back to article GCHQ boss warns China can rewrite 'the global operating system' in its own authoritarian image

The director of the UK's signals intelligence agency has delivered a speech in which he contemplated power in the digital age, observing that "China's size and technological weight means that it has the potential to control the global operating system," and hinting at an expanded role for the agency he leads as one way to fight …

  1. _LC_ Silver badge
    Stop

    Who are they addressing?

    When it has become clear to everyone that the GCHQ is considering the own population an enemy, then who the fuck are they addressing?

    Translation:

    Primary problem for Brits and Europeans?

    A [ . ] China

    B [ . ] GCHQ and similar diseases

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Who are they addressing?

      Exactly.

      China is far from being a threat as far as I'm concerned. The NSA and its snooping largely predates any issues with the "global operating system".

      What kind of bollocks is this anyway ? There is no such thing as a global operating system. There is, however, Google and Facebook, and they are not under chinese control.

      It's very interesting to see this guy harp on about global impact when, ten years ago, the discussions were about the balkanization of the Internet. China and Russia both exert tight control over Internet access for their citizens (so does North Korea, but who cares ?). Any dictatorship worth the name will do the same in the blink of an eye if it deems that its power is in danger (cf Pakistan).

      Where's your global operating system in all that ?

      And, as far as digital currencies are concerned, don't make me laugh. The only reason for these are for government surveillance. My own government wants to track my activity down to the last penny.

      China is not the threat. It's you lot that are hell-bent on anally probing my life.

      1. TVU

        Re: Who are they addressing?

        "China is far from being a threat as far as I'm concerned"

        You might care to tell that to the Uighur population in East Turkestan/Xinjiang and to the democratically-inclined population of Hong Kong.

        Also China is already a known and identified perpetrator of cyber attacks on democratic states and corporations therein.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Who are they addressing?

          >You might care to tell that to the Uighur population

          But that's not a threat to me.

          ISIS are definitely naughtier than my local police dept. But they aren't able to behead me at a traffic stop

          1. Dave 15 Silver badge

            Re: Who are they addressing?

            Clearly you're not black then

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Who are they addressing?

              Now that you bring race into the discussion, regretably and totally unnecessarily, your comment does need correcting, according to the published data:

              In 2019, 15 unarmed black people were shot and killed by on-duty police officers, compared with 25 whites.

              Furtthermore, regardless of whether armed or unarmed, these are the total stats:

              https://www.statista.com/statistics/1124036/number-people-killed-police-ethnicity-us/

              Personally, I don't wish for the Police to kill anyone, nor do I wish for hoodlums to kill innocent people: Regardless. Of. Ethnicity.

              Only those in charge profit from dividing, then conquering, our societies.

              1. Claverhouse Silver badge

                Re: Who are they addressing?

                In 2019, 15 unarmed black people were shot and killed by on-duty police officers, compared with 25 whites.

                In replying to a British pontification, you may like to point out those are American statistics... Our cops generally limit themselves to 2 or 3 a year regardless of colour; and those are not 'unarmed'.

                Although I would guess an unarmed person could be extremely dangerous, especially under the influence of certain drugs.

              2. CRConrad

                Comparing numbers

                Ah, so three eighths -- 37.5% -- of people shot by Yank police were black, just like 37.5% of the USian population in general is black? All fine and dandy, then, no over-representation at all... Except that far fewer than 37.5% of Yanks are black, so they do disproportionally often get killed by Yank cops.

                People who downplay shit like this are the ones doing most of the "dividing our societies". People like, you know: You.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Who are they addressing?

            >> But that's not a threat to me.

            Maybe true today but.... when oppressive policies can grow without opposition, chances are there will be some impact your neighborhood eventually.

            Even though I may not be too fond of this particular messenger, I tend to heed this particular message.

            1. lotus123

              Re: Who are they addressing?

              >"when oppressive policies can grow without opposition"

              You mean you mean something like Windrush scandal or jailing your postal workers without even a hint of punishing perpetrators?

        2. Dave 15 Silver badge

          Re: Who are they addressing?

          Further to the China a threat, yes they are, they are currently working on taking Taiwan among other things.

          One thing IS for sure EVERY time you buy a made in China product you are supporting this regime. That is EVERY time you support a company that has moved its production to China. I now make a point of asking the company where there products are made ... many of them say China, so I tell them why I am not buying it. There ARE companies that manufacture stuff in the UK, even toys and models, I buy products from these guys (sometimes even if I dont actually need it) to support UK manufacturing, UK jobs and keep money and growth in the UK. Those companies that want to support China can go and stick it where the sun doesnt shine.

          1. lotus123

            Re: Who are they addressing?

            >"EVERY time you buy a made in China product you are supporting this regime"

            That's upside down. Here, lemme fix it - every time Government lets imports from China it is supporting this regime. It is not a job of a working to figure out what the are to buy in stores. They are not being paid for this.

          2. Tron Bronze badge

            Re: Who are they addressing?

            So, the computing device you posted from has no Chinese-sourced components?

            And you buy things you don't need just to support the economy? Do you get an award from Boris for that?

        3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: You might care to tell that to the Uighur population

          I know about the Uighurs. I do not approve.

          But that has nothing to do with the Internet.

      2. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Who are they addressing?

        The UK has internet censorship laws which block access to search results so we are NO better than China, North Korea or Russia, no better at all. We cant even see what they are blocking 'to protect us' - they say 'child porn', 'violence', 'extremism', 'terrorism' ... but frankly this covers a HUGE amount on their terms.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who are they addressing?

        I expect they might be referring to Chinese proposals for a reworked version of the Internet Protocol, which would make it easier for governments to control what citizens can access.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Who are they addressing?

          It would be our fault for failing to implement a viable alternative to IPv4 over a decade after its limitations started hobbling the Internet. Should China come up with a practical alternate protocol, it will be adopted by default.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Who are they addressing?

            "It would be our fault for failing to implement a viable alternative to IPv4 over a decade after its limitations started hobbling the Internet."

            Wrong. The Chinese proposal doesn't supplant IPV4. Also, we have a replacement for that: IPV6. Despite some issues with backward compatibility due to more IPV4 design mistakes, it's gaining usage. China's proposal replaces TCP, not IPV4. Try again.

      4. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Who are they addressing?

        There is no such thing as a global operating system.

        And in any case every multiuser OS I've ever seen has, of necessity, at least one admin account that can do pretty much whatever it damn well pleases. One account to rule them all and in the darkness bind them. How much more authoritarian can you get?

        And, as far as digital currencies are concerned, ... The only reason for these are for government surveillance.

        Seems to me that there is a use case for an anonymous digital currency for small transactions. You wave your "wallet" (whatever it's physical form) at a parking meter or chewing gum dispenser and a small amount of value moves from your possession to someone else's in return for a few minutes of parking or a pack of gum. Doesn't require one to have tokens (coins) of the proper dimensions and mass or to physically transfer a token. Can it be done? I haven't the slightest.

        But if it can be/is done, I doubt it will require blockchain.

        And I imagine that it'll be anonymous because tracking who spent how much for what for small transactions will almost certainly be more trouble than it is worth.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who are they addressing?

          "Can it be done? I haven't the slightest."

          It's very successful in HK with the Octopus card.

        2. Dave 15 Silver badge

          Re: Who are they addressing?

          The governments have tried with credit cards, and even got it with Sweden who dont use cash anymode

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who are they addressing?

          Reread the quote in full. He is using a metaphor.

          Paraphrasing - if the world economy is like a phone, russia has the capability to create malicious apps, china has the ability to rewrite its operating system.

          Its not a great metaphor, and it lands badly for a tech audience, but he was not implying that there is a "one global operating system" and that "china is rewriting it"

        4. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Who are they addressing?

          If you want anonymous, secure, spend-only-once money, then you ARE talking either blockchain or some technology very much like it. As we've seen, however, there are serious scaling issues.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who are they addressing?

        All authority is the threat.

      6. jgard

        Re: Who are they addressing?

        Hey, I know It's difficult to accept you're nothing special, but once you do, you'll realise NSA/GCHQ are not interested in you. And believe me they're even less interested in your anus. Fundamentally, your fundament is perfectly safe - from GCHQ at least - unless you are a real bad geezer. They really aren’t bothered about you; this is about keeping us - by that I mean ostensibly free democracies - free.

        The weapons have changed. In the past it was guns, tanks, and nukes, if Khrushchev wanted to put pressure on the west, he would blockade Berlin, or ship nukes to Cuba. The west could respond in kind with naval blockades or airlifts. And although tanks and bombs are still important, the main threats have moved online.

        They now involve disruption of power grids, interference with military systems, disabling telecoms and internet backbones etc. Much more nefarious are their less obvious aims of subverting individual freedom, freedom of markets, democracy, free expression, political sovereignty etc. China is a totalitarian and authoritarian regime; there is no political or religious freedom, no freedom of expression - a wrong word gets you a bullet in the head. Like all authoritarian states, it is run by power hungry despots who lack any humanity and will do anything to keep and extend their power. Look at Hong Kong for Christ’s sake, China invaded and consumed it against all external objections and outrage, and against the brave local people who fought it. BTW - they didn't fight and risk all for a laugh, they did it because they were terrified for their families’ lives and freedoms.

        China invaded because they could, but that geographical / strategic leverage (i.e. being next door and having a huge military) is less and less important. In the future, invasion and control of another state will be done electronically. But it won't be possible overnight, it will be through injecting malware on an enormous scale, firmware disguised in hardware to call home or disrupt power stations; by them slowly taking control of standards bodies; insertion of a backdoor here and there, using their increasing economic power and huge scale to replace hardware, software and standards. Given the free reign to expand, they would have capability to impose absolute control on anything they liked, unilaterally and on a global scale: including disruption of stock markets, whole currencies and economies, outlawing privacy, censoring speech, controlling our lives and eliminating our freedoms.

        I'm afraid your rant is just plain silly. I realise people might have complaints against living in US or UK society, problems with politics or foreign policy. But if you think for one moment they are even remotely as immoral, unethical, expansionist and globally dangerous as China and/or Russia you're deluded. How many US/UK citizens do you see emigrating to China and gaining Chinese nationality while surrendering a UK/US passport?

        GCHQ are absolutely spot on – our freedom and security really do depend on tackling this head on, and with every ally we can find. I’m sure they would also like to reassure citizens that their anus and associated anatomy is perfectly safe.

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Who are they addressing?

          While all the above is true, the distinctively illiberal tendencies in the West create a certain amount of hollowness to these statements. Remind me again about which countries have significant interests pushing for backdoors in all communications systems? As for freedom of expression, let's talk about what is happening with RMS.

          As a formal matter of policy, the West remains much, much more free than then Chinese have ever had it (outside Hong Kong). But in practice, we are losing a LOT both formally and informally.

      7. sreynolds

        Re: Who are they addressing?

        I can't figure out whom it is that they are really talking about. He really needed to use an analogy with a milkshake - that would have made it crystal clear.

    2. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: Who are they addressing?

      @_LC_

      Perhaps if you are so impressed with China you would like to go and live in Hong Kong.

      @Pascal

      'Global Operating System' is a metaphor.

    3. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Devil

      Re: Who are they addressing?

      I think they are basically addressing the people who sign off their budget, using the time honoured strategy:

      1. There is a big external threat over there

      2. We are the only people who know how to save you from it

      3. So give us more money for executive bonuses enhanced capabilities to deal with the threat

      Works more often than not, if I recall. :(

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Who are they addressing?

        Perhaps they should set up a company, gift some shares and then offload it as a contract.

      2. jgard

        Re: Who are they addressing?

        You mean like Churchill and the military top brass were trying in the 1930s? ;)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who are they addressing?

      To extend Fleming's earlier metaphor:

      Russia is affecting the weather, China is shaping the climate, while GCHQ is pissing in your raincoat.

      If you think GCHQ is the greatest threat, that's likely because you're distracted enough by your pockets being full of piss, to not care that the floodwater is rising up your ankles

  2. Blazde Silver badge
    Joke

    Russia is affecting the weather

    Great to see GCHQ is all over this 'Beast from the East' issue we've been having each winter lately. Sooner that's solved the better.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Russia is affecting the weather

      Yes but their solution is to attack Belgium

      1. Tail Up

        Re: Russia is affecting the weather

        Вы там совсем ебанулись / Absolutely ridiculous statement

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Russia is affecting the weather

          Ridiculous indeed

          1. Tail Up

            Re: Russia is affecting the weather

            Indeed it was an ordinary algo for messing with Belgian telecom . While, regarding the previous comment, search algos added a fact of developing a non-existing plan to attack Belgium, which one was flagged as real, to their data churn.

            Some sort of a game, alright. Thank you.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Russia is affecting the weather

      Ah! So that's why the spring weather in Spain has been so shite this year.

      I woke up to heavy fog, rain and wind today, temp of 14C all at the same time, not very normal for Mediterranean Spain but if it's the Russians I will be writing a stiff letter to Mr Putin.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Russia is affecting the weather

        >Ah! So that's why the spring weather in Spain has been so shite this year.

        No that's Brexit. All those expats moved to Spain for the nice weather, they return 'home' the weather isn't going to be nice = logical really.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not even going to bother commenting on the hypocrisy.

  4. DCdave
    Joke

    Global operating system

    So does he consider the global operating system Windows or Linux? Discuss here without invective or religious fervour.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: Global operating system

      Neither. The global operating system is Stupidity, if past evidence is anything to go by.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Global operating system

        Hey, it's FOSS and has *a lot* of contributors, so it's good, amirite?

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Global operating system

      >So does he consider the global operating system Windows or Linux?

      Taking the obvious corollary being made, it doesn't really matter, effectively we have a duopoly in computer OS's. In this situation, it does become possible and given the discussions about MS and Linux also it becomes desirable in some quarters, to control those OS's,

      1. jgard
        Joke

        Re: Global operating system

        I think it may have been intended as a metaphor.

        What you are suggesting is RidiculOS.

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Global operating system

      Neither (*). I would go with the firmware in mass storage devices, USB device firmware and the Intel Management Engine.

      (*): Router and internet connected TV firmware is also on my list and is usually Linux based.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Global operating system

        I would actually suggest that it's actually more fundamental than that.

        In countries that descend from the common law tradition the basis of our laws is written that you are free to do anything that you wish to do, apart from specified things that are prohibited by laws defining what you can't do.

        In other parts of the world (and even Europe, ie the Code Civil the basis of the laws is that everything is prohibited unless permitted by law.

        This leads to things like this:-

        https://www.thelocal.fr/20140521/french-teen-drone-flight-film-fine/

        ie; French kid films really good promotional video of his town; gets prosecuted and fined for doing it without a permit and considers emigrating to a less restrictive country. In western countries he'd probably have had a job offer from a media agency instead.

        That is a minor and almost spurious example, but the basic architecture and philosophy behind the internet was written by people who had been raised in our society and this does actually matter; it's why SMTP just sends emails from any mail server to any mailserver and is pretty much totally decentralised. If a totalitarian country had of developed email then the system design would probably have required you to route your emails via the government post office which would be delivered them when they'd read them and approved the content. DNS is pretty uncontrollable by the state; what would it have looked like if China had of developed it?

        What might the next generation of platforms look like if people raised in a dictatorship designed even the basic architecture to be used?

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Global operating system

          The UK has made many laws that cover such wide and vague areas of activity that it amounts to making many things illegal unless explicitly permitted. Does anyone remember the teen who took a short-cut through unused land when cycling to and from work? Normally that would not be illegal (at most it would be a civil case of trespass). But it turned out that the land was owned by the MOD and she was arrested under the Terrorism Act.

          It is a serious crime to be in possession of anything that may be of use to a terrorist. Think about that for a while.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Global operating system

          That's BS, and your example is BS, too.

          Things are not forbidden by default in France. Your link explicitly states that the kid in question violated existing laws, and you may be aware, however dimly, that drones can't be flown just anywhere in the UK or the US, either.

          The dumb kid was such a precious entitled snowflake, he expected the seller to tell him everything about the laws applying to him. You know, as opposed to do a 5-minute search on the internet, himself.

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Global operating system

          >ie; French kid films really good promotional video of his town; gets prosecuted and fined for doing it without a permit

          The UK has similar legal constraints concerning the flying of drones in public places; expect at some stage TPTB will decide they need to set an example and so embark on similar style prosecutions.

          Remember the daftness of the Derbyshire police in some of their lockdown enforcements - in one case deciding that a cup of coffee (on its own) was a picnic, in contradiction of legal definitions/precedence on what constitutes a 'picnic'.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Global operating system

      I was under the impression that China was further developing their home grown Kylin OS so that they can become fully independent of Western OSs.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Global operating system

      The network is the computer

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Global operating system

      > So does he consider the global operating system Windows or Linux?

      If you believe these numbers, which if I'm honest I do not.

      https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share

      Surely your question should be Android (40.17%), Windows(32.39%), iOS(16.47%), OS X(7.07%) ...

    7. NonSSL-Login

      Re: Global operating system

      In this particular topic one assumes Global operating system = Communication networks.

      If you don't want to use chinese or russian hardware in your telephone and internet structure then you have to make your own equipment. Same with China and Russia if they want to get rid of western technology out of theirs.

      The problem is we can't trust our own UK or US government to do the right thing when creating our own equipment as they are hellbent in creating back doors and breaking the security, so its not much better than accepting the superior chinese 5g hardware for example.

      He talks about "industry standards" and its those standards both the GCHQ and the NSA like infiltrate and sway to a point they are insecure and not fit for purpose. Until they get off their mass surveillance horse I dont see how they can complain about foreign gear.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Global operating system

        Didn't the NSA deliberately introduce particularly weak coefficients into their peopoaws Eliptic encryption standard?

        https://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2013/09/15-shumow.pdf

        Its not quite at the same level as the CIA being one of the co-owners of an ostensibly Swiss manufacturer of encrption machines (back when such things were commonly in use) but it does tend to cloud anything that the government(s) tell us. They're smart, motivated and extremely well funded -- just what you need to keep at least one step ahead of the rubes.

    8. PeteA

      Re: Global operating system

      To an extent, the "global operating system" is the emergent behaviour from the combination of all the various standards (formal and informal), legislation and "standard practice" that has developed over the years into a rather arcane IP-based API.

      It's all fractals-in-fractals ... what's the OS on my desktop? I'd probably say "Linux", although I really mean "a Linux kernel with a GNU userland and whatever other binaries I install". But in fact, that's just the OS I interact with. I imagine that each of my disks has an OS too (pointless having an ARM processor if not!!), along with all the other peripherals that gain "smarts" over time. So yeah, I buy into the idea of higher- and lower- level control planes^h^h^h operating systems. A shell running inside a container might _think_ it has an operating system, courtesy of the various kernel features (such as namespaces and cgroups) that have been cunningly kludged into the virtualisation construct known as "a container", but it doesn't really, it's just an illusion.

      When I deploy some workload into Kubernetes ... I'd suggest that the k8s API's come very close to Wikipedia's definition of an operating system ("An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common services for computer programs. ") ... hmmm ... a bit like kubelet then? And how does kata fit in?

      Von Neumann / MIT architectures are interesting concepts. The reality is that we are rapidly moving to a much more distributed & interconnected system which resembles an ecological environment and has lots of different morphologies. Many of the inhabitants are symbionts (such as the OS on my HDD's), some are classic Von Neumann / MIT behemoths

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    tl;dr: We want obligatory BritCrypto™

    For the UK that means ensuring “a very small percentage of key technologies must be truly sovereign to retain strategic technical advantage – things like elements of the cryptographic technologies that protect the UK’s most sensitive information and capabilities.” Investing in such capabilities and “using statutory powers to restrict hostile foreign investment” will be needed.

    No back doors but a wide open front door.

    lf they really wanted sovereign technologies perhaps they should have advised the government not to flog off the ARM family silver.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Arm

      Who would you trust with ARM? How far down the list would you place the UK?

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: tl;dr: We want obligatory BritCrypto™

      lf they really wanted sovereign technologies perhaps they should have advised the government not to flog off the ARM family silver. ..... Dan 55

      If the return of that national treasure is decided absolutely vital, I'm pretty darned sure Japan's SoftBank, which apparently has it for sale for a piffling $40bn would be more than just happy to sell it back to a UK provisioned, sovereign wealth backed proxy.

      Admittedly though, whether the purchase would then be controlled by the UK government banking system, or the proxy provided or providing the action, is quite another question for asking and not to be answered for all the usual type of national security reasons which are designed to protect both lives sources and operational methodologies.

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: tl;dr: We want obligatory BritCrypto™

        Perhaps softbank should gift the business secretary some shares in arm then he will buy it :)

  6. Chris G Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The irony of it all

    A government mandarin complaining about Chinese control.

    I note that the parties he most wishes to protect are, once again not the people that are the nation but business and institutions.

    He then goes on to speak of sovereign control of cryptography and security to protect open and democratic society but would quite appreciate having back doors that 'only' the sovereign powers can access.

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: The irony of it all

      Just goes to show what an igonorant burke he is... a backdoor is available to all.

  7. RobLang

    Obvious irony aside...

    He's right that China is accelerating faster than we are. I live in central Reading (UK home of Oracle, Microsoft etc) and the best OpenReach speed I can get is 22MBps. No FTTP. That's laughable in the East. Infrastructure needs to be powered by government policy and if there isn't an appetite for sorting out the basics then it's fair to assume that the more nuanced ideas of security and privacy won't either.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Obvious irony aside...

      UK's middling broadband speed the result of generous UK government funding. The speed needs to improve enough to avoid becoming a vote loser but not so fast that there is no need for more pork. If you ask the government to do more they will hire someone like Ajit Pai.

      1. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: Obvious irony aside...

        I live in huddersfield and via Virgin I have 200mb broadband (coax) and can go up to 300mb. City fibre has already laid fibre around huddersfield, i presume sometime this year I can go to fibre > 1gb.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Obvious irony aside...

          My sympathies. 300 milli bits per second is extremely slow.

          1. adam 40 Silver badge

            Re: Obvious irony aside...

            Not slow for Virgin though, I pay for 100 and rarely get > 20

            1. AndrueC Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Obvious irony aside...

              Whooosh.

              Which coincidentally is the sound you get when you have 200Mbs. If you only have 200mbs it's more like

              w....h....u....u....s....s....h....h....h

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Obvious irony aside...

      Dude that's laughable in Glasgow, let alone the East.

    3. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: Obvious irony aside...

      I'm sitting out Covid lockdown in Andorra, which is one and a half degrees east of Greenwich. Basic internet here is 300Mbps fibre, 700Mbps available at extra cost. Fibre to the home is universal.

      It's no coincidence that telecoms is a state monopoly (necessarily, the market is not big enough to support competition). The government decided that everyone has to have fibre and instructed Anodrra Telecom to make it so. That was about 10 years ago.

      -A.

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Obvious irony aside...

        State monopoly... or should we say what it is, a system whereby essentials are provided via the government in such a way that any profits made on the deal go directly to the national treasury and not some foreign investors so they can be used to reduce tax and or provide new services. Wow, what an idea. Pity we never had that in the UK... oh, what, we did? You mean the Tory and Labour parties have forced the plebs to pay for the development of these things then sold them to their mates for knock down prices and then ripped the plebs off with massive bills, lack of investment and finally the insult of watching the CEO pocket billions in bonuses while sacking stacks of people thus increasing the burden of unemployment on the tax payer..... oh my, and people are claimed to vote for this?

    4. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Obvious irony aside...

      the best OpenReach speed I can get is 22MBps. No FTTP. That's laughable in the East.

      One person's experience doesn't really prove much. You are well below the UK average connection speed (64Mb/s as of 2020) so all we know is that you're one of the unlucky ones.

      Regardless you can have almost any connection speed you can imagine almost anywhere you want it. You just have to be prepared to pay for it. That's been the case for a good couple of decades now. There's almost nowhere BT (or its competitors) can't get a fibre optic cable termination point given enough financial encouragement.

      If your use case is important enough to help the UK compete internationally it should be possible to justify that high cost. It sounds like you probably have FTTC available (ADSL can go that fast but not often) so have you checked the BT availability checker? A lot of areas that have FTTC (possibly most) have FTTPoD available.

      Incidentally - can you explain exactly what it is you'd like to do that is impossible with 22Mb/s?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deluded....or What?

    What mystical universe is Jeremy Fleming living in?

    Quote #1: "...technology which hardwires data collection in ways that go against the interests and values of open, democratic societies...."

    Oh.....I suppose Jeremy Fleming has never heard of Edward Snowden!!

    Quote #2: "...the UK’s current policy settings are decent..."

    Relevant link: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/21/british-spies-hacked-into-belgacom-on-ministers-orders-claims-report

  9. xyz Silver badge

    Brief translation...

    Bigger budget please. The rest of the crap spouted made me laugh though.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Brief translation...

      China has become the go to reason for government agency budget requests.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    potential to control the global operating system

    of course it's allright when WE control the global operating system, because it benefits US, never mind the rest of the world, whey don't they rejoice for sharing scraps, eh? Whereas when THEY want to control the GOS it's a threat! menace! danger! erosion! collapse! cats being microwaved on low power! We-control - goood. They-control baaad!

    p.s. in the long run, our system is gonna 'win', because humans are a lazy, unorganized bunch, and if you try to re-form them to become hard-working and organized, this is not not gonna last. Unless TECHNOLOGY ;)

    1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

      Re: potential to control the global operating system

      "We-control - goood. They-control baaad"

      Yes, that's pretty much it, that's what all sides think. That's what has defined most conflict throughout the ages, regardless of it was specifically about language, religion, land, resources, money, business (money again) or future international standards for vital electronic components and their interfaces.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    China without Xi, Russian without Putin

    You can see that neither Xi nor Putin represent the "hive mind" of their people they claim to represent. If they did they wouldn't need the "authoritarian" part to control those people!

    Putin has clearly never won an election since 2012 and possibly earlier. Xi and the Chinese communist party stopped pretending to even hold elections. Xi simply being appointed for life.

    So, instead of this negative spiral you've helped the UK go into, instead of lumping together groups by how the dictator *wants* you to lump them together, how about you lead a positive upward spiral instead?

    Secure end to end encrypted communications. A country free from mass surveillance. Freedom to protest, no more secret police intelligence unit, no more ACPO, NDEU, NPOIU and their ilk outside the scope of democratic control and FOI requests. Help the people of China and Russia communicate in secure free ways, give them a beacon to aspire to, not a negative label to overcome.

    Also I disagree that somehow Russia is the weather and China is the climate. Russia is using a different attack mechanism: funding politicians/judges with dark money to take control. It's *very*successfully* creeping across Europe and the US, and the more you build your 'authoritarian' mechanisms to 'defeat' this threat the more you create the ready-to-go authoritarian control.

    Russia is the most imminent threat, and its the major one. Those troops they're massing on Ukraine border, are not theoretical. If Russian invades Ukraine, Georgia should be ready to take back South Ossetia, and Europe should be ready to take control of Karlingsgrad and Transnistria. If he invades Georgia, Ukraine should be ready to take back Crimea, and you don't stop at the borders with Russia. Recognize how serious the threat *Putin* is to Europe, and tackle *Putin*.

    Also lets not pretend here, you follow your boss, and if your boss is a Russian operative, you follow Russia. This is about budget, you're not on a mission to protect the UK from threats, your mission is to protect your budgets from being cut. You're not weighing up the threats the UK faces, your leveraging the rhetoric of the day to try to get your next budget increase.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Europe should be ready to take control of Karlingsgrad and Transnistria

      but, dear Sir, we, the citizens of Europe, recently detached from the shores of the Great! Nation! of Brits, Welshpersons, Scots, etc - want to live in PEACE. And PROSPERITY. Taking control of K-grad and Transnistria by the super-duper pan-European, hi-tech, (non-existent) new model army is a GREAT plan to further PEACE and PROSPERITY for Europe! Moreover, gaspadin Putin, whose putinocracy is slowly, but surely, crumbling, would love that too! And let the Ukrainians chip in, that would be fun too! And NATO! And Turkey! And Israel! And Saudi Arabia and wakey-wakey Iran's coming, and when we're at it, why not Armenia v. Azerbaijan again, with a bit of Iranian v. Turkish tech to spice it a little. Gimme WAR man, that would solve a a crisis or two :)

      1. onemark03 Bronze badge

        ... take control of Karlingsgrad ...

        Is it possible that you mean that Russian exclave "Kaliningrad" on the Baltic just north of Poland

        1. Tail Up
          Joke

          Re: ... take control of Karlingsgrad ...

          Err.. how spells correctly, Iraq or Iran?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: China without Xi, Russian without Putin

      Googling "Karlingsgrad" returned no hits. Did you mean Kaliningrad?

    3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: China without Xi, Russian without Putin

      You are behaving like a boiling frog, unable to see how the UK is slowly but inexorably following exactly the same path. When all our election choices amount to choosing the least bad government rather than a government we really want, there is no democracy. Thousands of new and far-reaching laws have been passed in the past decade, most being deliberately vague, which can and have been used to criminalise behaviour that is far from the reason the law was promoted to prevent. Of course, all the laws and infrastructure being used to control the population are promoted as being necessary to keep us "safe".

      Safe from threats that are either grossly exaggerated, and/or are ones that our own government created.

    4. naive Silver badge

      Re: China without Xi, Russian without Putin

      History doesn't backup claims about Russia being an aggressive country, they never engaged in offensive wars, and why should they, they have land enough.

      Even the wars against Finland were about border disputes, since Finland used to be a part of imperial Russia.

      Truman and Churchill gave the Russians East-Europe as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, that was no aggression on their side either. They defend what is theirs, and if your name happens to be Ukraine, it is bad luck, you have been part of the Russian empire for many centuries.

      Russia is totally in its right to fight off NATO encroachment, it is their country. USA wouldn't be happy either when Chinese PLA starts building bases in Mexico and Canada.

      The only reason Russia would use their army against Europe is the lack of a viable resistance in the EU, most EU countries do not have armies or functional equipment enabling them to fight a longer war with a strong adversary like Russia.

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: China without Xi, Russian without Putin

        "Truman and Churchill gave the Russians East-Europe as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact..."

        You need to check your history.

        The Molotov-Ribbentrop was cooked up just prior to the start of hostilities in August 1939. In it the two parties agreed to a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and further assigned spheres of influence over states in the central part of Europe.

        The agreement reached at the Yalta conference between Britain, the USSR and the USA in 1945 was aimed at settling the post-war states of Europe which ultimately led the the Iron Curtain and Cold War.

        The two agreements both set out to arrange European affairs to the benefit of the contracting parties. Both failed in their aims.

    5. Tail Up
      IT Angle

      Re: Anonymous poster - China without Xi, Russian without Putin

      You must be a one of these chess players that come boozed to play and leave on their four. Lost, surely.

      One could watch less commanding pixels on a TV screen and more asking the population representatives on the territories you invade with black and white figures, if they are really for a w*r or any other conflicting issues.

      All that the pixels really need from your ilk is your obedient financing the removing the outdated pieces of iron shit out from ammo depots on a global scale to stuff it heavily with the new one. Dare to guess where the staff goes?

      Right, man. To their European and African trading partners, represented by Pixelatrix throgh a "democratic" procedure as their population's representatives zombifying their people with tales about the "Eastern aggressors", while, in fact, the aggressors are military production-based, Hollywood shit-supported economics, protected from the sky piss by the umbrella of some high-ranked wannabe forever-living officers and bureaucracy clerks.

      Ah, Uigurs. What s vast array to poke loads of the dated weaponry into this territory. What a endless space will be opened for storing the brand new killing machines on the land where peaceful families serve as a covering shield for this ugly racket.

      Hope, this is the global operating system that "China" wants to crack and which was meant by Mr Flemming, especially when you suddenly find that there is no even a slightest wiff of sorrow in his word about this coming up beginning of the event. Because what else GOS can he mean, BGP churn? Protonicity instead of electricity? Huh?

      Care trying not posting Anon when replying to the post on such matter, or would one prefer being taken for a cockroach from the propaganda bot kitchen?

      Dear Reg and Reggers, I tried making my reply non-political. Beg your pardon if something. Накипело. Умники, бля, намотрятся по тв всякой хуйни с похмелья, и несут чушь в массы...

    6. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: China without Xi, Russian without Putin

      Thing is that if we want to stop China and Russia we are going to have to force companies back out of both (I mean, you HAVE to have a factory in China to sell there, so why cant we do similar or even more draconian) The EU basically mandated we buy Russian gas, now we are out of it lets start digging up coal , converting sewer methane or producing liquid fuel from air in order to stop supporting Russia. With all things if we continue giving them money we cant complain when they continue to get stronger (and obviously we get weaker as the money leaves)

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    MRDA ...... and it's certainly been said and is easily made universally available

    How very perceptive of GCHQ leadership/systems administration, however ...... at such "a moment of reckoning" how does one practically effect virtual command for absolute control is the gazillion dollar, money shot question?

    Having identified and accepted the why it may be needed to be elitely exclusively exercised, following through with suitable future ACTions is that which is altogether much more taxing for forces and sources engaging in what are most definitely extremely obscure, enigmatic circles pondering on almighty royal and ancient round table type operations.

    In the light of an earlier submission to El Reg on Really Good Stuff today and under the glow of GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming's rhetoric as expressed and conveyed in the final three paragraphs of the article being commented on here, and they were refreshingly encouraging, I certainly know what some would be expecting to very quickly happen before everything is strategically lost, and tactical lead is exercised magnificently elsewhere by other able parties both alien and foreign and well beyond an Effective Oppositional Remote ACTive Command and Control, rather than being more comfortably home-grown based and bred and further developed.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He is somewhat correct, but there is a better solution - stop pouring government money into half baked ideas like "smart cities", and the attendant piles of cheap technology crap won't be a problem. I think we have forgotten the value that humans can provide, and are on a mis-guided mission attempting to replace skills and experience with tech.

  14. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Russia is affecting the weather, whilst China is shaping the climate

    whilst Britain is moaning about the rain.

    Somebody explain the concept of open source to him please.

    1. Tail Up

      Re: Russia is affecting the weather, whilst China is shaping the climate

      Ahha, Russia. Thousands of years of changing the Sun into the Rainfall On Islands (-;

      Always at ur service.

      China, come in.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: whilst Britain is moaning about the rain.

      ironically, Russia is moaning about the rain, as it's going to wreck their Victory Day Parade! Victory celebrations! And - most importantly - they habit of outdoor grilling everything slightly consumable in sight, on account of the V-day...

      Britain's moaning about the frost, cause it's f... almost-May!

      1. Tail Up

        Re: whilst Britain is moaning about the rain.

        Ah, please don't mind that. Weaponry waterproofed, as well as people, the Invited Visitors warmed up accordingly, and - Fcuk The Coronavirus!

  15. Mike 137 Silver badge

    This sounds a bit like political posturing

    If I understood the rather vague argument, it is fundamentally "West good: China and Russia bad" like in Animal Farm.

    The concept that global electronic services are currently "good" but could be perverted by the "Bad East" fails to take into account the perversity of the current Western policies that drive them - competition for global domination of entire service sectors and money grabbing.

    The fantasy that the internet has ever been universally dedicated to human wellbeing is just that - a fantasy. Even when the internet was Arpanet, the driving force for its design was conflict resilience.

  16. iron Silver badge

    Insecure, broken and undemocratic... sounds like GCHQ to me.

  17. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Didnt you notice

    The BRITISH government has managed to force censorship

    The BRITISH police in Northumbria are forcing ALL motorcyclists to have trackers on their bikes for speed etc. etc.

    The BRITISH MPs and ministers are taking backhanders, gifts and even begging for them ... in return for 'obviously not related' cough cough conincidental awards of juicy contracts or laws to benefit them.

    FFKS these days the UK is NO better than China... in many ways its worse because it keeps lieing about being better.

    1. Adelio Silver badge

      Re: Didnt you notice

      " forcing ALL motorcyclists to have trackers on their bikes"

      Really, I find it very hard to believe, link please.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Didnt you notice

        "Forcing" does not have to be brought about by explicit law. If insurance is legally mandatory, and insurance will cost 100 times more if you don't have a tracker, then having a tracker is also effectively mandatory.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Didnt you notice

        Try searching for "BRITISH police in Northumbria are forcing ALL motorcyclists to have trackers on their bikes". I did and it actually is true according to the article on Visordown. I see that going well.

        1. claimed

          Re: Didnt you notice

          According to an article that actually links to the police website, a page which (below) states that the proposal related to off road bikes (can't comment on the original, its gone!) and has caused concern so the police are now working with bike groups for more acceptable approaches. Translation, it was a political "tough on crime" statement which doesn't merit, "the UK is NO better than China" from the OP.

          https://www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk/time-tracker-technology-help-tackle-reckless-riders-says-pcc-kim-mcguinness/

  18. Abominator

    I sense there are lots of trolls today.

  19. John Robson Silver badge

    Cry me a river...

    "things like elements of the cryptographic technologies"

    Won't you think of the children?

  20. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Really, el Reg!

    You have a report of a sypmaster named Fleming and not one bad pun or double entrendre?

    I'll leave you with Mitchell & Webb on be-tuxedo'd one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIfSQW499Xc

    1. _LC_ Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Really, el Reg!

      Why did I have to think about the Queen?

      https://youtu.be/X8yqV7VYjMM?t=286

  21. steelpillow Silver badge
    Boffin

    History - did I hear you say something?

    A hundred years ago, Britain's General Post Office (GPO) controlled the global operating system through its globe-circling telegraphy cable network. It was the only nation with cables you could not cut in wartime, because the message would just go round the other way. And it was so ubiquitous that many nations hung off it rather than lay their own links. In many ways, the role of GCHQ grew out of the GPO's "Dark Rooms" where intercept was gathered and decoded.

    When the Internet was developed, the USA seized the chance to finally wrest its governance from the GPO and grab it through ICANN, the IETF and the Internet Society. Companies such as Cisco took over the "It's easier through us" and "pipe it on to the NSA" roles.

    China has got a bit fed up with all this and wants its Dark Room folks to have their own toys.

    GCHQ would rather like to throw those toys out of the pram so everybody plays with theirs.

    I do wish these nationalist propagandists would realise that playing nationalism with global privacy and security standards is much like playing nationalism with Covid vaccines; it just hurts the people you are trying to protect and gives you a bad name. The W3C is international in scope, the Internet standards organisations should be too.

    1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

      Re: History - did I hear you say something?

      I tend to refer to them as the unintelligent and insecurity services, doesn’t matter which nation it is

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Banned from using US software. Now China makes its own OS.

    The Americans banned Huawei and other Chinese companies from using US (i.e. Google) software and forced them to make their own OS. So they shouldn't complain about what is their decision. The Chinese were quite happy for the US to control the "global operating system".

  23. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Screw them

    So the people behind the internet standards have pushed the availability of anonymity, strong cryptography, fault resilience (being able to route around faults, including "faults" being someone trying to "shut down" internet connectivity.) GCHQ (and equivalents in the US) have directly opposed this, wanting every tool an authoritarian regime would want; then have the nerve to bitch when someone besides themselves decides to take full advantage of this.

  24. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    To imagine it for tomorrow rather than realise it active long before yesterday is a huge mistake.

    Lest one forgets the true current confounding nature of presently changed and continually changing realities, with parties one would never even dream of being effectively involved and instrumental in highly disruptive anonymised shenanigans in the driving seats exercising remarkable controls ......... https://youtu.be/LcgG_E9gQJM?t=54

    And those non fungible skills are a global treat and universal threat simply transferred at the click of a mouse to anyone virtually practically anywhere interesting and interested on the planet.

    That takes the notion of upwardly mobile on the corporate executive office ladder to the nth degree onto a whole other plane of existential play with quantum bit and pieces...... where a this is also enabled to be a that and together entangled something else again altogether different and singularly potent and instructive/attractive and rewarding.

    And it is not something nor anything one can just ignore and pretend does not exist, and deny is not tearing systems and structures apart to their very cores ...... although there are always those old diehard blowhards who will try and fail both miserably and abysmally.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To imagine it... ...long before mistake.

      Canadian English is still an easy-to-understand internetional English, with other details being not so much important in comparison... (-:

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To imagine it... ...long before mistake.

        "internehtional" surely.

  25. Tron Bronze badge

    Big Brother GCHQ defending democracy? Best laugh I've had all week.

    This all sounds a bit like the Brexit propaganda for leaving the EU. Exactly where is this mighty UK-based tech industry that is leading the world but might be lost to China?

    I would guess that the governmental attacks on encryption, which is fundamental to a secure internet, are promoted and supported by GCHQ, because they want to spy on UK citizens. I expect GCHQ will want to see much of the future of tech - distributed systems, peer-to-peer and ad hoc networking, distributed routing, distributed VPNs - banned in the UK on the grounds of national security, as it all might imperil national security, women, children and cute furry animals. To build the future of tech, whilst I wouldn't advise going to China, you may have to go abroad, assuming the prison gates are ever opened. If not, you will have to work virtually for a foreign company, trying to dodge becoming an enemy of the people.

    As for the Great British Internet Industry, the big names are notably not of UK origin. I suppose Friends Reunited was created by plucky Brits, but it didn't end well.

    There may be UK-origin operating systems (post-BBC BASIC), social media networks, browsers, Office packages and Search engines, but they don't spring to mind when listing the main global players. Psion have gone. We have the Raspberry Pi, but it is hardly mainstream consumer tech. We had ARM of course, but flogged it off.

    We don't have a SoftBank or a LINE or a Samsung or a Nokia or anything approaching GAFA. Does anyone in the UK actually manufacture any high tech consumer goods from the ground up? If not, then the regulatory isolation that Brexit could potentially create may see us locked out of the 'global operating system'. And a ban on anything Chinese in tech will knock us back to the 1970s. I was going to say 1980s, but we manufactured some world leading micros then. Now it is just the Pi.

    The UK has Venture Capital, but VC is not tech, it is finance. Money in, money out & walk away with the profits. We have stacks of ingenuity, but if you want to do something interesting, you may have to work with people over the prison walls and across the briny deep in Terra Incognito. If GCHQ let you.

    The truth is that the UK is becoming more like China, with the government giving itself the right to spy on all of its citizens, block search results and web addresses, and block the free movement of goods and people. The difference is that the UK government tries to do it indirectly, so they don't look like something nasty and Orwellian, whilst Beijing just does it openly.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Big Brother GCHQ defending democracy? Best laugh I've had all week.

      We have stacks of ingenuity, but if you want to do something interesting, you may have to work with people over the prison walls and across the briny deep in Terra Incognito. If GCHQ let you. ..... Tron

      Given the very particular and peculiar nature of many of the works which are now being done somewhat autonomously and anonymously, and which might be of very specific concern to the likes of an Orwellian GCHQ, to even imagine that GCHQ would be able prevent anyone able in such fields from doing exactly as they themselves want, is surely risible and delusional.

      And that is what has everyone in those older establishment systems of command and control so terrified and twitchy. It is only natural, .... such blind panic and endemic horror.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Big Brother GCHQ defending democracy? Best laugh I've had all week.

      To build the future of tech, whilst I wouldn't advise going to China, you may have to go abroad, assuming the prison gates are ever opened. If not, you will have to work virtually for a foreign company, trying to dodge becoming an enemy of the people. We don't have a SoftBank ..... Tron

      Oh, .... and there I was thinking the UK finally had, and now you're sort of telling me to consider it a fad, Tron? How very disappointing.

      The new UK Infrastructure Bank will harness the skills of our engineers and the innovation of our architects and designers to make major new projects a reality. It will add expertise and capacity to local governments and help them to realise their plans. And most importantly it will help us to build back better, fairer and greener. ..... Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer ......https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966131/UKIB_Policy_Design.pdf

      If the UK does have big Venture Capital to release and activate and utilise for any perceived and/or recognised latent potential in a nationalised private public or pirate proprietary intellectual property portfolio, now is certainly an excellent time to deposit it with Appropriate ACTive Actors/Prime Premium Drivers, otherwise fertile thoughts of fraudulent shenanigans and dodgy slush funds and monumental theft grow roots to emerge as a diseased crop which blights vast fields of tricky dicky finance with ponzi plantations of institutional vapourware.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Big Brother GCHQ defending democracy is No Laughing Matter when a Fake AI Premis.

        Big Brother GCHQ, UKGBNI and the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street DO KNOW what happens whenever they do not step up to the plate to admirably quickly quite quietly donate public pirate private slush funding and Venture Capital to Appropriate ACTive Actors/Prime Premium Drivers?

        That failure to be wonderfully obliging creates a beautifully hostile takeover bid scenario which naturally gifts recognised latent potential in a nationalisable private public or pirate proprietary intellectual property portfolio elsewhere foreign and alien ..... so it is no small disaster to be held fully responsible and accountable for.

        It also has one mulling over the distinct and surprising possibility, and therefore most likely amazing probability, that the advanced intelligence one thought available in established state and non-state actors for engagement and employment in enjoyment and exploitation in a Capital Venture is not present in any required necessary valuable form, and their entire range of Elite Executive and Mass Administrative SCADA Systems is laid out before one wide open to defenceless attack and crushing conquest. ....... Almighty Overwhelmingly Catastrophic Defeat.

  26. james 68

    Cryptography

    "Cryptography is important and necessary so give us all the money" says the GCHQ guy who wants to weaken and backdoor cryptography.

    A facepalm moment of epic proportions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      About "...weaken and backdoor cryptography...."

      @james_68

      *

      You forgot to mention that you are talking about cryptography run by internet service providers. So...yes...GCHQ would like backdoors, and analysis tools to target service providers.

      *

      Quote: "...Cryptography is important and necessary ..."

      *

      But you need to think about users too. Some users are using private ciphers before messages enter any channel on the internet. This approach means that when GCHQ extract messages using the (secret) backdoors, all they extract are private cipher messages like this. Good luck! How much money does GCHQ need to address hundreds of private ciphers like this????

      *

      jKR2vGJu5Y3ORShGLKRKTUXERoxmTe5EvYhOHuDw

      vgrYVcb61m5ClglYRw58pkrmpKhsHU5UlI5qda3w

      rYvGLwNUDuz0HUPCzSNOdIPK9sLOtcVUTAdGP078

      3enm92NalC7CXcrwd8v2HIRUtSdKfkLsHMVuv6vQ

      LSpg3o7qbyPYV4pGXgfgVC5OT4DUJe3IrahMVmtK

      lkDwtgXGNWnA145YluhMTy3YVwro9aXYLkJc9szE

      l0jgPMDaBsFIBojuXAz4X0tql6d4hArUTQ3eNMtK

      lKTqp0VkF4nKVA74TIBGjGb4hGl2zCvqJYLaJgbI

      3m3Q5wXCpEX8jgzitm3OpgpEzQTozCdSFaNyzytU

      3e7ON6fYpKz2D6VkdKV2FiTED8hWFOriRynKlAJm

      jqH0xAZufWjA1ghi5GZKN4Hyna5oLcJOB2RKhkBc

      1INOZM3cJw7UN6FwTsZ4fuZyxY1sh8FCrIPMVUVu

      vylgbytIvGpkJGJ2xo7ydWtkvAlidUB2HW7w7q3s

      ZiJyfqB8jONkJoxWRODSBsb2JAJeFcl07ihCDYnm

      72DEtQlQNUvmNMx8TK7qxu34nEv2deHy7oV4TwBy

      Pip6NInUZwrUfo5GBafydWlclmR2lQd25aPAfgBg

      l4ZK1EngJmBs9c9uBY9avOvO10jCzyViDYhIhQtI

      XIbmv6rEnsNW14JqxWhkvy1eP0FkNmZyheRCHkvw

      bkNEr4dgVsb8LeVW5Uf6RShutcNYn29qhmXAj8vE

      NmBqjkFm5UB2b0DcNOnOliTWRktS7opWPYJsBC5m

      18heRg54jyz8zg3ANIRiDmrUBO5U1unIhWV2Ri9a

      vgPSLeJIryP096Bq1wpufeN8NqX0DmrslITkBaHS

      PmXMD878JQNQVovgtS7IFylMtsDet01Sra9olStM

      BqXqrmbWXanArc7InSXkvaZsBETK3aFApchMTWZA

      xKHk921e3Y7uHQX8lOTu7s3eDuf6pOf6bEjSbOvW

      7WZoNEB4JObAFuV4Xix2jeB8rqxuzENGPOT4ZaxI

      l09AZuZgBY98di3Eb2tERAPI3IzGTM9EvmTEpYZ2

      Tyf4lybutaFipCJWXKX4xm9IFsLktKp6Xm5C5QbQ

      HO5whitMvg1WJs3Kba767S1WxylUXSPYTyhGPixE

      XYvY

      *

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: About "...weaken and backdoor cryptography...." @Anonymous Coward

        AC, some secrets users prefer the facility and simplicity of the steganography utility for widespread education and sublime stealthy instruction/virtually protected sensitive advice rather than trusting that task to cryptography, hoping that it remains unbroken to ensure that profound activities remain generally largely unknown and an elitist affair in exclusive pastimes.

        I suppose which one is the better of two with regards to performance depends upon what one would be doing in the present and planning to try to do in the near future. To imagine being able to set anything up now in order to greatly materially effect anything a great deal further into the future than the likes of a tomorrow or two or three, is surely too fantastic to be considered reliable and viable.

        Although to some, which is clearly best is beyond question and pretty darned obvious. Steg beats crypto hands down every time.

      2. james 68

        Re: About "...weaken and backdoor cryptography...."

        But I'm not just talking about the cryptography of service providers, GCHQ want all crypto provided in the UK to be compromised, be it Joe public, universities or companies. When any of the above can and do work on projects which fall under the umbrella of "national security interests" it shows how daft the idea of compromised crypto is when they say that they need compromised crypto for national security but they also need strong crypto for national security. There's a logical fallacy in there about snakes eating their own tails.

  27. Tempest
    FAIL

    Oh Dear, Some Government Snob Has His Pants in a Twist

    The fact is Russia and China, amongst others, ARE PRESENTLY SMARTER than Western security entities. Why is it Fleming think he and his ilk is so good? Revise your tenses, Fleming.

    If Fleming and Company are so good how come that invasions of Western assets are only discovered months after the intruders have left?

    Because Fleming, et al, has dropped the ball(s). They are still dreaming in terms of 'empire'.

  28. s_simp

    Utter Tosh & Codswallop

    The "Global Operating System" my goodness well surely that would be "Plan 9" by Bell Labs - which last time I checked was written in Alef - which is the first language of the Hebrews not the Chinese.

    OpenBSD then builds on that foundation and produces arguably what could probably be classed as "the best firewall in the world!" no surprises there!

    So I guess it really does boil down to which "Global Operating System" he's referring too, maybe he means Microsoft Windows or Apple or Android - last time I checked those where the only ones that tolerated dictatorial relationships with the likes of "Republican Party" spies looking to fiddle there bosses bank balance.

    Unless of course he means the Chinese wish to re-write Windows or Ubuntu Kylin with its closed source device drivers - then there entirely welcome to, as the way I see it, it would certainly be an improvement on what's on offer at the moment, which is all translated down the pipe as "America is Spying on you" to make the world a safer place and protect you all from those nasty nationalist socialist's from the GOP!

    Yeah ok... We're all ears Mr Fleming!

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