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UK Government To Revise Snooping Bill 79

Posted by timothy
from the ok-maybe-they-shouldn't-call-it-a-snooping-bill dept.
megla writes "The BBC is reporting that the Draft Communications Bill is going to be re-written following widespread opposition. The hugely controversial bill would, as it stands, require ISPs to retain vast amounts of data and grant broad powers to authorities to access it, in some cases without needing any permission at all. For those who are interested in the gritty details the first parliamentary report into the legislation is sharply critical at times. This is good news for anyone in the UK who values their privacy, but it may not be enough. Many would prefer to see the bill scrapped entirely." Opposition to the bill, at least in its original form, isn't just from crazy civil libertarian types, either; reader judgecorp points out that it even includes Deputy prime minister of Britain Nick Clegg.
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UK Government To Revise Snooping Bill

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  • No to big brother! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:14AM (#42250589)

    It doesn't need to be revised, it needs to be scrapped!

    • by telchine (719345)

      [quote]It doesn't need to be revised, it needs to be scrapped![/quote]

      If you outlaw snooping, only outlaws will be snoops... no, wait!

      • by cod3r_ (2031620)
        Exactly. Statistics show in cities with loose regulations on snooping have lower crime rates. If everyone snoops then the criminals will all be scared to do anything for fear of being snooped on. They can take my snooping from me when they pry it from my cold dead hands.
    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:37AM (#42250811)

      ...of the National Intelligence Council's Global Trends 2030 report [bloomberg.com], where:

      ...major trends are the end of U.S. global dominance, the rising power of individuals against states, a rising middle class whose demands challenge governments, and a Gordian knot of water, food and energy shortages, according to the analysts.

      [enormous caches of data] will enable governments to “figure out and predict what people are going to be doing” and “get more control over society,”

      Make no mistake, we (collectively) pose a risk to the power of the 0.1% going forward, and bills like this are being pushed through in "democratic" nations worldwide. Sadly we as a group always seem to vote against our best interests, so being aware of the long term trend is probably not going to change anything (thanks corporate media).

  • As you smash one down they keep coming back with another version. How about a bill to make this sort of thing illegal?
  • by clonehappy (655530) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:21AM (#42250647)

    Opposition to the bill, at least in its original form, isn't just from crazy civil libertarian types, either; reader judgecorp points out that it even includes Deputy prime minister of Britain Nick Clegg.

    So now, even on Slashdot, anyone who gives a damn about their privacy is "crazy"? The Ministry of Truth is doing a superb job.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)

      The Ministry of Truth is doing a superb job.

      I think you meant plus good or double plus good.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Thanks to the conservative media, Civil Liberties has become a "Liberal" issue.

      If you're a law abiding citizen, then you have nothing to worry about; therefore, you don't need Civil Liberties.

      Of course what folks fail to realize is that there are so many laws on the books, everyone breaks at least three per day on average. We are all criminals in some shape or form.

      I wish there was a satire website that would follow politicians and publish their criminal activity. Example: Well, this PM ( or Senator depend

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:41AM (#42250845) Homepage

      I'm sincerely hoping the submitter was being sarcastic about that. Because civil liberties shouldn't be a left-wing issue or a right-wing issue, it should be an every-wing issue. It's the fundamental idea of modern democracy, and should never be negotiable.

      • by megla (859600) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:53AM (#42250967)

        I'm sincerely hoping the submitter was being sarcastic about that. Because civil liberties shouldn't be a left-wing issue or a right-wing issue, it should be an every-wing issue. It's the fundamental idea of modern democracy, and should never be negotiable.

        As the submitter, I'd like to point out that the final paragraph was added by the editor and I also think the "crazy libertarians" line is a little weird, especially for somewhere like Slashdot which has generally liberal views on technology and privacy.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          I also think the "crazy libertarians" line is a little weird, especially for somewhere like Slashdot which has generally liberal views on technology and privacy

          Are you aware of the fact that liberals and libertarians aren't necessarily the same set?

          Paul Ryan is a Libertarian. Kennedy was a liberal.

          They mean different things.

          • by dkleinsc (563838)

            And despite that, libertarians and liberals generally have the same views on when a government should be allowed to spy on a citizen: only when the law enforcement can demonstrate probable cause that the citizen in question has committed a crime.

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              And that might be well one of the few things they agree on. Almost everything else about what a government is for and should be doing isn't going to match up at all.

              Though, nowadays it seems like everybody is pushing for more surveillance and erosion of rights in the name of security theater.

              Sadly, everyone who loudly says governments should be backing off and not be so intrusive, be they 'left' or 'right' leaning, are all lumped into the category of "crazy" and dismissed.

              I'm pretty sure this might be one

        • by telchine (719345)

          As the submitter, I'd like to point out that the final paragraph was added by the editor

          If it was easier for him to snoop then the parent would have been able to see this from your Internet records and you wouldn't have had to clear this issue up!

        • I'm sincerely hoping the submitter was being sarcastic about that. Because civil liberties shouldn't be a left-wing issue or a right-wing issue, it should be an every-wing issue. It's the fundamental idea of modern democracy, and should never be negotiable.

          The modern-day USA suffers from bipolar illness. Absolutely nothing is safe from "with-us-or-against-us", even if it's only which end of an egg to crack open.

        • As the submitter, I'd like to point out that the final paragraph was added by the editor...

          Why am I not surprised? [slashdot.org]

          ...and I also think the "crazy libertarians" line is a little weird, especially for somewhere like Slashdot which has generally liberal views on technology and privacy.

          More than a little weird when you realise the the UK doesn't have Libertarian parties in the same sense that the US uses the word; the coalition is made of of Conservatives and Liberals.

          I try not to rant (too much) about free services but please, timothy, you need to do a better job of editing before you should start editorialising. It's bad enough seeing ill-informed comments without you added to the mix.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Opposition to the bill, at least in its original form, isn't just from crazy civil libertarian types, either; reader judgecorp points out that it even includes Deputy prime minister of Britain Nick Clegg.

      So now, even on Slashdot, anyone who gives a damn about their privacy is "crazy"? The Ministry of Truth is doing a superb job.

      No, because if you take slashdot posters as an example, a lot of libertarian types are crazy. However right they are about privacy and liberty issues, their extreme anti-government rhetoric tars the whole package with the same loony brush.

  • by tiberus (258517) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:45AM (#42250877)

    While I would be appalled if such a measure came up on this side of the pond; although we do seemingly allow Facebook and insert any company with an online presence here to do a lot of data collection; I am somewhat surprised to hear about this apparent level of outrage from Britain.

    The U.K. has been monitoring its citizens via a network of CCTV cameras for sometime and they appear to be especially prevalent in cities such as London where we have been lead to believe that your movements are recorded as soon as you step onto the street.

    Has the line finally been crossed?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You'll find few people in the UK who particularly care about CCTV cameras one way or another. Whatever theoretical drawbacks they have, there are few practical issues with them, while there is a measurable reduction in crime rate. And the taking of footage of us in public doesn't qualify as a privacy issue anyway.

      But no one can see much crime-fighting benefit in storing everyone's internet traffic for months, while the drawbacks in terms of ISP costs, which will be passed to the customer, are obvious. An

      • by tiberus (258517)

        You'll find few people in the UK who particularly care about CCTV cameras one way or another. Whatever theoretical drawbacks they have, there are few practical issues with them, while there is a measurable reduction in crime rate. And the taking of footage of us in public doesn't qualify as a privacy issue anyway.

        Granted I may be wrong in terms of the scope of camera availability. I'd argue that whether this is a privacy issue isn't that clear cut. While a private citizen taking video in public may not be a privacy issue, the collection and storage of video with current technology, facial recognition, etc. is something I would consider a serious privacy issue. The potential for malicious use is too high. Knowing where I am is one things, knowing where I was, how long I was there, how often I was there, etc. is a

    • although we do seemingly allow Facebook and insert any company with an online presence here to do a lot of data collection

      The difference being we willingly provide that info to those companies; there's no law that forces Facebook et al to record user data. In the case of CCTV, it is all around us, but only in public areas. However, the Snooping Bill would have required ISPs to record private data without our knowledge/permission, so yes it's crossed a line.

    • by andrewbaldwin (442273) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @12:50PM (#42251541)

      I wish someone would kill this meme once and for all.

      The source for the "Government CCTV everywhere" myth was a reporter looking at a sample street and extrapolating. A bit like taking the population density of downtown LA, Chicago or New York and applying it to the whole US land area and saying the US population was tens of billions [I'm too lazy to work out the figures but I hope you get the idea].

      The overwhelming majority of CCTV cameras are privately owned (therefore they must be good in Slashdot groupthink) and not controlled by/accessible to the government/police/spooks... Even when they may have captured evidence of a crime it's non trivial for the authorities to get hold of the data and when they do, given the screenings shown on TV appeals*, the recordings are of such poor quality that it's debatable why they're there at all.

      If anything you have more anonymity nowadays than a generation or two ago when a whole army of little "old ladies sitting behind net curtains" and gossiping about the goings on of people in the street was the norm -- still probably the case in smaller communities everywhere.

      If you're really concerned, you have a right under current data protection laws to see/be given a copy of recordings where you are identifiable; not sure if anyone has ever bothered with this.

      Now this proposed bill, on the other hand, is a completely different matter; the level of outrage is a feature of people faced with a first past the post electoral system that favours two parties who are more similar than different -- should be familiar to you too ;-)

      Please don't equate British people with our MPs

      *There's a programme on BBC every month or so where they appeal for help in solving some cases and show CCTV footage and re-enactments.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        We have met Big Brother, and Big Brother is us.

      • Just for the record, CCTV isn't nearly as simple an ethical issue as you're implying there. While the cameras installed a few years ago generate low quality imagery, modern ones can film you in glorious HD and full colour from a considerable distance. Moreover, facial recognition technology exists that could match you up against those handy computer-friendly photos you have to provide for passports and driving licences these days with a useful level of accuracy, meaning the authorities could literally estab

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Even if there was blanket CCTV coverage available live to the police, they would only be using it to find and convict criminals. And if you get caught and convicted of a crime, you get no sympathy from me (assuming you're guilty). I know people on slashdot like to think the government just makes up arbitrary laws to get undesirables thrown in jail, but in the real world, most people caught by CCTV are engaging in drunken fighting, not political protest.

          If you're not guilty of anything, then society has a

          • Even if there was blanket CCTV coverage available live to the police, they would only be using it to find and convict criminals.

            Ah, yes, if we have nothing to hide then we have nothing to fear. Except incompetence or malice, that is.

            I admire your optimism, but having personally been on the wrong side of a government screw-up involving mistaken identity (in my case, tax-related rather than criminal), I can assure you that they do make mistakes. Moreover, I can also testify that even if your life is being turned upside down as a result, and even if the situation described by their collective databases is clearly absurd and the records

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        The overwhelming majority of CCTV cameras are privately owned (therefore they must be good in Slashdot groupthink) and not controlled by/accessible to the government/police/spooks

        Why would we think that?

        In the US, the PATRIOT act can compel someone to hand over the information without any real judicial oversight and a requirement they don't tell anybody. I assume the UK is about the same.

        Increasingly, the data private industry collects on us can get into government hands quite readily.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        The overwhelming majority of CCTV cameras are privately owned (therefore they must be good in Slashdot groupthink) and not controlled by/accessible to the government/police/spooks... Even when they may have captured evidence of a crime it's non trivial for the authorities to get hold of the data and when they do, given the screenings shown on TV appeals*, the recordings are of such poor quality that it's debatable why they're there at all.

        The private CCTV cameras are there for basically the same reasons that big padlocks are:

        1. To deter amateur opportunists, and

        2. To give evidence of a crime for insurance purposes.

        The idea that all these cameras are linked into a central police command centre in order to provide live 24/7 blanket surveillance of Britain is risible.

    • by DaveGod (703167)

      Public CCTV has a different nature to it, making it less bothersome.

      Most importantly, it tracks you when you are already out in public and therefore cannot reasonably expect much privacy anyway.

      Secondly, but also important, there are open rules and regs. You require licence to operate CCTV which covers public land, and this is (well, theoretically) viewable by the public who can file an objection to it - and take court action if you want. This includes local/national government cameras.

      Thirdly, the nature o

    • by sa1lnr (669048)

      "The U.K. has been monitoring its citizens via a network of CCTV cameras for sometime and they appear to be especially prevalent in cities such as London where we have been lead to believe that your movements are recorded as soon as you step onto the street."

      I live in Tottenham North London (a rather notorious area for riots) and I only see CCTV cameras on major roads.
      There is one speed camera just down the road but that has been non-operational since it was installed several years ago.

      Plus, here is a bit o

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      The U.K. has been monitoring its citizens via a network of CCTV cameras for sometime and they appear to be especially prevalent in cities such as London where we have been lead to believe that your movements are recorded as soon as you step onto the street.

      US posters are always saying things like this, as though the UK had installed BigBrother-style telescreens in everyone's home to monitor them.

      In fact, CCTV only sees what is on public streets. If you get caught for committing a crime by CCTV evidence, so what? You don't have a right to privacy in the fucking High Street.

  • ... the word "NO!"

    And it is well know that when you say something enough others will start believing it.

    Soooo... keep saying it for the really hard headed governments.

  • When a problem comes along you must RIPA it!!!

    When something's goin' wrong You must RIPA it!!!

  • In the UK the two main political parties are Labour and Conservative. A very similar bill was proposed by the previous Labour government. The Conservative party, then in opposition, strongly opposed it. Now it is the Conservative party who are pushing for this legislation and the Labour party that is opposing it. This indicates why you can never trust politicians. When they are in power they do exactly what they were against when they were out of power. Governments are increasingly run by big business for t
    • by tehcyder (746570)
      Despite the flirtations of New Labour with sucking up to the rich, the Labour party is inherently anti-big business as it is on at least some level socialist.

      There are much greater differences between UK (and European) political parties than in the US.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Yes, bless the Lib Dems if on nothing else at least they've been consistent on this in opposing it both in and out of government.

  • by Sean (422)

    How dare you, after everything that's transpired over the last 10 years, call us "crazy civil libertarian types".

  • Governments always ask for more than they need with bills like this, then the revised version seems reasonable. As always, Calvin and Hobbes explains it best:
    http://bestofcalvinandhobbes.com/2012/04/mom-can-i-set-fire-to-my-bed-mattress/ [bestofcalv...hobbes.com]

    except the electorate isn't as smart as Calvin's mom.

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