back to article Nick Clegg: Snooper's Charter 'isn't going to happen'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has strongly rejected Home Office plans to massively ramp up surveillance of Brits' internet activity in a very public rebuttal of Theresa May's proposals this morning. "The 'Snooper's Charter' isn't going to happen - the idea that there would be a record kept of all your online activity," …

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  1. andreas koch
    Big Brother

    If it does

    (or already did) happen, would they tell?

    But then, the people who propose this kind of lark have got no idea of the volume of data or it's complexity involved; they probably think they can keep a 3½'' floppy per day per ISP to browse through . . .

  2. Miek
    Trollface

    Nick Who ?

    1. Captain Underpants

      @Miek - he's more commonly known as Waylon Smithers these days...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "@Miek - he's more commonly known as Waylon Smithers these days..."

        Yeah, and Dave Chameleon is Mr Burn's, grumpy, old, selfish, rich git..

  3. Diskcrash

    If it is there they will use it.

    The problem is that no matter how much politicians promise not to use this against the "average" person it will end up being used that way. Forget about all the technical issues and costs associated with it the likelihood of it resulting in very much other than tracking porn sufers is going to be very low and would not justify the cost and expense of doing it. The result? Well gee we have this huge amount of data on everyone lets go dumpster diving and see what we can find. To have this large pool of data and not to go through it every way possible is not something that the government will be able to resist.

    To say that this has potential for abuse is to understate it as it will be abused it is simply a question of when and by whom.

    There is nothing about Theresa May that inspires confidence in her ability to look after anyone except herself.

    1. Michael Strorm

      Remember the use of "Terrorism" Act against Labour Party protester?

      "The problem is that no matter how much politicians promise not to use this against the "average" person it will end up being used that way."

      This is correct. Regardless of whether or not claims as to legislation's *intended* use are made in good faith or not, experience has shown that this cannot- and must not- be relied upon.

      One notorious example is the use of "anti-terrorism" legislation, specifically the Terrorism Act 2000 (introduced under Labour's watch), which was used against an 82-year-old German-Jewish émigré who had heckled Jack Straw at the 2005 Labour Party conference. Specifically, the law was (mis-)used to stop him getting back in:-

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4291388.stm

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1499466/Heckler-82-who-dared-called-Straw-a-liar-is-held-under-terrorist-law.html

      Regardless of whether or not one thinks he should have been allowed back in, the fact that a supposed "anti-terrorism" law was able to be used- and *was* used- against someone who clearly wasn't engaging in terrorist activity nor in a terrorist context shows that the law was badly designed (assuming it was designed in good faith) and that the very party who introduced it- and were still in power at the time(*)- couldn't be trusted to ensure that its usage was restricted only to the claimed targets. (**)

      Similar arguments apply against the use of "anti-terrorist" legislation used to freeze Icelandic bank assets in the wake of the 2008 Icesave bankruptcy.

      Whether or not one thinks action should have been taken against those respective parties, the fact that it was done using "terrorist" legislation is the concern, because neither were remotely "terrorist" and nothing like the targets the legislation was claimed to be aimed at.

      A law that can be misused for something not remotely related to its claimed purpose (whether or not one thinks that a *specific* "misuse" is justified) is wide open to blatant abuse for a whole range of purposes, desirable or otherwise.

      (This shouldn't be taken specifically as an anti-Labour rant; I despise the Tories, and didn't vote for them. However, many- myself included- assumed that they would (at least partially) stop and roll back Labour's egregious assault on civil liberties and pathological disregard for personal privacy. Instead, they're turning out to be just as bad in this respect).

      (*) Whether or not it was the police's choice to misuse the legislation this way, the fact remains that Labour were the ones responsible for introducing legislation that could be misused in the first place.

      (**) Of course, this assumes that the party that introduced the legislation remains in power to ensure its "correct" usage. Even if *they* can be trusted to act in good faith and ensure its correct use (and in the above cases, they obviously couldn't), this is irrelevant if and when they lose power.

      1. DF118

        Re: Remember the use of "Terrorism" Act against Labour Party protester?

        many- myself included- assumed that they would (at least partially) stop and roll back Labour's egregious assault on civil liberties and pathological disregard for personal privacy. Instead, they're turning out to be just as bad in this respect

        Many (myself included) think that this is because the intelligence community (via Whitehall) is the one at the levers, not the political parties who come and go with the breeze.  Although it's certainly true that, throughout the last decade's climate of paranoia, New Labour really did let said spook community get too big for its boots.  IMHO, this is the main reason why there is regular talk of fishing expeditions against the population at large (because that's what this bill is really about) as if that kind of behaviour is something that we should humbly accept in the name of national security.  I don't care what the man behind the curtain shows our supposed political masters that makes them agree to this, it is never done with the people's best interests at heart.  The profit motive is too strong for those who would provide the means and they'd just love Britain to lead the rest of the world in feeding paranoia with

        1. DF118

          Re: Remember the use of "Terrorism" Act against Labour Party protester?

          cash. The last word my stupid phone chopped off was cash.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remember the use of "Terrorism" Act against Labour Party protester?

        Councils were given powers to snoop to help security and stop serious crimes. Instead they used it to spy on people to check they were picking up their dog's mess.

        1. Anonymous Сoward
          Coat

          Re: Remember the use of "Terrorism" Act against Labour Party protester?

          Councils were given powers to snoop to help security and stop serious crimes. Instead they abused it to spy on people to check they were picking up their dog's mess.

          FTFY.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      Re: If it is there they will use it.

      "To have this large pool of data and not to go through it every way possible is not something that the government will be able to resist"

      You seem to think this will be some kind of accidental side effect.

      That is its purpose.

      The collection of data about everybody regardless of wheather any evidence exists they threaten anyone. It's not a rational policy.

      It's a fetish, and one of the few truly nasty ones.

  4. Mad Jack
    Big Brother

    Err, I thought a coalition was in government, now Clegg says his lot are in charge

    Lib Dems in government? I thought they justdemanded useless policy changes no-one gives a shit about and threw toys out of the pram with tit for tat playground politics when they didn't get them. No wonder UKIP are increasingly strong.

    Shame he spoilt it really though, one of the few times a politician has actually come anything like close to realising the volumes of data they are talking about trying to monitor, and the (im)practicalities of monitoring it.

    "I think it isn't workable or proportionate," well yes, it's certainly not, nor is it economically or practically feasible, let alone desirable.

    Anyway, his "not while we're in charge" comment implies he thinks they're going to be around for a while yet. Bless him!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Err, I thought a coalition was in government, now Clegg says his lot are in charge

      Part of a coalition = In government, that's not that hard to understand is it?

      The problem that the Lib Dems have is that they tried to keep the coalition stable and didn't should about the policies and in particular the policies which have tempered or stopped the more outrageous things that the Tories wanted to do. This seems to have given rise to an opinion that everything that was bad that's been done by the coalition was down to the Lib Dems, everything else the Tories.

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Err, I thought a coalition was in government, now Clegg says his lot are in charge

        Well, the lad's become the mouthpiece/ringpiece/catspaw but seems to relish it.

        With an act as bad has his, expect old fruit and veg.

      2. Chad H.

        Re: Err, I thought a coalition was in government, now Clegg says his lot are in charge

        @ AC

        "This seems to have given rise to an opinion that everything that was bad that's been done by the coalition was down to the Lib Dems, everything else the Tories."

        Which shows that the Coalition itself was a masterstroke by DC, and a damned foolish move by NC.

        NC should have offered confidence and supply, no more.

    2. Steve Evans

      Re: Err, I thought a coalition was in government, now Clegg says his lot are in charge

      As in charge as they were when they stopped the tuition fees...

      Oh.

  5. Shonko Kid
    Big Brother

    Probably not enough money in it for them.

    Self-serving little sh!t$

    1. Shonko Kid
      WTF?

      downvote?!?

      is that you Jacqui?

  6. Frankee Llonnygog

    The Lib Dems are in Government?

    Who knew?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Lib Dems are in Government?

      Anyone who's paid even cursory attention to the country they live in?

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: The Lib Dems are in Government?

        Hey Cleggie - welcome to El Reg!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Lib Dems are in Government?

      "The Lib Dems are in Government?

      Who knew?"

      Certainly not the retarded electorate who voted tory FFS!

      Why do my English brethren make me want to be violently sick?

  7. Thomas 4
    Trollface

    "Tuition fee rises...

    "...won't happen while Lib Dems are in government."

  8. OpenIndiana
    Thumb Down

    I would sell my mum for votes

    Nick Clegg, as useful as a eunuch in a whorehouse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I would sell my mum for votes

      Yeah, they've done nothing and everything would be just peachy if the Tories had been allowed to do everything they wanted...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I would sell my mum for votes

        "Yeah, they've done nothing and everything would be just peachy if the Tories had been allowed to do everything they wanted..."

        Is this sarcastic or honest point?

        God I hope it was sarcastic for the upvoters sake.

    2. JDX Gold badge
      Trollface

      Re: I would sell my mum for votes

      Eunuchs have historically been employed in brothels and harems, since they can be trusted not to touch the merchandise.

      1. Rukario
        IT Angle

        Re: I would sell my mum for votes

        > Eunuchs have historically been employed in brothels and harems, since they can be trusted not to touch the merchandise.

        Couldn't resist:

        http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1993-11-09/

    3. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: I would sell my mum for votes

      Oh I dunno - at least the eunuch could hang up your jacket for you.

    4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: I would sell my mum for votes

      As the minority partner in a coalition government, they actually have a disproportionately powerful position. If the Tories wanted to push through legislation that the other parties were opposed to, and if they were a majority in parliament, they could win a vote on the issue. With a coalition, they would also need the support of their coalition partners to gain a majority vote on such an issue.

      However, I don't think this is such an issue. Whilst Tory party members might be whipped to vote one way, I seem to recall New Labour pushing very similar proposals, so there's no guarantee that such a measure wouldn't pass even if every Lib Dem voted against it. I would hope that if there were a free vote on the issue, many of those outside of the Ministry of Love Home Office would vote against something so limiting to personal freedom.

      The other perspective might be that Nick Clegg may still hold some personal sway and be in a position to get the bill dropped entirely before the issue of a parliamentary vote is even relevant.

      At the end of the day, these proposals come not form the Tories, but from the Home Office itself, whoever is given the nominal position of Home Secretary still has the same Sir Humphry sat behind him/her.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I would sell my mum for votes

      "Nick Clegg, as useful as a eunuch in a whorehouse."

      They still have a tongue! And for most ladies its far more useful than the bit thats missing. Ask any woman.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I would sell my mum for votes

        "They still have a tongue! And for most ladies its far more useful than the bit thats missing.

        Historically eunuchs were not necessarily as neutered as many seem to think. The Chinese took the physical emasculation to extremes - with a quill for a catheter. Other rulers were more selective in which bits they disabled. Those eunuchs could still have a sex drive and relatively working equipment. There were several scandals in some harems - but the ruler was mainly concerned with bored wives plotting with eunuchs to overthrow him in favour of their own son.

        A major line of reasoning was that eunuchs would be more loyal to the ruler by not being able to father progeny themselves. However - enterprising mothers often gave up one son to be a eunuch at court - in the expectation that he would provide some nepotism for his brothers as he rose through the ranks. That is similar to the Catholic Church's celibacy policy. Historically a son was often given for service in the Church with expectations of future nepotism in exercising earthly powers.

  9. WonkoTheSane
    Big Brother

    How to be a Politician...

    1: Promise everything

    2: Deliver nothing

    3: Blame other parties

    4: Profit!

    1. Ketlan
      Happy

      Re: How to be a Politician...

      I thought underpants were involved somewhere...

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        Paris Hilton

        Re: How to be a Politician...

        No its not underpants, its oranges in the mouth inside a walk-in wardrobe or something similar I thought?

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Ye Gads
      Stop

      Re: Clegg the trustworthy....

      Socialist?

      The guy's a Liberal. There's quite a lot of difference between a Liberal and a Socialist.

      Socialists are interested in managing outcomes in order reduce the disparity between the most and least wealthy in a state. They do this through progressive taxation (income tax), social programmes like free education, free health-care and significant state ownership and participation in the economy.

      Liberals are more interested in process. Equality before the law, protections of freedoms (free speech, habeus corpus, etc) and freedom of action and conscience are all aspects of Liberal thought. You also have economic Liberals. They tend to believe in unfettered markets, minimal state control in the economy. Thatcherism is a form of economic Liberalism.

      We're actually being governed by two Liberals. Cameron is an economic Liberal and Clegg a classic Liberal. Come to think of it, Tony Blair was also a liberal. John Prescott is a socialist, as was John Smith.

      You, on the other hand, are simply ignorant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Clegg the trustworthy....

        " Tony Blair was also a liberal."

        He was whatever could be spun to look good on his CV - and apparently whatever inflated his bankroll. At heart he always wanted to be a rock star - adored at a big stadium gig. It was hard to see any shred of principle for any particular colour of politics.

        Always reminded me of Mussolini with his Third Way - and getting his country into an opportunistic foreign war on the coat-tails of a bigger neighbour. He left the work of depleting civil liberties to his henchmen - who were far more dangerous with their hands on the levers of power.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clegg the trustworthy....

      Well, ten out of ten for not making this a Microsoft issue, but several million out of ten for your obvious right wing knee jerk which shows you up as knowing about as much about politics as you do about Microsoft.

      When you enter into a coalition government, it turns out that you can't always keep your manifesto promises, who would have thought?

      1. h3

        Re: Clegg the trustworthy....

        The fact is entering into a coalition government after having a manifesto that states completely the opposite to what you actually do is wrong. (At a minimum you should directly oppose anything you have said the opposite to). Otherwise it really p*sses people off. If they had got the voting system reform without the referendum it might have been worth it if to do that meant supporting the Conservatives in everything else.

        I will never vote for them again after this.

        (I didn't like Blair (It is his fault the worst parts of Thatcherism are so ingrained in this country probably now forever) / didn't mind Brown (What happened would have been the same no matter who was in power / quite liked Charles Kennedy / Dislike Cameron / Dislike Clegg.

        Thatcher - I think she did some pretty terrible things but some great things as well. (Like Adolf Hitler.)

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Clegg the trustworthy....

        "Well, ten out of ten for not making this a Microsoft issue,"

        OMG I totally missed this was an Eadon post.

        I'm loosing my touch....

        Well spotted.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Headmaster

          "Loosing"

          Grrr.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Loosing"

            You know, if people told me I was doing something wrong every single day, I think I would eventually get the gist and take 30 seconds to check and make sure I was right in future.

            But then some people just rolled off the production line without being fitted with brains.

    3. Elmer Phud
      WTF?

      Re: Clegg the trustworthy....

      "I hope Clegg wins this"

      But he's a Windows user!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Clegg the trustworthy....

        But he's a Windows user!!

        Where does his choice of OS come into this?

        1. DF118
          Facepalm

          Re: Clegg the trustworthy....

          Where does his choice of OS come into this?

          Might I suggest you perhaps review Eadon's historical commentard activity.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Clegg the trustworthy....

            Why should I have to review someones post history to find out what the thread is about?

            cue facepalms indeed.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Still worried

    We have a LibDem MP to whom I wrote about this issue some time back. In his reply I was concerned that he seemed to leave the door slightly ajar by saying they would be looking at the details of what May/HomeOffice wanted before deciding. With the LibDems' record of saying "Those are our principles, unless you want us to change them" I thought they'd roll over on this, but I think they realise this is a fundamental to the LibDems' existence.

    What gets me is how the guvmint talks up techno vapourware as the answer to the economic problem, but think that technology operates best in such a controlled atmosphere. Their idea of a free environment is one which includes tax kickbacks.

  12. Tony Green

    Amazing timing

    How strange that Clegg should suddenly rediscover Liberal principles a few days before County Council elections in which the LibDems are widely expected to get hammered, not least through pissing off former supporters by lurching so far to the right.

    I'm sure it's coincidence (he lied).

    1. h3

      Re: Amazing timing

      It was widely expected at the last bi-election they would be hammered but they weren't.

  13. Aldous

    Nice one Clegg!

    So its not going to happen? Great! Just like when you held firm on the tuition fee rises...... oh bugger

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So...

    ...just get rid of the Lib Dems and the entire point is moot?

  15. Andy Johnson

    Yes Prime Minister

    If you remember the way "Yes Prime Minister" used to work, with so many denials I can only conclude that the plans are going full steam ahead. They just need a patsy to blame it on now.

  16. MWebster
    FAIL

    From the BBC report

    "Mr Clegg said he would be willing to accept changes to take account of new technology - such as ensuring each mobile device had its own unique IP address."

    And you wonder why all our IT-related legislation is in such a mess...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From the BBC report

      "such as ensuring each mobile device had its own unique IP address" they probably mean a co-ordinated worldwide headlong rush into the 'internet of thongs' where every item will have it's own IPv6 address - typically made with the devices 'unique' MAC address as the IPv6 seed. Everyone's data packets will then be directly useable as digitally signed evidence, once the large state hard disks are inevitable installed..

      This rush to IoT was suggested by the same data-spooks as CCDP according to some late 90's StateWatch hosted G8 hi-tech crime report memo leak...

  17. dephormation.org.uk
    WTF?

    "a new consultation"

    What, yet another public consultation? Just like the last two that got thoroughly torn to shreds?

    OK.

    In that case I guess just I'll cut/paste my response to the last two Home Office consultations on the same topic, and call that a 'new response' to their 'new consultation'.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "...[The] HO [Home Office] are, I suspect, not that pleased ...""

    The Lib Dems may not be that good at pleasing HOs, but they'd please me if they made the Government see sense and kill this concept once and for all.

    1. hplasm
      Gimp

      Re: "The Lib Dems may not be that good at pleasing HOs

      Not even wearing one of these? <====

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally!

    A reason to be proud that I voted for this man.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nick, we love you so much!

    but not enough to vote for you again, no matter what you say. Because we already know that what you say is, well, what you say. No less, no more.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Nick, we love you so much!

      Well, duh! That's because not enough people voted for him.

      So what are you going to do instead? Vote for someone you disagree with, but who is likely to get enough votes to actually do what they promise?

  21. JaitcH
    FAIL

    I hav two words for the venal specimen MAY ...

    SILENT CIRCLE!

    Now I can send up to 60 mbyte files and secure voice and, this week, e-mail!

    Stuff that in your BAE bag of tricks, MAY, and see what you can hear.

  22. Sirius Lee

    Alan Johnson appears to be in favour

    Alan Johnson, Terry Wogan's former postman (oh, and a Home Secretary in the previous Labour government), appeared on This Week yesterday. When this subject came up AJ seemed broadly in favour of the legislation. As a former Union baron and a senior Labour figure maybe his point of view indicates that law enforcement agencies (and just about anyone else who can plausibly claim to be a 'civil servant') will get their way the next time Labour is returned to power.

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