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Privacy Groups Attack UK ISPs 'Collusion' With Government Snooping 91

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the must-have-something-to-hide dept.
judgecorp writes "Privacy groups have accused British ISPs of a 'conspiracy of silence' over the impact of the UK government;s proposed Communications Data Bill or 'Snooper's Charter.' The letter accuses the SPs of allowing themselves to be 'co-opted as an arm of the state' — and of not telling their customers what they are up to. Under the bill, ISPs can be ordered to store their users' communications data (the who when and where but not the content of emails etc) for police to search through."
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Privacy Groups Attack UK ISPs 'Collusion' With Government Snooping

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  • Well.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What will they do when their snooping forces a large percentage of the people to use Tor or a VPN?

    They can already lock you up for 2 years for failing to divulge encryption keys or passwords.

    When I look at the definition of terrorists and then at my government I really dont see much difference these days.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What will they do when their snooping forces a large percentage of the people to use Tor or a VPN?

      Probably try to get ISPs to "Block Tor" like Japanese Police

    • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @01:17AM (#43522315)

      What will they do when their snooping forces a large percentage of the people to use Tor or a VPN?

      It's already happening. Typically, this is solved by doing the same thing that law enforcement's been doing since the days of Sherlock Holmes: You watch the suspect. Today, it's easier than having to use the old Mark 1 Eyeball -- we have a large variety of electronic surveillance devices to choose from, but the fundamentals of investigation haven't changed.

      On the other hand, if your only lead starts at a Tor exit node, well... sucks to be you. Now you're going to have to work for your doughnut.

      They can already lock you up for 2 years for failing to divulge encryption keys or passwords.

      Citation needed. "They" is a bit non-specific.

      When I look at the definition of terrorists and then at my government I really dont see much difference these days.

      Well, I do. The government is better funded, they wear sharp uniforms, and are atleast partially accountable to the people my peers voted into office. Terrorists, on the other hand, want to make you part of their latest political statement... and unlike with the government, you aren't likely to survive the process.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zemran (3101)

        They can already lock you up for 2 years for failing to divulge encryption keys or passwords.

        Citation needed. "They" is a bit non-specific.

        Try using google like everyone else instead of expecting other people to do your research. Out of kindness I will help you by telling you that the act is called "Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act". Now, out of kindness to others, look after yourself.

        • Oh for some mod points. You want to make a point in an argument, it's up to you to support it.

        • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

          by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @04:55AM (#43522991)

          Try using google like everyone else instead of expecting other people to do your research.

          I googled "They". It came back with 7.7 billion results, none of which were very helpful (yes, I read all 7.7 billion pages, because I'm like, God and shit).

          Out of kindness I will help you by telling you that the act is called "Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act".

          Ah. Well now, that's much more specific. And British. I suppose I am expected to keep up with all the laws of not just my own country (whose laws are so numerous that even my own government cannot provide an exact count), but all the laws of the other 173 countries (give or take a dozen) as well. I feel like such a failure as a human being for not being able to memorize several libraries of congress' worth of legal documentation and intuitively know which, exact, legal document you were referring to based on the word "They". Thank goodness you didn't mean "Them" though, or I'd be really screwed... there's a lot more of Them than They. Incidentally, They was a terrible movie. I know, off topic, but I thought I'd share.

          Now, out of kindness to others, look after yourself.

          Well, I do try, but sometimes despite my bestest of intentions, I just can't keep up with all of the internet pundits. It's a personal failing I am working very hard at.

          • Ah. Well now, that's much more specific. And British. I suppose I am expected to keep up with all the laws of not just my own country (whose laws are so numerous that even my own government cannot provide an exact count), but all the laws of the other 173 countries (give or take a dozen) as well.

            From my understanding, there are laws in the US that make it illegal for you to break other countries' laws if you're a US citizen in the US.
            Assuming from your "libraries of congress" comment that you are, in fact, American, then yes, you are expected to memorize all those other countries' laws.

          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            Your Google skills are pretty shit. If you had just searched for what he actually wrote instead of a single word you would have been enlightened. Here is an example. [google.co.uk]

            This is a discussion about the UK. If you don't know enough about it to engage then educate yourself, but don't expect everyone else to fill in what is otherwise common knowledge to the rest of us.

            • This is a discussion about the UK.

              Oh, I'm sorry? Is the UK not part of the rest of the planet? Does the UK have its own internet that nobody else outside the UK can access? Is there no such thing as international laws? Assumptions are the mother of all fuckups -- and PARDON ME for not wanting to just blindly assume. I'd rather know exactly what we're talking about, than guessing and later discovering that we were talking about two totally different things.

              Details. They fucking matter.

          • by Zemran (3101)

            Err, yes, its British because the article is about UK ISPs... American laws are not relevant to this topic.

      • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Onymous Hero (910664) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @04:21AM (#43522889)

        Citation needed. "They" is a bit non-specific.

        Here you go, part 3 section 49 of RIPA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_Investigatory_Powers_Act_2000 [wikipedia.org]

        And here is a case where a kid has been jailed for not revealing his encryption keys: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/361693/teenager-jailed-for-refusing-to-reveal-encryption-keys [pcpro.co.uk]

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      When I look at the definition of terrorists and then at my government I really dont see much difference these days.

      Terrorists, and I mean real ones who kill people, commit one act then hide.

      Governments work day and night eroding the freedoms of people, stealing from them, and making them afraid of each other so they are easier to control.

    • by phdscam (2901299)

      ...They can already lock you up for 2 years for failing to divulge encryption keys or passwords.

      This is one of the most disgusting piece of laws the great democracy of UK has.

    • by turgid (580780)

      They can already lock you up for 2 years for failing to divulge encryption keys or passwords.

      The thing is, if you are using good encryption, and they really want to see what you're up to, they will ask you to divulge your passwords/keys etc. so at least you will know you are being watched.

      I can foresee a time where everyone will have to register their passwords etc. with the authorities (in some sort of official, "secure" database) just in case they want to check on what you get up to. I'm sure the Inland

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:35AM (#43522171)

    We voted Cameron in on the basis that they would end the police/spooks driven surveillance culture. He put Theresa May in the home office, she then tried to implement the reforms, end ASBOs, separate police and spies, curb police secret comments on background checks etc. The things we elected him for.

    The police PR division turned on her and started campaigning against her. Police officers were on TV arguing that by curbing background checks, "pedos will kill your children" and other scaremongering, and there's such a fear in the UK, that nobody denounced what they said. Each time an attempt to curb their powers comes along, they went on the attack, citing undisclosed terrorists plots, was another common tactic.

    So now she's pretty much tamed, they want more snooping, she's too afraid to go against them, so she's become just another Home Secretary implementing mass surveillance.

    So now we have the situation where the police are driving full speed towards a police state, and they are too naive to think of it as a police state.

    Who you talk to is none of the govermments business. Tracking everyone as though they're criminals needs evidence that they are a criminal, what the government is doing is hypothesizing that EVERYONE is a future criminal and this EVERYONE should be tracked, and it's ok because we promise not to look at the data unless we think you are a criminal.... but yet EVERYONE is being treated as a criminal and monitored.

    Be afraid of criticising the government, because you're being watched.

    • by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @01:22AM (#43522335) Homepage

      This is not a new thing that has come in under Theresa May's watch. I remember a time around 2000 on dial-up, when an excessive lag caused me to look into where my internet traffic was being slowed down. A traceroute showed the connection going around in a circle amongst a dozen or so routers near Milton Keynes before heading back to a server hosted in the exact same exchange I was connected to.

      • A traceroute showed the connection going around in a circle amongst a dozen or so routers near Milton Keynes before heading back to a server hosted in the exact same exchange I was connected to.

        Reminds me of a line-test number that was available in BT exchanges up until the early 1990s ( wish I could remember the actual number ). It was three digits you dialled for an immediate ring-back-on-hang-up to test the line. However, certain people began to notice consistent delays in the ring-back... in terms of several seconds. Other people on the same exchange at the same time did not encounter such delays.

        It was withdrawn soon after and functionally replaced with the 17070 'engineering test' menu.

        • by mrbester (200927)

          That was the original 1471, before that was changed to "who last called this number" when the 17070 extended system was introduced.

          • That was the original 1471, before that was changed to "who last called this number"

            I think you're misremembering. Ringback was 174.

    • So now we have the situation where the police are driving full speed towards a police state

      Been hearing that since the 60's. All I can say it is must be a long drive to a police state, either that or they're stuck at one of those enormous roundabouts you have over there..

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @03:19AM (#43522691)

      We voted Cameron in on the basis that they would end the police/spooks driven surveillance culture.

      Well, that was dumb. Never vote for a conservative on the basis that they'll reduce government power: they might claim that's what they want, but they'll never follow through, because they have to be seen as tough on crime.

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        You are correct but incomplete. It's in the interest of no government to reduce government power.

        Politicians are sociopathic lairs, if you must choose one judge them on their past actions not their words.

    • Whatever about the rest, ASBOs are a useful social reform tool when dealing with increasingly feral inner city kids bent on making life hell for everyone around them. I'd rather that than imprisoning them straight off.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We didn't actually vote Cameron & his business associates in, though. Not even under the FPTP system -- where a minority of votes can decide the winner of an election -- were they voted in.

  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:36AM (#43522173)
    The British already live in a society where public surveillance, paid for by the state, is pervasive with an inward focused intelligence agency to watch everyone and pry into their private affairs. Consider also the long history of state monitoring and nanny state paternalism and it would seem that the privacy horse has long since left the barn in the UK, yes?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Only since about 2004, when Blair defined 'future crimes' as justification for surveillance today.

      I remember a speech in which Blair argued that the database would be used to 'eliminate' people from an investigation, thus it was in their benefit!?! Flipping the whole innocent until proven guilty into guilty until proven innocent thing.

      It was quite recent this culture ramped up, as technology permitted it, and it's not too late to fix, but Cameron clearly isn't tough enough to stand up to it.

      We need a hard-n

      • Re:2004 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@nOs ... t-retrograde.com> on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @01:38AM (#43522415)

        We need a hard-nosed leader with a purer-than-the-driven-snow history, to fix this. That's a difficult combination to find. If there's any blemishes in his/her past, the security forces will 'leak' that part of their massive surveillance database to protect their 'good' deeds and eject the leader they don't like.

        Or you could just lower your damn leadership standards. That's what we did in the USA...

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        Blair was a christian nut-job war-criminal who branded himself as socialist in order to get voted in.

        The real problem is that no-one is undoing the damage he did.

        • by turgid (580780)

          who branded himself as socialist

          Ha ha, that's a good one!

          Tony and his cronies devised New Labour, which was very much a continuation of Conservative Thatcherism but with a slightly less right-wing attitude to the Welfare State.

          The real problem is that no-one is undoing the damage he did.

          Quite. They're adding a whole lot of damage of their own and ensuring that the rich get to keep their money while the poor and middle are squeezed to pay for it.

    • by Zemran (3101)

      and can you name a country that is different?

      • The Bhutanese [wikipedia.org] seem to be pretty happy with their lives, perhaps we could learn a thing or two from them?
        • While I certainly admire the famous Bhutanese "gross national happiness" philosophy, they do seem to pay for it in other ways. Their national literacy rate is around 60%, their life expectancy is in the low-60s, and climate change is doing nasty things to their farming, so some of the grass on the other side of the street is not greener. Of course, many of us might still do well to consider their general attitude to life...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Oh quit this bloody nonsense already.
      Stop using that stupid article on how Britain is filled with cameras, it is completely wrong and exactly one of the things that is wrong about retards when they get their hands on statistics. Probably failed at maths at that.

      The only places cameras are at are:
      1) problem areas
      2) large town areas with lots of people
      And most of the time, the latter is PRIVATE PROPERTY. Yes, that stupid report counted private cameras as part of it.
      Because obviously every single camera ever

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      The most scary aspect is that people are complicit in it. People love CCTV, they want it to protect their property because the police won't. I want it because people keep damaging my car or throwing bricks through my windows.

      Whenever you report a crime the first thing they ask is "is there any CCTV?". If there isn't... well, too bad, your crime will be forever unsolved because it wasn't handed to the police on a plate, complete with salad dressing and garnish all at your own expense. The clear message is th

  • by OhANameWhatName (2688401) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @12:39AM (#43522185)
    Do the ISP's simply get together and say 'get stuffed'?

    Isn't it about time for corporations that support open communications to stand up to a government behaving like a 6 year old wanting a new toy? If the top 10 major ISP's got together and said 'screw you, shut us down!' do you think the government would push their luck?

    Why is it always the little guy who has to stand up to the overzealous government hoping to get a 'new toy' to frighten the public into reaction? Aren't corporations moral entities upholding personal responsibility?
    • Do the ISP's simply get together and say 'get stuffed'?

      Depends on how much you like that pretty face of yours. "One Does Not Simply... tell the government to get stuffed." -- Boromir

      Isn't it about time for corporations that support open communications to stand up to a government behaving like a 6 year old wanting a new toy?

      Corporations that support open communications are in the same bucket as unicorns and flying pigs. So short answer: No.

      If the top 10 major ISP's got together and said 'screw you, shut us down!' do you think the government would push their luck?

      Better question: How do you feel about corporations being so powerful they can dictate terms to your government?

      Why is it always the little guy who has to stand up to the overzealous government hoping to get a 'new toy' to frighten the public into reaction?

      Because the little guy typically has nothing to lose.

      ren't corporations moral entities upholding personal responsibility?

      Great, you just made me blow mountain dew out of my nose. Well, this keyboard's dead...

      • by r33per (585447)

        Isn't it about time for corporations that support open communications to stand up to a government behaving like a 6 year old wanting a new toy?

        Corporations that support open communications are in the same bucket as unicorns and flying pigs. So short answer: No.

        Interestingly, London once had a flying pig see over Battersea Power Station [wikipedia.org].

        If the top 10 major ISP's got together and said 'screw you, shut us down!' do you think the government would push their luck?

        Better question: How do you feel about corporations being so powerful they can dictate terms to your government?

        Rewind 35 years and replace "corporations" with "unions". I would also expect the government to say "screw you" to these hypothetically petulant ISPs because they (the government) are part of the representatives of the people duty bound to uphold the rule of law and the protection of freedoms.

        Ironic, eh?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There are several ISPs where management are totally opposed to this sort of thing of you know where to look. A&A get mentioned here regularly, and they've publically stated they will arrange their services to exploit loopholes in this law. The owner of my ISP will just decline these requests and state that his logs show nothing, although I won't mention the company name as this is obviously an illegal stance.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      Aren't corporations moral entities upholding personal responsibility?

      They are only interested in Profit and nothing else. The famous example being IBM during WW2.

  • ... and of not telling their customers what they are up to.

    Well yeah. Their customers don't show up at their doorstep with shotguns and take whatever they feel like when they aren't told certain things. The government does. And every government I'm aware of tells businesses not to tell their customers when they show up that they showed up. That whole "ongoing investigation" business.

    So let the privacy groups whine until the cows come home, that will never change no matter where you live. On the other hand, if you want to go after dragnets and mass-storage of every

  • by kawabago (551139) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @01:05AM (#43522269)
    You delete the spam but the ISP records the who where. Then someone in your organization does something illegal and you are among a pool of suspects. They must investigate you to clear you. They immediately find you have an association with a Russian criminal gang. Suddenly you are Prime Suspect! That's what's wrong with it. Stupider things have happened, to me!
    • They immediately find you have an association with a Russian criminal gang. Suddenly you are Prime Suspect! That's what's wrong with it. Stupider things have happened, to me!

      Well, were you associated with a Russian criminal gang? Because if you were, and that criminal gang had a history of (or a direct link to!) the crime they were investigating, then you have some explaining to do. If you don't, well then, you've met the criterion for "reasonable suspicion", which merits someone interviewing you, but doesn't ordinarily rise to the standard of being sufficient for a search warrant.

      A lot of times, what the police do is inconvenient, but it isn't "stupid". Investigators focus on

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        I guess you are not from the UK because that isn't how it works here.

        When you become a suspect the police will take away all your computers, phones, discs, memory cards, games consoles, basically anything with a processor or memory in it. You won't get them back for at least a few months, but typically a year or two is common. When you get them back they will likely have been broken and any storage formatted or returned to factory settings.

        A friend of mine was accused of sending death threats to some crazy

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @02:17AM (#43522537) Homepage Journal
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/council-spending/9991351/Town-halls-join-rush-to-use-the-snoopers-charter.html [telegraph.co.uk]
    Many years ago if you where political a national task force would track you - telephone, car, protests, work, friends...
    Years ago you faced the Forward Intelligence Teams (FITs) - maybe local but much more active with facial recognition.
    What I find very chilling about this new vision for data collection and sharing is the low level of gov getting GCHQ like data powers e.g.. "council ... to snoop into the private lives of ordinary citizens"
    Write too much about rates, parking costs, talking about a chauffeur-driven Mercedes expenses claim - the UK has few real whistleblowers laws.
    Anyone with this new clearance been exposed e.g.. in an expenses claim story could go on a search deep into the private lives of staff until they 'find' something or a press contact.
    With what your average isp keeps, anyone could rewind any digital life in the UK for a day, week, month based on working for a local gov?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There's a petition against this policy for UK residents. It's proving rather popular.
    https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/stop-government-snooping

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