back to article ISPs 'blindsided' by's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

The Tory-led government's "emergency" data retention and investigation powers (Drip) bill currently being rushed through Parliament has caught ISPs off guard, it has emerged. The Register understands that telcos were only gently briefed on the plans ahead of last week's announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron. An …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I did wonder who they expected to pay for the storage of all this lovely slurped data.

    A good day to be a storage vendor?

    1. BillG
      Big Brother

      Clegg has promised a "poison pill" clause that will repeal the legislation at the end of 2016

      At which point the infrastructure will already be in place - which is what this bill is all about in the first place.

      1. Bluenose

        Nick Clegg = Idiot

        Just goes to show how thick Nick Clegg is, no Parliament is bound by the laws passed by a predecessor. Therefore all that happens is next Govt renews legislation in 2015, immediately after election, removing "poisoned pill" and hey presto its in place forever. As Nick and his mates won't be around in 2015 having received insufficient votes to elect an MP, the party in power will get its own way by enforcing three line whip to and threatening to link anyone who refuses to vote with the party line that they will make public dirt that the whip's office has on them.

        Better to have the arguments about this legislation now while no party can force through this type of legislation instead of waiting until that is no longer an option.

        1. Adam Nealis

          Re: Nick Clegg = Idiot

          Nick Clegg = Someone who does not give a shit.

          1. M Mouse

            Re: Nick Clegg = Idiot

            At least he showed a teeny bit of caution, and questioning the powers, even if he was unable to reject the plan in its entirety.

            I'm also not that sure that Labour are anti-snooping, after all, when did RIP Act come into effect?

            The big elephant in the room is that anyone who questions these plans is going to face hounding as being willing to let terrorists plot, while our clever / brave (*) security services are trying to detect and prevent them...

            It was the same in USA about all the Middle East actions, and whether Homeland Security went too far... any questions and you were classed as anti-American, not patriotic, etc.

            (*) choose term you feel makes you most likely to puke

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        "Clegg has promised a "poison pill" clause that will repeal the legislation at the end of 2016"

        Not quite. The clause should be in this Bill. There is such a clause in THE PATRIOT Act for some sections as well.

        And when it came time the Con-gress voted for another extension.

        Like most of these bills the actual list of stuff that can be slurped is hidden in an appendix or "schedule."

        Like the Dark Lords fondness for "Statutory Instruments" this is another handy thin end of the wedge tool for authoritarian governments. Get the basics in first and extend at your leisure.

        I doubt the list of items being slurped has ever been reduced.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and rack-cam vendor

      "The bill states under the "extra-territoriality in Part 1 of Ripa" section that any address in Blighty can be used for such a purpose."

      I suspect for a lot of non-UK firms the only address they may have in the UK is a rack position in a data centre somewhere and some v4/v6 addresses. This could make life interesting for data centre operators if they receive warrants for their customers who's contents should not be disclosed. Or just stick the warrant on the rack and hope for the best. Or we'll have to figure out electronic warrants with all the fun they could entail.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: and rack-cam vendor

        I think that's why it said "any address" not any address associated with the ISP.

        That way you can post the warrant to a Mrs Trellis of North Wales and then raid their data center.

      2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: and rack-cam vendor

        Wait until the bailiff nails the warrant to the front of the server!

    3. Phil W

      I may be wrong here, but won't they already have the infrastructure in place now in order for them to have been complying with the recently abolished Data Retention Directive.

    4. Glostermeteor

      You can be absolutely sure that it won't be the politicians paying for it. They really are one corrupt bunch, all of them.

  2. Paddy Fagan

    Another hitchhikers quote might have been more appropiate...

    "But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."

    "Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."

    "But the plans were on display ..."

    "On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

    "That's the display department."

    "With a flashlight."

    "Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

    "So had the stairs."

    "But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

    "Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."

    1. Isendel Steel

      Re: Another hitchhikers quote might have been more appropiate...


    2. Greg J Preece

      Re: Another hitchhikers quote might have been more appropiate...

      "Ever thought of going into advertising?"

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    The bill surprised many by quickly securing cross-party support prior to its publication last Thursday

    Of course. Everyone was busy reserving their "well-deserved" vacation while the world burns, so pressing the YES button is done with the same haste shown when super urgent toilet break is required.

    It should be forbidden to pass laws 1 month before the "recess".


    In Independence Day, 2014, old fart Napolitano had this to say:

    In one week, the Supreme Court told ... the president that he cannot wait until Saturday morning, when the Senate is not in session, to appoint high-level officials whose jobs require Senate confirmation, and then claim that they do not require Senate confirmation because the Senate was in recess.

    These nasty tricks are as numerous as tax evasion attempts, but far more harmful.

  4. corestore

    "The planned legislation demands that warrants are served in a variety of ways on a person outside the UK whose company offers a form of telecommunications to Brits."

    Please to explain?

    How can a British warrant under a British act have any validity or enforceability on a person or body corporate located in, say, Iceland? Surely they would operate under, and be bound exclusively by, Icelandic law?

    So what is the point?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      There is precident

      Remember that US law already rules everywhere on the planet. It make little different what the [redacted] in Westminster say or do. so gripping their coat tails is (to them ) logical and makes our laws apply everywhere except the US.

      Sadly 'les Frogs' will just say 'Non' to this like they do to everything else imposed on them from outside France. This will, I am sure be repeated in all sane nations.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: There is precident

        The interesting thing will be when a British court goes after an American person. What may or may not be legal here much be a "freedom of speech" right there. For a country to try to enforce its law in another will, sooner or later, blow up in their faces...

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: There is precident

          I'm sure the US/UK side is already sorted... The US have been very public to say they don't monitor US citizens, and we all know why... The UK does that for them, and then shares any info they US want.

          1. Hollerith 1

            Re: There is precident

            Except that they do monitor US citizens in the USA.

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        There is no precedent .... other than the making up of things on the fly

        which be against convention and unconstitutional

        Regarding the state of rule of US law, Steve Davies 3, you might like to have a read of

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: There is no precedent .... other than the making up of things on the fly

          Shhhh. Don't shout that too loudly or the men in black might come calling around dawn and give you a one way ticket to an envlave on a large Island in the Carribean.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: There is no precedent .... other than the making up of things on the fly

            Shhhh. Don't shout that too loudly or the men in black might come calling around dawn and give you a one way ticket to an envlave on a large Island in the Carribean. ... Steve Davies 3

            I've already packed a bag with shorts and Ts and left the door unlocked, SD3, for a SPICE ISLAND trip ........ The Intercept

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon

              Re: There is no precedent .... other than the making up of things on the fly

              This could all be aimed at the peering points like LINX.

              Most providers have a peering at the LINX (amongst many others) in order to reduce the number of hops into/across their network.

              This clause will effectively mean *anything, anywhere*

    2. DJV Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      So what is the point?

      Of Cameron and his cronies?

      Not a damn jot!

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Please to explain?

      Try selling certain recreational pharmaceuticals in Britain , claiming that they are legal under the law of wherever you are incorporated.

      1. corestore

        Re: Please to explain?

        I'm not selling anything in Britain; I'm storing emails in Iceland.

        Or selling server capacity in New York.

        Please to explain why I don't use a British 'warrant' for toilet paper?

        If they want to try an MLAT in my own country, let them.

    4. TkH11

      I think it means this:

      A company located in a different country providing a telecoms service to people within the UK, and that telecoms service includes, email, instant chat, webmail, peer to peer, basically anything! - then various methods can be used to issue the warrant for interception, perhaps email for example.

      It gives the government the power to monitor any form of communication either in the country or where traffic is coming in or out of the country. It's as far reaching as it gets.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get a grip

    Data retention is reasonable and practical means to deter crime. Get over it.

    1. WonkoTheSane
      Big Brother

      Re: Get a grip

      GCHQ Shill downvoted.

    2. nsld

      Re: Get a grip

      Of course it is because every mugger tweets about it first before they go and mug a granny!

      And it was overwhelmingly successful in averting the bombings on the 7th of July and in stopping the murder of Lee RIgby, except it wasnt and it didnt despite the fact the people involved where all on the watch lists and well known to the security services and police.

      Sucide bombers dont care if the data is retained, what are you to do with it? prosecute the crater they leave?

      1. b0llchit Silver badge

        Re: Get a grip

        "Sucide bombers dont care if the data is retained, what are you to do with it? prosecute the crater they leave?"

        That could be a very sensible thing to do. Sue the city/county or whatever who owns the ground where the crater was left. They surely were not prepared enough to ensure that the critical infrastructure could withstand a blast so no crater would emerge.

        Rule #1: always blame someone else

        Rule #2: see rule #1

      2. Tom 38

        Re: Get a grip

        Sucide bombers dont care if the data is retained, what are you to do with it? prosecute the crater they leave?

        Not all terrorism is suicide bombing, and RIPA is not only used for terrorism but also organized crime. Even if it were a suicide bomber, do you not think it would be handy for the police to know who he spoke to 10 minutes before-hand?

        A panopticon only works if everyone is rational (they aren't), the punishment always outweighs the benefit (it doesn't) and that the surveillance is perfect (it isn't).

        Except this isn't a panopticon, for two main reasons.

        Firstly, this isn't the mass collection of data on everyone and everything that security services apparently do legally, which could be considered a panopticon.

        Secondly, it differs in that the idea of a panopticon is that people who are constantly observed will not offend, where as the idea of this is that if people offend, it's easier to determine who and why if you have this data available to query.

        It's not perfect, but in most cases, if two people communicate digitally, this may record the fact, which can then be used to prove that they communicate with each other when their defence is predicated that they do not.

        1. Cynic_999

          Re: Get a grip

          Most people who are planning or have committed really serious crimes are extremely paranoid and will naturally limit or disguise their communications. Most of the people who get caught via these means will be minor criminals - such as the person who gets drunk and emails or posts a racial or homophobic rant, or small-time drug dealer/users - and it really doesn't need special laws to get access to that information. Meanwhile there is also a heck of a lot of data from people who post their views openly because they are doing nothing illegal - now, but will become a mine for police "intelligence gathering" when such views become illegal or associated with illegality in 10 or 20 years' time.

          1. Tom 38

            Re: Get a grip

            Most people who are planning or have committed really serious crimes are extremely paranoid and will naturally limit or disguise their communications.


            Most of the people who get caught via these means will be minor criminals - such as the person who gets drunk and emails or posts a racial or homophobic rant, or small-time drug dealer/users


            and it really doesn't need special laws to get access to that information.

            It currently does, so what do you think changes in the future?

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon

              For all those 'nothing to hide people' I have this to say..

              They have something to hide, you have everything to fear.

            2. Marshalltown

              Re: Get a grip

              Citation. .... "Journal of Common sense(1(1):1)

              Citation. ibid.

              The sole reason that "special laws" are required is simply because the PTB refuse to reason analogically and apply the rational conclusion. Even a communication on paper is ephemeral and could be burnt or shredded by a rational criminal. The reality is that all information is subject to entropy and these laws are an attempt to repeal entropy for what is purported to be public safety at the expense of individual privacy.

              Also, the whole "have you anything to hide" counter argument is inane. Suppose that you have a VERY good relationship with you wife, who is also world class. You're on the road, and she forwards you some explict selfies simply to make sure you remember where your interests are and keep you looking forward to getting home. That is not illegal in most jurisdictions; China and Muslim locales may be different. However, it certainly is not something you want some NSA or GCHQ squint drooling over.

              You might be member of a nudist club, again not illegal, but they send a mildly encrypted newsletter periodically to let members know of up coming events, and may be it includes pix. Again, not something illegal, but as a politician the info is potentially embarrassing, AND if the news gets out you could lose a chunk of your constituency. Worse, you are expecting to vote on funding for the agency, a quiet visit from agency reps with a copy of info, not illegal but not something you want released, and there you have abuse, extortion in fact. In fact, the Snowden affair ought to make you realize that merely because some agency is supposed to be protecting you doesn't mean they are or really can. There's a reason why Washington, D.C. breathed a collective sigh of relief when JEH kicked off and it had little or nothing to do with fear of exposure of their illegal activities.

              1. btrower

                Re: Get a grip

                Re:"these laws are an attempt to repeal entropy"

                Upvote for amusing turn of phrase. Trying to figure out some way to steal it.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Get a grip

      Not without a specific warrant

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get a grip

      > Data retention is reasonable and practical means to deter crime. Get over it.

      Trolling or brain damage aside, it really isn't. That's the same flawed assumption that Jeremy Bentham made in the 18th century; that no one is going to commit a crime if they know they are being watched. This is demonstrably untrue.

      A panopticon only works if everyone is rational (they aren't), the punishment always outweighs the benefit (it doesn't) and that the surveillance is perfect (it isn't).

      The government were about to get fucked by the European Court of Justice over GCHQ's shenanigans. This law is an attempt to formally legalise what they have been doing in Cheltenham. Of course they can't say that without tacitly admitting that it was actually illegal in the first place hence the WMD in Iraq level bullshit about national security.

    5. fruitoftheloon
      Thumb Down

      Re: Get a grip


      presumably as you have nothing to hide, you don't mind sharing your personal info with your fellow commentards?

      I mean, what could possibly go wrong...?


    6. Bluenose

      Re: Get a grip

      To the best of my knowledge I have never committed a crime in the UK but I have made a number of political points on the internet. Why does the Govt need to have my ISP retain my metadata other than to monitor my political leanings and writings? Seems to me the Govt is in breach of my right to privacy there.

      In addition the retention is not to prevent or deter crime rather it is a blunt instrument which would allow individuals to be identified who may well use UK telecommunication links to post online about their own countries. The retention of their metadata will allow countries such as Iran, Norks and others to identify those users (by hacking ISPs, seeking legal injunctions, etc) and take action against them. Therefore rather than deterring crime it is actually in a position to potentially improve the capability of foreign countries to act against their opponents in the UK in criminal ways. Or even domestic criminals who can look to trace people in the witness protection scheme.

    7. razorfishsl

      Re: Get a grip

      Yes I bet that's what the Nazis kept telling everyone.

      Funny how history repeats itself.

    8. TkH11

      Re: Get a grip

      Actually the ECJ ruling actually states the original 1995 EC directive (which has been incorporated into UK RIPA and Data Protection Legislation) is too far reaching and doesn't recognise the privacy of individuals and their right to a private life. Only the minimum amount of data should be stored.

      There's reasonable and there's excessive retention.

  6. btrower

    This should tell you

    ... that there is essentially only one party in power and it does not answer to the people.

    1. Hargrove

      Re: This should tell you

      This is a case where "Cui Bono"/"Follow the money" applies. Every sign I see points to the likelihood that all political parties in the US and UK respond to (and uncompromisingly govern on behalf of) a set of special interests. As near as I have been able to discern, there is no conspiracy involved. Commonality of interest and greed suffice.

      The old Soviet Union excelled in math and science, because the best and brightest competed for research jobs there, rather than in factories where productivity was tightly measured. Intelligence data gathering is the present equivalent in the US and UK--a business where vast fortunes can be made, without any practical accountability. Those who govern outsource the essential IT functions, in return (at least in the US) for political support.

      The net result is to create an effective oligarchy that is completely out of touch with the rest of society.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This should tell you

        Not the money.

        Days after they announce an investigation into serious crime in parliament they pass new laws helping them blackmail everybody involved.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This should tell you

        "The net result is to create an effective oligarchy\\\\\\\\\kleptocracy that is completely out of touch with the rest of society."

      3. btrower

        Re: This should tell you

        Re:"Commonality of interest and greed suffice."


        Very well put. It expresses my own thinking very well. Whether it is currently the primary driver or not, it is a simple and sufficient explanation and almost certainly true to some extent. It is an attack vector that we have to close down whether or not it is actively being used.

    2. Gordon 11

      Re: This should tell you

      ...and it does not answer to the people.

      You mean it doesn't answer to you. How do you know that the majority of people in the UK don't support this?

      The Government is expected to be answerable for security issues, which you are not, so it's not surprising that your views differ.

      So, what about saying what you would do, rather than just things which you would not do?

      1. btrower

        Re: This should tell you


        Re: "You mean it doesn't answer to you. How do you know that the majority of people in the UK don't support this?"

        Even were it able to justify what is happening, consent is not sufficient. Consent must be informed and there is simply no way that informed consent could possibly given here. A failure to appropriately inform is one of the points in contention. We cannot be held to a contract we are not allowed to see, that acts against the most basic of our interests, regardless of (alleged) consent.

        How sad is it that someone posts a question like that? No reasonable government can respond to mob rule. That is what constitutions and bills of rights are all about. There are fundamental human rights defined by constitutions for the United Nations, the United States, Canada, the EU and many other places besides. Those rights are not up for a simple majority vote and rightly so. In Canada and the United States, at least, multiple separate governing bodies must ratify any shift in these rights. There are reasons for this and one of them is precisely to prevent assaults on individual liberty from a tyranny of the majority. It is necessary that the majority of the body politic agree to abide by a covenant. It is not sufficient. Even significant majority votes cannot render lawful that which is fundamentally unlawful. For there to be peace and legitimate law and order even small groups must be given their fundamental rights or they will rebel and create chaos.

        "there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths" -- James Madison -- The Federalist No. 10 1787-11-22

        We are in dangerous territory. A slow rot has begun to stabilize into a fundamentally corrupted system. This cannot last. It is only a question of whether we fall into a frightening permanent tyranny, have a revolution or hopefully cure the rot while we still have a chance.

        The only legitimacy the state has comes from a covenant between individuals and the collective. That covenant is expressed through constitutions in the United States and Canada. The state has no legitimate business, particularly and explicitly in the United States' Constitution of enumerated powers and bill of rights if it strays outside the confines of the Covenant.

        "I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution." James Madison in letter to Henry Lee 1824-06-25

        My right to worship as I please, including being an atheist if that is my leaning, is not up for a majority vote. The covenant that mutually binds us -- you, I and the state -- reserves that right to me alone. Similarly, my right to security of my person, including my privacy is beyond the legitimate power of the state to waive, except under very narrow circumstances.

        "If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -- James Madison

        The 'war on terror' is an illegal attempt to claim a narrow circumstance exists, applies without limit and allows the state to do as it pleases. This has been used already to justify universally illegal acts such as torture and the very worst sort of summary execution. At least some strictly illegal and illegitimate acts, be they committed by legislators, executive operatives, the judiciary or even the military in the heat of combat are void of legitimate authority. They are crimes. A claim that an emergent permanent war with no end condition whatsoever is of necessity void and cannot justify illegal acts.

        "Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued, or concluded" -- James Madison, , Letters of Helvidius, no. 1

        You do not set a fox to guarding the hen-house.

        Some acts that have been committed in recent years have always been illegal and are not subject to statutes of limitations. They can be, should be and I hope in at least some instances will be prosecuted and the perpetrators punished.

        You do not have to do something the state orders you to do when it exceeds their legitimate authority. You resist to your peril, but sometimes good men have to rise to such a challenge. Our current liberty, tenuous as it is, was paid for in blood by our forebears. We can expect to pay for it with more blood going forward, but I think we should attempt to do our best with our current liberty to minimize that. So far we are not doing a good job.

        Regardless of their presumptive motivation or state of mind, acts by Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are noble, brave and necessary and acts by their persecutors are shameful, cowardly and necessarily opposed.

        The state apparatus, no matter the ever more outrageous revelations that continue to pour out from a few whistle-blowers continues to press for ever more advantage against its citizens. Have they, at last, no decency? Have we? When does it become OK, in your opinion, to call demand an end to this?

        A majority opinion does not justify wrongdoing anyway, but I repudiate the notion that an informed majority of my fellow citizens in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., other parts of the EU and most of the world for that matter would vote to have a state monitoring and perverting discourse everywhere and committing ever more extreme crimes in the name of protecting the very things they are destroying.

      2. btrower

        Re: This should tell you


        Re: "The Government is expected to be answerable for security issues, which you are not, so it's not surprising that your views differ."

        In my capacity as proxy for the body politic, the state's very existence is solely at my pleasure. It exists only to serve us. The current state, in my opinion, is malfunctioning and needs to be repaired or replaced. The state Government cannot legitimately hold differing views. To the extent that individuals entrusted with operation of the state act on differing views in any significant way it is an act of treason. The state has attempted to redefine itself as the sovereign in our stead. That is high treason; the gravest of crimes which traditionally has drawn the most severe penalties available.

        There is an essential tension between the state and the individual. The state is the face of the collective and to some extent, by definition, its interests are opposed to the individual. One of the aspects of our covenant with one another is that we cede certain individual sovereign rights in order to secure others. My freedom to move about as I please stops at your door. I cede that freedom so that the state can ensure that you do not invade my own house. None of us have ceded even the smallest part of our fundamental rights except in the narrowest of necessary circumstance and then only to the extent necessary to *uphold* the covenant we have made.

        It is, in my opinion, legitimate for the state to take some necessary measures to ensure security. It is not legitimate for it to stray beyond certain boundaries and it is well over those boundaries now. It may be more secure for the population to place us all under house arrest, but our covenant does not allow this. Similarly, our covenant does not allow search and seizure without probable cause. An invasion of privacy such as the ones under discussion is an illegal search. Nothing the government can do can make it legal because it is well outside the bounds of the covenant that gives it any right to exist in the first place.

  7. bigtimehustler

    Presumably the ISP's could just ignore this law and when prosecuted for it, appeal it to European Court again, they found storing this data illegal before, they will find storing it illegal again under a different law.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Alternatively they could collect all this data and then sell it to insurance companies, advertisers and other agents of Beelzebub.

      Then point out that they are actually incorporated in a tiny underwater island in the south pacific whose laws allow this sort of thing.

      1. WonkoTheSane

        Actually R'y'leh is UNDER the South Pacific!

        1. TheOtherHobbes

          >Actually R'y'leh is UNDER the South Pacific!

          No, R'y'leh lives at No 10 Downing Street, and has done for at least the last couple of decades.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I'm pretty sure you're mistaking Nyarlathotep for Cthulhu.

            Cthulhu is relatively honest. When he's not asleep in R'lyeh he eats things that aren't worshipping him, and sometimes he eats things that are if he runs out of food. Nyarlathotep, however, would most assuredly seek political power for nefarious ends which may or may not include eating people.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Presumably the ISP's could just ignore this law and when prosecuted for it, appeal it to European Court again, they found storing this data illegal before, they will find storing it illegal again under a different law.

      Errm, the problem is that ISPs have to show a profit at some point, and donating their income to lawyers is not going to help, especially if the other part of their outgoings (i.e. their taxes and that of their users) is funding the government lawyers in opposition. Basically, you'll be screwed over by a party you are forced to sponsor yourself. I agree that there must be a test case, but I reckon it'll have to be a an organised one to avoid being bled dry by the same processes that deny ordinary citizens their rights.

      I'm not a rights advocate, but they are really taking the p*ss here.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    What did you do in the Great IntelAIgent Game Wars, Daddy?

    Were you a Pleased and Pleasing Crowd Spectator ....... or a Better Beta Turn and Fab Fabless Performer and Star Active Virtual Terrain Team Player?

    Hi, Kelly Fiveash and El Regers, Five Eyes Monitors and All Spooky Snoopers and AIMentors,

    The hyperspatial express route denier and parasitic professional political Luddite can always express an ignorance and puny defense of no great importance and zero effect with a bleating and pleading that critics have been quick to call in as a favour to and/or for supporters of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy* clause, with a pointing out it is not like a 'notice for Earth's demolition' posted to Alpha Centauri, whenever it is a 'notice for Earth's demolition' posted on Alpha Centauri, as per the genuine missive and original informative instruction …… People of Earth, your attention, please… This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you…

    There's no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you've had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it's far too late to start making a fuss about it now…

    What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven's sake, mankind, it's only four light years away, you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that's your own lookout. Energize the demolition beams.

    FFS …. can you not read and comprehend the simplest of complex communications? Is that why there are worlds of madness and mayhem so active and currently very effectively destroying systems and executive command and administrative control in your midsts?

    Words Control Worlds. Don’t Follow Fools on Follies and Wonks to Wars for that is the high road to Madness and Mayhem, Conflict and Chaos which leads to Death and Destruction and Disruption with Virtual Machinery Producing Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems.

  9. Stretch

    that's a "sunset" clause, not a "poison pill" clause

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Dave Robinson

    We're all screwed

    I don't think it'll make much difference to me... I've already been singled out for special treatment, having downloaded Tor and visited the Tails website.

    To be honest, these draconian and pointless laws (and dubious quasi-governental activities that would go on regardless of whether there were laws in place) just make me want to behave in a more suspicious manner (by their definition).

    I'm looking forward to my close encounter with the cage of rats in Room 101.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We're all screwed

      "I'm looking forward to my close encounter with the cage of rats in Room 101."

      All your PCs, phones, and data archives/backups will be taken away for several months in a large police van with maximum neighbourhood publicity. If you are lucky your front door will be intact if you woke up and answered the knocking quickly - even at 6am.

      You will receive catalogues for extreme material - addressed with your full formal names that only go on official documents. Unknown hands will place pages from extreme magazines on your doorstep.

      Eventually you will be told there is "insufficient evidence to charge" - which is the official fishing expedition phrase meaning "nothing found".

      You will spend money with your solicitor - who will confidentially advise you not to pursue the matter unless you want to see a smear from a unknown source in your local press.

      You will not get a CRB clearance. You will not be able to get a "fast" visa for the USA.

      1. cynic56

        Re: We're all screwed

        "You will not get a CRB clearance. You will not be able to get a "fast" visa for the USA."

        So it's not all bad then

      2. btrower

        Re: We're all screwed

        I do not use guns and have no interest in them. Last year, a catalogue for guns showed up with my name on the mailing box. I am vocal and easy to find. Hmmmm. Good thing for me that I actually *am* clean. Not so good that it is dead simple to plant evidence on my hard disks. Given the fact that courts have made bizarre illiterate decisions with respect to government overreach, there is cause to be worried that files of evil allegedly put there by me (but actually planted by shadowy agents of the government behind the government), will be deemed by a court to be perfectly sound evidence and away I go.

        Being squeaky clean is no defense; not that it ever was.

        The only thing we have is each other. That might not seem like a lot, but it is more potent than you might think. People in power with the knowledge to render a determination deem even a collective portion of the population to be a threat. They cynically coordinated an extreme (and successful) effort to shut down the grassroots 'Occupy Wall Street' movement. By any reasonable standard, many of the measures were and are illegitimate at best; more probably illegal.

        Elaborate measures have been taken to convince the sovereign body politic that it lacks both the power and the legitimate authority to correct a wayward government. Neither is true. The increasingly frantic efforts to arm and empower state agencies and disarm and dis-empower individuals demonstrates to me that wayward states fear us, as they should.

        We can't be complacent. We still have more power, but as we cede ever more power to the state we make recovering control more costly. Ultimately, this is all about power over individuals and it will still be some time before the state can exercise absolute power. Clearly, though, that is its aim.

        1. Hargrove

          Re: We're all screwed

          The risk to personal rights and freedoms lie in the fact that automated "horizon scanning and risk assessment" cannot get it right, even theoretically. The best and most accessible discussion of the problem of data classification (in the filtering sense) that I'm aware is in a couple of papers by Tom Fawcett, on something called ROC curves. ROC originally stood for "receiver operating characteristic", referring to the ability of a receiver to classify targets in noise. An analogous phenomenon occurs in pattern matching in digital data, where the term "relative operating characteristic" is used.

          Googling ["Tom Fawcett" ROC analysis] (without the brackets) should produce relevant results in the first few hits.

          In the grand scheme of things, the notion that individuals have rights is a relatively recent idea. The idea that all just powers of government derive from the will of the governed is, relative to the span of human history, new-born and terrifyingly fragile. Those who govern cannot be expected to defend it. A look at human history with a clear eye suggests that a society that is not willing to defend these ideas at the cost of their lives and sacred honor runs an egregious risk of being enslaved.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > For the purposes of the definition of "telecommunications service" in subsection (1), the cases in which a service is to be taken to consist in the provision of access to, and of facilities for making use of, a telecommunication system include any case where a service consists in or includes facilitating the creation, management or storage of communications transmitted, or that may be transmitted, by means of such a system.

    It is my imagination that the above seems to say "a telecommunications service is defined as any service that offers telecommunications"?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      IIRC previous legislation was specific about what telephone, e-mail, and SMS data were. This was obviously too specific and not up to date with current practice. *

      * I.e. what they're doing now anyway.

  13. Jeff Green

    Today I broke the mail server, good luck getting the mails back! There has to be an upside to everything!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Yes, that's your freedom draining away...

    1. Adam Foxton

      Re: DRIP...DRIP....DRIP...

      the next act is going to be called "THINEDGE"

  15. JaitcH

    Have you noticed that the word de jour is ...

    terrorism and yet all these 'terrorism' laws are used for purposes other than terrorism?

    Glenn Greenwald's hot squeeze was held for 9 hours at Heathrow, en route from Germany to Brazil under 'terrorism' laws and yet no one, even Britain, has claimed he was a terrorist.

    This means this whole ramming through Parliament is on, or for, false purposes. And politicians wonder why they are despised?

    1. Nextweek

      Re: Have you noticed that the word de jour is ...

      Effectively these laws say we are all suspected terrorists and there is no due process. If they make a mistake you have no means to get redress.

      Last years Heathrow case was a prime example of how the laws do not limit themselves to a small minority of people that we might need protecting from.

  16. Mike Shepherd


    These laws are necessary since Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

  17. Mike 16

    Liberal Democrats

    I thought, as a long-time reader of El Reg (and the Economist) that I understood the difference in definition of "Liberal" between the UK and the US, but even the most "just to the left of Ayn Rand" definition would seem to disqualify them from that word. As for "Democrat", well the US Dems have already pretty much bleached that of all meaning. But did the LibDems ever live up to the dictionary meaning of their name, or are they more like the typical "People's Democratic Workers Paradise" that we should all hope never to find ourselves in?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Liberal Democrats

      Well they are in a Tory coalition government but still to the left of New Labour

  18. Scroticus Canis

    Back to pen and paper then - no records of that!

    Might as well get back into the habit of writing a letter and posting it. True they could intercept it before delivery but then they would have to be watching the addressee at the time. There is no requirement (yet) that a sender must provide proof of their identity before mailing an item and if they investigate only after the fact there is no record trail like an ISP could provide. Lets see them data trawl the whole of the mail system electronically when sender and delivery are not recorded.

    Invisible ink anybody?

    1. present_arms

      Re: Back to pen and paper then - no records of that!

      And this is how the bad men will now communicate, snail mail or even knocking on the door of his/her "brothers" and do it behind closed doors, this bill is for the stupid people who will still use phones/internet to communicate.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back to pen and paper then - no records of that!

      They will identify the sender by DNA samples on the letter ...and don't lick the envelope!

      Coming soon: envelopes will only be able to be machine stamped over the (CCTV) counter in Post Offices - or using labels bought online. Sending an unstamped envelope will be a criminal offence.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Tory-led government's Drip bill?

    It's patented obvious that this isn't Tory-led but the initiative for this is coming from our real rulers Washington.

    "Global governments, the tech sector, and scholars are closely following a legal flap in which the US Justice Department claims that Microsoft must hand over e-mail stored in Dublin, Ireland" ref

    See also "GCHQ seed Internet with false information"

    1. corestore

      Re: Tory-led government's Drip bill?

      The answer to that is simple, and two-pronged:

      1. Email is held strongly encrypted.

      2. Only the user has the key.


      You so arrange things that you CAN'T hand it over in response to ANY order, subpoena, warrant, demand, or threat. You make it physically impossible.

      More and more companies are going to have to build this methodology into their systems, until it's pretty universal.

      The mealy-mouthed disclaimer that "we will disclose data in response to law enforcement requests", seen on so many sites and services, ENDS. It ends NOW. Enough already!

      1. Brenda McViking

        Re: Tory-led government's Drip bill?

        In the UK, not giving up your key is a criminal act.

        Exhibit A, register article.

        In the USA, not giving up unencrypted email is a criminal act.

        Exhibit B, register article.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: Tory-led government's Drip bill?

          We are all criminals and I claim my 5 years.

  20. cortland

    The Drip is a venereal disease.

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