back to article Privacy crusaders: ISPs in 'conspiracy of silence' over Snoop Charter

Well-known pro-privacy organisations in the UK have accused internet providers of failing to respond sufficiently critically to the government's plans to massively increase surveillance of Brits' online activity. In a joint letter - penned by individuals representing Privacy International, the Open Rights Group, Big Brother …


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  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "we would only ever act in response to legislation"

    Sounds a bit two-faced to me. They're being consulted on the content of a bill proposal and they want to keep it secret so nobody knows what advantages they get out of it. So, when the bill passes, they really won't have anything to complain about, since they'll have already negociated their advantages.

    But I do agree with one thing : it is indeed up to the people to demand public negociations and discussions on any matter pertaining to individual privacy and freedom.

    So, when do YOU start the posters and the street signs ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So, when do YOU start the posters and the street signs ?

      It's easier to open an umbrella than divert a rainstorm.

      The cognoscenti will just VPN, PGP, and Truecrypt up, and leave the dummies to the cops.

      1. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

        Re: So, when do YOU start the posters and the street signs ?

        So ? Why should only IT geeks get to keep their rights ?

        1. The BigYin

          Re: So, when do YOU start the posters and the street signs ?

          It's not restricted to IT geeks. Any person who cares about their privacy can do it.

          In fact, any person who does care should contact their MP and say how bad this bill is.

          1. Chris Parsons

            Re: So, when do YOU start the posters and the street signs ?

            @ The Big Yin

            I contacted mine, for all the good it did. He didn't quite say 'think of the children', but it came close.

            For anyone that's interested, here are his honeyed words:

            "Communications data is vital for the police in their fight against crime, including serious offences such as child abuse, drug dealing and terrorism.

            It is important that we get the balance right between upholding civil liberties and the right to privacy and protecting the public by maintaining the ability of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to access vital communications data in an ever more dangerous world. Communications data has played a role in 95 per cent of all serious organised crime investigations and every major Security Service counter-terrorism operation over the last decade. Already a quarter of communications data required by the police and agencies can no longer be acquired because the relevant data is not available at the necessary level of quality and timeliness – we need to halt and reverse this.

            I would like to make it clear that the Government has no intention to provide the police and others with new powers to intercept and read e-mails and phone calls. The proposals do not weaken current safeguards or checks in place to protect private correspondence. There are no powers to share this information with private investigators or journalists and indeed there are serious sanctions for abusing access to personal data. What it does allow is the police and intelligence services to access this contextual information on the internet in the same way as they can currently access it via telephone records. Under no circumstances will these proposals authorise the interception and storage of the content of a communication – what was written in an e-mail or said over the telephone. That will always require a warrant signed by the Secretary of State.

            As you may be aware, the Intelligence and Security Committee and a joint committee of both Houses recently conducted pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Communications Data Bill. The Home Office considered the recommendations of these committees and will be accepting the substance of all of them and re-drafting the legislation on that basis.

            I hope that I have gone some way towards addressing your concerns. Thank you for drawing this issue to my attention."

            The terribly depressing thing is that they're all as bad as each other.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, when do YOU start the posters and the street signs ?

        Yeah, but how to separate the smart people with VPN, PGP and Truecrypt from the idiots.

        They aren't panaceas and you need to know what your doing, rather than think you know what you're doing because you don't know enough about the subject to know otherwise. Which one are you? Beware - you are by definition not able to judge your incompetence in a subject if you are incompetent in it...

  2. cortland

    The view from afar

    But does HM Government actually believe the British Public have ANY legitimate reason for privacy? Isn't this the institution that wanted a copy of every telegram sent?

    (I hear we have ways to predict what people will send, over here -- and file charges beforehand. Don't tell anyone.)

    1. The BigYin

      Re: The view from afar

      Labour don't. They are left-wing; "Give the state all your money, the state will provide."

      The Tories don't either. They are right-wing; "You are a peasant and deserve no money. You should be honoured to slave for us."

      The Lib Dems are still trying to decide what colour the Internet should be.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

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  4. RocketBook

    Here we go again

    Will they never give up on this fanaticism? Amazing how in opposition the conservatives said they opposed all this fluff and then once they are in power (and the mandarins have had a go) they feel it so essential to keep pushing this bill that they fail once, do a rewrite and try again.

    As Tom Chiverton said, "Why Should only IT geeks get to keep their rights?" Everybody should be entitled to privacy from an over intrusive "government", you should not need to have to set up ways of attempting to circumvent their traps.

    One thing is for certain though, if they can't read your data but they can see a train load of packets going through your account, it will make the so called powers that be more interested in knocking on your door in the early hours just because they think you must have something to hide.

    1. Ben Tasker

      Re: Here we go again

      They might get a bit bored of being shown the progress bar on a remote backup before being asked nicely to leave though. Bigger bonus if they decide to break the encryption to save the journey and find you've deliberately been streaming files full of 0's just for the fun of it

    2. Vimes

      Re: Here we go again

      @RocketBook - Home secretaries come and go, but it's always the same civil servants in the background. Those same civil servants have got good at destroying what little moral backbone still exists in anybody by the time they reach that level of government. Tales of possible doom and destruction - you name it...

  5. Mark Eaton-Park

    @Ben Tasker ".......been streaming files full of 0's just for the fun of it"

    truely a case of having nothing to hide

  6. teebie

    "The Home Office has 30 days to respond or could risk being in contempt of court."

    That could be fun, but a bit pointless.

  7. Gordon Pryra


    Many people keep saying the world "Entitled" why? no-one is entitled to anything barring a few human rights written into our legislative system (I don't even know what they are, maybe clean water and the right to some form of education)

    The right to any privacy certainly doesn't exist, especially not when its the Government looking at you.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The only privacy ISP's will protect is their own (to negotiate with the govt).

    Talk Talk. Call them Stalk Stalk after their little copy-everything-to-China "security" wheeze.

    Virgin. Considered Phorn but not clear if they did trial runs. Never trust a hippie.

    BT. Big chums with Phorn and still never bought to book, unsurprising given DS Plod of the City of London police's investigation. Roll up my left trouser leg in amazement at that result.

    Plus net might do with being known as sus(spect) net given they are now a creature of BT as well.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: The only privacy ISP's will protect is their own (to negotiate with the govt).

      Phorn = Phorm

      and if these meetings are what is being suggested, then I would be surpised to see Zen on the list.

      A lot of techies use Zen and if they got wind of something underhanded they'd abandon ship - I would.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ISPs can't do a damn thing about security requests for data nor should they.

  10. David 45

    I can see people playing games with the system and inserting repeated naughty words like "bomb" and the like in mail titles just to see what happens.

    1. Steven Roper

      meta name="keywords"

      content=" ANFO,avoid detection,blast,bomb,contact cell,destroy,detcord,detonation velocity,diesel,disaster,FBI,Federal Reserve Bank,fertilizer,hexamine,Interpol,kill,Nitropril,Obama,police,RDX,truck,unmarked,Wall Street,White House"

      That should do it.

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