back to article London Internet Exchange members vote no to constitution tweak

Members of LINX, the London Internet Exchange – the UK's largest net peering point – have rejected proposals that would reshape the company’s constitution and could block members from being consulted about government tapping instructions. The vote, on Tuesday, followed a Reg report revealing that members had been given less …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to see here move along

    The Snowden documents do not suggest that LINX – unlike a dozen similar Internet Exchanges in the US – had been recruited to join this network by 2013.

    LINX CTO has been required to have an "unspecified" "additional" security clearance beyond the normal process according to the job spec LINX themselves posted on CW jobs in 2007 (or 2008? - around those days). Nothing more needs to be said... In fact nothing more can be said without being criminally liable according to UK law.

    Just dig the job spec out of the Internet archive (I have erased it "with BLEACH" from my inbox at the time). As that is public information the UK government cannot do anything about it any more.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    "The majority of LINX members did not cast votes, The Reg has learned. Of those that did vote, 37 per cent rejected the plan and 63 per cent supported it. "

    63% supported it? Are they Turkey's and are they not planning a holiday for Christmas?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, just turkeys are on double payroll

      No, just turkeys are on double payroll. Just as in good ole Romania, Bulgaria, East Germany and USSR.

      One salary from your employer. Another one from [Securitate | Шесто Управление | STASI | Первый отдел]. It is a bit difficult not to obey your REAL paymaster if you are working in a job which has "additional requirements".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, they are profit driven companies, that in public are concerned with your data privacy, but in private couldn't give a fcuk when it affects their bottom line. Example, how much has changed at BaulkBaulk?

      1. evilhippo

        But it *does* affect their bottom line actually, even if some are too blind too see it.

    3. Halfmad

      63% who bothered to vote for it. Slightly worrying that there's no minimum turn out required, just a percentage of those that do in order for this to come into force.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How many of those members supporting this are Private UK "shell companies" operating on behalf of Security Services/Police. They need fibre too, obscurity is easier, if you boringly blend in.

  3. Len
    Black Helicopters

    If Brexit doesn't render LINX irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, the Investigatory Powers Act will.

    I suspect that in a few year's time LINX will only be relevant for companies with a significant amount of users in the UK that they can't or don't want to serve from Paris or Amsterdam. If you are an international player you'd best start thinking of avoiding LINX if you can.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We are thinking of announcing our traffic from Paris or Amsterdam and back-hauling via a VPN to our servers during migration.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        We are thinking of announcing our traffic from Paris or Amsterdam

        You might want to hold your horses. The French haven't been shy about snooping (as I recall they were about the last European country to hold out against legalising encryption when the political tide was going in the opposite direction to now) - and that was before Le Pen. And given the current Dutch beWilderment who knows what's going to happen there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Hey any encryption of data links in France used to be illegal.

          I was exchanging some encrypted emails if a friend in France once (back in the 90s) just because we were both messing about with it at the same time, when he got a visit from the security people at work (a major US IT supplier) telling him to delete all such messages and to stop using encryption immediately as it was illegal.

          Fortunately they've backed off this since then but...

        2. H in The Hague Silver badge

          "And given the current Dutch beWilderment who knows what's going to happen there."

          Even if Wilders becomes the largest party, he'll only get 20 - 25% of the vote so would have to form a coalition. And I'm not sure other parties would be terribly keen on that. He may claim to be a true Dutchman, but that's rather incompatible with his aim of religious discrimination which just happens to be unconstitutional. He may claim that the EU is undemocratic, but the EU has a parliament while Wilders' party is run purely by him. (Neither the supporters (not 'members', I think) nor his MPs have any say in running the party. So my guess is that his impact on the local equivalent of the investigatory powers act is going to be limited.

          However, there is already a bill before Parliament to give the security services more opportunities to intercept electronic communications, subject to approval by an independent committee of judges.

          (unfortunately a major on-line translation service gets stuck on the Cookies popup, YMMV).

          Must admit I haven't looked into the scope of that in detail.

          1. H in The Hague Silver badge

            Update. Read the latest polls just after the 10-minute edit window closed. Wilders is currently predicted to get around 16% of votes (and therefore MPs as it's a PR system). Puts him level with the VVD Conservative Liberals. (The current government is a Conservative Liberals + Labour coalition. As always, everybody complains about them but the country seems to be running smoothly and the economy is doing fine.)

        3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Most countries have legal intercept laws but that is not the problem. What is the issue here is the massive scale, lack of legal oversight in what is gathered, and gagging orders about even the fact of such an order being served.

          Look to other countries as well that have less oppressive laws, say Sweden, Iceland, etc.

  4. Camilla Smythe

    Abandon all Hope. They are all gagging for it.[1]

    Next up, unlike Brexit which did not require 75% and is not allowed another vote, they will run another 'Referendum' and get the required 75%.

    [1] Well done the 37%. Unfortunately...

    "Nice UK based network you have got there. It would be a bit of a shame if, for example, you lost your back-haul."

    1. Camilla Smythe

      Re: Abandon all Hope. They are all gagging for it.[1]

      Why One Thumb Down... Cripes! Two Thumbs Down.

      Obviously I am prone to expressing my perception of things in a manner that may not make sense to others but which bit in your view did I get wrong and why?

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Abandon all Hope. They are all gagging for it.[1]

        Thumbs down for talking about thumbs down

        1. Camilla Smythe

          Re: Abandon all Hope. They are all gagging for it.[1]

          "Thumbs down for talking about thumbs down"

          Thanks for reminding me that El Reg gives you the choice.

          Perhaps, in the future, we can move to the Exclusively Thumbs Up System instead and get a better idea about people's opinions.

          Damn. I guess as a result of my application of logic I have to give you a Thumbs Up.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Abandon all Hope. They are all gagging for it.[1]

            "Perhaps, in the future, we can move to the Exclusively Thumbs Up System instead and get a better idea about people's opinions."

            What like Facebook?

            1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

              Re: Abandon all Hope. They are all gagging for it.[1]

              A Thumb Down should require a comment justifying it. Otherwise they're just haters.

            2. Camilla Smythe

              Re: Abandon all Hope. They are all gagging for it.[1]

              "What like Facebook"





              "Server Not Found"

              I think we/they are safe, for various definitions of being unsafe, unless some other idiot comes up with the idea. Perhaps I should have words with the latest Kim Whatever His Name Is.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Abandon all Hope. They are all gagging for it.[1]

        You mentioned Brexit in a negative / dismissive way.

        Whatever i think about your opinion here (brexit is somehow a default badness line), the dismissive attitude of remoaners is worth a thumbsdown.

        You don't know why people did what they did so casual anti brexit is casual twattery.

        1. Camilla Smythe

          Re: Abandon all Hope. They are all gagging for it.[1]

          "You mentioned Brexit in a negative / dismissive way."

          I think I mentioned Brexit in terms of the vote afforded to members of Linx in as much that, for such an important decision, a 75% majority was required to pass the vote whereas in the case of Brexit no such requirement was in place. However the result was sufficiently marginal and presented in such a loaded way that if they were to apply pressure and run it again GCHQ would be on site and inserting their black boxes and fibre taps into the system.

          Otherwise you are quite correct to assume that I see nothing positive in respect of Brexit and, given only 26% of the population voted to hang the rest along with themselves, would prefer to dismiss it as a bad nightmare.

          Unfortunately Mrs May is in charge along with a number of other loony tunes not least including an ineffective opposition. Mrs May is 'tits oot' for Brexit at any cost. Mrs May is responsible for Linx having to act as a result of the IPAct because she is 'tits oot' for a surveillance state. Mrs May is 'tits oot' for immigration control... All the things she has failed at in the past can now be 'corrected'.

          You don't know why people did what they did so casual anti brexit is casual twattery.

          I could take a reasoned guess but since you are here perhaps you can explain it to me in words of more than one syllable without resorting to "You Lost. Get over It." or similar.

          Seriously, not really, I respect and would consider fighting for your right to shoot both of your own feet off but might become slightly concerned if, having done so, you insist on decimating the NHS and indeed other industries such that you, and others, will not receive medical attention or courgettes and subsequently crawl about on the floor like a zombie trying to chew my ankles.

  5. Blitheringeejit
    Big Brother

    Oo'da thortit, eh?

    So BT, O2 and Vodafone were already in cahoots with PRESTON. But not Orange/EE, apparently - at least until it was bought by BT, with nary a peep from the Competition Commission.

    Funny that.

  6. Dazed and Confused


    Good old Rev. he's already threatened to start supplying encrypting routers and peering at localisation with less Orwellian regimes.

    1. Camilla Smythe

      Re: RevK


      If you read RevK he seems to spend a lot of time sorting out problems created by BT.

      Last I remember in respect of the #IPBill before it became the #IPAct some twot... from BT basically said 'Whatever you want you can have as long as you bung us the cash to do it'.

      I wish I could find a link to the manky little twat, name him and post his CV.. Digs into brain... Mark Hughes.

      Now... Whilst RevK apparently knows about security Mark Hughes has been promoted from failed burger seller to the security job by BT. As a result you might wish to ask yourselves who has more influence over LINX.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RevK

        Cogs whir....

        Is that Mark Hughes, Director of BT Group Security, whoose appointment spanned the entire period when BT were conducting covert stealth trails of Phorm surveillance systems.

        Of course, the phorm system which searched all traffic based on key words had nothing to do with state survillience and was only for advertising purposes, honest guv, cough, cough.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This vote does not affect the impact of any interception on LINX.

    You can't override laws with a company's articles of association.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      No, but you can greatly change how such requests are handled and the degree of cooperation offered.

      All things considered, would the member's of LINX not be better served if the legal entity became, say, a German listed company with all officers located overseas? Sure it would still be bound in terms of UK operations, but they could hardly censor the directors operating overseas, nor fail to provide them with the details and at the same time serve a company with the necessary order.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Germany? The country where DE-CIX was tapped by the BND since 2009? And no, the members weren't told about it there either.

        And, not only would all your officers have to be overseas, I suspect your employees would too, otherwise they would be arrested for facilitating disclosing an interception order. Which makes it kind of hard to run a UK exchange.

        You can't outsmart governments on this. And certainly not through corporate structure.

  8. David 132 Silver badge

    Unduly optimistic headline?

    I think a more accurate headline would be,

    "London Internet Exchange members vote Yes (but not in sufficient numbers) to constitution tweak"

    63% of those who voted said "yes", which is a little more depressing than the headline implies.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I fail to see what difference all this makes.

    If the government issue an order to install surveillance/tapping equipment with a gagging order then the members won't be told about it anyway and nobody will be any the wiser.

    I wonder if all this fuss is to let everyone know they have already done it.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    BT, O2, Vodaphone

    3 companies you can now rest assured will f**k your privacy.

    Good to know, so you can avoid.

  11. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Pigeon Breeding...

    ...becomes a more compelling solution by the day.

    It is easy to see whether your messages have been intercepted. Look out for the droppings on Eve.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which bit of... doesn't matter what the M&A say, it's the law. Doesn't make sense to people?

    If the M&A says, "We'll tell you about interception orders" then they are still breaking the law by doing so and will go to jail.

    Regardless of what the M&A says, they CANNOT tell anyone about the interception orders, unless they want to go to jail.

    If they place a statement on their website that says, "We are not subject to any interception orders and will challenge any received in the courts." then remove that when they do get an interception order, then *they are breaking the law*. Spot a pattern here?

    The changes to the M&A make absolutely no difference to anything to do with interception orders.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Which bit of...

      It may be against the law, but obeying governent orders rather than moral duty has a poor history.

      See Superior orders

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which bit of...

        So you'd be willing to go to jail over this? To give information to members, a good percentage (and a v. large percentage of the traffic) of which will be subject to interception orders themselves anyway?

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Which bit of...

          If I determined that my only 'defence' was 'I was only following orders', then yes, I think so. I don't think I'd be there for long. I'm too old and ugly to be a target for prison's most famous perk. It's basically a retirement home without the bill (that's more of a comment on retirement homes than on prisons btw).

          More to cock a snook at incompetent government than support for linx members, though.

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