back to article UK's mass-surveillance draft law grants spies incredible powers for no real reason – review

An independent review into bulk surveillance powers in the forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill has warned that there is no proven case to let British snoops hack the planet. The study group examined the UK government’s Operational Case for Bulk Powers [PDF], which provided the government’s reasons for needing the most …

  1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Never Learn

    There seems to be a mindset that more useless data is better data by many. Most of the data these programs will naturally hide the important data in mountain of chaff instead of a molehill if they had any sense.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Ultimately...

      These powers will not stop the next attack and when it doesn't, they'll ask for more power to not stop the attack after that.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Ultimately...

        These powers are needed because it's what they're already doing.

        When the next attack happens sometime in the future then their powers will be updated in a new bill with what they're really doing then.

        And so on...

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      "There seems to be a mindset that more useless data is better data by many. "

      Yes.

      That's exactly what a data fetishist is.

      In their view more data is always better data.

      But the unstated objective is this.

      "Give me 6 lines from an honest man and I'll find something with which to hang him."

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        re: "Give me 6 lines from an honest man and I'll find something with which to hang him."

        "Which is really useful if he has said, or we think he might say anything which might paint us in a bad light."

        It isn't that more data is better data, but that all data means we can stop "leaks" about MP's expenses, or Snowdens' thing. Hmm, why is that MP talking to a journalist?

        In fact, if people know we collect all data, we don't even need to process it, the fear will keep them in line.

      2. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: "There seems to be a mindset that more useless data is better data by many. "

        Give me 6 lines from an honest man...

        It would seem difficult to break the law simply by visiting a website. So having the website browsing history is simply a way of intruding into someone's private life. They may not want people to know what sexual fetish they are into but that info can be used maliciously.

  2. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    This was always going to happen to legitimise the existing activity...

    ... but the 'Bad Guys' have already changed their Op-Sec to allow for bulk surveillance. So what will this benefit the state? I'm guessing that the suppliers will have connections in 'the right places'. Time will tell...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This was always going to happen to legitimise the existing activity...

      The Bad Guys are those enacting these laws.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meaningless crap

    Probably full of false flag statements like "not currently envisaged".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, that was predictable..

    Come on, you must have seen this one coming with Theresa May moving from Home Office to PM.

    What did you expect? More emphasis on Human Rights?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, that was predictable..

      You forgot the bit where Theresa May filled those roles - Home Secretary and Justice Secretary with useless/inexperienced MPs (Amber Rudd, Liz Truss) so Theresa May remains very much in control of those departments and the implementation UK's mass surveillance draft law. TM is determined to get this through.

      Amber Rudd has been a mouthpiece of utter conjecture, while she was Secretary of State for Energy. Energy Policy in the UK has been left in a complete shambles. Liz Truss, well, is Liz Truss - the immediate resignation Lord Faulkes says it all really.

      Then you have the distracting recent hyperbole of the BBC Panorama programme on North Korea, with a Journalist's every move followed by officials.

      Journalists need to look closer to home, start to imagine every UK Surveillance Camera, as a war-time sentry mounted on a roof level razor wire post (which is what it effectively is) and realise what we have sleep-walked into.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: AC Re: Well, that was predictable..

        ".....Journalists need to look closer to home, start to imagine every UK Surveillance Camera, as a war-time sentry mounted on a roof level razor wire post (which is what it effectively is) and realise what we have sleep-walked into." Seriously, loosen up the tinfoil and let some blood reach your brain.

      2. Disk0

        Re: Well, that was predictable..

        So much this!

        It is also damn near impossible to guarantee there will not be any abuse, hacks, or leaks of any of this, like the leak of military personnel information and scores of others.

        You HAVE to assume that malice, abuse, faults and leaks are likely, yet there don't seem to be solid provisions to prevent, mitigate or correct abuse, leaks or faults.

        So doing this, over time you end up with massive amounts of data that is arguably sensitive, toxic and dangerous in anyone's hands, basically putting it out on a silver platter for anyone who cares to infiltrate, hack, or otherwise compromise your beautiful system.

        But I guess this was the plan all along, and Brexit was needed to detach the UK from the EU in order to one-up Orwell's dystopia. It was, after all, Science Fiction, and all science fiction should be improved in reality with the populace as guineapigs.

      3. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Well, that was predictable..

        Manually trying to follow someone on CCTV as they move from camera to camera is very tricky and time consuming. I believe there is now software doing this. You pick the person and the software creates a video stream of their movements. The Gov will want a link to this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, that was predictable..

      > "Come on, you must have seen this one coming with Theresa May moving from Home Office to PM."

      You may want to use the correct title of 'Obergruppenführer' there, or you will be ... notified of your embarrassing browser history being published online by an anonymous source.

  5. scrubber

    "Privacy built in"

    Because we're not allowed to know what they're up to.

    I remember reading about some subjects of the Crown being irked by this type of General Warrant some years ago, seems to have led to a war of independence or some such. Shame the UK is too busy tugging forelocks to actually do anything about it. (So are the descendants of those brave colonists...)

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: "Privacy built in"

      I think you'll find that 'general warrants' are quite the fashion in that self-same country now. O how times have changed.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: "Privacy built in"

        "I think you'll find that 'general warrants' are quite the fashion in that self-same country now. O how times have changed." should read "I think you'll find that 'general warrants' are quite the fashion in that same banana republic now. O how times have changed."

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: "Privacy built in"

          "Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide". John Adams, Letter, April 15, 1814

          It's like accumulation of entropy. At the end, legal and executive cruft overwhelms the system and the amount of power in crabby hands at the end of brains that have neither the intelligence nor the mandate to wield it is so overwhelming that blood needs to be spilled.

          Then the cycle starts again.

          1. Disk0

            Re: "Privacy built in"

            dynasties and dictators fail too, so what was this guy's point? Apologist for the monarchs?

            Things break over time and with enough stress, "cruft overwhelms the system" sounds more like bureaucracy anyway - of course simply being in charge and wielding despotic power is so much easier...

  6. Graham Cobb Silver badge

    Looking at this the wrong way round

    This review seems to have got completely the wrong end of the stick.

    Of course there are good reasons for invasive powers. And, of course, the people proposing them generally intend them to be used for good. The question that needs to be analysed is not "are they useful?" but "what is the downside?". Of course a police state will reduce crime: the reasons we haven't allowed one to be created in the past is not because we like crime but because of the other effects it has!

    My question to Anderson is "what stops bad people abusing these capabilities?". I believe the answer is "very little". And hence the risks of allowing these capabiltiies to even be created far outweigh the potential benefits.

    Examples of real, documented and uncontested abuses which have happened even with the more technologically limited capabilities of the past include:

    1) Monitoring and disruption of democratic political parties and trade unions [since the 1970's, at least]

    2) Victimisation of innocent and human-rights-protected activism [cf. John Catt]

    3) Abuse of access to records and data for personal revenge by "bad apples" in the police and security services [cf. several scandals involving looking up or investigating sexual partners]

    4) Witch-hunts for whistle-blowers in both private and public organisations (including telecoms companies, local government, and many others).

    5) Interference with freedom of the press, privileged communications with lawyers and political contact with our MPs.

    Where does this report investigate the dangers of the massive acceleration, cost reduction and easier concealment of these abuses with the new proposed powers and new technological capabilities? We must reduce surveillance because of these concerns, not increase it!

    1. Mr Commenty McComentface

      Re: Looking at this the wrong way round

      "Of course a police state will reduce crime: the reasons we haven't allowed one to be created in the past is not because we like crime but because of the other effects it has!"

      Come again? Implies a) we have a choice over whether or not we get a Police State and b) we haven't got the makings of one already. On a day were the Reg is running an article on some bloke subject to an SRO and the Police's attitude is basically "well, the Court says he didn't do it, but we're going to ignore them, punish him with an SRO and then we're going to completely ignore the way their supposed to be used so we can f*** up this guy even more".

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: Looking at this the wrong way round

        You are partially right (that is why I said "in the past") but it could still be a lot worse. And these powers are a further step along that road.

        I believe we do have a choice. That is why this report has been created. The securocrats need the general public (and the press!) to be looking at the benefits and not paying attention to the downside.

        I still have a really strong memory from my childhood: in the 1960's as a child under 10 I lived in East Anglia, surrounded by USAF bases, with "Protect and Survive" classes and under a very real threat of being amongst the first to be annihilated in a nuclear war. I used to lose sleep worrying about it. My parents did not try to tell me "don't worry, it won't happen". They told me why we needed to stand firm against the enemy: we needed to stand up for British values of freedom. The main example they used was that in Communist states you had to carry your papers and they could be inspected at any time, but that in Britain you had the right to not identify yourself at all and no one could do anything about it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Looking at this the wrong way round

          @ Graham Cobb

          "The main example they used was that in Communist states you had to carry your papers and they could be inspected at any time, but that in Britain you had the right to not identify yourself at all and no one could do anything about it."

          I was told in school after immigrating to the U.S. that "America does not torture people or spy on it's citizens"!

          AC (Not that it matters to the State)

  7. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    FAIL

    Business as usual

    1) The state already performs bulk surveillance, so we need to legitimize that.

    2) The government program has already been established, so it can't be defunded

    3) This is how we won World War 1, so you know the same approach is going to work again. (They did just literally make this argument, citing the Zimmerman telegram)

    Depressing. The GCHQ is going to hoover up everything they can, and the chances are that the guys who are actually going to attack society are already known to security forces who are too busy chasing all the red herrings that bulk surveillance provides.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Business as usual

      GHCQ and their cronies are the ones attacking society.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius

        Re: Business as usual

        @AC

        "GHCQ and their cronies are the ones attacking society."

        Eh? Who killed Fusilier Lee Rigby? Who blew up three underground trains and a bus?

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Business as usual

          Eh? Who killed Fusilier Lee Rigby? Who blew up three underground trains and a bus?

          Yes. Some people mistake an itch for cancer.

        2. Awil Onmearse

          Re: Business as usual

          "Eh? Who killed Fusilier Lee Rigby? Who blew up three underground trains and a bus?"

          People well-known to - and in the sphere of influence of - MI5. Make of that what you will.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Business as usual

          "Eh? Who killed Fusilier Lee Rigby? Who blew up three underground trains and a bus?"

          As with pretty much every terror attack across Europe in the last 10-15 years, those acts were carried out by people "known" to the security services, but they still managed to plot, plan and carry out their attacks, despite all the data gathering, It make one wonder if they spent a little less money on collecting and scrabbling through all of our data, they might have ,more to spend on actually surveilling some of these suspects they already "know" about.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Business as usual

            @John Brown (no body)

            "As with pretty much every terror attack across Europe in the last 10-15 years, those acts were carried out by people "known" to the security services, but they still managed to plot, plan and carry out their attacks, despite all the data gathering, It make one wonder if they spent a little less money on collecting and scrabbling through all of our data, they might have ,more to spend on actually surveilling some of these suspects they already "know" about."

            Er, aren't you making a chicken and egg argument here? In your own personal view, what is it that makes someone a "suspect" in the first place?

            As for what to do about a person "known" to the security services, that's is indeed a matter of resources, etc. All the way through history I'm sure spy masters have complained about a lack of resources. Francis Walsingham certainly did.

            If someone is seen to possess a gun or explosives it's easy - bang to rights straight away. That's more difficult in countries where guns are legal, especially the USA. I'm sure its far more difficult if the plot doesn't involve use of illegal items like cars and knives.

            From what I've read in the press, the situation in Europe seems to stem partly from the Belgians for years not wanting to intrude on a community that sprung up in Brussels, and European governments not realising that open borders means your security is only as good as the weakest state in the zone. Political Correctness is all very well and good, but the world is sometimes an ugly place requiring ugly controls to stop it getting worse. Doing something ugly early on seems to be something the Belgians were too squeamish about.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Business as usual

              'As for what to do about a person "known" to the security services, that's is indeed a matter of resources, etc. '

              If they're failing through lack of resources does it improve matters to spend more time trawling through the communications of innocent people?

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Business as usual

          "Eh? Who killed Fusilier Lee Rigby? Who blew up three underground trains and a bus?"

          The same as a number of other atrocities. Have you noticed that when they're identified they always turn out to have been known to the security services but somehow slipped through surveillance? What should we learn from that? Maybe they're doing surveillance wrong. If so doing more of the same isn't going to work.

        5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

          "Who killed Fusilier Lee Rigby?"

          A couple of loons who should have been picked up by social services, not the police.

          "Who blew up three underground trains and a bus?"

          4 nobodies who seemed to think they were going to bring about an Islamic state by their actions.

          The only people their actions benefited were the data fetishists and their never ending clamour to be able to spy on more data of more people for more time (ideally forever).

          Who were they? Who cares ?

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Business as usual

      > This is how we won World War 1

      I think that whatever was left of the British Empire disagrees that Britain won WW1 in any form or shape.

  8. Warm Braw Silver badge

    An independent review

    Let's get this straight:

    1/ The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation is chosen by the Home Secretary responsible for said legislation

    2/ The review had no mandate to examine the proportionality of proposed legislation

    3/ The review is unable to be specific without revealing too much about GCHQ’s capabilities

    4/ However, we can take it on trust that everything in the garden is rosy and happens already anyway - apart from the hacking stuff which is new, but will no doubt turn out to be absolutely vital when the next review is written.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well of course it's very difficult to know here to start with any of this. First of all you have the IPT the court which handles complaints over surveillance. The pretends to be impartial and hides it's location by the use of box numbers but the reality is that it is the same department which authorised the surveillance in the first place. Not only that but it only finds in favour of some 2% of claimants and sends out deeply offensive letters to those who misunderstand it's rules.

    Then you have the IPCC a body which ruled that the criminal offence of harrasement by the police in order to suppress complainants who sought to bring details of police abuses of power of matters like Hillsborough and Orgreave was in fact not a criminal offence at all but 'unnecessary surveillance'.

    Which brings up the British States penchant for inventing words or changing the meaning of words to cover it's own abuses of power where it's functionaries engage in criminal acts.

    Thus you have kettling a wholly invented word where individuals who are not involved in criminal acts are confined for hours on the bases that they may commit a criminal act. And many more examples of this practice exist.

    And as they used to boast to me about how they made their own press passes to enter premises and take photographs of shop stewards and others who had never committed criminal offences and then pass their details to third party blacklisting bodies so you can use this as a measure of the degree of integrity that they will bring to the matter of these surveillance powers.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Poor sods.

    I actually feel sorry for the poor sods that will have to spend their days reading through the inane drivel that is social media.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Poor sods.

      I would have thought that they would probably out-source a lot of the routine monitoring of social media to China... they have a head start in this and could probably offer very competitive rates.

    2. hplasm
      Big Brother

      Re: Poor sods.

      I don't.

      Hope they sleep well.

      No, I don't...

    3. Disk0
      Coat

      Re: Poor sods.

      There's an app for that, too!

    4. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: Poor sods.

      @Pete65

      It is the GCHQ computers that read through all the drivel, looking for phone numbers, email addresses, etc. Only if something is spotted does a person start looking, and sooner or later they have to get a warrant. The current fuss is about the warantless sifting of drivel by machines: the movies, the porn, the tweets, and the facebookery.

      As I said in a comment a year or two ago: believe me, They are not interested in Us. I went to a privileged university with some of Them.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Poor sods.

        "Only if something is spotted does a person start looking, and sooner or later they have to get a warrant."

        Sooner or later? What's wrong with sooner? And from whom do they get the warrant; a senior officer or a politician? We should have due process of law. The fact that it's a principle that's over 8 centuries old (remember the hypocritical celebration of that last year) doesn't mean it should be out of date.

        "believe me, They are not interested in Us. I went to a privileged university with some of Them."

        If You went to a privileged university with some of Them it makes us (with a lower case u) less inclined to believe You.

      2. hplasm
        Facepalm

        Re: Poor sods.

        " I went to a privileged university with some of Them."

        And if someone said to Them that you might be the next Kim Philby...?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Poor sods.

          The only people I've ever witness used a warrant for bulk data capture is the UK Police force. Never seen any other gov department use one. In fact the police system won't function without an active warrant. This isn't something the operator can overrule either.

          I didn't go to a privileged school, college or uni. But I have held uk clearances.

          AC, for what its worth....

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    It's the 'interference' one that the real kicker

    Adds a whole new dimension to the bent copper slipping some weed in your pocket.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Considering that the NSA's fucking toolkit is up for auction, how exactly, is hoovering up the online activities of an entire country into a centralised source going to increase security? Cunts.

    "Whoops! We got caught doing the illiegal and immoral thing that we had explicitly promised we weren't doing, so we'd better....erm....make it retrospectively legal"

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      The trick is to understand that security does not mean the same thing to you and I as it does to the spooks. In spook talk security means nothing changes. They are the ultimate conservatives. Hence whenever a new political movement or agitation for social justice arises the police and the spooks are always the first to join / infiltrate / surveille to ensure that nothing can threaten the established order - ie security. When something bad happens these agencies are always the first with the cover ups to ensure nothing can threaten the established order - again security. If a foreign country becomes a strategic competitor rather than adjust and improve, undermine and destroy to protect the established order - security. The sad thing is that the sort of people who join these agencies probably believe that they are playing a vital role protecting the realm rather than realising that they are a wart on the nations butt stopping any and all sensible reform. Unfortunately there is no known cure for this sort of nonsense. Once infestation starts you are stuck with the consequences.

  13. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Devil

    Let's streamline the Internet...

    From henceforth, everyone connects to their country's TLA/FLA directly. Then the TLA/FLA will copy and store the packets and then pass the packets on to their destination. That way, they'll get what they want and we won't need to spend a pile of money building out extra infrastructure just to handle their slurping.

    Yeah... I'm being facetious. I'd just like someone to tell them "No!" and the TLA's/FLA's will follow that decision instead of doing what they want anyway.

  14. Primus Secundus Tertius

    US needs help

    America's Finest News Source, aka The Onion, reports today that the NSA is asking for help form "somebody good at computers".

    See http://www.theonion.com/article/nsa-can-somebody-good-computers-help-us-53545

  15. AlbertH

    Hiding messages is easy....

    Steganographic techniques, one-time encryptions (often based on "book codes"), and huge quantities of legitimately transmitted data will allow the unimpeded and undetectable transmission of secret messages.

    The decryption software tools and the hardware available to the "authorities" guarantees that they won't ever find any useful data - except through ineptitude or sheer fluke. They will, however, spend inordinate amounts of our money on this worthless effort.

    They'll also create lots of jobs for the otherwise useless "graduates" being turned out by British universities.

    1. Dave Bell

      Re: Hiding messages is easy....

      Good encryption is hard.

      At the moment, using encryption is in two classes. There's the automatic "secure sockets" stuff that might be analogous to putting a letter in a sealed envelope, and is used for stuff like your internet banking. It's like the sealed envelope because it takes effort to open and read without being obvious. And that's why people such as GCHQ target their bulk collection.

      Then there are the more personal systems. If it's detected, it's very likely to be attacked. It will be seen as a strong factor in filtering systems. Something is being hidden. Some ciphers, even a Caesar cipher or ROT-13, are trivial to break but they deter a casual reader. The Telegraph Codes of a century ago kept privacy, the telegraphist couldn't just read the message, and they reduced the number of words needed. In the World Wars you could use them, but only a limited set were allowed. One spy ring used tobacco orders to send counts of battleships in port. They got caught.

      And at the other end of that range are the codes and ciphers used by governments. You know where they're coming from. And some are mathematically unbreakable. But there are problems in using them. A one-time-pad needs keys to be distributed which as are as big as the message traffic, and sometimes silence is a message in itself.

      Probably reading this website makes us all a little bit more interesting to GCHQ, all these stories about hacking and nuclear war and encryption.

      Do you want to play a game?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Hiding messages is easy....

        "Good encryption is hard."

        That's why we have libraries.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Precision timing by the spin merchants.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/702150/UK-GCHQ-hackers-spies-Islamic-State-ISIS-terror-attack-snooping-emails-phones

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Precision timing by the spin merchants.

      Indeed.

      Data fetishists need their running dogs.

  17. Steve Graham

    The success of mass surveillance

    I'm completely convinced that bulk collection is a useful tool for detecting and investigating totally stupid criminals.

    Criminals with even a little intelligence can think of a thousand ways to evade it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Independent reviewer of terrorism legislation"

    ROFL

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in next years news...

    Anderson found that the power to read people's minds “has proven itself to be of vital utility across the range of GCHQ’s operational areas".

    In other words, if they can do it, they will.

    Just like a police state, as opposed to a free country.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: And in next years news...

      "Anderson found that the power to read people's minds ..."

      That's "Judge Anderson" to you.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Specious fallacy

    Re: Instead GCHQ reportedly “focuses its resources on those links that it assesses will be the most valuable.”

    Err, no it doesn't.

    The "most valuable" communication links won't go anywhere near the internet.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Subjects do what they're told.

    Yet the public don't seem to have any problem with being treated like schoolchildren, ie if one of you does something naughty, you'll all be punished until the guilty own up.

    Still, Nanny Theresa knows best...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh really

      The trouble with this sort of idiot commentary is that nobody who actually knows what goes on inside GCHQ is allowed to contribute. Maybe, just maybe, there are several thousand ordinary human beings much like ourselves in there, and they hate the political manipulators as much as we do. Worth a thought?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Oh really

        "Maybe, just maybe, there are several thousand ordinary human beings much like ourselves in there"

        Are you telling us they're imprisoned?

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: AC Re: Subjects do what they're told.

      "Yet the public don't seem to have any problem with being treated like schoolchildren...." You mean the 99.9999999% of the population that don't share your viewpoint (IMHO, paranoid delusions)?

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Big Brother

    And another thing

    As well as monitoring what we say here, I wonder if they also note which posts we upvote

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Will Godefrey Re: And another thing

      "As well as monitoring what we say here, I wonder if they also note which posts we upvote" Wow, your ego is amazing! You really think your prattling would be of any interest to anyone? ROFLMAO!

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Will Godefrey And another thing

        "You really think your prattling would be of any interest to anyone? ROFLMAO!"

        - Might be one day, it's not that a Police State is in the imminent offing, but that carelessly or by design, the building blocks are being laid. Once terms like 'sedition' are being bandied about, you might find yourself ROFBBBP, 'cause 12 months record retention turned into 12 years.

      2. hplasm
        Gimp

        Re: Will Godefrey And another thing

        "You really think your prattling would be of any interest to anyone? "

        Why not? You do.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Gimp

        "You really think your prattling would be of any interest to anyone?"

        When the storage is this cheap it no longer matters. Nothing is too trivial to hoover up "just in case"

        But you know this already, don't you?

  23. Disk0
    Black Helicopters

    Speaking in code not a thing either.

    The way it has been done since the dawn of time...

    Some examples, because fun:

    this patio smells of elderberries < communications are compromised

    i ran into this norwegian guy < our informer is dead

    the dog ate my homework < we've lost access to the information

    mother hasn't been well < Theresa May is still up to no good

    grandma has a temper < oh look it's the queen chiming in

    mom gave me a biscuit < i acquired sensitive information from my informant who works for the government

    mom baked a cake < incoming police raid

    mom baked an apple pie < incoming drone strike

    mom baked a pumpkin pie < they're sending in US black ops

    mom baked a maple pecan pie < they're sending in the Mounties

    mom baked waffles < they're sending in the Belgians

    mom baked brownies < enemy forces are high

    the neighbour is mowing the lawn: Russia is conducting military operations near our territory

    the neighbours are out for the weekend < Putin's western front is weak so now would be a good time to invade Russia

    we're having a picnick < invade Russia

    there are birds sitting on the laundry line < reg hacks are commenting on our invasive policies

    We could do this all day, having the spooks nod off to bedtime stories while we take over the world...

    To wrap it up, of course the entire policy and every official statement about it is code for:

    "We don't care for, trust, or respect the population at large and are terrified of what might be up to because of our guilty conscience, therefore we must observe, control, manipulate and disable people as needed to stop them from interfering with our bid for absolute power, yet they're not allowed to know any of this."

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damaged laptops

    Two machines here, both slowly degraded and failed but I originally suspected bad BIOS chips.

    Coincidentally both drives seem to have been scrambled but its not Cryptowall, this appears deliberate and designed to thwart the most common recovery tools including W7 Repair, Winhex etc and even Crisis Recovery won't help.

    I did notice that just before one of them failed on a restart the WiFi light was on solid like it was linked to a network but there wasn't any because the PAYG was out of credit.

    The phone it was connected to also failed about a week later with a startup loop, possibly the memory filled up too much (data slurping?!?!) and again can't fix it.

    Upon examining one of the drives there's a distinct pattern of "slow" sectors on MHDD which persisted despite it being wiped multiple times.

    None of the diagnostics reported a problem before and I re-imaged it, will try it again to see if the cloned system works correctly.

  25. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    OK, who expected anything different?

  26. john devoy

    Does is apply to everyone or is it another thing that exempts politicians?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's next, CCTV cameras in coffins?

    Just to make sure the dead behave themselves...

  28. Roj Blake

    Labour

    It will be interesting to see Labour's response to this.

    Will Andy Burnham stand up to the government for once, or will he do his usual thing and lie on his back and wait for May to tickle his tummy?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Labour

      Burnham was the wanker who suggested, lip a quivering, that everyone be forced to register their email addresses, winning my vote as the most clueless statement made by an MP that year (although there was stiff competition from some of his other statements). So I think 'tickle my tummy please Theresa' is his most likely response, although him suggesting current practice isn't draconian enough is always a possibility.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As it should be

    We live in the digital age where crims exploit all available options for crime. Why people falsely believe that authorities should not be able to hack is foolishness. The only hope for society against the crims is for authorities to be able to track their activities so they can be convicted. If you're a crim you deserve to be hacked and prosecuted.

  30. PassiveSmoking
    Unhappy

    Farewell, liberty

    You will be mourned by all decent non-Daily Mail readers everywhere.

  31. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Go

    Oh go on then!

    Just to offer some balance to the naysayers, doom-mongers and wannabe conspiracy theorists, I'd just like to say I'm quite happy that the security services will be given the necessary tools to do the necessary job. Said whiners mentioned at the start of this post may now furiously mash the downvote icon if it makes them feel any less inconsequential.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfit for purpose, this legislation is...

    ... much like a Conservative government.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fun for all the tabloids

    Bulk collection will be a gift to the darker side of the Internet, if the NSA's equation group can't keep their stuff safe what makes them think Talk Talk or BT will be more secure?.

    A bit of theft, some data mining, and we get headlines like "Senior Government Minister a big fan of BDSM porn!".

    I think the Government will find they have far more to fear from this than we do!

  34. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    FAIL

    Here's the truth.

    Ever wonder why the jihadis had such a simple time attacking France from Belgium? It's because the EU is completely hopeless when it comes to internal security. This article explains the background to the hunt for the Bataclan killers and their support network, and also how it only really got going after the Belgians asked the NSA for help. All of a sudden the Europeans realised they actually need all that data mining and technology. All those posting here moaning about "privacy" and "intrusion", about some fantasy V for Vacuuous "loss of freedoms", really need to go do some reading on the real World rather than just comics.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Update:

    My router has also been hacked, again!. This time the DG834GV5 was trashed, couldn't log in and its WiFi functionality to certain devices (notably Note 4) has been crippled.

    This was on the latest firmware with a very secure (obviously not enough) password only ever used one other time and never for online stuff.

    Intriguingly when I sanitized (MHDD) the drive then re-imaged from the backup system and then wiped the free space again with the useful tool called H2TestW, so far no more problems.

    If whoever did this is reading the post can they please post what they think my password is and I'll take them seriously, kthx.

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