wonder whether he and his colleagues realise that the more people find themselves under surveillance the less they are likely to volunteer their co-operation.

  33. Tinstaafl

    Bloody idiots...

    ...Have they never heard of Tor, ssh, PGP, one time ciphers et al?

    With Tor they might well track the first link to an intermediate node - which could be to a node outside their jurisdiction anyway - but after that it's an encrypted, randomised series of hops until exiting the Tor network for the final link to the destination. Makes their whole 'tracking connections' philosophy utterly ineffective.

    Email can be encrypted in transit and in storage, using a service/servers outside the country so not within their jurisdiction. Keep the key with someone outside the country/control so you can't be done for failing to supply a decryption key. Use a disposable cypher and even if they get the key it can only be used on a single item. Presuming you kept it in the first place.

    If there aren't turnkey services already established for circumventing these sorts of unwarranted & draconian intrusions then I'd be surprised if they don't appear after Orwell's 1984 dystopia has been implemented.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    NHS emails

    My understanding of emails to/from email accounts is that they are encrypted end to end, thereby making them safe for sending details of people's medical records.

    Anyone working in the NHS ( and a lot of other people who do no useful work in the NHS) is entitled to on of these email accounts.... that's 1 million employees and many thousands of spin doctors, "consultants" and other forms of life better left unmentioned

  35. Steven Say

    Don't need it

    What with computers seized by police waiting monthes for forensic and the prospect of everything I do on the internet ending up in plods notebook i actually wonder if it is worth having a computer after all computers to most people are just for entertainment I have only had a computer for a few years and got on fine before without one if things keep going the way they are i think i might just pull the plug buy a games console and revert back to letter post, lets see the powers that be open and reseal every envelope think i'll buy shares in selotape' no stuff computers 'if you don't really need one get rid computing is no fun anymore.

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