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UK Government Says More Spying Needed 297

Posted by timothy
from the need-to-make-up-for-the-losses dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Our wonderful government here in the UK has decided we're not being surveilled enough, and agreed to spend £12 billion on a programme to monitor every Briton's phone calls, e-mails, and internet usage. According to various sources, upwards of £1 billion has already been spent on the uber-database. Rationale? Terrorism, of course (no prizes for guessing). Needless to say, not everyone is as happy as Larry over this: Michael Parker pointed out how us Brits are being 'stalked.' I'm just looking forward to when the data gets lost."
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UK Government Says More Spying Needed

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  • by Entropy98 (1340659) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @01:39AM (#25336887) Homepage

    Thats almost 200 pounds for every man woman and child in the UK.
    --
      IP Address Finding [ipfinding.com]

  • Money no object (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @01:54AM (#25336973) Journal

    After wasting £500bn recently (nearly the entire budget spend by government in one year) on bank bailouts that didn't work, it's amazing there is someone out there still stupid enough to loan the UK money for such crackpot schemes (speaking as a UK citizen). This is on top of the £20bn being wasted for the ID card system that will also crash and burn.

    Still, it's government, and they don't care about other people's money, because it's not their wages or pensions that are effected.

    With encrypted links being made ever easier, and the /. story recently of Google pushing an easier to use secure protocol, these tracking schemes will ultimately fail, at vast taxpayer expense.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @02:07AM (#25337033) Journal

    With SSL access to gmail and increasing use of SMTP-TLS providing encrypted MTA-to-MTA communications, email is more often only accessible in clear text on the server. Since Google is a US-based company, does it provide access to people's mailboxes to the UK government. I am assuming that warrants for every gmail user in the UK would not be granted, so we are talking about warrantless access.

    Or perhaps the UK government thinks that everyone in the UK uses a UK-based email provider?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 11, 2008 @02:38AM (#25337155)

    ...kind of like SETI, hmm?

  • libertarian option. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by barv (1382797) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @03:12AM (#25337319) Journal
    Now that that particular technological cat has got out of the barn door, how about the Google option - make all those CCTV's into publicly accessible web cams? Just think. With person recognition software tied in I could keep track of my wife and kids, check up on my gf, and in my spare time develop software to keep an eye on the local pedophiles and Muslim terrorists. Nah. I think I would prefer to trust Mr Brown (and whoever else can afford a private CCTV spy network) to do the right thing with all that private information.
  • Re:Abuse of power ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kjella (173770) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @03:13AM (#25337329) Homepage

    I'm not from the UK but just looking at what's said: Over seizing the assets? Yes. Being an anti-terrorism law? No. I think at this point you could have said it's an emergency and done pretty much what you wanted to anyway. I'm actually far more creeped out by Berlusconi:

    "There is talk of suspending markets for the time needed to rewrite rules," he told a news conference when asked what European Union leaders might discuss if they meet in Paris this Sunday.

    So he downplayed it a little later on the reactions but that guy, I bet he meant it quite seriously. He owns and got way too many ties to big business for my comfort.

  • Panopticon in the UK (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UnixUnix (1149659) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @03:24AM (#25337385) Homepage
    A friend living in London received yesterday by mail two parking violations and one moving violation fine, total cost over 200 (pounds, not dollars). But it appears the UK does not yet have enough surveillance... maybe she can look forward to receiving five per day, not a measly three. Jeremy Bentham would have been proud.
  • by stevedcc (1000313) * on Saturday October 11, 2008 @03:52AM (#25337487)

    I've escaped all this crap by moving to Germany. I never really like the way britain is becoming a surveillance state and moving here was such a breath of fresh air.

    It wasn't that hard to find an IT job either, only one month of serious searching.

    I'll never need one of these british ID cards, I'm not paying for that bloody database, and the DNA database here has people's names taken out of it if they aren't found guilty.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 11, 2008 @04:20AM (#25337589)
    Anonymous, for obvious reasons, but I suspect that it won't be too far long before VPN services become the norm, and all internet traffic in and out of the UK becomes encrypted.

    It's economic suicide to suppose they can legislate against the use of VPNs, given their widespread use in commerce and industry. Licensed, perhaps? Even then that'd be an immense organisation to set up (but then I suppose it's also what our government is good at!). Even if they did go this route, then innovators would simply encapsulate the VPN protocol into another, innocent stream to avoid detection.

    There are already "For the Greater Good" services popping up in the light of this threat, such as Genesis VPN [po21.net] and they, and the many that came before and that are likely to follow, will become the norm.
  • China (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bestiarosa (938309) < agent59550406@@@spamcorptastic...com> on Saturday October 11, 2008 @04:42AM (#25337661)

    Honestly, come and live in China and you'll be less spied upon than this.

    I've never felt as free and anonymous as now, living in a not better identified middle-sized city in an anonymous province of China.

    And then they say China is a repressive regime where you have no freedom.

  • by superbrose (1030148) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @04:59AM (#25337731) Homepage

    What I find ever more concerning is not only the amount of spying, but how contrived the use of spying equipment has become.

    Thanks to the The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act [opsi.gov.uk], originally intended to prevent crime and stop terrorism, state bodies and councils are now authorised to use spying equipment almost at their volition.

    According to an article on bloomberg [bloomberg.com], such use includes tracking down dog owners who fail to clean up after their four-legged friends, as well as catching people who are dumping waste etc.

  • No More Spying! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by baboo_jackal (1021741) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @05:16AM (#25337821)
    I totally agree with you. I don't want the Government to read the email I sent to my mum, or listen in on my phone call to work. I *sure* as hell don't want them to read the TXT MSGS I send to my mates. The Government is clearly lying about their intentions with this! They don't want to prevent another King's Cross, or 9/11-type attack through this latest move to enhanced ability to conduct surveillance. They just want to listen in on my phone calls!

    I mean, there haven't been any big terrorist attacks lately, and it's not like the people who work for the government and make decisions like this have any sort of knowledge that I don't. The news media tells us everything we need to know, so I don't see where these nanny-state bureaucrats get off trying to convince us that there's a problem when the BBC isn't worried about it.

    This whole plan is clearly designed to prepare the UK for some kind of neofascist information-based coup from within the government.
    </parody>

    Public Service Announcement: Although unlikely, your tinfoil hat may have shifted during the course of reading this post. Please ensure you readjust if necessary in order to continue to filter out reality.
  • by OriginalArlen (726444) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @05:49AM (#25337947)

    These technologies of mass surveillance and ubiquitous tracking, which have slid into existence in many states (excluding some of the more enlightened European countries, such as Germany) were designed and built during economic good times. If, as seems very likely, we have mass unemployment, some interesting societal effects can be expected - ranging from conspiracy theorists (it's the jews! no, the illuminati! no, it's the CIA!), plus the inevitable search for a scapegoat amongst the dimmer / less educated members of society (those currently saying things like "Why are we paying billions to bankers when small businesses don't get bailed out?") will mean a lot of social churning. Some of that will be well organised via political parties, some through NGOs, some very informal and "underground". Now, what happens when mass surveillance technology meets mass unrest? Given what we know of abuses of the blank cheque that are inevitably going on... I think things could get really ugly.

    (Yes, of course they're ugly now, but there's still a broad acceptance of the various "think of the children!" "time of war" "terrrrrists!" pablums by which this crap is justified.) I saw some rather scary vox-pops of attendees at a McCain rally the other night, with the guy with bulgy eyes and a pseudo-military "Sir, yes SIR!" manner who when asked what would happen if Obama won, said "I think it will make Europe very happy..." - a slight pause whilst he dealt with the cognitive dissonance of saying that to a representative of The Enemy, namely European media - "and it'll be socialism, and the destruction of our values and our freedoms!"

    (Tangent -- I wonder what such people would say if someone said "Obama will allow the NSA to intercept and monitor American's phone and internet traffic, en masse, without any warrant!" or any of the other egregious civil-rights abuses this administration's delivered. Their heads would probably explode with fear at the coming invasion of socialist lizard army Europeans, forcing everyone to marry a gay and eat cheese... )

    Anyway, when these types start burning immigrants out of towns and shooting at black helicopters and such, or at least register on the radar of the security state as a potential threat and get the full attentions of the (real) Man,.. well, people get crazy when they find themselves unexpectedly hungry, cold and poor.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @05:59AM (#25337985) Journal

    You have to spend tons of money on spying on those who will get pissed off about the tons of money that is being spent on spying, instead of doing far more productive things with the money that those who are being spyed on, would benefit by.

    As an example of what people want [unesco.org] vs. the amount of money being spend to support pseudo defense against terrorism. Money that clearly should instead be being used to remove the reasons for any terrorist to exist or have the ability to gain support....

    It is interesting that the current economic ballout of $700 billion is ...... well see the chart at the above link to the then military budget. And note the cost of eradicating small pox from the world, and recall Bush publicly using small pox as a terrorist possibility....

    And the terrorist of 9/11..... a little investigation very strongly points to world stock market manipulation via nickel and dime draining of south east Asia [pbs.org] as the main motivating and force behind the terrorism of 9/11. Even Ted Turner publicly said 9/11 was an act of desperation.

    Would you pay for a service that was not working for your benefit? I suspect the answer is NO.
    But you are paying taxes for a service that is not working for your benefit. Why? Because you are being threatened, terrorized to do so.

    Boston Tea Party is history.... we all need an organized "stop paying for a service that are being used against us" effort.
    Its very clear that there is an unhealthy power and money addiction being backed by threat from the government controlled military and police.

    The amount of money being spent today as "protection money" is most certainly criminal in comparison to what it can be better spent on to make this world a lot safer via. making it a better world to live in for everyone. (except for the power, money and war mongers which are less than 1% of the over 6 billion human residents of this planet...)

    A peaceful and effective effort to stop paying for a service that is so clearly and obviously not working. Any suggestions?
       

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 11, 2008 @06:54AM (#25338171)

    However, where I work the new building was designed and OK'd. The contracted parties are EXTREMELY unhappy because no changes were made.

    They were expecting a change which they could charge for. The change then shows up other changes "needed" and they can be charged.

    As it was, the company didn't do more than break even no the deal.

    Contractors LOVE changes. Charging for them is the continuing stream.

  • by RDW (41497) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @06:55AM (#25338175)

    'That's almost 200 pounds for every man woman and child in the UK.'

    Which would have seemed like a lot of money a couple of weeks ago. But today we can just add it on to the 8000 pounds it may end up costing every man, woman and child to back the bank bailout plan:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/3173868/Financial-crisis-Gordon-Browns-500-billion-gamble-fails-to-pay-off.html [telegraph.co.uk]

    Perhaps instead of spying on UK citizens, the government should have spent a few quid keeping a closer eye on the respectable financial institutions whose irresponsible behaviour has caused the sort of damage to the economy that terrorists can only dream about...

  • Re:Abuse of power ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kbg (241421) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @06:58AM (#25338191)

    Many people here in Iceland are not happy about being labeled terrorists by the UK. Iceland is probably the most peace loving nation in the world. We have no army, the police here doesn't carry guns and to my knowledge no Icelander has ever been suspected or linked to any terrorism in the history of Iceland.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 11, 2008 @11:06AM (#25339377)

    We've had a lot of rights removed over the past decade or so

    It is the natural path of every government to expand in both revenue and power over the people over time. Some expand more quickly than others, but the cold hard truth is that every government only gets bigger, more expensive, and more oppressive over time.

    How do we know this? Because no government in history, democracy or otherwise, has ever significantly, permanently, and willingly reduced its power or revenue. The fact that it takes no less than war or economic collapse to weaken a centralized power is not only alarming, it is an insight to the true nature of government, and indeed, the eventual fate of every government that will ever exist.

    So yes, we've had a lot of rights oppressed over the past decade. Of course we have. The business of government doesn't achieve growth by respecting the principles of human rights and voluntary association.

  • by easyTree (1042254) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @02:35PM (#25340871)

    +1 insightful, although I'm left with an unexplained sense of deja vu.

    I had a similar thought earlier today whilst listening to something called 'Any Answers', which is a follow-up show where the public are invited to call-in any provide feedback to the opinions expressed by a panel of experts during an earlier show 'Any Questions': http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/anyquestions.shtml [bbc.co.uk] - it's possible to listen to the show for up to a week if anyone's interested.

    As you may guess, they were talking about the goddam 'credit crunch' and asking how, after the vast quantities of cash have been given to the same assholes that caused the problem, the UK government might prevent a further occurrence of the problem. Of course, I thought, the problem is, as you so rightly note, human psychology and in this case runaway greed; one man's desire to dominate another, in this sense financially.

    Anyhow, +1 insightful, despite being left with an unexplained sense of deja vu :D

    Its about the psychology of power seeking and how

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