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Communications Privacy United Kingdom

UK To Track All Browsing, Email, and Phone Calls 286

Posted by samzenpus
from the that-about-covers-it dept.
Sara Chan writes "The UK government plans to introduce legislation that will allow the police to track every phone call, email, text message and website visit made by the public. The information will include who is contacting whom, when and where and which websites are visited, but not the content of the conversations or messages. Every communications provider will be required to store the information for at least a year."
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UK To Track All Browsing, Email, and Phone Calls

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  • by Trip6 (1184883) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @03:56PM (#33966294)

    ...at every intersection in London. I guess the ACLU was unsuccessful in setting up a branch office.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      Umm, you realize that there's the word "American" in the ACLU's name, right? I can imagine British groups like this one [liberty-hu...hts.org.uk] are not at all happy with either of these situations.

    • by characterZer0 (138196) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:02PM (#33966414)

      I guess the ACLU was unsuccessful in setting up a branch office.

      The same thing is going to happen in the US, ACLU or not. The bills are already written. They are just waiting for another 9/11 to they can ram them through.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dkleinsc (563838)

        Why bother with a law when they can just do it illegally and have politicians of both major parties defending them?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dr_Barnowl (709838)

          Because passing a law permitting it tells your whole populace that they are being watched where they previously thought they had privacy.

          Secretly watching people is all well and good, but only the paranoid and observant know it's happening. If you come right out and TELL everyone, then they all know that they are being watched - even when they are not - and will regulate their behaviour accordingly. This is much cheaper than hiring real policemen - instead, every citizen becomes his own policeman. Then you

      • so true (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dlt074 (548126)

        how right you are. in spite of the troll mod i'm going to get and the karma hit... the more they do stuff like this, the more guns and ammo i buy. bottom line, eventually it comes down to boots on the ground and who's willing to kill or more importantly die for what they believe in. a lot of people will kill for this kind of totalitarian crap. however, most won't want to die for it. i have faith that eventually America will see the light and embrace individual liberty and personal responsibility again and

        • Re:so true (Score:5, Insightful)

          by c6gunner (950153) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @05:38PM (#33967514)

          It's so nice to see the lunatics on the far-right agreeing with the lunatics on the far-left. Really makes one hopeful about the future.

          • Socially liberal, very strong on individual rights, very strong on limited government.

            Some embrace anarchy.

            'Lunatics' we are not : this was the position of people like Jefferson, for the most part.

            • by c6gunner (950153) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @07:20PM (#33968530)

              Yes, you're right, there were many a time when Jefferson would go on a long-winded THC-fueled rant about having "boots on the ground" and being "willing to die" to defeat a democratically elected government.

              Of course, thankfully the lunatics usually aren't as industrious as Jefferson was, otherwise we might really be in trouble.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ScrewMaster (602015) *

            It's so nice to see the lunatics on the far-right agreeing with the lunatics on the far-left. Really makes one hopeful about the future.

            Don't be too sure. How did Lewis Black put it?

            The only thing dumber than a Democrat, or a Republican .... is when those little pricks work together.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vegiVamp (518171)
          Where it belongs ? You lot are the ones who ramped it up following the 9/11 attack resulting in what is, objectively, a minor number of victims. It was a tragedy, don't misunderstand me, but there's a lot more victims in traffic every year. The whole terrorist thing has been wildly overreacted to, to the point that you, yourselves have made the terrorists succesful: you've allowed not only your own country, but the entire world to become terrorized.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm surprised that the US doesn't already have data retention laws. It still doesn't change a lot. Phone companies and ISPs already keep logs and police routinely subpoena them. This proposal isn't as dire as the summary title makes it seem; logs of who you talk to (which IP you connect to) are already kept for a long time. A more useful law would be one that places a maximum time on the retention period, not a minimum.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AHuxley (892839)
          I'm surprised that the US doesn't already have data retention laws.
          The NSA, DIA, FBI, state taskforces all get to seek files of interest eg p2p, voice prints, images with unique known id's.
          The US sucks it all up. They just dont want the herd thinking about it as they use the net, so keep the fact very low on the talking points.
          The change in the UK is from sealed courts for spies or cases changed so no mention of intercepts would reach the press to a more direct idea.
          The UK is now getting to the point wh
      • Dear E.U. Cousin:

        It really isn't that bad. The U.S. is already tracking all our cellphone calls, and our emails, plus our location moment-to-moment. It really isn't that bad. Soon you too will know the joy of Big Brother (tm).

        • It's only about 30 years late, but it shouldn't be too long before Airstrip One is brought into the Oceania fold properly. Though we might have to find a new name for Ingsoc, not so sure the Inner Tea Party is going to like the word "Socialism" in there.

      • by gtall (79522)

        And you know this how?

      • I guess the ACLU was unsuccessful in setting up a branch office.

        The same thing is going to happen in the US, ACLU or not. The bills are already written. They are just waiting for another 9/11 to they can ram them through.

        Citation?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) *

        I guess the ACLU was unsuccessful in setting up a branch office.

        The same thing is going to happen in the US, ACLU or not. The bills are already written. They are just waiting for another 9/11 to they can ram them through.

        It already happened. How do you think that a massive bill like the Patriot Act got passed within days of 9/11? Like you said, it was just waiting in the wings. And I agree, we're in for more of the same. What irritates the FUCK out of me is the admiring stance taken by so many of our government officials towards the UK's surveillance state. It's crazy. What is with you people! Maybe we need to start requiring psych profiles for anyone holding public office, elected or otherwise. If you're paranoid, megamani

    • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:09PM (#33966520)

      And we've always been at war with eastasia.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Just wait until they add license plate recognition to those cameras.

      Here in the States, I could imagine something similar being hooked up and defended on the grounds that 'you don't have privacy when you travel on public roads'.

      Or some other bullshit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tehcyder (746570)

        Here in the States, I could imagine something similar being hooked up and defended on the grounds that 'you don't have privacy when you travel on public roads'.

        That would probably because you don't have privacy when you travel on public roads.

        If you're driving along buggering a goat while smoking crack and the police see you, they will stop you and arrest you. You're not in your own home, you are in public.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @03:56PM (#33966310)
    How about: *Proposal* in UK To Track All Browsing, Email, and Phone Calls?
    • by fuyu-no-neko (839858) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:03PM (#33966434)

      How about: *Proposal* in UK To Track All Browsing, Email, and Phone Calls?

      I guess it depends how cynical you are about the law-making process. Whilst I'm yet to make my mind up on the current government, I can definitely see why some people make the jump to thinking that this is as good as done. It's not as if the previous government particularly cared about our rights after all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How about: *Proposal* in UK To Track All Browsing, Email, and Phone Calls?

      Let me put it another way: When's the last time you saw a *Proposal* to stop tracking browsing, email, and phone calls, because free countries ought not to place their citizens, insofar as there is no reasonable suspicion that they're committing any crimes whatsoever, under surveillance? (Or even a simple nationalistic argument: "...on the grounds that nations governed under the opposing principles turned into the states against wh

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:33PM (#33966780)

      How about: *Proposal* in UK To Track All Browsing, Email, and Phone Calls?

      Not even a proposal. It's speculation that there might be a proposal. If you read the actual quote from the defence review from the article, it more or less says: 'we need to upgrade lawful intercept capabilities to help fight terrorism'.

      Now OK, there may be some civil liberties issues with what the government eventually comes up with. But there is a difference between being worried and making shit up, and this article has crossed that line.

    • by exomondo (1725132) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:37PM (#33966820)

      How about: *Proposal* in UK To Track All Browsing, Email, and Phone Calls?

      Just like a little while ago 'Australia to ban pedestrians from using ipods', which was in actuality an organisation - which comprised of a single person - that voiced an extremist opinion.

    • by cappp (1822388) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:45PM (#33966904)
      Isn't this already the law? At least, so far as preserving records is concerned. The EU Directive 2006/24/EC [europa.eu] pretty much made it a requirement that states retain records of everything being done.

      Member States shall adopt measures to ensure that the data specified in Article 5 of this Directive are retained in accordance with the provisions thereof, to the extent that those data are generated or processed by providers of publicly available electronic communications services or of a public communications network within their jurisdiction in the process of supplying the communications services concerned.

      Article 5
      Categories of data to be retained
      (2) concerning Internet access, Internet e-mail and Internet telephony

      Further, the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 [wikipedia.org] in the UK facilitated the state's power to do just that.

      So I'm just wondering what the difference being proposed is? If the proposal headling is sensational then surely the responce to it is to given the existance of legislation already? Is it the real-time tracking thats at issue? The Telegraph article only included

      We will introduce a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications within the appropriate legal framework.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      So when someone in the UK government clearly states their intentions for evil, it's all "hold on guys, it's just a proposal!". But when Apple introduces a new revenue stream without a hint of malice, "It's really only a matter of time now. [slashdot.org]"

  • I guess it's finally time (if it wasn't a long time ago) to move to encrypting everything you do online. And moving to encrypted VOIP obviously, though I don't know if they can still track who you are calling in that case. Still a problem if you send something to someone and they don't encrypt it on their end, but better than nothing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mlts (1038732) *

      Problem is that the Brits can hold someone they want indefinitely until they cough up an encryption key under the RIPA act. All they have to do is ask the person once a day for 20-30 days, and essentially that would be sentence to life in prison because each refusal is 2-5 years in the slammer.

      • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:08PM (#33966514)

        Also I'm not sure of the specifics but if they really wanted to they could probably insist you give them the encryption key for a particular session... one which was generated and discarded by your browser long since.

        then throw you in jail when you don't comply.

      • Yes, you could get 20-30 convictions, but those 2-5 year sentences would probably be concurrent. I'm not sure whether they can ask multiple times for the same volume either - anyone know?

      • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @05:44PM (#33967584)

        No they can't.

        As I pointed out last time RIPA came up, it's much more like a search warrant.

        See my post here explaining it in more detail and my followup responses which explains, and provides links to the relevant legislation straight from the horses mouth:

        http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1809504&cid=33806568 [slashdot.org]

        RIPA is an awful piece of legislation and has no place in a modern democracy, however there are many myths about it like that which you have stated which are simply just fantasy. RIPA is bad, but it's not quite that bad. It needs to be withdrawn from the books either way, but let's not over-dramatise the issue, else legitimate calls for it's removal based on legitimate concerns will just get lost amongst the madness.

    • by dotKuro (1762182) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:00PM (#33966388)
      Encryption of your files is worthless when you can be arrested for failing to give up passwords as per the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. (Which would be more accurately named the Irregulation of Investigatory Powers Act, as it pretty much declares open season on those under suspicion.)
      • by meerling (1487879)
        Not exactly worthless, at least you will know when they are snooping on your files because they'll hit you up for the key.

        You want the key for my encrypted emails from a year ago? Sorry, I change keys every two weeks and don't record the expired ones, and since it's 256 bit encryption, there's no bloody way I'm going to remember that sucker a year later.
        • by Dare nMc (468959) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @05:08PM (#33967132)

          Sorry, I change keys every two weeks and don't record the expired ones, and since it's 256 bit encryption, there's no bloody way I'm going to remember that sucker a year later.

          If your in the UK, have fun in the slammer, Part III of the Act, which requires persons to supply decrypted information [wikipedia.org]
          Deni ability, and lack of intent may get you off in other countries, but not likely in this case. You had best start encrypting files with something like truecrypt where you can have 2 passwords on the same file giving up different data. Perhaps if you give them some unencrypted data they won't know to expect another password.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jimicus (737525)

            The Act itself actually has a number of defenses, which aren't really discussed in the Wikipedia article.

            IANAL, but if you could provide evidence to demonstrate that you genuinely did change your keys that frequently, you'd probably be OK.

            Of course, I'd ask why you're keeping email encrypted that you can no longer decrypt - and if I'd ask it you can be more-or-less guaranteed that the prosecution would make a huge deal out of that.

            • by Dare nMc (468959)

              I'd ask why you're keeping email encrypted that you can no longer decrypt

              My assumption is the encrypted emails were not stored by the defendant, but were rather stored in a log controlled by the ISP or government who are then asking for the un-encrypted contents. Without providing some data, and no way to "prove innocence" which is more the standard with this law, it could be some time (in jail) before posting a defense in front of a judge.

              • by jimicus (737525)

                Without providing some data, and no way to "prove innocence" which is more the standard with this law, it could be some time (in jail) before posting a defense in front of a judge.

                This part is very true - while as a society we have the idea of "innocent until proven guilty", if you're remanded in custody for some time awaiting trial then when you get out, your life is likely to be severely fucked. It's entirely possible you'll have lost your job, your house may have been repossessed if any other wage earners in the household don't earn enough between them to pay the mortgage and you'll have to explain to any potential employer that the reason you have a big gap in your CV is that yo

      • Worthless, my ass (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sloppy (14984)

        Encryption of your files is worthless when you can be arrested for failing to give up passwords as per the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

        WTF are you talking about? Let's say you've got naughty pictures of your wife, a few commercial trade secrets, a spell for summoning Yog-Sothoth, and your bank account passphrases all stored on your laptop, encrypted. One day, the drive electronics (but not the platters) fails and you RMA it to Western Digital, install the replacement, and restore your back

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dreadneck (982170)

      Encryption is worthless when the government twists the arms of encryption providers to cough up a master encryption key.

      The FBI now wants to require all encrypted communications systems to have back doors for surveillance, according to a New York Times report, and to the nation’s top crypto experts it sounds like a battle they’ve fought before.

      FBI Drive for Encryption Backdoors Is Déjà Vu for Security Experts [wired.com]

    • by EdIII (1114411) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @05:26PM (#33967334)

      And moving to encrypted VOIP obviously, though I don't know if they can still track who you are calling in that case.

      Would not help. VOIP usually uses SIP to establish a call (source and destination), and then RTP to stream the media for the voice (content). Encryption is not going to conceal the source and destination in a SIP call and will only protect the content. Even if you were to wrap the whole thing in IPSec, you would still not be concealing the source and destination since either SIP or IPSec would largely be irrelevant since the IP packets themselves contain the source and destination.

      What the government wants is the source and destination according to the article. The ISPs are responsible for this so it would not be terribly difficult, although expensive, to monitor all traffic for those SIP handshakes and then create a database. Even VPN tunnels would be recorded as well and probably stand out because that traffic is inherently encrypted.

      Unless you have a direct point-to-point SIP call, encryption is useless. You need to wait for ZRTP encryption which is endpoint-to-endpoint. Devices and software that support that will still use SIP to establish the call, but regardless of how many different media servers are involved (Asterisk as an example), the call would be encrypted and recordings would be useless. This is also why it is not that attractive to most people setting up private VOIP networks for business since call recordings would be more difficult with ZRTP and are usually required in a call center.

      Most VOIP calls are not point-to-point SIP, but SIP being ultimately routed to PSTN. In the US at least that would make it nearly impossible to hide the source and destination since they would be using ANI and not Caller ID for billing. I am not sure what the analog in the UK is for ANI. Even if you encrypt the SIP portion of the traffic the other end on a regular telephone number is not, so once again largely useless.

      Making a truly secure phone call is pretty difficult already, and making it anonymous is next to impossible with 3rd parties involved, or without compromising someone else's networks to hide your traffic inside them.

      Freenet, TOR, and other forms of darknets are not well suited to VOIP traffic which requires low latencies to operate. So anonymity, provided through reasonable doubt, will not work unless these networks become far more prolific and a little more advanced. Imagine some guys laptop running a TOR node while he is on wireless Internet. Might as well route your VOIP traffic around the Moon and back. If Darknets are going to support low latency traffic then they have to develop a QoS model that nodes could process and eliminate high-latency nodes from being considered when choosing a route.

      The UK is fucked period. I would imagine even if you guys had 100% residential participation in a darknet that the UK government would throw you in jail if you did not hand over the encryption keys to traffic they acknowledge you are not even responsible for creating, but are providing for as an ersatz ISP. One way or the other, the UK will make darknets illegal too, and then you guys have nothing.

      My best suggestion for people in the UK is to get out now before they erect the wall to keep you in.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by melikamp (631205)

        I just wonder, is this that big of a problem? Connection anonymity, I mean? I don't think it was in the Internet's design, but I could easily be wrong. IMHO, being able to use free hardware/software to encrypt our calls point-to-point is way more important, as that would make the audio tap very expensive, just as it should be. They would literally have to outlaw connecting to the Internet with a free device, or go back to the good old ways [coloribus.com].

  • Who has access? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yog (19073) * on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @03:59PM (#33966364) Homepage Journal

    The issue isn't so much whether law enforcement can scrutinize your web access, but rather that the information could leak out. A distressing amount of private information seems to be kept on laptops that keep getting stolen out of cars.

    Requiring ISP's to keep this data is also iffy. ISP's don't want to be in the business of spying on their subscribers. There's no profit in it, it only angers the customers, and potentially the ISP could be drawn into a legal tangle if it potentially knows that someone is doing illegal stuff like, say, downloading and emailing nuclear bomb schematics to someone in North Korea or Iran.

    Anyway it sounds like the government is leaving enough wiggle room to discard the policy if it generates too much controversy.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:00PM (#33966378) Journal

    All politicians will have to register all their communication devices, email addresses, phone numbers, and then make the list of all communication (not the content) available to the public.

    Who watches the watchers?

    We have met the enemy, and it is us.

    • by JackDW (904211) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @05:08PM (#33967134) Homepage

      I used to blame the politicians, but these days I think they're almost as powerless as the rest of us.

      The No2ID campaigner Guy Herbert is quoted in the article as saying:

      We should not be surprised that the interests of bureaucratic empires outrank liberty.

      And that's it. These plans represent job security for civil servants. They mean bigger budgets, bigger offices, higher salaries, more staff. More bureaucrats will be needed to operate the system, to answer requests for information from it, and implement whatever mechanism of "accountability" is considered sufficient to safeguard privacy.

      The people who are pushing this will never face an election. They will never be sacked. This is why the plans persist from government to government. Ministers come and go, but the civil service is permanent, and always attempting to expand. The bureaucrats lost their battle for ID cards, but they're still winning their war.

      So, I think if we want to impose surveillance on anyone, we should start with the public servants. And the more responsibility they have, the more closely they should be watched. The only problem is, in order to do this, we're going to need to hire a few more bureaucrats...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by magarity (164372)

        These plans represent job security for civil servants. They mean bigger budgets, bigger offices, higher salaries, more staff.
         
        Congrats, you've just discovered "the bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy".

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fremsley471 (792813)
          Agreed. A friend was employed in 1989 to cope with the expected demand when the past and present individual records that British Armed Forces held on their employees was opened up for scrutiny. They had a huge budget, masses of IT, dozens working in the dept. for the day of "Big Bang". They went live at 0900 on a Monday morning and by the Friday afternoon had a total of two enquiries from former soldiers.
      • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @06:02PM (#33967800) Journal

        The people who are pushing this will never face an election. They will never be sacked. This is why the plans persist from government to government. Ministers come and go, but the civil service is permanent, and always attempting to expand.

        Didn't the BBC used to have a documentary series on that aspect of the British government?

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:00PM (#33966384) Journal
    Hey, guys - we voted against the other lot for this reason. Ah well. Hopefully the libs will decide to stick to one of their election promises and vote against this. If they don't then there's quite frankly no point in having the coalition in the first place.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) *

      "The difference between these parties is as small as it formerly was in Germany. You know them, of course - the old parties. They were always one and the same. " --- Adolf Hitlet

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. It doesn't matter if you call yourself "liberal" or "conservative" - the game is over, and you have already been bought and sold. Enjoy your vote, for the consolation it gives you.

  • Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:01PM (#33966402)

    Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

  • Seems like Fiction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VoiceInTheDesert (1613565) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:03PM (#33966426)
    This really reads like something out of fiction. I did not think I'd see the day of such a government, but here I am at 22 years old and already, a modern, 1st world country is to the point where it feels the need and justification to monitor every action of it's populace. The precedent here is staggering, terrifying and morally bankrupt. The possibility for abuse here is strong to the point of certainty. I pray this never makes it to a country I call home.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shimbo (100005)

      This really reads like something out of fiction.

      That's because it is fiction.

    • by drx (123393)

      "Vorratsdatenspeicherung" in Germany did essentially the same thing. Good that the constitutional court ruled this law illegal in March this year and all records had to be deleted. But the European Union presses Germany to re-implement another, very similiar law. So the activists have to work EU wide to stop the crap this time.

  • by arcite (661011) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:04PM (#33966464)
    Soon, I shall dawn my cape and mast to fight this tyranny! ... I just have to brush up on my knife throwing skills, police in the UK use guns now right? ...Bummer.
  • Nothing new (Score:4, Informative)

    by bart416 (900487) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:06PM (#33966478)
    Most mobile phone operators already keep statistics on who you call when (they need it for billing information in case somebody doesn't agree with their bill) and emergency services are capable of pinning down the location of mobile phones in less than a minute. And ISPs are already required to keep quite some information as well by EU regulations. So I'm not really sure this will change anything. Except provide a legal framework to (ab)use this information.
  • The Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review, which revealed: "We will introduce a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications within the appropriate legal framework.

    Yes, it is _just_ a proposal, do you want it to come about? So... time to ramp up development of https-everywhere [eff.org], ensure that you use GNU Privacy guard [gnupg.org] for all EMail, bit locker on your drives, and dust off your NT box to run https-everywhere [pgpi.org]!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by NobodyExpects (843016)
      Ah, yes.... cehc all of your links :-) The last one is, of course, PGP Fone [pgpi.org], silly!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Chaonici (1913646)

      > bit locker on your drives

      BitLocker is closed-source and supplied by Microsoft. You can't trust it to not have some sort of back door. If you really need good drive encryption, go for TrueCrypt or Linux's ecryptfs tool. Or if not those, something else open-source at least.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Purely out of curiosity, I know it's been possible for a while to use virtual hosting in conjunction with HTTPS but is it common?

      Reason I ask is that even with HTTPS, you'd still know that somebody was regularly hitting up an IP address that corresponded with the secure website of a known-"undesirable" (be it terrorism, kiddie porn or whatever the witch-of-the-month subject is) organisation. On its own it may not be enough to secure a conviction, but it could very well be enough to secure search warrants,

  • by Nihn (1863500)
    Well at lest they will be an absolute monarchy now. Citizens do not deserve privacy nor rights for they are the tools of the rich and powerful. No matter who is "elected" the corruption is with the system not who partakes in it. As long as certain groups of people who have a military force ready to open fire upon those they "rule" over this world is just gonna get more cramp, more violent, more unappealing, and if the past 30 years have taught me anything our future if gonna be WAY worse than anyone can po
  • by shoutingloudly (986897) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:13PM (#33966564) Homepage Journal
    The implicit assumption here is that, as long as Big Brother doesn't see the content of the messages, there's nothing to worry about. Of course that's total bullocks. The AOL search data scandal of 2006 shows that one's search history alone can reveal far, far more about a person than an unwarranted government search should be able to see. Amp that up to a list of every site visit, plus everyone I email, call, or text, and this represents the government demanding the right to dig very deep into Brits' communication.

    I hope Britons go ballistic in opposition to this proposal.
    • by thewils (463314)

      I hope Britons go ballistic in opposition to this proposal

      Or at the very least demand that the same records be kept for police, politicians, judges etc...

  • At least for internet/email it will make the information pretty useless.
  • How Quaint (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:22PM (#33966648) Homepage

    The UK government plans to introduce legislation that will allow the police to track every phone call, email, text message and website visit made by the public.

    How quaint -- they use laws to grant government authority for such things. Over on this side of the pond the President just declares it to be so and tells the judicial they're not allowed to hear any petitions for redress of grievances. Much simpler that way.

  • Weasel words: Why "made by the public"? Why not "made by everybody"? After all, if they're only tracking who the call is made to and not the content of the message, what does the government have to fear?

    One law for the people, and a different law for the government.

  • From the one that I saw today on TV, where all the MPs and subjects were getting their bowels in an uproar over proposed cuts. Because, in the words of the PM, "we ain't got no money for nuthin'!"

    Oh, a big boondoggle surveillance project? "Sure, mista, we got cash for that!"

  • by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:33PM (#33966782)

    Been hearing about ideas for complete internet data retention for a good few years now. Here's how it usually goes:

    1) An idiot cabinet politician comes up with a "simple good idea"
    2) Lots of people speculate about how good an idea it is and how useful it's results would be
    3) The media cotton on to the idea resulting in larges amounts of WTF??!!!111!!!1/?1
    4) Someone finally tells the cabinet politician how expensive and dangerous the idea is
    5) Cabinet politician blusters about how it's still a good idea for years without making any progress towards implementation
    6) Cabinet gets reorg'd and the idea is quietly shelved as a higher priority "simple good idea" comes along

    Yup, this kind of thing comes along fairly regularly and this old chestnut always gets shot down fairly quickly. Move along folks, this isn't just old news, it's not even news-worthy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jammer170 (895458)
      While all of that is undoubtedly true, I do have to point out that it only takes one time for it to be ignored long enough to become law. Personally, I'd rather hear about it every time it comes along (both to make sure it gets shelved and to make sure I don't vote for said politician) than risk something like that passing.
  • by AdamWill (604569) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:36PM (#33966808) Homepage
    For Christ's sake, nobody tell them about IRC.
  • And it gets worse (Score:3, Informative)

    by pommaq (527441) <straffaren@spr[ ]se ['ay.' in gap]> on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:44PM (#33966894) Homepage
    This is actually an EU directive, to be implemented by every member state. Governments need to store at least 6 months of logs. Costs to be borne by individual ISP:s. So if any brits were looking to the mainland for escape from this idiocy, think again. By the way, the man responsible for the creation of this law is one Thomas Bodström, former Swedish Minister for Justice. He's moving to the USA. Please make sure he doesn't get to hold any public office...
  • Red party started 2 wars and tried this shit -> unelectable!

    Blue party cut everything and try this shit -> unelectable!

    Yellows are in coalition with the tories -> unelectable!

    The hippies won't ever get elected -> unelectable!

    The racists are racists -> unelectable!

    Is there anyone left to waste my vote on??

  • European law (Score:3, Informative)

    by Frans Faase (648933) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:53PM (#33966982) Homepage
    I don't understand the fuss about this, because it simply means that they are going to implement the laws that the European Union already has made. This same kind of law already has been implemented or is in the process of being implemented in many European countries, including my own, The Netherlands. If I remember correctly, the European Union laws are in the process of being extended to include all URL's (including search terms) as well.Telephone companies are already performing a lot of tracking for many years. Many ISP's are complaining that this will be very expensive to implement and that it will raise costs for the end-users, while the effectiviness of these laws are probably going to be very small.
  • Wouldn't it be relatively easy to diseminate a little program that ran in the background and just opened massive numbers of connections to random, or not so random, IP address constantly. If everyone did this, the volume of data collected would become such a burden to the ISPs that something would have to give. And then of course there are anonymizers outside your country of origin who are not bound by said laws.
  • what about tracking every noob you gank in WoW or what asteroids you mine in Eve? Savvy miscreants would encode messages into team fortress 2 sprays and put them on walls to communicate with each other.
  • I've love to see the data centers they're building for this!
  • by blair1q (305137)

    We tried that here, once. [wikipedia.org]

    Or twice [aclu.org].

  • If I start sending out millions of rubbish messages, will they be able to pick out my true correspondence (just a few dozen emails per day) under the sea of rubbish ?

    Maybe spammers are cleverer than we thought they were: all that they have ever wanted is private communications.

  • by jonwil (467024) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @07:24PM (#33968560)

    Both countries elected new leaders (Obama in the US, Clegg in the UK).
    Both leaders (and their parties) promised real change. Less aggressionist foriegn policy. Less violations of civil liberties. Winding back the crap done by the previous government. Less acting on behalf of vested interests and more acting on behalf of the people who elected them.

    Yet, both governments and their parties have delivered essentailly NONE of the things they promised and seem to be going the other way.
    The UK seems to think 1984 is an instruction manual for how to run a government. And the US isnt that much better.

    Is there a SANE country out there?
    One that has:
    A government that doesn't violate its citizens civil liberties
    No censorship
    Decent Internet links
    Good jobs in software development
    Good standard of living
    Everyone speaks English

    Oh and dont suggest India, there is no way I could live in a country where eating a nice jucy steak is against the national religion.

A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough For Love"

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