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UK Web Snooping Plan Invades Privacy, Despite Claims To the Contrary 65

Posted by timothy
from the you're-doing-a-wrong-thing-badly dept.
sweetpea86 writes with a snippet from this story at TechWorld:"The UK government's proposal to separate communications data from content, as part of new plans to allow intelligence services to monitor all internet activity, is infeasible according to a panel of technology experts. Speaking at the 'Scrambling for Safety' conference in London, Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, said that the distinction between traffic data as being harmless and content as being sensitive is becoming less and less relevant. 'Now that people are living more and more of their lives online, the pattern of who you communicate with and in what order gives away pretty well everything,' he said. 'This means that, in data protection terms, traffic data is now very often going to be specially sensitive data.'"
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UK Web Snooping Plan Invades Privacy, Despite Claims To the Contrary

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  • Trade-off (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @05:10AM (#39754709)

    There is always this trade-off: do we want more privacy, accepting increased risks of criminal/terrorist acticity, or are we willing to trade off some privacy to get more security. This choice is political and should be democratically decided. Whether this applies to the internet or in other contexts actually makes little difference, so the trade-off isn't new either. The difference is that just in the present more dangerous climate, more voters are willing to accept some loss of privacy.

  • Re:Trade-off (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NeverSuchBefore (2613927) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @05:46AM (#39754807)

    Take a look at history and human nature. There have been many corrupt governments. Do you think the UK's is somehow immune? Do you think that a government is made up of perfect individuals who could do no wrong (individually or as a group)? Few people plan for their government to abuse them, my friend. It's a slow process, but it's what happens when you let the government slowly take away the rights of the people.

    Humans need as much privacy as possible. It's also very useful to keep the government at bay. You seem to think we should take everyone's privacy away because some people are criminals.

  • Leakage = Traffic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @05:57AM (#39754833)

    It's not whether the government will protect the data from 'leakage' as you put it, letting the government have it IS THE LEAKAGE. And yes I have something to hide: my opposition to the security forces intrusive snooping for one thing.

    I'm also critical of the security forces ignoring Rendition and Torture laws, and suspicious of the recent MET inquiry into same. See the Parliament begins an inquiry into what is a criminal act, illegal complicity in torture and rendition. Then the MET police unit starts a criminal inquiry, thus shutting down the parliamentary one. As long as the MET says its inquiry is open then the parliamentary one cannot proceed, and can be blocked for years.

    Now when you realize that the MET was given the anti-terror powers and forms the police branch of the security forces, you realize how bogus that inquiry really is. The police arm of the spooks will inquire into whether the spooks broke the law. Whitewash anyone?

    I am writing from a country, I won't name it, but it has a military/civil government, and the civil elected government fears the military and won't bring them to account for past deeds. And I am so afraid of said military that I won't even name the country.

    UK is not that far from the same, you'd have to be complacent not to see how powerful the police and security forces have become vs the civilian elected government.

  • Re:Missing the point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nursie (632944) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @06:08AM (#39754857)

    "The government seeing the data should not be that big a deal unless you have something to hide"

    How about 'it's none of your fscking business, nor anyone else's, who I talk to' ?

    How about that?

    Government should exist as a way for society to collectively enforce a code of law, and to provide common services we all need. As far as I'm concerned this is way, way, way beyond its remit.

  • Re:Trade-off (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MoogMan (442253) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @06:17AM (#39754875)

    Privacy and security are almost never a zero sum game. In this case, reducing privacy isn't going to help find more 'criminal/terrorist activity'; It will just cause them to use Freenet, TOR, steganography, for comunication etc. instead and result in making it even harder to track real criminal activity.

    Secondly, common people are really really bad at making these risk-reward trade-offs (for instance, many people have a fear of flying, but a more rational reaction would be to have a fear of travelling to get a flight as you're more likely to get killed in a car/bus on the way to your flight, than actually flying; you may tell your children to 'never talk to strangers', but in fact that would put them in a far worse position if they ever got lost -- the huge majority of people are not evil! etc.) - we'd be better off delegating to a panel of economists and statisticians to determine the outcome.

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