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Censorship United Kingdom

Chinese Firm Huawei In Control of UK Net Filters 148

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the east-asia-has-always-been-our-ally dept.
AmiMoJo writes "The BBC reports that Huawei, one of the world's largest manufacturers of telecoms equipment, is controlling popular ISP TalkTalk's web censorship system. The system, known as Homesafe, was praised by Prime Minister David Cameron. Customers who do not want filtering still have their traffic routed through the system, but matches to Huawei's database are dismissed rather than acted upon. In other words there is no opt-out. Mr Cameron has demanded similar measures be adopted by all internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK, to 'protect our children and their innocence.'"
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Chinese Firm Huawei In Control of UK Net Filters

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  • by macromorgan (2020426) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:26AM (#44390207)
    If anyone knows how to filter internet traffic, it's the Chinese.
  • metadata (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ckedge (192996) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:28AM (#44390227) Journal

    Oh look, another company to whom I've entered into a commercial agreement with that now has a right to my entire browsing history and "public metadata". Super.

    • Re:metadata (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ericloewe (2129490) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:41AM (#44390341)

      Even worse. A company with which you have never, ever dealt now has a right to your entire browsing history and "public metadata", courtesy of your friendly ISP.

      All non-technical issues aside (the existence of some sort of filter is a matter for another discussion), the fact that all data gets sent through "Huawei's databse" should set off a few alarms, even ignoring the fact that it's Huawei (which is too close to the chinese government/chinese armed forces for comfort).

      • Re:metadata (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:52AM (#44390433)

        Even worse, the politicians in the UK are giving decisions of UK political sovereignty to a foreign entity.

        Allowing a foreign firm to have intel on domestic interests and people is called one thing: Espionage.

        Whomever allowed Huawei [1] to run this needs to be charged.

        [1]: Huawei by themselves are not doing anything wrong. If MI5 got hired to do firewalling for another country, it isn't their fault. However, it is a sworn duty of a politician to protect domestic interests. Same reason why Buckingham Palace hasn't been deeded or rented to another country.

        • The fault is certainly not with Huawei, however unlike MI5 it is for hire... They are a company closely affiliated with the chinese government and suspected as a tool to push it's agenda. You can't hire MI5 nor would any other country want to. Huawei is effectively a company that is controlled by an "MI5" That you could hire ignorantly... which is the case here.

          Also factually speaking, it is known that Huawei networking hardware has come preloaded with backdoors in the past. That alone should be enough to d

        • "Even worse, the politicians in the UK are giving decisions of UK political sovereignty to a foreign entity."

          This.

          What a bonehead thing to do. This is a stupid as it would be for the U.S. to contract out essential steps of its figher jet manufacturing to other countries.

          Oh... wait...

        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          If Huawei staff are acting for MSS as people suspect will happen its either espionage or treason if you are a UK national - you can imaginge the scene in the future some where in the bowels of Thames house

          Sir Harry Pierce "so would you care to explain why you have the browsing habits of all the residents of chetenham on those hard disks we found hidden in your luggage before you tried to board a flight to hong kong".
        • by gmuslera (3436)
          Too late, they already gave it up to US. Giving it up to someone else could balance the things, a bully could defend you against another bully if both are interested in what you have, but having only one ensures that you will get abused.
      • Re:metadata (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday July 26, 2013 @09:02AM (#44390529) Homepage

        So Huawei has the power to effectively remove any content they dislike from the British peoples' internet and all the British government can do about it is file a bug report to a their helpdesk?
        What could possibly go right?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          They can file a bug report... If they know about the content in the first place...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cold fjord (826450)

      Oh look, another company to whom I've entered into a commercial agreement with that now has a right to my entire browsing history and "public metadata". Super.

      Maybe not just Huawei, but "China Ltd." as well.

      Huawei has spied for Chinese government, ex-CIA boss says [guardian.co.uk]

      I'm pretty sure GCHQ wouldn't "outsource."

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Not metadata. Data. A proxy works both ways, it examines not just what you receive, but what you send too.
  • I sure hope all countries adopt this system soon! I just can't seem to figure out why my bank converted all my currency to yuan...

  • by RichMan (8097) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:31AM (#44390255)

    The legal question, is filtered internet access really internet access. There is a technical definition of the internet defining packets DNS lookup and routability. I don't think a filtered internet access fully qualifies as internet access.

    This could lead to legal challenges as the service providers are not selling true internet access. They are selling something else.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:33AM (#44390271)
    It's our own government and citizens spying on us.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... the internet is for pr0n!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:33AM (#44390279)

    So do the chinese get to filter before or after the americans intercept?

    AG

    • Who says it's either or.....
      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:37AM (#44390317)

        Oh come on, you know exactly what is happening. The chinese log that data and the NSA trades it for intelligence on folks the chinese want info on.

        This very likely has nothing to do with filtering, since you can have that turned off, the logging is what they were really after the whole time.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Exactly. The traffic itself (and not just the DNS) gets routed via China so the NSA gets to look at it on the way out AND on the way back.

        Other ISPs I could mention don't have this kind of 'filter' yet because they know full well that if customers realise all their traffic goes via China they might Phorm a poor opinion of you.

        • by bosah (2117736)
          Yep, as 'oh well this probably already happens anyway' as this is, regarding the logging of traffic, does it really all have to be so Pisstakingly obvious.
  • by Krneki (1192201) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:45AM (#44390371)

    In British UK, the ISP access you!

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:48AM (#44390403)

    VPNs for everyone.

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolus@g ... om minus painter> on Friday July 26, 2013 @08:49AM (#44390407) Homepage Journal

    'protect our children and their innocence.'"

    Nonsense. Children are not innocent. Children are nasty, often cruel, little monsters in need of constant correction. "Innocent", in its original ( Latin ) sense, means "not (ob)noxious". Children are anything except "not (ob)noxious".

    • in need of constant correction

      Censorship works for that too. Imagine the most hated nasty/cruel/monstrous enemy: wouldn't you want to restrict his internet?

      • in need of constant correction

        Censorship works for that too. Imagine the most hated nasty/cruel/monstrous enemy: wouldn't you want to restrict his internet?

        Actually, no. Well, maybe. As a form of punishment by deprivation. And possibly to keep him from getting info on various ways to attack me. LIke you need the Internet for that. Where there's a Will...

        It isn't strictly true that the better-informed you are the more civilized you are, but at least if you have the information and are ignoring it, you're just being a jackass. Whereas if you're walled off from it, your ignorance is understandable.

        It's why I maintain that People of Religion who forbid their child

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          And possibly to keep him from getting info on various ways to attack me. LIke you need the Internet for that.

          I'd argue that the internet actually makes it harder for terrorists to successfully attack us. The only ones who were successful didn't use the internet, they hooked up with terrorist organizations. The majority who failed pathetically got all their "know how" and ideas from the internet, aimed way beyond their meagre abilities and suffered from a severe lack of practical training and advice.

          If the internet were not available those people may well have sought out links with organizations that would have hel

    • by alexhs (877055)

      'protect our children and their innocence.'

      Probably misspelt "ignorance".

      Who would want knowledgeable citizens ?

  • I am no fan of Camerons prudy filter. I would rather he just fuck off to be frank.

    But this article title is sensationalist crap.

    What we have here is entirely the correct solution.

    Some people want filtering for their connection, others don't. So, the free markey actually works here because one of the ISPs decides it can offer it as an opt-in option for the customers who want it. This is how the system is supposed to work. And for this ISP, they use Huawei.

    Big woop. The system works as it is supposed to.

    Oh an

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by benjfowler (239527)

      'Yeah good morning, I'd like the porn filter on my broadband turned off, please?'
      'What, are you some kind of PERVERT?'

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        'Yeah good morning, I'd like the porn filter on my broadband turned off, please?' 'What, are you some kind of PERVERT?'

        What do you mean you want to see your Facebook profile Mr Sexson [houseofnames.com]

      • by bazorg (911295)

        They key is to have everyone asking the ISPs for the filter to be off, ideally at the same time. And then to put up signs on their front door warning anyone passing by: "Porn-enabled wifi network in operation".

      • by Jawnn (445279) on Friday July 26, 2013 @10:17AM (#44391233)

        'Yeah good morning, I'd like the porn filter on my broadband turned off, please?' 'What, are you some kind of PERVERT?'

        And a year or three in the future...
        "May it please the court, the state would like to introduce into evidence that the suspect did, in blatant disregard of the welfare of children everywhere, demand that his Internet service provider to remove all child-abuse protection filters from his account."

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      I am no fan of Camerons prudy filter. I would rather he just fuck off to be frank.

      But this article title is sensationalist crap.

      What we have here is entirely the correct solution.

      Some people want filtering for their connection, others don't. So, the free markey actually works here because one of the ISPs decides it can offer it as an opt-in option for the customers who want it. This is how the system is supposed to work. And for this ISP, they use Huawei.

      Big woop. The system works as it is supposed to.

      Oh and Cameron can still fuck off.

      haven't you been following the news, it's the system that is on staging to be opt-out. not opt-in.

      • haven't you been following the news, it's the system that is on staging to be opt-out. not opt-in.

        RTFA.

        This article is ACTUALLY about an opt-in system that already exists.

        • The system provides no way to opt out of having all your traffic sent to Huawei for analysis.
    • by badfish99 (826052) on Friday July 26, 2013 @09:45AM (#44390965)

      The filtering allegedly works by checking every URL that you visit for porn (I've no idea how); if porn is found, not only are you blocked from seeing the URL, but it is also added to a blacklist.

      The point of the article is that this checking is being done for everyone, even if they don't want filtering. So the ISP is, in effect, compiling a list of the URLs visited by their customers who do not want to be filtered.

      And that list is being compiled on hardware that is alleged to be under the control of a foreign, potentially hostile, government.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Wrong. This system is the one Cameron wants rolled out to every ISP via legislation.

      • Wrong.

        Right. Read. The. Fucking. Article.

        • by Xest (935314)

          Doesn't matter what the article says if it's wrong. Listen to what Cameron said himself. He wants to role this out via legislation to every ISP in the UK.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Friday July 26, 2013 @10:18AM (#44391245) Homepage

      You missed the point. Cameron wants all ISPs to have this filtering, and will make it mandatory if they don't. The filtering will be outsourced to the lowest bidder, which in this case was Huawei. Chances are it will always be Huawei or some other foreign company.

      The operators of the filter have full access to everything every subscriber does online. Everything has to pass through their filter, even if you ask for it to be turned off. All of your traffic is routed through equipment owned and run by Huawei, a company known to have strong ties with the Chinese government. Huawei set the content of the filters too, which is of course secret. You don't think they are going to publish a list of URLs for you to scrutinize do you?

      Government mandated filtering outsourced to foreign low bidder companies that have access to all your traffic even if you turn the filter off. And by the way, you can't turn the filter off completely anyway.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      So what happens when the MSS starts using the data to blackmail people working for government or list X firms or the tabloids bribe ISP staff to tell them if a celeb/ member of the royal family has any interesting sites that he/she attempted to visit The data from this is very sensitive so will ISP's start having to implement strict security controls and auditing run an internal security team and have staff with access to the data on people internet history positively vetted - none of these are cheap and
  • ...from anyone who might criticize the government, its officials or its policies.

    FTFY

  • by MrKevvy (85565) on Friday July 26, 2013 @09:07AM (#44390581)

    ... as they are basically a ministry of the Chinese government.

    U.S. lawmakers seek to block China Huawei, ZTE U.S. inroads [reuters.com]

    "Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, at a press conference to release the report, said companies that had used Huawei equipment had reported "numerous allegations" of unexpected behavior, including routers supposedly sending large data packs to China late at night."

  • .... that this Government are a bunch of complete fucking idiots.

    (In case it wasn't obvious from the PM's rhetoric about the 'I am a pervert' opt-out porn filter.)

  • by organgtool (966989) on Friday July 26, 2013 @09:31AM (#44390847)
    Because nothing motivates a young boy to learn how to defeat technological filters than the promise of a nearly limitless supply of porn on the other side of those filters.
  • by Vollernurd (232458) on Friday July 26, 2013 @09:38AM (#44390899)
    TalkTalk's Homesafe service is pretty good at blocking the pr0n, firearms, alcohol, tobacco, etc. sites. You can change what sub-categories of sites to allow through (I allowed Alcohol as I have business interests in a brewery). HomeSafe is also optional - you have to opt-IN to it. So, the headline here is what, exactly? A product that claims to filter the Web for you actually does what it's supposed to do? It's my home network, I can choose what I want to allow onto it, surely? The fact that it's Chinese also smacks of racism - I mean, the NSA and my own poxy government have already read my emails and tracked my phone calls. They're not Chinese. Everything in my life that uses electricity now is made in China.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's not about race, it's about jurisdiction.

      If your own government, or companies in your nation are taking information they shouldn't, then you have some chance of at least starting some sort of discussion about what to do about it.

      If all of this is conceded to foreign powers (regardless of who they are), then there is no applicable jurisdiction to reign in their behavior if they start misusing that data.

    • Re:Optional (Score:4, Informative)

      by Xest (935314) on Friday July 26, 2013 @09:58AM (#44391069)

      No the system is not opt-in, the filtering is opt-in, there's a difference.

      The system is ALWAYS monitoring what sites you visit whether you opt-in or opt-out, it just depends on whether you want to be blocked from blacklisted sites as to whether it replaces the response to those web requests.

      This means that even if I opt-out it's still monitoring every site I visit.

  • Cameron is just trying to motivate the young to learn technology. Tell a 12 year old boy his reward is porn and he'll learn how to bypass those filters in no time flat.

    I've always thought about doing something similar with my own kid. Steadily increase the completeness of the filters until he has taught himself how to get around all of them. As of now, he's more interested in Elmo.

    Stage 1 - Proxy Settings
    Stage 2 - DNS filters
    Stage 3 - Net Nanny
    Stage 4 - Deep packet at the router level
    Stage 5 - ?

  • make me want to vomit?
    • make me want to vomit?

      ... You are probably a victim of uncensored information.

      But now the nice nanny, called Government, is going to fix that for you. And then you will be safe from any disturbing matters, like reality.

  • by Gavrielkay (1819320) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:46AM (#44392111)
    I recall a judge a while back who said something like: we should not protect the children by taking away rights they should have once they become adults.

    Obviously the real problem is with prudes who hope that no one will ever be able to look at porn or enjoy sex again, but I do really wish more people would think of the other side and realize that stripping rights away that our children would otherwise grow into is just not worth it.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Obviously the real problem is with prudes who hope that no one will ever be able to look at porn or enjoy sex again, but I do really wish more people would think of the other side and realize that stripping rights away that our children would otherwise grow into is just not worth it.

      You're assuming that's an unintended side-effect, rather than a goal.

      The world's governments want to censor the Internet. They don't want anyone talking behind their back in secret. Pr0n is just a convenient excuse to get the censor filter in place so they can expand them in the future.

      Oh, sorry, I forgot: this is Slashdot, so in about five minutes there'll be a mob along to inform us that the slippery slope is a logical fallacy, so this could never happen.

      • I am not assuming that at all.

        I completely understand that the goal is thought control. However, the people genuinely pursuing that goal are getting inadvertent help from a cadre of slightly more innocent folks who believe they are merely "thinking of the children." It is those folks who give the cause enough numbers to actually accomplish anything, and it is those folks I wish would wake up and understand the real outcome. Many of those people would not agree to take rights away from adults if it were
  • 'protect our children and their innocence.'

    You better not shout

    You better not cry

    You better not pout

    I'm telling you why

    David Cameron is coming to your ISP

    David Cameron: protecting your children and their innocence* since 2013. Yes, Virginia, there really is a David Cameron. And he's one creepy, mofo. He knows when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He know when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

    *May not be protecting your children. Innocence may be robbed by realization

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