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Sir Tim Berners-Lee Accuses UK Government of "Draconian Internet Snooping" 192

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-eyes-on-your-own-screen dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to British daily The Telegraph, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned that plans to monitor individuals' use of the internet would result in Britain losing its reputation as an upholder of web freedom. The plans, by Home Secretary Theresa May, would force British ISPs and other service providers to keep records of every phone call, email and website visit in Britain. Sir Tim has told the Times: 'In Britain, like in the US, there has been a series of Bills that would give government very strong powers to, for example, collect data. I am worried about that.' Sir Tim has also warned that the UK may wind up slipping down the list of countries with the most Internet freedom, if the proposed data-snooping laws pass parliament. The draft bill extends the type of data that internet service providers must store for at least 12 months. Providers would also be required to keep details of a much wider set of data, including use of social network sites, webmail and voice calls over the internet." Jimmy Wales doesn't seem to be a very big fan of the UK snooping either.
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Sir Tim Berners-Lee Accuses UK Government of "Draconian Internet Snooping"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:43AM (#41257627)

    Right to privacy? Nope. Freedom of Speech? Nope.

    Although I think all the conspiracy theorists are crazy, the new world order is the eventual coalescence of the violation of inalienable rights and it's frequency of occurence across all nations.

  • by jamstar7 (694492) on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:53AM (#41257655)

    Right to privacy? Nope. Freedom of Speech? Nope.

    Although I think all the conspiracy theorists are crazy, the new world order is the eventual coalescence of the violation of inalienable rights and it's frequency of occurence across all nations.

    Anymore the difference between the tinfoil hat brigade and the rest of society is, mainstream society believes that 1984 is coming. The tinfoil hat brigade believes it's already here.

  • Which reputation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leromarinvit (1462031) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:00AM (#41257677)

    Which "reputation as an upholder of web freedom" would that be? The one based on them censoring Wikipedia for showing an album cover? Or the one where you have to hand over encryption keys or be thrown in jail?

  • by azalin (67640) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:05AM (#41257695)
    I think they refer to their defense of privacy by having the highest number of surveillance cameras per citizen of any western nation.
  • by rich_hudds (1360617) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:17AM (#41257741)
    Actually, as anyone working in IT in the UK can attest, we have very strict rules on what you can do with people's data.

    I've spent a whole day at 3 different jobs attending a Data Protection Awareness course.

    Companies are also realising that the data they collect isn't quite as valuable as they once thought. That's why the big supermarkets that lead the way on this data mining with their loyalty cards are actually reducing the rewards they offer.

    New technology brings new challenges, but to pretend we are slipping towards a 1984 state just betrays your ignorance of history which actually shows that the majority of movement is going towards increased rights.

    Magna Carta only applied to the aristocracy at the time remember, and as recently as 1918 women couldn't vote here.
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:23AM (#41257759) Homepage

    I have to admit I snorked my coke when I saw that the UK government was supposed to be an "upholder of web freedom".

    The UK government is one of the most openly snoopy governments in the developed world. If that's what they do in public, what do they do in private?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:32AM (#41257799)

    Uhm....
    First of all - Google collects data about my VOIP calls? I don't think so.
    Google is mostly only present on the web, not the rest of the internet.
    Even then, you have to be logged into a Google account.
    Even then, they don't collect data they don't care about.
    Even then, Google is one of the few countries that won't just hand whatever data over to the government that they ask for with no questions.

    Even Google wouldn't want to retain every detail of everything a user does - ISPs certainly don't. I can only think of one place that would really love this idea - hard drive makers. Think about it - when everything you do is logged in detail, and that data has to be retained long-term, then the ISPs and government will have to store it somewhere. It's going to be Hard Disk, at least until it gets cut to tape.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:36AM (#41257829)

    to pretend we are slipping towards a 1984 state just betrays your ignorance of literature. We're in Brave New World.

    Fix'd.

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:38AM (#41257839) Homepage

    The only significant terrorist attacks in the UK have been carried out by white Christians, generally Irish. Since these attacks were largely funded by US Republicans eager to help "the folks back home", maybe we should be watching Americans too, since they think it's okay to commit terrorist acts.

    We've never had any bother from the Muslims here, at all.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:53AM (#41257909)

    We've never had any bother from the Muslims here, at all.

    Apart from the 77 bombings [wikipedia.org], the Glasgow Airport attack [newsmax.com], the Exetrer bomb attack [bbc.co.uk], shoe bomber and dozens of failed attempts and arrests [wikipedia.org].

  • by Onymous Hero (910664) on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:12AM (#41257983)

    The source of this junk law is the European Union. It just so happens that the UK has implemented this directive. Others will follow suit if they haven't already!

    "On 15 March 2006 the European Union adopted the Data Retention Directive, on "the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC".[1][2] The Directive requires Member States to ensure that communications providers retain, for a period of between 6 months and 2 years, necessary data as specified in the Directive"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_data_retention#European_Union [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @06:09AM (#41258179)

    Interesting. How do I encrypt a visit to the pharmacist, grocery store, or any other shop for that matter? Should I start wearing a balaclava? I believe that would cause more problems than it solves. How do I purchase stuff without being profiled? Maybe I should scratch all the markings of my currency bills to make sure they can't be tracked, and avoid using bank cards altogether, while stuffing said bills under my mattress? How do I encrypt my phone signal and how do I then make or receive calls from other people when the network does not support it?

    While these examples are quite extreme and borderline paranoid... do you see my point? As an individual, there is absolutely nothing you are able to do to really isolate yourself from the surveillance, monitoring and profiling madness while still functioning normally in society. This bothers people.

  • by Goth Biker Babe (311502) on Friday September 07, 2012 @06:37AM (#41258307) Homepage Journal

    What *you* have to realise that apart from the 77 bombings which were reasonably effective they were all pretty pitiful. The IRA terrorists really knew how to do terrorism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Manchester_bombing [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyde_Park_and_Regent's_Park_bombings [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Docklands_bombing [wikipedia.org]

    But even those were nothing. You have to remember that our grandparents and parents lived through this. Nothing since has been comparable in anyway.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blitz [wikipedia.org]

    The whole point of terrorism is to instil terror. *NOT* to kill people. That's a side effect. While you react to them they're winning. So don't react. As Ben Franklin said, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

  • by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@nexusuk.oGAUSSrg minus math_god> on Friday September 07, 2012 @08:15AM (#41258695) Homepage

    Actually, as anyone working in IT in the UK can attest, we have very strict rules on what you can do with people's data.

    There are indeed very strict rules. But what good are rules if they are not enforced?

    As an example, an organisation I dealt with illegally sold my personal data to numerous "partners" (they asked me if I agreed to have my data passed to "partner companies", I declined, they did it anyway). A complaint has been filed with the ICO, and the ICO's response has been to write to the company in question telling them they shouldn't do that. That's it - the ICO are not interested in doing anything to enforce the data protection law except write sternly worded letters to people.

    Meanwhile, whilst the original company has now stopped selling off my data, the companies they sold it to have sold it. And the ones they sold it to have sold it. There is no way for me to prevent that (now widespread) data being distributed further. Futhermore, these third party companies aren't even guilty of doing anything wrong since as far as they knew, I had agreed to have this data distributed (since thats what the first company told them).

    What is needed is 2 things:
    1. Rules forbidding the sale of any personal data between companies.
    2. Actual enforcement of those rules and punishment for breaking them.

    I am much happier with the likes of Google having my data than other companies - although Google may have a lot of my data, they don't sell it, so I pretty much know where it is, and if I don't like it I can cease using Google's services and make a formal request for them to destroy my personal data (which they are required to comply with under EU law). Most other companies that I have to deal with (e.g. my insurance company, etc.) are happy to sell the data on to other people, who will further sell it on and there's no longer any way for me to know who actually has this data any more. I *always* tick the "don't sell my data" box whenever I fill in a form, and yet my personal data is out there being bought and sold because a few companies have broken the law and ignored my preference. There is largely no way to know which companies have done this.

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