back to article to unveil reborn, renamed net-snoop plans in Queen's Speech

The Coalition's plans to hugely step up surveillance of the internet aren't new - indeed they date from well before the Coalition - but readers could be forgiven for thinking it's all brand new this morning after a quick look at the national newspapers today. David Cameron's government first published its intentions to snoop …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Because currently you need a warrant to find out if someone has cancer, but this data can tell you based on whether they visit websites for cancer victims.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A REAL

      VOTE WINNER isn't it!

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon


      The Stasi would be proud.

  2. Craig 12

    Almost a shame it wasn't April Fools eh?

    I guess it's time to start encrypting and proxifying everything. I don't even have much to hide, it's the principle of it all.

    Hopefully this helps wake up the public that little bit more. We're in a supposed democracy, yet the government aren't simply not doing what the people want, they're doing the opposite!

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Re: Almost a shame it wasn't April Fools eh?

      It doesn't matter if you have much or anything to hide. It's about it being none of the government's business unless and until you break the law.

    2. Graham Wilson

      @Craig 12 Re: Almost a shame it wasn't April Fools eh? -- 'Tis a Tragedy it wasn't

      Seems El Reg is late, I heard this report yesterday. The scope of the surveillance is so outrageous that I thought it must have been a 1st April prank. That a modern Western democracy could stoop so low is so unbelievable that I still would not be surprised if it were a joke.

      This proposal for full surveillance of the British people is so extreme and contemptible that it puts the Home Office on a par with the Abwehr but one without the nice Vice Admiral Wilhelm Canaris in charge. Frankly, it's shocking and deeply disturbing.

      Britain and allies won WWII and they won it on values that were very different to those which underlie this surveillance proposal. Moreover, the UK is already awash with surveillance cameras and this proposal for internet surveillance now puts it fully on par with the monitoring Das Dritte Reich routinely conducted on its citizens.

      What next? Who are going to be the Home Office's henchmen? Reincarnations of Reinhard Heydrich or Heinrich Himmler? Who'll be the Ministry of Truth's spokesman, Joseph Goebbels perhaps. And I suppose Alfred Rosenberg will be the new Minister for Incarcerations.

      There's at least one virtue in having lived under a dictatorship, and there's more than one in losing a war! What's common to both is that those who've experienced either are forever very perceptive of the incremental, seemingly innocuous, steps that eventually produced them.

      It seems to me that the naivety of the British People comes from the fact that they've experienced neither in recent centuries and that it's a potential tragedy in the making.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Craig 12 Almost a shame it wasn't April Fools eh? -- 'Tis a Tragedy it wasn't

        The Godwin is strong with this one...

      2. diodesign Silver badge

        Re: @Craig 12 Almost a shame it wasn't April Fools eh? -- 'Tis a Tragedy it wasn't

        Late? We've been covering this for YEARS! Here's a report from 2010...

        See the other related links :-)

        1. Graham Wilson
          Thumb Up

          Re: @Craig 12 Almost a shame it wasn't April Fools eh? -- 'Tis a Tragedy it wasn't

          "Late? We've been covering this for YEARS! Here's a report from 2010."

          Yeah, right, and I've posted to some of them, although not that one. It was just bad wording on my part, being Sunday I heard it on a news broadcast before reading it on El Reg, normally it's vice versa.

          Either way, it's depressing.

  3. John Styles

    As someone said on Twitter

    It is a way to get people to send letters at the new 60p first class stamp rate.

  4. arthvr
    Big Brother

    Hypothetically ...

    If the securicrats continue attacking the freedoms of the netizens then it wouldn't be beyond the abilities of the latter to attach signature files to every e-mail, forum post and every second tweet etc saying something like:

    "DISCLAIMER: I am not a terrorist, I dont have any bombs, semtex.... I don't sell skunk, ecstacy, ketamine ... I don't collect photographs of kids ... I don't go on jihad ... If this has triggered any illegal spying systems, I do apologise." ( fill in the gaps to your own taste).

    We are assured that they don't do routine scanning of everything we write, so that would be OK then, wouldn't it?.

    1. Paul_Murphy

      Re: Hypothetically ...

      >If this has triggered any illegal spying systems, I do apologise.

      If this has triggered any illegal spying systems, I do not apologise since it's your system and I do not need to be watched like a criminal.

      Is that better?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One way to bring the costs down

    Fund it through PFI - that nice Mr Murdoch would probably lend us the money

  6. SJRulez

    Reg was a bit late with this one

    Sign the e-petition against this:

    Its absolute joke, who ever is advising them on these policies must either be:

    a) a monitoring solution provider

    b) a storage array provider

    c) completely computer illiterate

    These measures will do nothing to combat terrorism or organized crime, its just spying on everyday people.

    I can also see this being open to abuse by the government, how long before they are actively reading your emails and censoring or even completely blocking them from transmission, or altering content and redirecting you from the anti gov site you want to visit to their pro regime website.

    1. Miek
      Big Brother

      Re: Reg was a bit late with this one

      "I can also see this being open to abuse by the government, how long before they are actively reading your emails and censoring or even completely blocking them from transmission, or altering content and redirecting you from the anti gov site you want to visit to their pro regime website."

      Absolutely, and just think, our government don't even have a "Do no evil" policy!

    2. diodesign Silver badge

      Re: Reg was a bit late with this one

      Not late - just no one seemed to care until a newspaper woke up to it. Sad. We've covered this for years.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    We all in this together ergo be careful what you wish for.

    Just as long as there is the easiest of stealthy provision for constant surveillance of all MPs communications, past and present, for of course none of them ever imagine themselves giving up any dodgy powers they may have bought or been paid for, even whenever they have been turfed out of office at a general election or disgraced themselves whilst in office by virtue of the arrogant strokes they have pulled treating the electorate as ignorant fools.

    The general global consensus appears to be that some of the biggest crooks are in government and/or in league with governments and in political parties vying to be elected as government. It would then be most irresponsible not to take all necessary measures to ensure fair play on a level playing field. Or are there to be notable exceptions to snooping to allow for actions which are not in the public interest?

    How do you think that will fair in the transparent and open court of public opinion?

    1. Miek
      Thumb Up

      Re: We all in this together ergo be careful what you wish for.

      A rare day that your posts actually make sense. Troubled times.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon


      Well, the scumbags are exempt from the DNA database, so why not from the snooping?

      Bring on the VPN gateways.

  8. Gareth Jones 2
    Big Brother

    More Pasties?



    Now this may be a coincidence, but don't we have a Data Retention Directive, otherwise known as Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006?

    Isn't this the directive which requires member states to oblige providers of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks to retain traffic and location data for between six months and two years for the purpose of the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime?

    And didn't the EU commission last year start a review of the rules, with a view to proposing an improved legal framework? Wasn't that then followed by a proposal for a comprehensive reform of the system?

    Then, a few months later, up pops the UK government with some proposals of its own. Are we supposed to believe that this is a complete coincidence? Does anyone believe that, with data retention being an occupied field, the British government is working entirely independently, and has not consulted with the commission on this?


    Perhaps, like the VAT on pasties, another case of HMG pretending it's in control when really it's the EU wot dun it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't give them ideas

      If they think they can blame it on Europe, they will.

      Personally, I think this smells more of our own Home Office and GCHQ. It doesn't usually take long for new ministers to be brow-beaten into accepting their department's bidding and this is no exception. The Home Office has scuppered more than one political career, so they will have some leverage.

      We should take the fight to them and demand overhaul of the permanent civil service so that the principles for which we vote can't be undermined by unelected officials. Breath holding is optional, though.

      1. Miek
        Big Brother

        Re: Don't give them ideas

        "We should take the fight to them ..."

        we shall defend our Privacy,

        whatever the cost may be,

        we shall fight on the switches,

        we shall fight on the bulletin boards,

        we shall fight in the server farms and in the data centres,

        we shall fight in the interwebs,

        we shall never surrender

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't give them ideas

        The point is that generally the politicos won't blame "Europe", even though their powers to govern are increasingly given away to Brussels. The main-stream media generally don't report this, either by ignorance or because it doesn't fit the addenda. As the quoted article says, data collection is an "occupied field" so they have no choice but to kow tow to the EU.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: More Pasties?

      "Isn't this the directive which requires member states to oblige providers of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks to retain traffic and location data for between six months and two years for the purpose of the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime?"

      It is. And while it was passed when (IIRC) Germany was on the chair it was drafted in the UK.

  9. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Piss off Cameron!

    "That challenge relates to how terrorists use the internet."

    Yeah, 'cos they all send bloody obvious emails with stupid subjects likes, " Al-Q latest target list, LOL :) "!

    For flip's sake, what planet do these moron politicians come from? This is nothing to do with terorrists, more like these slimy politicians and their mates in various IT contract and supply companies were a little upset when it got shelved before , missing out on all that free UK Gov cash they brought it back to life again.

    As soon as the uproar dies down the the thing looks like it will be killed off again old Dave and his mates will wheel out the trump card, Child Porn! "Do you want your kids at risk?! Do you?!!!".

    1. Wize

      Re: Piss off Cameron!

      I'm reminded of the scheme to place bugging devices in lampposts to spy on terrorists. Piss ripped out by Andy Parsons who pointed out the last place a terrorist would have his meeting would be under a brightly lit street lamp.

  10. dotdavid


    The really organised criminals will be using VPNs and other encrypted comms so this sort of thing wouldn't really help anyway...

    Or is this just to help catch the less tech-literate crims?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Presumably

      After this won't most people be using vpns? Supervpn offers anonymity via the country of your choice from £2.50 per month. Relakks from £3.12 per month etc etc.

      1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

        Re: Presumably

        My VPS works out about £1.25 per month. OpenVPN is free. All in all a fun project.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Presumably

          Is it time for an El Reg study of VPN solutions yet?

    2. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: Presumably

      No. The really organised criminals will still be running banks and multinational corporations.

      Lesser criminals will continue using tried and tested methods.

      "The geese fly South today" - "David will bring your present on Saturday" - "Got any asprin?"

      Just my £37bn 2p worth.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Meet the new boss...

    ...same as the old boss

    Politicians. Really doesn't matter what party they're from. When in opposition, they're all standing up for 'the people', as soon as they're in office, they want a police state and it's the other guys going on about civil liberties.

    If only we could chuck out all the politicians and replace them with members of the public selected like a jury system. And make buying off an MP akin to buying off a jury - with a long stretch in prison.

    Until then, expect the country to continue being run by power-crazed, liars, cheats and thieves.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Meet the new boss...


      Meet the old bureaucrats.

      Same as the new bureaucrats.

      Different politicians. Same policy.

      Common link? Let me think...

  12. Blofeld's Cat


    When I saw this on the BBC News website yesterday, my though processes were as follows:

    It's an April Fool story by the BBC, and a pretty poor one. - No it's not.

    Haven't I heard this somewhere before? - TPTB still think they can drink from a firehose then.

    Is the government really that stupid? - Yes

    Better stock up on pasties and put some fuel in the car. - Am I really that stupid? - No.

    Something must be done at once. - It's lunch time - I think I'll have the soup.

  13. Aleksis


    Is it time for everyone to start sending emails with trigger words to MPs to try and flood the system?

    I'm always interested when government tells us to be open and not to fear if we have nothing to hide - but then puts walls, barriers and laws up to make sure we can't read their documents, even though we the people paid for them...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      It's just that they're more equal than us, see.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Hmm

      Well *officially* they are only holding the *routing* data, not the *contents*.

      Not yet that is.

  14. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Right then...

    time to fire up the PGP and the TrueCrypt then...

    1. ph0b0s

      Re: Right then...

      Pointless as those are defeated by a RIPA request. That is unless you don't mind a 3 year stay at her majesties pleasure...

      1. Andy Gates

        Re: Right then...

        Not really: we're not trying to hide, just to leave no trail for use by malicious fishing expeditions (imagine the RIAA getting into this? or the Met thinking you're a bit too brown and bomby for their liking? or Orlovski and Page hunting hippies?).

  15. Anonymous Coward 15
    Big Brother


    Because in Soviet Britain, etc.

  16. Tony Paulazzo

    So, they're closing down libraries, schools and hospitals, so they can watch the chattering middle classes discuss Bieber - fucking great!

    Hey, if you've got all these billions to spare, how about stop creaming it off the petrol prices - two thirds of which go to government coffers.

  17. Mr Young

    More of the same 'spy on you' again stuff

    It annoys almost EVERYBODY and yet I guess criminals will still use the internet regardless! Anyway - wouldn't they need some sort of backdoor for every encrypted data packet out there - just how the hell would that work?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More of the same 'spy on you' again stuff

      "just how the hell would that work?"

      It wouldn't, and couldn't, work.

      Even if the security services had the ability to crack and trace secure comms through anonymising proxies and onion skin routers / darknet they are more likely to discover they have spent £1000's on tracing someone's holiday pics as the latest terrorist master plan.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    April Fools

    No better time to bury the bad news, eh?

    It will be a (dubious) pleasure to see Labour suits labouring over how awfully intrusive the proposed legislation is, not a twitch on their well-groomed faces. And watch how the Deputy Sheriff tries to sit on the fence, and be on both sides of the fence at the same time, wonderful.

    but, to mention a valid point somebody's already made - why is everyone so hysterical about this proposed gov snooping, when millions of you, dear netizens, are quite happy for Google to record not only who you send your g-mails to and who you receive them from, but also scan, and no doubt, process the contents of those messages. How come you trust a mega-corporation with their luvely "do no evil" (unless you have something to hide, right?) but you shy away from the gentle embrace of the government you elected yourselves? Is it because you took a carrot from google, but will only get a stick from the Man at No 10? :D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: April Fools

      Because Google isn't likely to extradite you to rot in a US jail because of some circumstantial intercept evidence.

      We all know that Dave's about face on this is likely to be down to some arm-twisting from across the pond

    2. ph0b0s

      Re: April Fools

      So because corporations are trying to look at our data, our government instead of thinking 'how can we stop this invasion of privacy for our citizens', thinks 'how can we get a piece of this.'

      Also because Google have my email (don't use them myself), that means the government should have a record of all my on-line activity? Talk about a false equivalency...

    3. Anonymous Coward 15

      If you sit on the fence...

      Sooner or later you'll end up buggered with a pointy wooden post.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: April Fools

      "but you shy away from the gentle embrace of the government you elected yourselves?"

      except, (and here's the kicker) no one did vote for them.....

      You find me one person in this country that actually voted for this current government, this so-called coalition.

      There may well be some people that voted for that smug git cameron to be their joyous leader, but i sure as hell wasn't one of them.

      While were on that subject, was any one here even given the chance to vote for Gordon Brown to serve as our prime minister? No? Didn't think so.

      There are many countries around the world that if they were suffering from the same brand of 'democracy' that we are, would find themselves being 'liberated' but because we live in the good old United States of Great Britain, we're just left to get on with it.

      But, to get back to your point about google, they want my information so they can try and sell me things that I don't want, and can easily ignore, in exchange for giving me an amazing amount of 'free' shit on line (email, maps, videos, search......) big deal.

      The government want to keep tabs on everyone, with the possibility of black bagging anyone who is 'disagreeable' BIG FUCKING DEAL !!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pure stupidity

    A few key facts for the GovTards to understand.

    1. It is simple and straightforward to secure your internet comms such that nobody can determine either who you are communicating with, or the contents of that communiaction.

    2. At the moment, the security services can apply for an intercept on anyone they legitimately suspect (have no problem with this).

    3. As the suspect in 2. will not know their comms are being intercepted, there is a fair to good chance they won't be taking steps to obfuscate them.

    4. If this "net-snoop" plan was in force, then the suspect in 2. would know his comms were being intercepted and would (unless he was a complete moron) be sure to take the simple steps outlined in 1.

    5. At the moment, most people don't try to obfuscate their comms. They may use encryption, but few use anon proxies, TOR, JAP, etc. If the net-snoop plan came into force many more people would use these tools for their legitimate and above-board comms purely because they value their privacy.

    6. The upshot of this is this plan will ensure that the "security services" won't be able to read or trace all but the most stupid crim's and terrorist's comms and will have more trouble isolating suspicious obfuscated traffic from that of people who merely don't like being spied upon.

    In other words, this is likely to actually make it harder to prevent the next 9/11.

    1. Cameron Colley

      Re: Pure stupidity

      Of course it won't prevent terrorist attacks the government like them because they're a good excuse to piss more tax money away on the IT systems they've been bribed to implement.

      Anybody who still thinks that the govenrnent want to stop terrorism probably also think that Dr Mbenge Ngobo from Nigeria really does want to send them SIX MILLION DOLLARS US.

  20. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Since all my emails are sent through my own dedicated server based in the US over an encrypted connection they can try and monitor my emails as much as they want they won't get very far unless they manage to get some trojan onto my pc or on the server.

    Since lots of web based email services now turn on https as the default how are they going to monitor who emails who when its encryped unless they require Google, yahoo, Microsoft etc to give them an backdoor to their servers.

    1. Miek

      "Since lots of web based email services now turn on https as the default how are they going to monitor who emails who when its encryped unless they require Google, yahoo, Microsoft etc to give them an backdoor to their servers."

      If you are watching a HTTPS connection from it's start you can basically pick up the cookie that is set by the server on the client's machine. This cookie can then typically be used to assume the unsuspecting user's HTTPS session.

      1. SJRulez

        They have access to root CA's so they could pull the same trick as Iran as well, generate your own certificates and Man-In-Middle.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So you've swapped being spied on by the UK government with being spied on by the US government? I assume that you know about the PATRIOT act and what the authorities can do with it?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      they won't need to..

      They don't need to monitor the traffic from you to the mail server...just the unencrypted SMTP traffic between mail servers. Using SSL to your web server won't help you - only encrypted mail stands a chance (e.g PGP/GPG). Even then, then still know who was mailing whom (as no doubt their US counterparts will have the info they need from any US SMTP servers).

      Basically - no back-door necessary.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      "Since lots of web based email services now turn on https as the default how are they going to monitor who emails who when its encryped unless they require Google, yahoo, Microsoft etc to give them an backdoor to their servers."

      You might like to see what's available under the PATRIOT act.

      US/UK/Canada "intelligence" sharing has been a reality for *decades*.

      You might have trouble getting a UK suspect out of the US without *evidence* but slipping a copy of pretty much anything is no big issue for the boys at Fort Meade.

  21. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    I give it only a generation or so before EVERYTHING on the Internet is encrypted and untraceable - BECAUSE of actions like this.

    You get a court order, you can record what you like of my private life, for events linked to possible crimes. What more than that could you possibly want or need?

    Just seems that the burden of proof (i.e. he IS doing something dodgy, at least we think so) is too high for the government to bear. If it is, and you can't even convince a judge that a court order might be a reasonable and fair response, then you have to think about exactly what you're trying to do and why.

    Basically, the answer is "bypass our own law system", which is the scary part. Why would you *want* to do that when you can change all the laws and get feedback from judges?

  22. Brent Longborough

    Ship of Fools

    Under what damp, mossy stone are the people who invent these ideas found? Here (not completely coherently, I admit) is what happens:

    1. The Government passes the law

    2. The criminals, terrorists, pædophiles, and others who already know about Tor, Vpns, PGP, GPG, and ZPhone carry on their business as usual

    3. The taxpayer, or the Internet user, foots the bill for this circus

    4. The "system" gets flooded by everyone's taglines which say "I am neither drug dealer, terrorist, people trafficker, pædophile, politician, nor lawyer"

    5. The whole exercise has zero effect, but no-one can prove it

    6. A few years from now, when the Stalinists take over, we're all screwed

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Ship of Fools

      It doesn't have zero effect.

      Remember the last "we must fight the terrorists" data act? The one that was used by local councils to check which schools your kids should goto or who was letting their dogs crap in the park?

      This same data is going to the same local councils. Complain about the potholes in the road and the council can do a quick check of which porn sites you have been visiting before writing you a letter suggesting you apologise before the list gets sent to your kids school or your employer.

    2. Jim Morrow
      Big Brother

      Re: Ship of Fools

      > A few years from now, when the Stalinists take over, we're all screwed

      I think you'll find the Stalinists have been running things here since at least the late 1970s.

  23. LinkOfHyrule

    Eeeewwww, this is like having David Cameron riffle through your knicker drawer. Which he would enjoy.

    1. Mr Young

      As long as he doesn't go for my sausage rolls and beer in the fridge I'll let him sneak away while I pretend to sleep

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        You're not a Camronphile are you by any chance? Damn, I need to set up that Tory Fetish site I'm always dreaming about! I would do a Labour one but they are far less kinky. The naughtiest thing they do is watch lame cable TV softcore porn.

  24. Adrian Challinor
    Big Brother

    Dear UK Gov

    Ever heard of TOR?

    Trust me, you will do.

  25. Lghost
    Big Brother

    Doubleplus ungood


  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm in hiding..

    Well..that's you may as well take down your curtains and remove your've nothing to hide anyway...oh please! dress up for goodness sake, your nudity offends me!

    When are we going to stand together to demand this is stopped? Oh yeah, just after we stop the NHS reforms and put an end to war...good luck folks :)

    Now, how can I use this new legislation for my gain......

  27. IDoNotThinkSo
    Big Brother

    Dave and his crew were against this last time. What happened?

    There are two constants here - the civil service and the EU.

    We need some leaders who can tell both to take a running jump.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do you really think the Government is in control here? </conspiracist>

      Actually, it was probably just politically expedient for them to oppose it on moral grounds and to win voters over their stance. Now they are in power, they don't need to worry about little things like morals.

    2. Graham Wilson
      Black Helicopters


      "We need some leaders who can tell both to take a running jump."

      It's an all too common occurrence that when politicians get into office--whether it's in the US, UK, Australia etc.--they immediately change their minds or become very circumspect on security matters. In fact, it's so common and its signature so distinctive that it must be singled out from all the usual disingenuous promises made by politicians.

      Clearly, at security briefings etc., the establishment bureaucracy wheels out their very best version of Sir Humphrey Appleby who then proceeds to spook pollies with very frightening stories and disturbing 'facts' together with dire warnings about how truly courageous it would be for the politician not to follow this departmental advice, especially if xyz [list of dire events] were to happen under his or their watch.

      It seems the security establishment has an extremely well-rehearsed and very successful formula for doing so.

      I only wish that someone would break ranks and send the formula to WikiLeaks. Not only would our curiosities be satisfied, but also then we might be able to provide an effective inoculation against it.

      1. Miek

        Re: @IDoNotThinkSo @ Graham Wilson

        Bill Hicks has the formula you seek

        Any questions?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @IDoNotThinkSo

        "it would be for the politician not to follow this departmental advice, especially if xyz [list of dire events] were to happen under his or their watch."

        Especially when said spooks are well practised in carrying out false flag operations. In the worst case, a few proles would end up dead but the state survives and that is all that counts.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, of course... is the EU. They have stationed their bombers here for so many years and regard the UK as their 'unsinkable aicraft carrier'. Nothing to do with our main security partner obviously. That would be silly.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    It just won't die, will it?

    This thing just won't die, regardless of who is in government. It's beginning to look as if "Prime Minister" is little more than an honorary title (like an Honorary Doctorate).

    I just wish those who are really in charge would give us a proper insight into what so threatens us that we need to give up our freedom to counter it (no live demonstration needed, thanks).

  29. xyz Silver badge

    How many Maudes* can you...

    ....attempt to buy online before you become a "person of interest?"

    * 1 Maude = 1 Jerry can

    1. ChrisM

      Re: How many Maudes* can you...

      Jerry can? Is that slang for German beer?

      Mmmmm... Beer

  30. Anonymous John

    For this to work, the spooks have to know which ISP I use, yes? How?

    Even without encryption, etc, all a terrorist needs is an unregistered Pay As You Go phone to be anonymous.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Next step: ID is required before purchasing a PAYG phone...

      1. Miek

        Lol, I remember a Voda shop dismissing my Passport for I.D. They told me they specifically needed my Credit Card as passports could easily be faked!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Asked for ID? It already seems to be the norm in France when I tried to buy a dongle there a few years ago...

  31. Cucumber C Face
    Black Helicopters

    re: Tor, PGP, VPN etc.

    So everyone will be using these then?

    No they won't be, because the use of encryption etc must inevitably be made a criminal offence also.

    Won't happen eh? It's already an offence not to know the password any encrypted file (or maybe just a file containing random data) found on your computer.

    Whoever you vote for, Sir Humphrey always gets in.

  32. Werner McGoole

    These guys will have more information about me than I keep about myself

    So I demand a search too so I can use it too!

  33. PassiveSmoking
    Big Brother

    I wanted to use the thumbs down, stop, wtf, fail, nuke and anon icons all at once. Can you give us a feature to do that?

    Not only is this ridiculous, intrusive and fascist, it's probably also in breach of EU law. As for the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" crowd, I'm glad you feel so happy for the whole world to see your credit card details, bank statements, medical histories and love letters to your significant other an I look forward to reading them.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Once they have got enough information to identify your Internet habbits, they could perhaps offer up ad's based on your profile. This should help with the cost of setting this all up. Perhaps help with the defecit...Interesting...Could work....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Profiling

      ... and use it to select the most appropriate prison for you! :-)

  35. smsman99
    Black Helicopters

    Shambles on the horizon

    This sounds like a classic govt departmental land grab:

    No clear scope or vision. Check

    Vague mutterings about protection against terrorism, paedos and criminals. Check

    No timescale or cost breakdown. Check

    The security geezer on the radio this morning was even trying to use the heightened threat due to the Olympics and Jubilee as a ratchet device to increase the scare factor. Fortunately, David Davis was able to point out that these events would be in the past before this proposal could actually hit the statute books.

    Hopefully, the cost and public backlash will get this kicked into the long grass again.

    Even at Have Your Rant on the BBC, the usual "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" brigade are being drowned out by the anti's, some of whom are even presenting reasoned argument (well as reasoned as HYS ever gets).

    The optimist in me hopes that this is consigned to the dustbin of politics quite quickly with minister claiming they have listed to the vox populaire and reconsidered.

    If not, it may be time to man the barricades. Black helicopter 'cos I just can't be sure.

  36. Spoonsinger


    they'll need to request that all retrospective communication data is provided back to the dawn of the internet, just so they can implicate all the parties involved for their nefarious day to day communication based activities.

  37. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    A bug in every living room?

    'Smith!' screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not trying. Lower, please! That's better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.'

  38. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother


    It's what's best for the proletariat.


    The Ministry of Peace

    The Ministry of Plenty

    The Ministry of Love

    The Ministry of Truth

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    GCHQ have no busy tracking the general population in this way. It is an outrageous move reminiscent of East Germany's Stasi. This does seem to be generating a lot of anger on the newspaper websites, but if this is right then the anger will die down soon enough. It's actually very very depressing this is happening. The majority of the population will probably do nothing about this (they probably don't care). Our "democracy" is kaput; there's no alternative if you vote for Labour, the Tories or the Lib Dems (not that I did; anyway, how long will our votes remain secret). Basically those in the coalition made a lot of noise about civil liberties but then don't seem to have done anything. Now they're going to do the very thing they originally condemned. Isn't this (by any definition) called lying? Well if it's going ahead I will make it as difficult for the spooks to track me: use cash for all transactions (though I can't avoid using a cash machine unfortunately); don't carry my mobile phone anywhere; use the internet as little as possible (particularly with reference to controversial or political topics). The truth is surveillance is going to get worse, not better. I might as well go & live with the Amish.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Depressing

      If enough people don't vote, it can't be said to be a 'proper' democratic election and is therefore null and void, new paradigm please.

  40. Keep Refrigerated

    "That challenge relates to how terrorists use the internet."

    But I thought it was already common knowledge that terrorists publish their plans on Twitter at least 3 weeks beforehand...?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Instead of an email address

    I'm going to have to put a torchat ID on forms I fill in.

  42. Dan 10

    Law of unintended consequences etc

    Currently, if you wish to use encryption, anonymising proxies, darknet etc etc, you at least need to make a modicum of effort to research it all. If this pile of shite goes ahead, all that info will be collated together in a glossy supplement, bundled with your favourite sunday paper, "Learn to protect yourself and your family online! Free with tomorrow's Mail on Sunday" and everyone who is even slightly bothered will be making a little effort to secure themselves to the gills.

    So, one possible conclusion is that this is intended to build the ultimate social network map of "everyone else" - those that don't take such security precautions. This is suspicious at best.


    "such an ambitious project will cost billions of pounds to implement"

    How many more lives could be saved by spending the same money on improved road safety measures, domestic & workplace safety measures, disease prevention, and anti-smoking laws...? Potentially tens of thousands of lives would be saved every year.

    It is madness to claim this is justified by terrorism.

    Terrorism is one of the most improbable ways anyone in the UK will ever die (on average just 8 people per year). The same number of people die falling out of trees.

    1. JP19

      Re: "such an ambitious project will cost billions of pounds to implement"

      So once in place they will seek to obtain more value from the system. Opening it up to the NHS so helpful dietary advice emails can be sent to those with too many hits on McDonalds for example.

      That is the trouble with delusional politicians and civil servants, they think they can do no wrong so don't see any problem implementing a system with potential to do enormous wrong.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: "such an ambitious project will cost billions of pounds to implement"

        "That is the trouble with delusional politicians and civil servants, they think they can do no wrong so don't see any problem implementing a system with potential to do enormous wrong."

        They also assume the govt they are a part of will change into one they don't like.

  44. Anonymous John

    Scottish independence.

    Salmond could get a fair few votes by announcing he wouldn't allow it. Are their any Scottish ISPs? It would tempt me to emigrate.

    1. Adam Foxton

      Re: Scottish independence.

      As an Englishman living in Scotland, and as a human being- so someone with no faith in Salmond's ability to run a country- this is still something that would make me vote for independence.

      And that's a thought that makes me want a stiff drink!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The King is dead...

    I used to get tense when Blair went to america for his orders, and come back with another raft of iniquity to keep us n order. Now Cameron and his cronies are doing the same. Looks like his orders are to provide nodes for this:-

  46. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    It was never going to be long before these scum re-emerged.

    Technically ignorant and never having to spend a penny of their own money on their grandiose schemes.

    It's amazing what you can come up with if you have a PPE, a little imagination and *no* understanding of technology.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the fuckers never learn

    The intelligence(?) services are already drowning in data. This makes it almost impossible for them to track the bad guys and figure out what they're up to, who they're contacting and so on. They even said so after the 9/11 and 7/7 atrocties. So why the fuck do they want to hoover up everything from everyone? It's going to make their job even harder and mean pissing away even more billions building the supercomputers and petabyte-plus stortage systems in a futile attempt to manage and monitor all that mass of useless data.

    1. Is it me?

      A good point

      There is so much data flowing on the internet the security services and police cannot monitor it all, nor do they want too. All they want to be able to do, is to do what they can already do with the telephone network. The telephone network has for years provided a list of calls made and recieved, and when someone is suspected of a crime their call history is checked. A serious target might have their phone bugged, but it takes a lot of officers to live monitor a single phone line.

      It is touching the faith some of our commentators have in the technological capabilities available to implement a survailence society. The government could wipe the unemployment queues in a moment to provide the service some of you think they are capable of.

      IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Our security establishment just isn't big enough, and no government will pay for it to be so. I think that you would be very upset if the stuff that is done is stopped. Just how difficult do you want to make it to catch criminals and terrorists, impossible I guess, right up until you are the victim.

      The state must always do distateful things and invade our privacy on occasion to protect society, it does this by exception, they need a reason to look.

  48. MyHeadIsSpinning

    Terrorist communications

    What if they choose not to send complex plans encrypted and embedded in pictures of cats via emails?

    What if they use carrier pigeons instead?

    1. Adam Foxton

      Re: Terrorist communications

      Or, you know, just talked in person about it? Clearly we should close all pubs and bars and ban all public gatherings!

  49. Anonymous Noel Coward

    It's high time we had a revolution.

  50. Lonesome Twin
    Big Brother

    Medieval is the new New.

    Secure communications with your chums? Sealing wax and a stamp will be your friend.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well of course its to catch terrorists

    you want your pension money? you are a terrorist.

    you want investment in new homes and infrastructure? terrorist.

    you want a living wage? yup terrorist again.

    what's that, you want an end to illegal wars? well hot damn you must be a terrorist too.

    and if your kid won't go into bondage to pay for a $tudent loan until he gets cancer and dies, well he must be a terrorist too.

    See there's loads of terrorists out there, you just have to know where to look.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: well of course its to catch terrorists

      You forgot the terrorists who want to send their kids to the right school, the terrorists who let their dogs crap in the park and the utterly evil terrorists who dont fill their re-cycling bins correctly.

      The bitter irony in all this is when labour wanted to introduce it, the liberals and the tories screamed to high heaven about it.

      Now the condemns want to bring it in

      And the 3 political parties wonder why an idiot like Galloway wins a by-election...

      But to all el-reg readers... see you all in the ministry of love in a couple of years time.

    2. Crisp

      Re: well of course its to catch terrorists

      We've already got laws for fighting terrorism. And as I recall, they worked pretty well against the IRA.

      Al-Qaeda haven't even approached their high score, so why do we need extra legislation to fight them?

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: well of course its to catch terrorists

        "We've already got laws for fighting terrorism. And as I recall, they worked pretty well against the IRA."

        Rather like Blair calling for ID cards when the IRA (Remember them? A real terrorist group with an actual *political* agenda beyond "re-introduce the caliphate form of govt back into Saudi Arabia. "And if your reaction is WTF is that? you would not be alone) was just on the verge of disbanding.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    trackmenot on firefox annoys surveillance experts

    And at present it is perfectly legal to make masking random queries. On this massive intercept program by gchq it looks like all our data will be shared with the 5-eyes partners: Canada:Usa:Nz:Aus:Uk, unfortunately it looks like Canada was sharing all Intel from 2007 with Russia as well! I trust my government, but they now seem to want to share everything for brownie points, do I trust all these other governments, just Who will have my data and ultimately, Why?

    Track me not ff and chrome plug-in, we need some other solutions to legally avoid workfactor reduction as many ccdp avoidance systems will have been bug-doored

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, I suppose George Orwell was only 27 years out...

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blessent mon cœur d'une langeur monotone

    Pass it on.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is great - they can read all my emails and only pass on the ones I'm interested in.

    Save me a lot of time

  56. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Big Brother

    For anyone who doesn't know this, steganography is useful too.

    Just write anything you need to in notepad, save it, and then zip/rar/7z the document.

    Then do this:

    Start -> Run -> cmd -> copy /b C:\output.jpg

    All someone needs to do now is change output.jpg to and extract the files!

    This might not work for larger files though.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Another little unpleasantness - they will be apparently keeping records for 2 years, so when they decide George Galloway is a Menace To Society, they can go back and pick out all those who visited the Respect website and send round the PCSOs for a bit of truncheon based re-education...

  58. Putonghua73
    IT Angle


    Like the vast majority of commentators, I saw this on the BBC website and thought it was an April Fool's prank. To my horror, it really is going to be passed as law.

    It is not just the invasiveness and scope that concerns me, as well as the lack of accountability (cornerstone of our legal system - although Habeus Corpeus has been under attack with extended right to detain), but the billions of pounds that will inevitably be wasted under the guise of yet another massive IT contract with poor scope, poor execution and total disregard for Total Cost of Ownership, and like the national ID cards, another pet project that will spectacularly fail to meet the main pillar supporting its rationale.


    Energy strategy (lack thereof)

    In these times of so-called austerity and cuts in various social services, trust politicians of ALL stripes, to think of yet more ingenious ways to waste money on projects with nebulous ends.

    Word of warning: take a look across the channel at our French chums, and the success of Marie Le Pen. The National Front were the 3rd biggest party in the 70s - when people become disgruntled with mainstream politics, the fringe parties gain a degree of legitimacy.

    Good grief! Does this mean I'm forced to vote Green at General Elections?! Or the most respectable Monster Raving Looney Party?

  59. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    this is what happens when someone thinks Spooks is a documentary

    Discovers it is not and decides "F**k it lets make it happen."

    Britards you need to rescue your elected leaders from their state of fear.

    Consider writing to your MP's. Tell them *why* it's expensive, it's *grossly* disproportionate, it'll dump even the *rudimentary* oversight of the Surveillance Commissioner in favor of *unlimited* dumping of every comms log (which is essentially what is being proposed) from *every* comms provider (remind them how f**king expensive this storage will be)

  60. The BigYin

    Every day...

    ...and in every way, I come to fear my own "elected" government than the terrorists.

    I say "elected" as almost all the MPs come from the same morally bankrupt, public-school educated, elitist, holier-than-thou social class. They have no concept of the real world.

    Freedom is a weapon. A weapon of the people against a corrupt regime. This is why our government wished to remove it from our grasp.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Every day...

      You should fear your elected government more. Your government has infinitely more resources to bring to bear should they want to make your life a very unhappy one.

  61. andy 45

    Normal people dont need to worry..

    I'm paraphrasing, but I saw some authority figure on TV this morning basically saying the normal people dont need to worry about this surveillance.

    Sounds more than a little like 'if you've got nothing to hide' which of course is rubbish.

    Even if you trust this government (which would be follish), once the system is set up who knows whether it will be abused or not.

  62. FoolD

    With the Queen's Assent ?

    INAL but didn't the queen swear an oath to protect her subject's liberties during her coronation ?

    Wouldn't announcing such an anti-libertarian law on live TV (and thereby giving her implied assent to it) be in direct contradiction to her Coronation Oath ?

    It seems the Queen may need to be reminded that Liberty is not the same as Safety. Keeping us safe at the expense of our liberties is not what her subjects expect of Her or her Government. We should be striving for a balance between the those two things. Even then liberty without safety is far more preferable to safety without liberty - that is ultimately a prison.

    As the final arbiter of Law in this land it is surely time that the Queen started to protect us from such unjust laws, not for her to be promoting them live on TV.

  63. Sheeple

    E petition

    Show your disgust

  64. domesticempire

    All this Spin Is Making Me Dizzy or ‘Meanwhile, Back At The NHS’

    The present uproar concerning privacy, tactically, ironically or perhaps even coincidentally announced on April 1st, is a deliberate ploy of misdirection designed to draw attention away from the real thorn in the government's side, the NHS. Text book spin. And it appears to be working very well indeed.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like