back to article Reborn UK internet super-snooper charter to be unveiled today

Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed this morning that under existing UK laws her department receives half a million requests to intercept communications data in the country every year. Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans to greatly increase the amount of internet communications information kept on file in the UK …


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  1. Bernard M. Orwell

    Filthy, lying, cheating....


    That is all.

    1. RocketBook

      Re: Filthy, lying, cheating....

      They are politicians. Of course they are.

    2. Stuart 22
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Filthy, lying, cheating....

      Which has been carefully recorded (with pix) by you know who. And you wonder why when a new Home Secretary is appointed they quickly change their tune from challenging you know who into legislating their every command into law.

      Murdoch is an amateur by comparison ...

    3. \\\

      Re: Filthy, lying, cheating....

      Time to make manifestos legally binding.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Filthy, lying, cheating....

        "Time to make manifestos legally binding."

        Politics is the biggest area where there is no requirement that the practicitions be fit for purpose.

        I reckon they should have to pass a morality test, general awareness test etc. before being allowed to even run for public office.

        Working in a bank I have to pass loads of tests to prove that I know what constitutes bribery and corruption etc. so that I can spot it and report it - the general message being that it isn't acceptable. Isn't it about time we forced our SERVANTS to some level of standards?

    4. nexsphil

      And the amusing thing

      The amusing thing is that we've given the most corrupt sector of our society carte blanche to do *anything* they want. The more heinous the better. The more heinous, the more likely we are to ridicule each other over the "impossibility" of any such suggestion, allowing politicians and other leaders to get away without the slightest public scrutiny.

      We're our own worst enemy - it's in our nature to blindly follow "leaders", and so we do. Regardless of who or what those leaders are. We have to grow up, realise our own shortcomings and start fighting them if we want a better world. Any politician without public support would crumble immediately - the real enemy is within ourselves.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another stupid and impractical law

    I'm off to invest in storage manufacturers

    I came here via Tor (I may not have done, but could have)

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

    "without a warrant" - that's the significant point.

    If you think I'm misbehaving, do as you have to do for a phone intercept and show your suspicions to a judge; if he agrees he will provide a warrant. Then and only then is it reasonable to start sniffing at my contact/search records.

    It's bad enough that the commercial players are doing their best to profile me; I do not care for the government which is supposed to be looking out for my interests to do so.

    The argument is made - every time - that this is necessary because of (totally unquantified) terrorism and (totally unquantified) paedophile thread. These are both groups - as was pointed out in the discussion between May and Davies this morning - who are quite aware of the many ways in which this could be averted - throwaway phones and internet cafes being the immediately obvious methods. But because this remains unqualified, I cannot and will not trust.

    I am not amused. Cease this nonsense forthwith.

    1. Shonko Kid

      Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

      The technology they're looking at is so easily circumvented that the only terrorists and paedophiles they'll catch are the stupid ones. Let's hope there aren't any with a f*cking clue.

      A much clever way would be to do something like TV's The Mentalist, send everyone in the country an official looking letter that says they've been caught doing Bad Stuff (tm) and they have to report to they're local nick at a given time for questioning. I bet that would catch more than this invasive bullshit.

      1. Stuart 22
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

        "The technology they're looking at is so easily circumvented that the only terrorists and paedophiles they'll catch are the stupid ones."

        I have wondered about that. Maybe they are not as dim as you think and part of the strategy is to highlight those of interest from the rest of us. Could it be that those who choose to try and screen their communications is exactly the target audience for the real heavy guys at GCHQ concentrate their firepower on?

        Hiding the fact you are hiding stuff is a little more tricky ...

        1. Shonko Kid

          Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

          "Maybe they are not as dim as you think..."

          Possibly, but I subscribe to the 'Never assume conspiracy, when idiocy will suffice' school of thought. I think they're exactly as dumb as I think they are, given they do stupid things like take secret documents out of the office and leave them on the tube.

    2. Nigel 11

      Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

      On the other hand, there ARE records of your phone usage (and everyone else's). There may be no records of your internet usage. So they're going from one extreme to the other. I'm reasonably cool with the concept of my internet usage being logged (I know that this visit to the Reg is logged). Those records should not be available for the authorities to trawl through without a warrant.

      As for the practicalities ... VPN to overseas ISP in secrecy-friendly jurisdiction, anyone? Switzerland might be a good choice for a non-criminal who believes in privacy.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        @Nigel 11

        There's a fundamental difference between a phone connection log and an internet connection log: when I make a phone call I explicitly connect to a single point. When I go to a web site, I know *nothing* about the other sites it talks to, the silent scripts running, the redirects... indeed, if it's been got at and is, say, redirecting to a porn site or warez site I could end up anywhere. And what about all the adverts? Where are they served from? Does everyone suddenly become responsible for the entire internet?

        Also - who made the connection? Me? The missus or kids? The bloke three doors away who's overheard me mention the password? The bloke who has permission when he visits? Is it time to open a wireless link simply to have plausible deniability?

        Since this is not intended to store the contents of the message, just the connection information, this is basically a sigint fishing trip - aha, he connected to *him*, guilty. After the event.

        Stupid stupid stupid.

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon


        "VPN to overseas ISP in secrecy-friendly jurisdiction, anyone? "

        I saw this on BBC news this morning and SHE (the devl) has said that whilst it's trivially easy to circumvent, anyone doing so is obviously a criminal.

        Using encryption/TOR etc will become a criminal act pretty soon I reckon.

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: @Nigel

          What you've just said is that any UK employee of an overseas business accessing that business's intranet via a VPN is obviously a criminal.

          Not sure if you intended irony or not.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: @Nigel

            I didn't say it, the current Queen-bitch-of-the-Universe said it.

        2. Nigel 11

          Re: @Nigel

          "Using encryption/TOR etc will become a criminal act pretty soon I reckon."

          At which point the real crims with a clue will switch to steganography. Send a completely innocent-looking photograph with an encrypted payload steganographically concealed in the noise. Perfectly encrypted data is indistinguishable from noise.

          And don't send it. Just post it in a public place. As public and as popular as possible.

          Don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    3. madick

      Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

      Totally unquantified? Not quite true; Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) report published May 2011:

      " ... 513 people arrested and 132 offender networks broken up in the UK in the past year. " (2010)

      However, according to May, there were >500,000 requests for intercepts last year (2011). Either this is cr*p success rate, or the intercepts were primarily for other purposes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?


        You missed something: 513 arrests is not the same as 513 convictions. People keep talking about arrests, not convictions, and 132 offender networks means what exactly? Is that the number of PC's seized?

        So the concept of 'unquantified' is correct: We have been presented with only part of the picture and told 'This is it: Proof of how bad things are' when it's nothing of the sort. It's not even a meaningful indicator, if you really think about it.

      2. Wayland Sothcott 1
        Big Brother

        Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

        You need to look at the effect of this legislation not the stated intent. This is not a Ronseal product.

        If people know they are being watched they will behave themselves. Clearly paedos and terrorists are better organized than to get caught by this so obviously the label on the tin is a lie.

        If they told you the legislation was designed to scare you into thinking you could be fitted up as a paedo or terrorist based on flimsy evidence then it would not affect your behavior, you would just laugh at them and carry on downloading stuff.

  5. Shonko Kid
    Black Helicopters

    Offshore VPN

    I see a rise in the market for off-shore VPN hubs.

    Perhaps some sort of sea-worthy barge, a whole rack of servers and a satellite uplink?

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: Offshore VPN

      A pirate ship. Y'arrr.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I foresee an anonymous attack on the UK government is imminent.

    Just as well the UK isn't hosting a very large event soon, as that would be an ideal target.

    1. Ian Yates
      Black Helicopters

      You do know that your incitable comment has been tracked and monitored, don't you?

      1. Ogi
        Black Helicopters

        As I presume mine has been for upvoting his comment... I am now an accomplice to incitement!

  7. Tony S
    Big Brother

    What could possibly go wrong?

    We can trust the politicians; they are fully honourable and only ever look out for our best interests.

    We can trust the civil servants; they are totally up to speed on the various laws & technology and would never dream of abusing the powers they are given, or assuming powers that the law does not give them.

    We can trust the police; their only goal is to ensure that they catch the real criminals.

    We can trust the lawyers; to them the law is sacred and inviolate.

    We can trust the lobbyists and political "advisors"; because they are nice people


    1. Ian Yates

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      We can trust that the system will be infallible and produce no false-positives.

  8. DrStrangeLug

    We could have had this years ago

    If we had lost WW2.

    1. g e

      Re: We could have had this years ago

      Maybe we just lost WW2 **really slowly** then

    2. g e

      Re: We could have had this years ago

      Actually, thinking about it, perhaps it's like an extension of Godwin's law....

      Over time any given system of government will turn into a cynical self-serving police state spouting Nazi-esque proaganda as to why they have to do the things they need to do.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We could have had this years ago

      And the Germans own most of the Eurozone.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While they are at it.........

    Why not allow the police to beat innocent people up and rifle through their pockets.

    Oh stupid me, missed that piece of legislation pass parliament a while ago.

  10. b b

    Look at her comments in The Sun

    "I just don’t understand why some criticise these proposals. They must either not get what this data is and how it’s used or just can’t grasp its importance. By trying to stop the police having access to this tool, they are risking both justice and public safety.

    Conspiracy theorists will come up with ridiculous claims about how these measures infringe freedom.

    But without changing the law the only freedom we would protect is that of criminals, terrorists and paedophiles — and that is something I am not prepared to let happen"

    Typical emotionally charged rhetoric.

    Everytime I see news like this, I die a little on the inside. Is there genuinely not a single soul in government who understands how this series of tubes we call the interweb actually works? Equally depressing is the fact the we as a populace have given up questioning the gruel they feed us and seem to blindly accept it on faith.

    No Ms Harmon, with ill conceived, blanket legislation without judicial overview, I fear it is far more than just the freedom of criminals, terrorists and paedophiles that you erode. It is not a black and white issue where only the bad guys will suffer if x, y and z are not done.

    But that wouldn't make for a good soundbite now would it?

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: "No Ms Harmon..."

      I think you mean Ms May.

      1. hplasm
        Big Brother

        Re: "No Ms Harmon..."

        hard to tell the difference, really...

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Re: Look at her comments in The Sun

      "Equally depressing is the fact the we as a populace have given up questioning the gruel they feed us and seem to blindly accept it on faith."

      Too many people are too busy checking their Facebook profile or watching latest utter codswallop reality TV or X-Factor shite on the box to even care what state the country is getting into. All they see is "DO YOU WANT YOUR KIDS ABUSED OR BLOWN UP? WELL DO YOU?!?! THEN HELP US NAIL UP THE PAEDOS AND TERRORISTS!!", in the Sun's latest, one-sided headline and that's all they think they need to know.

    3. Wayland Sothcott 1

      Re: Look at her comments in The Sun

      No we have not given up fighting this. No the people in government understand very well how the InterTubes work. Notice how she tries to head off the 'conspiracy theorists' by predicting what sensible people will say. This is not the action of a person who does not get it. It's the action of a person who has an agenda, the same agenda as all parties once they are in power.

      The populace does know but are fed so many lies that it's hard for them to really believe they know or to see an alternative. Most people do not want to assassinate politicians or set fire to London but this is what they will do if they are forced to confront the problem. Rather than get really really angry and do a Raul Moat, most people watch TV entertainment or play computer games.

      We are given sensible outlets for our frustration such as signing on-line petitions or voting in elections. These things are carefully designed to make us feel like we make a difference without actually making a difference. It does not matter which party is in power, all they will do is use a different method to bring about the same thing.

      At some point there is going to have to be a massive 'cleansing' in this country. Anybody found without a bloody meat cleaver in their hands just wanting to get on with their life will be slaughtered as will anyone wearing a suit and anyone in politics. We are talking massive bloody revolution when people finally get bored of Simon Cowell, kill that fucker fairly early on I expect.

  11. nsld

    I hade to laugh

    They want to monitor gaming sites, facebook and so many other high traffic websites where exactly are they going to store all this data in a format thats searchable?

    I have less than 100 friends on facebook and the level and rate of updates from them alone is massive, thats before you consider twitter or any other form of social media with continual updates. After all, is having an update pushed to you a communication between two parties or an automation process? If I put up a status update that was illegal would all my friends be prosecuted for getting the update?

    And equally how do they store the data in real time in a manner that doesnt bring the interwebs to its knees? Especially with gaming pings? Ironically the xbox generation arent going to tolerate the gaming experience degrading and may well end up as the people who fight hardest against this.

    The real criminals and terrorists will find ways to get around this, the rest of us will have to put up with slower service, disfunctional voip etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hade to laugh

      'They want to monitor gaming sites, facebook and so many other high traffic websites where exactly are they going to store all this data in a format thats searchable?'

      Might be time to train in big data handling. I suspect a lot of very well paid, completely useless jobs will be created by this policy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I hade to laugh

        sorry, I'm not laughing. the last time I talked to a national telco BT engineer about this - (who was fully informed in the planning and design of the system) (and I'm talking about discussing this in bloody August 2011! BT Quote = 'not yet worked through the implications,' my arse!)

        The monitoring boxes will be many and pervasive. they will do routine packet inspection but are also live real-time trigger signature driven, similar to the old top-secret 5-eyes only UMBRA keyword list. the trigger signatures are generated by a ›‹›‹›‹ country and ›‹›‹›‹ and ›‹›‹›‹›‹ organisations.

        This is nothing less that the creation of a UK national (internet)DNA database where the unique footprints' of every citizen's interactions & private correspondence will be stored, forever.

        If anyone would care for the well paid completely useless job in this endeavour then you could do worse than click here, though of course, other sensor providers are available.

        (..................................^ is just a random google hit from big uk data-handling)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't worry, your phone call, which you thought required a warrant, will be carried over an IP backbone, and logged.

    It reminds me of the (very) old joke: How do you apply for a job at the NSA? Call your grandmother and ask for an application.

    Have a nice day.

  13. Anonymous John

    "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

    Totally unrelated to the fact that Shiny Dave is up before Lord Leveson today, of course.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

      "Shiny Dave"

      That made me laugh.

      1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

        Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

        I always think he's got the look of a cabbage patch doll about him.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

          He is Iggle Piggle in The Night Garden, AICMFP.

          1. Robert Ramsay

            Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

            "Like C3P0 covered in a layer of wafer-thin ham"

        2. Wayland Sothcott 1

          Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans"

          The whole cabinet has been plucked from the cabbage patch.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: "Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans" .... confirming the plot is lost.

      ""Later today, the Home Office will unveil its plans" ...... Totally unrelated to the fact that Shiny Dave is up before Lord Leveson today, of course." ..... Anonymous John Posted Thursday 14th June 2012 10:33 GMT

      Yes, .... the vainglorious leader of the Coalition Party is up before Leveson and pontificating wonderfully ........ and trying very badly to convince everybody that in the great scheme of things, politicians/gangs of privately funded wafflers intent on being elected as a government to get their sticky mitts on the public purse and ensure that taxation pays for pretty much everything they plot around the Cabinet table and in private secret meetings off the public record, are still relevant and wield power, whenever every man and his dog know that control is exercised by others elsewhere, considerably better skilled in royal and ancient and dark and mysterious arts, and they do their bidding whether they think they do or not and are always react to events rather than drivering them.

      Has Cameron reached three figures yet, in his appearance before the cameras and Leveson, with his " get the message across" sound bite?

      Who do you imagine runs the world? What smart little clique?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    So where are we heading?

    It goes like this:

    1) Govt introduces above legislation

    2) A new craze develops of including certain words ("bomb", "terrorist", "nuclear") in every message sent.

    3) Govt makes it an offence to use certain words in communications

    4) People move to other words instead that mean the same thing, but in a kind of code.

    5) Government develops a team of people who's job it is to crack down on such terms as quickly as they come into use.

    6) People switch to using VPN's, TOR's

    7) Government makes it an offence to attempt to circumvent monitoring

    Now I wonder which country has already gone down this route?

    1. Ogi

      Re: So where are we heading?

      Hey, At least they would have solved the unemployment problem! They would need to hire people to monitor people!

      If unemployment hits 50% they can hire one half of the population to monitor the other half. Imagine, your very own personal monitor! They can follow you around all the time!

      </sarcasm, I hope...>

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mandated to store all traffic? for all you folks on SKY broadband, I bet old Rupert is delighted, not that he'd ever sanction this information to be misused, that would be terribly unkind to a man of an untarnished reputation who just want everything to be fluffy...

  16. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    The people who aren't smart enough to encrypt and anonymise their communications and verify their peers - they're not going to be any more a threat to national security than the local nutter on the bus.

    Sorry, but if you did your job properly, spy agencies, you wouldn't need to know this sort of stuff anyway. Why bother chasing ISPs for logs of attempted connections that can be obscured, proxied and whatever-else when you could just plant a bug on your target's machine or stick a camera / agent in his house? If you suspect, say, a GMail account to be linked to terrorism, they you could just subpoena Google to reveal the access details. It won't help much anyway. What, precisely, do you think blanket sniffing of connection attempts (not even connection data!) will actually achieve and why do you think you need to do that without a warrant?

    It's sad that GCHQ has deteriorated in modern years given it basically invented modern computing and encryption, especially when that's by not understanding that encryption itself defeats their own purpose. Turing put you, and other country's intelligence agencies, out of work. It's probably the best bit of peacekeeping action every performed during wartime.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Lee Dowling. Wrong in the first sentence. In fact wrong in all of them.

      60 million people. 59.9 million aren't criminals. One massive robbery, or an act of mass murder, or whatever, takes place.

      Said robbers can't tell anyone else they're committing a crime, but they can turn off their phones. Other criminals don't know in advance someone else is committing a crime, so they don't turn theirs off. QED.

      It's a simple "not in." (Well not that simple, but that's simple in inductive query.)

      100% of muslims have been conned by some priest to believe what I consider bizarreeee stories as reality, and 10% of muslims support sharia, which doesn't bother me either, but a tiny percentage are stupid enough to have been fooled by their priests into killing themselves. Wouldn't it be great to identify them, even if we should, but don't, arrest the priests for "talking people into suicidal mass murder." Wouldn't it be great to not only save their lives but also the 50 people on the Kings Cross tube?

      As for GCHQ deteriorating? Are you saying that for the last 50 years, while Echelon worked, they were good despite running aroung locking up people without trial? Because by that reckoning, I should have been taken away for joking about killing Tony, but wasn't. Are you suggesting that restoring the power of Echelon there, in the post Echelon age, will make me more vulnerable to fascists from marry your cousin country? I suspect that apart from the sandal wearing beardie cryptanalysts, most of the people over there have got the ability to have wives and girlfriends, even if they may be quite woolly. I'm sure therefore they don't go around simply putting people in holes without reason.

      I'm sure no-one from Cheltenham's able to read this post, but if anyone manages to, you really have to move out of sheep country.

  17. Purlieu

    How long before

    If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear


    You have privacy/encryption procedures so you must be hiding something


    Ann Frank

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: How long before

      I can't see that as any more than a scare story.

      - Facebook can require mandatory HTTPS.

      - Google can require mandatory HTTPS and two-factor authentication.

      - Any bank you care to name has been encrypting traffic forever.

      - Any server you log into online (e.g. work servers, cloud servers, dedicated web servers, etc.) I guarantee you that the keys are secure and the admins don't reveal them unless by warrant.

      - Most email accounts now require SSL encryption to send and receive.

      - Anything you buy online is basically "unhackable" (but side-channels of just asking Amazon what you bought have and will always exist for use by intelligence gathering agencies - but this isn't part of their plans here)

      You can't "outlaw" encryption, its use is far too widespread. For a start, it was invented by the intelligence agencies themselves. And with compulsory SSL for online purchasing, banking, government-gateway access, etc. it's very hard to backtrack especially when, given the nature of encrypted communications, you have no idea what's in the packets (only the source and destination, if they are accurate and not proxied in any way). You could be doing things like OTR over your GTalk account and it's virtually impossible for anyone but Google and yourself to know that just by packet sniffing. Blanket-sniffing powers DO NOT HELP and never have.

      In fact, all measures like this do is push us CLOSER to an always-encrypted Internet. Bog-standard TCP/IP underneath and then every layer above encrypted and closed off. And eventually the same will happen to privacy too (Tor-like anonymisation layers, etc.). All these efforts do is make the people who ask for them's job harder. 30 years ago, people were running telnet, FTP, SMTP, POP3, all unencrypted. Now there's barely a protocol in active use that isn't encrypted any more. 30 years ago, you could probably work out who just about any individual was on the Internet even if just down to the phone number they were dialling from.

      Now you'd be lucky to identify what country, what location and what time of CCTV footage to look at to find out, if someone doesn't want to be found (which is why "Chinese hackers" should instantly set off alarm bells in your head - really? How do you know that? You can distinguish a compromised or deliberate Chinese proxy from a real Chinese person just by their packets now can you? To the certainty to call them acts of war? And you *know* they are the ultimate source of the packets being sent and not a red herring designed to get you to attack an innocent nation? Amazing technology you have there - you don't NEED to have this legislation if that's possible, surely?)

      I have nothing to hide. If you want to browse my browser history, you'll find nothing of interest (probably this comment would rate higher than 99.999999% of the things I've ever done online in terms of interest to a spy agency). But the fact is I will fight you every inch of the way to BEING ABLE to do that. Just out of principle, if nothing else. You have no need to know that information unless you're investigating a crime. If you're investigating a crime, charge me, and I'll tell you everything you want to know with my lawyer present (I'm not stupid enough to lie about things I've done in a court or police interview, but neither am I stupid enough to think I know what I'm obliged to tell you and what I'm not without a lawyer present), and I won't object to ANY subpoena to go through my possessions and data in pursuit of the STATED alleged crime. Even if I'd done the crime, refusing is stupid at that point, law or not.

      But the fact is that without that sort of background and suspicion, you won't legally touch my email without my permission. Just out of principle. It's no different to having checkpoints on the roads where **everyone** has to get out of their cars, one by one, prove the car is theirs, explain their journey, vouch for their passengers, etc. Not even random stopchecks, or pulling over the thing putting out black smoke, just everyone. It is, quite literally, a breakdown of society to suggest we need to do that and this is the digital equivalent.

      As such, until they sort out the problem these laws would bring, I and I imagine a lot of others would just encrypt and anonymise whatever is possible until there is a two-tier Internet - one of packet transport and one an encrypted payload layer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How long before

        so encryption and SSL is the free route solution then?

        So explain why the French SSSI complained to Netscape (as it was in 1996) that they couldn't defeat SSL3, tho' they were perfectly happy with SSL2, shortly thereafter TLS1 was 'fix' 'bugs' in SSL3 - Netscape had explained that as it was open source and had been released that there was no way to un-release SSL3 work has a shiny CISCO switch which is deep packet inspecting everything I write for coroprate data loss protection/prevention purposes. I often use HTTPS , even using https everywhere firefox add-on, if my work couldn't trivially peel open my https sessions use man-in-the-middle dpi with faked/genuine signed certificates then I wouldn't be allowed to use https. I postulate that UK Ltd is perfectly capable of signing any number of SSL/TLS/HTTPS/whathaveyou digital certificates in order to render transparent nearly everything that you mention. thats even without microsofts soft MD5 collision prone crypto.

        RIPA doesn't need a direct judicial warrant to do telekommunications interception in UK, just a senior plod's nod is good enough. ICT sysadmins have also been shown to operate in a culture of over supply of 'helpful' data should anyone in a uniform even think to enquire about asking, "certificates, keys how many bags full sir?"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only explanation

    Is that there's something in the water supply at the Home Office. No matter which politician is appointed to the position, sooner or later, they're gibbering about needing massive new surveillance powers. Hell there was even a time when David Blunkett seemed to be sane, a quick trip to the Home Office and he was - well - you know.

    So who's going to make a bet against the Conservatives announcing a review into the practicality of ID cards in the near future?

    (I assume Labour will enthusiastically back this proposal - creepy mass surveillance seems to be in their DNA)

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: The only explanation

      Ministers come and go, the agenda remains.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: The only explanation

      It's very simple, the Home Office is still smarting from the court case in 1952 that resulted in the withdrawal of the cardboard war-time identity cards that people were still obliged to carry up until that time.

      They have always wanted to reintroduce similar measures.

  19. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Bring it on ....

    they will drown in data. Anyone recall the "Yes Minister" episode where Teresa May insisted on knowing *everything* happening in the department of adminstrative affairs ? That evening she hadd to take home 5 full red boxes, the next day, a seperate car was needed.

    Clearly, no one has explained to the powers that be, the concept of "signal to noise".

    Am I alone in struggling to picture a data centre with the power to *usefully* hold and query this data. Bearing in mind when I worked for a smallish company a few years ago, the data warehouse had already hit about 4TB, and cubes had to be built overnight. Even then we were approaching a point where the machine took 3 hours to start up.

    Add to that the fact that most, if not all, of the data the goverment really is looking for will be lost in layers of encrypted traffic that has been sent over a VPN ...

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Bring it on ....

      Cue the idiots with the "acres of datacentres" arguments. Oh, no, we're not on an American forum...

      You can have all the datacentres you want. Literally MILLIONS of computers. Hell, BILLIONS. You can do everything computational that you need to. And then at some point you have to pull that amount of data in, put in into only a handful of places and do something useful with it, in real-time because storage will never be anywhere near adequate for even a second of country-wide data, and that's where the problem lies. The fastest Internet lines in the world are deployed in the oceans to transport data internationally. Put all of them from one country into a single place and the amount of data is stupidly ridiculous to handle. We're talking MILLIONS of Googles.

      Sure, you can spot obvious stuff but you should have your spies doing that anyway (and what's wrong with a legal request for that same obvious stuff?). That's what an intelligence agency is for - to go find this stuff that people don't talk about publicly using specific leads you've obtained through INTELLIGENCE - not to just comb everyone in the country like they might be a spy at some point and overreact to people talking like spies in chatrooms or speaking to their friends in Kabul.

      It's not a number-crunching exercise. It really isn't. The number-crunching things every ISP can do for you if you ask (e.g. "I want to know who accesses this carder forum that you own"), it's the things of interest to INTELLIGENCE that they can't do and no amount of number-crunching will aid that. This is why I'm suspicious of any intelligence agency that request money to do number-crunching. It means you went wrong. It means you don't have agents enough. It means you don't have enough people on the inside. It means you don't know who or what you're looking for in the first place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bring it on ....

        Lee. What the fuck are you talking about?

        So I have a bomb, and I'm leaving it in a hole in Berkshire for someone to pick up, because I'm going to get them to blow up Parliament. Er, ok, The Royal Courts of Justice. Ok, the headquarters of the TV Channel Dave.

        And so we remove the ability of our services to decrypt.

        And them Al Al Al comes along, and our man in amsterdam, David McDavid doesn't have a paid agent in the cave where the location was encrypted, so when the message is put public. The nutter in Bradford knows the key and blows up the london underground. We then sack Johnny O' Johnny.

        We either give them the means to do their job in the modern world or we don't. We don't just say, do what you can with what you can download from Google, because we didn't realise that you had those powers 30 years ago, because our fathers knew nothing of it.

        You simply can't send spies into every hole in every shit hole in the world. It's not possible. Would you risk your life? No.

  20. FoolD
    Big Brother


    Given that an awful lot objection to this would be overcome if they simply added proper oversight so that data could not be accessed without a proper warrant (even it it was still logged in real time) one wonders why they are so unwilling to implement such safe-guards.

    Possible reasons:

    1. It's cheaper to be able to access all the data all of the time rather have to setup check and balances to protect the data.

    2. The plan is to use it to profile and actively seek out targets rather than react to reasonable suspicion.

    3. Other parties also want to trawl this data - eg. Ad companies or even ISPs themselves and someone somewhere will profit $$$

    4. The system is already in place and operational so this is a back-covering exercise to make current behavior legal.

    None of these options appeal, but why else avoid perfectly reasonable oversight ?

  21. Matthew Gardner

    I'm sure if May is involved it's got to be reasonable!

    So it will cost us bugger all well less than £2 billion and bound to be under budget, just like Olympics and the new Health Services system that is up and running and all lovely.

    This is the perfect tool for the civil servant stalker if it works, they can find out where you live, who you call and what friends they have on social networks, all done without the need to prove why they want the info.

    It's funny how May mentions paedophiles alot to make sure it sounds like this will help stop it, yet everyone is going to Levison to say how corrupt the papers are just using your number to listen to messages left on them, just think what dirt the papers and the like could get on you when this is up and running.

    Its stupid, this info needs a warrant to look at if we need it at all.

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: "...May mentions paedophiles alot..."

      Obviously it still has to go to court but just look at what they managed WITHOUT these powers today:

      Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No need for massive data centres

    You will be expected to keep all necessary records on yourself.

    All delete and back-space keys are to be ripped out and mailed in.

    When the door-bell rings you are to stand up and wait by your computer.

    The inspectors promise to take reasonable care but no responsibility.

    The Gov

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "such surveillance is needed to combat terrorists and paedophiles"

    The scary bogeymen that lurk around every corner! Yes sure they do exist but in 40 years on this ball of rock, I have never had the misfortune to deal with any members of either group, so where are the supposed thousands of these evil people hiding out? Oh yes, in the demented mind of Ms May and her millions of Sun and Daily Fail reading supporters!

  24. SJRulez

    It will only catch the stupid and the common criminals, anyone who actually thinks this will help protect national security is a complete Muppet.

    One thing to point out, the gov seems to have massive failings when it comes to organising any project involving data.... chances are this will go the same way, spend 2billion and end up with a failure in about 3 years.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC DP

    home office minister currently on bbc daily politics talking absolute nonsense about the issue if anyone wants a laugh

    1. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

      Re: BBC DP

      Am I right in thinking that a home office minister is being DP'ed at the BBC?!

      Quite an arresting image, no doubt.

      Perhaps that's why I should be using an anon proxy.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to do with politians

    and everything to do with the police/MI6/MI5 and civil service who tell them what to think

    And then tell the next guys in power if it failed first time round

    Big Brother

    "BT told The Register that the company had not yet worked through the implications"

    That would be the same BT that trailed Phorm's mass surveillance technology illegally on hundreds of thousands of customers, and thousands of UK businesses that served them, without a warrant and with complete impunity.

    The Information Commissioner took no action, Ofcom took no action, the Police took no action, the Interception Commissioners took no action.

    No. No. No.

  28. Steve Evans

    "half a million requests to intercept communications data"


    If anything that figure should be used to show why the interception should only be done via a warrant. There is no way that level of intrusion is justified. It proves there are a hell of a lot of very nosey people out there.

    What I would like to know is how many of those half million were approved as justified, because if this law is passed, all the previously unjustified will have their head in the pipe. Not to mention all those that didn't bother applying for access as they already knew they had no real justification.

    1. Anonymous John

      Re: "half a million requests to intercept communications data"

      May said this morning that was 500,000 requests, not 500,000 people. But surely monitoring one person would only need one request? And as that request would cover a whole family, it would be far more than half a million.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And all the reporting by the BBC about Habbo Hotel and in increase in swapped child abuse images isn't propaganda?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if this system could tell you if your husband or son was watching porn films?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Regardless of the subject - at the time of posting there are 56 comments all saying the same thing, not a single dissenting voice.

    I have noticed over the last year or so that there are many subjects where very few, or none, of the posts dissent from the general point of view. You are all confirming your own point of view, without challenging it. The odd thing is that many of the people posting are people who complain about climate science being governed by consensus, which isn't challenged.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Meh...

      Are you for real?

      Whenever I have seen a thread on "people who complain about climate science being governed by consensus" there have been a lot of varying points of view.

      Consensus != brainwashed ffs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meh...

        Go back, read it again. What I said was that some of the people complaining about consensus in climate science are the same people who don't seemed bothered by the utter lack of any challenge to the opinions, sorry opinion, in this thread.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "But without changing the law the only freedom we would protect is that of criminals, terrorists and paedophiles — and that is something I am not prepared to let happen"

    Do they mean the very same criminals, terrorists and pedophiles that they release in to the wild to enjoy their freedom?

  33. Crisp
    Big Brother

    This is difficult

    Lately I'm finding it very difficult to tell the difference between the government and the terrorists that they claim to be trying to protect me from.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is difficult

      It's obvious - one group impact your life and freedom at all times, the other doesn't. One group causes fear, the other doesn't.

      Remember the IRA? A successful terrorist organisation in terms of "kills", but wholly unsuccessful in inducing terror in the UK population. Even the Europa hotel (most bombed hotel in Belfast) is still going.

      Terrorists win when they cause - terror. But never in their wildest dreams did they imagine that they could fuck up a country so badly.

      Anon - Just for the icon


  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    only data on communication transaction is recorded at first

    this bill will require ISP's to record data about the communications, essentially a syslog output from the ISP's interface to your modem. for those unfamiliar with syslog output from a cisco or juniper router ACL it'll likely contain time stamp, source IP & port, & destination IP & port, state of connection.

    This will give the searchers enough to build a 'web of connections' to determine what you have been upto & who was there (at the same time, previously or after).

    IPv6, without randomizing the last 64 bits, will reveal the unique address of the devices network interface positively identifying a device & its purchaser. Of course this can be obfuscated but the masses won't be able to do this, this may detectable & the media will ignore that fact..

  35. mickey mouse the fith

    A thought experiment

    I can see this backfiring on everyone concerned. Picture the following scenario...

    Big media see that govt and isps can now see what everyones doing online.

    Big media demands isps give up details of all suspected pirates.

    All pirates now switch to tor/proxys/stealing neibours wifi etc

    Tor gets clogged up with teenagers downloading music rather than its true purpose giving dissedents/oppressed peoples a secure outlet.

    As all pirates are now encrypting, police cant sort the wheat from the chaff(paedos from freetards) and thus have to spend more taxpayers money chasing rainbows.

    Then lump in all the totally inocent people who are just pissed off at govt snooping and also start encrypting and the polices job becomes impossible without banning encryption.

    Govt realises they cant do that and quietly scraps the whole white elephant.

    Govt formulates a new plan.

    Everyone gets a personal policeman who will clobber you with a truncheon if you dare go near an internet connrection.

    Seriously, this stupid legislation just wont work, itl just slow everything down,increase prices,widen the perceived gap between politicians and the electorate and make it harder for the police to find stupid criminals (the inteligent ones will already be using workarounds).

  36. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    £2Bn to watch 2000 suspects?

    That of course is what the ISP's are being *paid*, not what the hardware at GCHQ (and their staff and development costs) will cost.

    That was the number of suspects that the head of MI5 said they were watching.

    So £1m/suspect.

    to save about 61 lives over the last 10 years of UK terrorist incidents.

    Britards, not all your MP's are members of the govt and many who are know f***all about what is about to happen. This is driven by a small group of senior (and ex-senior) civil servants currently lurking in the Home Office with links to the various British organs of state security.

    Fire up that printer and explain 1) It won't work 2) It treats *everyone* as a criminal (who just hasn't committed a crime yet, and might never commit one) 3) RIPA has shown how access will widen and severity of a case which allow access will fall (terrorism is the excuse, but most of the people who will, and *should* be terrorised, will be the British people).

    Remember that this monstrosity, like ID cards, was needed to fight the IRA. WTF is it needed now?

  37. hi_robb


    We 'MUST' think of the children!!!

    And I do baby, every single night..

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If we are all going to use Tor we'd better get more bandwidth. My 9 year old was using it to watch (harmless) videos because he had read that it would stop the government spying on us. It was slaughtering our connection - which I why went to see what he was doing.

  39. Robert Ramsay

    As for myself...

    I shall be building a hard disk factory in the wilds of Scotland... we might be needing a few...

  40. David 45


    Preposterous and outrageous scheme by another lot of non-technical politicians who haven't a clue. Total waste of time and money. As if savvy hardened criminals or terrorists are going to communicate in plain text and in sight over open connections! Those that don't are probably just petty thieves who don't pose much public danger anyway. This is just another way of snooping and spying on Joe Public. Will members of government object to also having THEIR communications intercepted? What's that? ........Eh.........Oh - they will be exempt or provided with encryption (I suspect). One of my favourite phrases is: "We're all living on the same planet" and there's way too much of a "them and us" culture everywhere these days. Incidentally, I thought that politicians were supposed to be serving Joe Public, not acting as big brother or nannies.

  41. Derek Kingscote

    Bring it On

    They should implement this forthwith and capture all the contents too.

    Would have made Leveson a whole lot more interesting!

    Notice how no one appearing has been skewered yet.

    The guy on the left is rummaging through my pockets just to find the non-electronic stuff - hope he doesn't find my one-time code pad !

  42. Derek Kingscote


    Of course this is outrageous!

    How the hell are the ISPs & Telcos, Services: iOS/itunes; twitter, facebook google bing android youtube and 1001 other sites going to capture all this stuff in real time and index it so it is easy to search.

    One question: when I visit El Reg, the spooks can see that ok - I click a story and something appears in the URL bar at the top. I've come to the Register site and they have connected me from the Register to their story. Can the spooks see that, or does it all look like the Register whatever I visit?

    Sorry Reg, you'll have to capture all this data too !

    I know ... we'll completely build a parallel internet with loads of storage - that would do it!

    Oh hang on - we might have a problem with recursion? I couldn't possibly say, you'd have to check for recursion!

    Shouldn't be too difficult to build a networked sniffing server with removable storage to snivel across all in and out lines; then when they ask for the data - give them the disks with the raw data as it is and say this is the start and finish dates but I've no idea what's on here, I've no idea what format it's in, hell I've no idea even if it's plain text that you can search [you've seen the Google search results bar haven't you]. Don't come back to me with follow-up questions cos this is all I've got! Best of luck!

    How do I get on the suppliers list cos this will be a nice little gravy train, guaranteed payment, permanent employment and never deliver any meaningful results. And I'll get compensation when the contract's abandoned [just exactly how many gov't IT projects have run the full distance and delivered the specified requirements???]

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's trial it first...

    Given the govts. commitment to openess, let's trial it first, making all held data open to scrutiny by anyone to see what they are proposing.

    I suggest a small discrete number of people, perhaps a group who often work in a building or small number of buildings in part of London.

    On the basis that those who propose would surely want to lead by example (because we are all in this together), then let's do it for all MPs and their hangers-on: all communications, including content, must be recorded and made public for everyone to see so that we can be re-assured that this is not an outrageous attack upon us by our govt.

    They cannot object, because if they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear ("nothing hidden means you're not fear-ridden!"). Also, if they do object, then it must surely follow they they do have something to fear, and should be removed from office immediately. "Will no one think of the fraud and corruption examples we are setting for the children unless we do this?" "What about the funding of acts that encourage terrorists to have us as their targets: they would surely be encouraging terrorism, indirectky, if they engaged in such morally bereft acts as undercover emans of regime/govt, change, illegal rendition, etc etc".

    They know it makes sense, but I guess they will never do it, which, using their own logic suggests that they do have something to hide, and that therefore, they must be guilty.

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