back to article Snoopers' Charter 'goes too far' says retired Met assistant commish

The Liberal Democrats are planning to meet the Investigatory Powers Bill with strong resistance in the House of Lords, a list of key issues shared with The Register reveals. The bill, which will bolster state surveillance in the United Kingdom, remains especially unpopular amongst IT-literate members of the public, who are …

  1. James 51

    Time like these I wish the Lib Dems still had a big voice in parliament or that labour stood up against Tory rights bashing.

    1. Dr. Mouse

      Labour did just as much rights-bashing when they were in government as the Tories are now.

      Unfortunately for the Lib Dems, they were blamed for the unpopular Tory policies, and the Tories were given credit for the better legislation the Lib Dems pushed during their time in coalition. It was always a risk, and it almost killed off the party.

      1. James 51

        I know (haven't forgotten the whole ID cards thing) but was hoping they'd at least pretend to care and step in here.

      2. Vic

        Unfortunately for the Lib Dems, they were blamed for the unpopular Tory policies

        No, I don't think so.

        They made a personal pledge before the coalition. They then did a complete 180 and ignored that pledge. And when called on it, they apologised - not for breaking their word, but for making the pledge in the first place.

        Tuition fees was quite an important policy for many of us - but more important was the breach in faith that occurred as soon as they got a hint of power.


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are, however, 108 Lib Dem peers in the House of Lords, who, along with 173 crossbenchers and 210 Labour peers [...]

    No Tory peers? That's a bit surprising.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "No Tory peers?"

      The rest of the sentence you quoted reads:

      "...the party is ready to campaign to demand heavy concessions from the 244 government peers."

      (I actually had to read it a couple of times before that bit sank in.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Taking the point about Labour. It does look like they just might be breaking away from the Blair style "let's be worse Conservatives than the real Conservatives" Nu Labour rubbish and turning into a genuine opposition with their own thoughts.

        I don't know if it'll continue to make progress or if it'll get pushed back.

        I'm not saying I'd vote for a properly Corbyn style government but I think it would do the country good for that type of government to at least stand in opposition so there was a genuine choice.

        OK, I'll get back in my box now :-)

      2. P. Lee

        Actually, the Lords (despite apparent disconnectedness from the real world) have historically done a pretty good job of holding the executive to account.

        Sadly, too good a job. The government screamed "constitutional crisis" over the best way to kill farm pests and Labour used that like WMD in Iraq - it was a lie that allowed them to push their agenda over the line to the point where it couldn't be undone. The Lords was "reformed" to make its members more beholden to the executive so now it reflects the executive's agenda and is thus even more pointless (though so much more "representative") than before. Whatever you think about fox-hunting, (and no, I don't support it) it was a naked power grab by the executive to shut down those who had consistently caused trouble for it by undoing government legislative spin.

        Do you think the current Met Commissioner would make a statement like this? Of course not - its more than his job's worth. It seems that in today's society, no-one can stand to have anyone disagree with them. There is no arguing of a case, no hint of "you're right, we got that bit wrong so we'll update our policy," there isn't even, "the downside to what we're doing is a,b,c, but the benefits are x,y,z which I believe are worth it," only the incessant sound-bites and slogans attempting to drown out all voices of opposition. Failing that, we'll undermine them, regardless of whether they have anything useful to add to the conversation.

        Winning and being seen to be winning, rather than doing the right thing seems to be the objective.

  3. cantankerous swineherd

    renaming internet connection records as browsing history is a good first step.

    unfortunately the murder of Jo cox isn't going to make MPs want to go easy on surveillance; perhaps they could persuade the spooks to be a little less soft on fascism though?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The thing is people think browsing history is just the sites they visit by clicking on links, it's a lot more

      Go to any newspaper site and look at the HTML for the page, there are scripts pulled in from dozens of sites & media from dozens more, most people don't know this happens.

      All a terrorist group has to do is attack one of the scripting sites & modify a script so it downloads content from a known terrorist site into a dynamically created div element with a style of "display:none" so you never see it, leave it for a few weeks & then remove the modification. Your ICR log now has dozens of accesses to terrorist sites that you know nothing about but that are freely available to the authorities without a warrant, should they ever decide to go on a fishing expedition.

      The first time I mentioned this the BBC were serving some third party adverts that were infected with malware, so the mechanism is in use already just with a different payload, and no antivirus or antimalware in the world will spot this attack as it's not trying to infect your machine, it's trying to add incriminating entries to your web log held by your ISP.

      The first you'll know about this is when the police drag you from your bed at 4am

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Mind you, that could work another way if browser coders decided to undermine that sort of system by randomly connecting to anything/everything in the background. Suddenly everyone's ICR logs are massive and expensive to maintain, and everyone looks equally suspicious and has plausible denyability about looking at any odd site.

        You know those sites only too well =>

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          if browser coders decided to undermine that sort of system by randomly connecting to anything/everything in the background. Suddenly everyone's ICR logs are massive and expensive to maintain

          The only problem there is that it's our ISP that has to gather, maintain, secure & provide to the authorities on demand our ICR records not the authorities that have to do this.

          The fact that it's being swamped with irrelevant site accesses will make no difference to an expert system and will simply increase the cost of gathering, maintaining, securing etc... for our ISP

          Who will then recoup the cost of same from their main revenue source, us.

          So If you want to shoot yourself in the foot, go ahead and modify browsers to do this, it's your wallet that'll take the hit not the treasury coffers.

      2. Sirius Lee

        That's paranoia

        As dumb as the security services may be, I think even the wooden tops could use the pattern of embedded links to determine when a site was hacked. If the records of a lot people suddenly started showing content from nefarious sites after people had visited an otherwise innocuous site, it wouldn't take a genius to work out what had happened. They even be able to work out when the hack occurred and even, in your scenario, when the site was un-hacked.

        Come on, think of some more plausible scenarios that can't shot down with just a nano second of thinking.

        The the thinking part is important. If you put up nonsense objections like the scenario you've advanced, ones which can knocked back so easily, they will be used to demonstrate the objections to the proposed legislation is baseless.

    2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      renaming internet connection records as browsing history is a good first step

      Yes. And we need to explain how this means everyone has a permanent police tail on them 24 hours day. Adapted from my post almost exactly 2 years ago...

      Collecting internet connection records is exactly the same as placing a police tail on you: the tail can't hear what you are saying but they track exactly where you go, who else is nearby, who you talk to (and for how long), what posters you stop and read, what shops and other buildings you go into. If the Snooper's Charter was in effect, the tail can even follow you inside the buildings and video everything you do there.

      Having a permanent police tail on everyone seems like the clearest example of a police state that I have seen.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bexit terrorists

      The murder of Joe just gives them cover for spying on people with Brexit political views. But they already were. Self control from a group that already redefined words to go ahead against previous rejections of Snoopers? Not likely.

      It's not like the law comes first and the surveillance comes second.. the surveillance came first and right now getting this bill past to make it legal will be top of the surveillance target list.

  4. Disgruntled of TW

    Tell it like it is ...

    ... so that non-techies can comprehend how invasive and nasty this legislation is to our fundamental freedoms. Central to all this is the repeated failure of our government to manage the data they are able to retain about us (legally) already. Why should we trust them with more? In the absence of clear evidence of WHY they need it, with the onus on THEM to prove the need - not us to prove they do NOT need it, they should not be given the legal right to monitor us as this legislation demands.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back to the Lords to defend us from the onslaught of token democracy (You can vote red or blue, they're both pretty much the same so it doesn't really matter which you pick, except if you pick the losing side you can feel smug).

  6. Graham Marsden

    Ironic, isn't it...?

    That some people are shouting about the "undemocratic" EU (it isn't, unless all those MEPs are doing nothing), but we have to rely on the unelected House of Lords to do something to protect our privacy before it's sacrificed on the altar of security (which probably won't make us any more secure...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ironic, isn't it...?

      Our MEP's are doing nothing, specifically the UKIP ones, they tend to vote when there's a debate about MEP expenses but anything that might actually do some good for the UK they remain extremely quiet.

      It's almost like they had an agenda to show the EU doesn't work.

      So as far as our UKIP MEP's are concerned the EU is undemocratic because our UKIP MEP's choose not to engage with it

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Ironic, isn't it...?

      For me, the issue (as fare as this democracy discussion goes) with the EU is that the MEPs have very different (and fewer) abilities than our own MPs. Here, MPs get to see and discuss proposed laws, propose changes, and vote on them, etc etc - as we've seen here, the Lords are going to heavily criticise it, and in committee it's going to get some looking at. It then goes round the loop again.

      AIUI, in the EU, all that is done by permanent and unelected groups - with the final product presented to the parliament as "here you are, rubber stamp it please". This is the one and only point where MEPs have the option to influence new law - and their only choice is rubber stamp it or throw it out completely. I believe it is very rare for them to not rubber stamp it - though they have at times used some fairly undiplomatic language to describe what they are passing, they've still passed it.

  7. staringatclouds

    The Liberal Democrats are planning to meet the Investigatory Powers Bill with strong resistance in the House of Lords

    About fucking time someone did (looking at you Labour)

    “The experience with legislation is that is goes through the House of Commons very quickly and is only considered in detail in the House of Lords,”

    So our elected representatives, the ones we put in positions of power, basically try and pass any old toss into law and it's up to the Lords to sort it out ?

    1. Dr. Mouse

      "So our elected representatives, the ones we put in positions of power, basically try and pass any old toss into law and it's up to the Lords to sort it out ?"

      MPs are elected for a short time, now "fixed" at 5 years. They know they cannot count on having a job there in 5 years time. This encourages short-term, populist views. It also discourages longer-term planning, especially where money is concerned (why pay for something now which may end up benefiting the opposition after the next election?).

      The Lords tend to be in the position for much longer, so look at the long-term aspects of what is proposed. Also, as they are in "power" for longer, they tend to get to understand more of the subject matter. IMHO their job is, and always has been, to oversee the Commons and make sure they don't do anything too stupid, without looking like they are struggling for power. They are kind of like a parent raising an adolescent: They need to let the kid make his own mistakes, but guide them to avoid as many as possible, and give a yank on the reins when they are about to do something really stupid.

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Have an upvote for that succinct description of the upper house.

        Of course, this whole "restraining the adolescent brat" bit is why Tony B Liar was so keen to stifle their ability to do so - so inconvenient having put blocks in your route to a totalitarian regime.

        And it's also why an lelected upper house would be a completely flippin stupid thing to do - we only have to look at our friends across the pond to see how well that works out (or rather, doesn't).

        1. Dr. Mouse

          And it's also why an [elected] upper house would be a completely flippin stupid thing to do

          An elected upper house could, possibly, work, but only if they stood for a long time.

          My own suggestion would be along the lines of a 15-30 year term, with a third of seats up for grabs every 5-10 years.

          Whatever happens, we need someone to look at the long term. In fact, this is where the Queen (should) come in. She shouldn't be blocking legislation. However, should something go through which was utterly insane, I believe she would (should) still be able to refuse to sign it into law, dissolve parliament, and call for an election.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Right, honourable Dennis Skinner

      "About fucking time someone did (looking at you Labour)"

      Well said.

      TWO Labour MPs voted NO in the most recent vote on the bill: Dennis Skinner (the truly honourable) and David Winnick (Walsall North):


  8. John G Imrie

    So then

    What did the Lib Dems do for us?

    1. James 51

      Re: So then

      A referendum on a less undemocratic election process and reigning in the worst of the Tories excesses.

    2. Ucalegon

      Re: So then

      I'm going to guess they were caught by Gove painting, "Tories eunt domus", on the inside of No.10 and that was the end of them?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good on the Lib Dems - and for what people say about the lords, in this case they are the last line of defense against this current breed of super moron mp.

    So the security services dont want this data,

    the police say they don't have access to it (i was burgled last week)

    so who does? who is reading all this shit we're paying to collect?

    fucking morons

    1. James 51

      It will be good for embarrassing people you don't like.

  10. PapaD


    It seems that we currently have two 'last lines of defence' against the continuous attempts by our own government to allow them to do truly dubious things.

    With the referendum they are trying to do away with one of them (the EU)

    IF we do end up leaving the EU, I can guarantee that they'll target the upper house next.

    Then we'll have no checks and balances (as it is, I think the Lords doesn't go far enough, in that it should be entirely without political affiliation - none of this labour, tory, Lib dem peers.)

    And if we do end up replacing it with an elected group (not sure I like the idea), then I agree that the elected members should sit for a lot longer than 5 years - 30 at least.

    However, who can afford to take 30 years off from your career to sit in the Lords and help the country make decisions (actually, I'd do it - as the £150-£300 per day for attendance would probably exceed my current salary, even at the only approximately 150 days per year they sit - that's £45k at the top - not a lot at all, considering the calibre of people they will actually need)

  11. scrubber

    I know that but...

    > “I am not approaching this from a one-sided idealistic libertarian standpoint..."

    No one representing people or in power is. The question is why the hell not?

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