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Ministry of Defense's "How To Stop Leaks" Document Is Leaked 141

Posted by samzenpus
from the there's-no-fighting-in-the-war-room dept.
samzenpus writes "A restricted 2,400 page-document put out by the MoD designed to help intelligence personnel with information security has been leaked onto the internet. Wikileaks notes that Joint Services Protocol 440 (JSP 440), was published in 2001 and lays out protocols to defend against hackers, journalists, and foreign spies. it says, 'Leaks usually take the form of reports in the public media which appear to involve the unauthorized disclosure of official information (whether protectively marked or not) that causes political harm or embarrassment to either the UK Government or the Department concerned... The threat [of leakage] is less likely to arise from positive acts of counter-espionage, than from leakage of information through disaffected members of staff, or as a result of the attentions of an investigative journalist, or simply by accident or carelessness.' " Looks like it's time to write JSP 441.

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Ministry of Defense's "How To Stop Leaks" Document Is Leaked

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  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:20AM (#29654417) Homepage Journal

    Documentation security - you're doing it wrong.

  • by ImNotAtWork (1375933) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:25AM (#29654443)

    that causes political harm or embarrassment

    Other than military secrets like we have a spy in such and such position. I'm going to call upon.. "If you don't act in a manner that would embarrass yourself/department you should have nothing to worry about." They have been using it to justify countless forms of monitoring.. let's see how they like it when the positions are switched.. Yes I know I'm living in fantasy land.

  • 2400 pages? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DamienNightbane (768702) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:35AM (#29654491)
    Seriously? Who the fuck would read something that long? How can they expect a document that long to have any effect on anything aside from bureaucracy? If the document had only been two or three pages people probably would have read and understood it.

    Whoever drafted and approved the document should be shot. Same with all the people that write bills that are hundreds or thousands of pages long, and doubly so for the people that vote for and sign them without having ever read them.
  • Quick solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by s1lverl0rd (1382241) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:00AM (#29654575) Homepage

    A quick solution would be to just have less secrets. Telling everyone what you are doing isn't that hard - and the foreign spies, hackers and journalists will find out anyway.

  • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:10AM (#29654615)

    I'm sorry that you struggle to accept the fact that not all information belongs in public view. Perhaps you can explain your position to me while you hand over your bank account numbers and routing codes.

    I hate to shatter your world view, but sometimes keeping things from certain groups of people is the right thing to do and that doesn't change just because one of the entities is a government. Yes, it will be abused. Yes, abuse should be punished. No, that does not mean the concept is without merit or that it's not worth trying.

    Information security is definitely harder in this day and age, and it would be a colossal blunder to rely on mere obfuscation or concealment to protect things. That doesn't mean they don't have their places, nor does it mean that proper use of such in appropriate situations somehow makes them WW2-era codeword-loving spooks. Frankly, suggesting it just makes you sound like an idiot. Couple it with your ever-so-reasonable comments about police beating people but ignoring crime and, well, that cinches it up pretty firmly doesn't it?

  • by internettoughguy (1478741) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:48AM (#29654965)

    I'm sorry that you struggle to accept the fact that not all information belongs in public view. Perhaps you can explain your position to me while you hand over your bank account numbers and routing codes.

    Don't be ridiculous, they just admitted they were hiding dirty secrets "political harm or embarrassment", and generally destroying political transparency, and that is corrupt and undemocratic. Also using your bank account analogy their job Is not just to protect their account number, but also to steal yours (they call this information gathering). and all without any public or even legal oversight into their actions.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:02AM (#29655035) Journal

    I think they reached their new all time low each time they took [wikipedia.org] rights [wikipedia.org] away [schneier.com] from their own citizens.

  • Re:Quick solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aceticon (140883) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @07:16AM (#29655427)

    I think we all understand the need to for the intelligence services to keep some secrets.

    What most of us are worried about is their focus on protecting information:

    that causes political harm or embarrassment

    - When people find out that MPs submitted expenses to parliament for buying duck-houses or cleaning moats ... that's politically embarrassing.
    - When people find out that sitting ministers are evading taxes ... that's politically embarrassing.
    - When people find out each and every situation of waste, incompetence and pure and simple disregard for the money that we pay in taxes on the part of politicians or people directly nominated or overseen by politicians ... that's politically embarrassing.

    Those leaks are often also politically damaging for those responsible for the problem.

    And here we have the intelligence services' manual for protecting information from the which amongst other things directs them to protect "information that causes political harm or embarrassment" from the prying eyes of such evil people as ... journalists.

    If I didn't already believe that the UK is a corrupt and decadent nation, this would convince me.

  • by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @07:28AM (#29655483) Journal

    The article on th efront page does not draw attention to the most remarkable - and horrible - aspect of the MoD document.

    It consistently groups "investigative journalists" into a category with "terrorists", "criminals" and "computer hackers".

    The document states "the "enemy" is unwelcome publicity of any kind, and through any medium". This is the military. "Enemy" is not a metaphor to these people.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:33AM (#29656053) Homepage Journal

    That really hit me, as I read the article. By extension, any taxpaying citizen who would read the work of an investigative reporter would also be an enemy of the state. There is simply no way to justify the logic of their classification. Expect a new expose' in the US - people who request information under the FOI act are investigated by FBI/NSA/CIA etc ad nauseum.

  • by eyrieowl (881195) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:57AM (#29658913)
    If I am trying to prevent leaks of some type of information, anyone who might be actively attempting to get that information SHOULD be grouped together in a gross classification scheme. Or, to put another spin on it, let's say that I find it offensive that you grouped "computer hackers" with "terrorists" and "criminals".... You should stop seeing the grouping as a set of moral equivalences and recognize them as functional equivalences for a narrowly defined function (actively trying to get secret information). As for "enemy"...I find unwelcome publicity to be my enemy as well. Fortunately I'm a nobody so I've never had to face that enemy, but I sure wouldn't welcome it. Yes, perhaps in a military context another word like "adversary" might be more appropriate for this problem, but that's getting into semantics and PC. Semantics aside, a) it's a valid problem b) the classification scheme is useful and valid.
  • by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:57PM (#29661063)
    You do realise that political embarrassment in the context of the military generally doesn't mean the Permanent Undersecretary having an affair,

    You are obviously unfamilar with UK politics. That is indeed the most frequent meaning.

    Other meanings include, but are not limited to, minsters being caught beaking the law they themselves are responsible for enacting, and various assorted high-ups being caught in various forms of large scale corruption, or acts which could reasonably be desribed as treason, while preventing prosecution of the police for killing innocent people. (ver the last 10 years, the police have killed more people in the UK than terrorists have.)

  • by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @02:25PM (#29661463) Journal

    They have placed the lawful activity of public interest journalism into the functional category of hostile, combat action.

    They are not "your" military, any more, are they?

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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