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UK High Court Gives OK To Investigation of Data Siezed From David Miranda 165

Posted by timothy
from the moving-the-goalposts-and-boiling-the-frog dept.
cold fjord writes with this snippet from The Guardian: "The high court has granted the Metropolitan police extended powers to investigate whether crimes related to terrorism and breaches of the Official Secrets Act have been committed following the seizure of data at Heathrow from David Miranda... At a hearing ... lawyers for Miranda said they had agreed to the terms of wider police powers to investigate a hard drive and memory sticks containing encrypted material that were seized on 18 August. Previously the inspection had been conducted on the narrower grounds of national security. Following the court ruling, the police will now be allowed to examine the material to investigate whether a crime of 'communication of material to an enemy' has been committed as well as possible crimes of communication of material about members of the military and intelligence services that could be useful to terrorists." Related: Reader hazeii writes "The BBC are reporting that the files seized from David Miranda (as a potential terrorist — see the earlier Slashdot story) 'endanger agents' lives.' Given that Miranda (and other Guardian journalists) seem to have been exceedingly careful not to release anything that could actually damage national security, and that the source of this information is a 'senior cabinet adviser,' one wonders what exactly the point of this 'news' is."
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UK High Court Gives OK To Investigation of Data Siezed From David Miranda

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  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Friday August 30, 2013 @11:55PM (#44722081)
    It is almost as if they want to see just how far they can push. But that push back is going to be a bitch...
    • It's not a 'push'. It's a dance, a Capoeira

      • by Cryacin (657549) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @02:46AM (#44722539)
        How much does the frog in the warming pot push back?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 31, 2013 @03:41AM (#44722661)

          Apparently, quite a bit:

          "As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water. "

          http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/frogboil.asp [snopes.com]

          • by Meski (774546)
            I'm curious if it works the other way (reducing temperature) - or would hypothermia set in? Do frogs suffer from hypothermia? (cold-blooded)
        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Presumably the insurance files recently released contain all that data and more. If they decide to brand Miranda a terrorist or start attacking journalists as a matter of course the password will be released. If they were acting in the interests of national security they would be negotiating and trying to reconcile their actions with the public, while effecting some real change and transparency.

          • by tburkhol (121842)

            Presumably the insurance files recently released contain all that data and more. If they decide to brand Miranda a terrorist or start attacking journalists as a matter of course the password will be released.

            From the government bureaucrat perspective, that sounds like extortion, and the government will not negotiate with terrorists or extortionists. The standard government response to this situation would be a completely disproportionate attack on the perpetrator and anyone who has had a conversation with the perpetrator. Potentially out to 2 degrees of separation, to make very certain that no one is willing to touch the next "whistle-blower" data set.

            The public don't care. Half of them believe Miranda is a te

            • by mbone (558574)

              From the government bureaucrat perspective, that sounds like extortion, and the government will not negotiate with terrorists or extortionists.

              It is hard to take anyone seriously who says something so obviously false as this.

    • by Holi (250190)

      When?

    • You can't push back a turd. They'll have to accept that the truth eventually tends to come out and it will make them look rather bad and undemocratic.
      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "You can't push back a turd. "

        But as the Mythbusters have demonstrated, you can very well polish one.

    • Miranda was carrying information that included the names of dozens of UK agents in the field. He's broken UK law. The High Court is quite correct on this.
      • Summary says the information was encrypted. How do you know what he was carrying?

        • The gigantic idiot was carrying the encryption key, written down, on his person.
      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Sorry dude, that is a lie. Obtaining the names of the UK agents in the UK would be the crime. Carrying the names of people from one country to another country via a third country is nothing to do with nothing. So you can basically piss off with the idea that somehow, doing something in country A, when you are from country B, can somehow be a crime in country C, just because you pass through country C.

        Sorry but they ain't secrets, they ain't nothing, they are just information. Just because country C in th

        • Sorry but they ain't secrets, they ain't nothing, they are just information

          Just so I understand your position here, you think that there's no reason any state should keep any secrets, have any spies or agents, run a security service or otherwise hold data outside of FOI, prosecute or have laws preventing the dissemination of those secrets outside of certain circles, or otherwise engage in any subversive activity to the benefit of its vital interests?

          I am literally gobsmacked that anyone could be so utte

  • by mellon (7048) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @12:00AM (#44722107) Homepage

    Frustratingly, it is actually possible for released information to endanger agents' lives. By using this as a pretext for searches when there's no real basis for thinking an agent's life is being endangered, it is they who endanger agents' lives, not the people whose data they search on that basis.

    What are we to believe when, likely soon, they claim that some piece of data they "found" in Miranda's possession actually endangers someone's life? That the data actually endangers anyone? That it was actually on one of Miranda's drives? How would we know? This is a farce.

    • by stanlyb (1839382)
      By definition, one of the perks of being an "agent" is the danger. So, i ask, are we to jail the agent's boss for endangering his life?
    • And the data will be classified, of course, so we'll just have to take the prosecution's word that it is really as dangerous as they claim.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Frustratingly, it is actually possible for released information to endanger agents' lives. By using this as a pretext for searches when there's no real basis for thinking an agent's life is being endangered, it is they who endanger agents' lives, not the people whose data they search on that basis.

      It's more than that. I am quite tired of the rhetoric "but, but someone's going to be killed!!", it's like blaming workers who go on strike against abusive employers.

      It is deemed an acceptable argument against all kinds of release of classified information, but it fails to make accountable those who do the greater evil. If the revelation of illegal, immoral and unethical activities will make someone killed, then perhaps those stuff should not have been done in the first place

      It is difficult for us to know w

    • Frustratingly, it is actually possible for released information to endanger agents' lives.

      A redacted quote from the materials confiscated: "Wenn CENSORED das CENSORED git und Slotermeyer?" Beyond that, the officials stated that releasing any further information would put many people's lives into danger.

    • Actually...it's host governments which are endangering their own agent's lives. They insist on keeping sensitive data on universally accessible machines, with the kind of security that would make most seasoned network admins quit in frustration. Then, like any good political organization, they scapegoat the people who lift the information, rather than focus on the obvious flaws in their designs...and these are flaws that are very, very obvious.

      This whole 'terrorist' thing? National Security? It's just an at

  • by h00manist (800926) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @12:01AM (#44722109) Journal

    Like it or not, privacy is unenforceable. We can fiddle with our settings so they leak less data, but there is still lots of data given out, and leaking, just by having a cellphone, credit card, car, job, name and ID.

    The battle now, is to end the privacy/secrecy for THEM. In other words, get gov't transparency, corporate transparency.

    They won't give it up easy, their one-way information flow.

    • It certainly appears you are correct, speaking in a legal context. Privacy laws may exist, but those to whom it should apply obviously care fuck-all about them because the consequences for violating them are equally fuck-all.

      But there are still steps we can take to enforce our own privacy. Encrypt your storage mediums, setup your own communication services like XMPP, install HTTPS Everywhere...

      What we really need is a way to obfuscate communications metadata. Something that floods the lines with a
    • by Sique (173459)

      Like it or not, privacy is unenforceable.

      Like it or not, protection of your life is unenforceable. We can fiddle with our protection mechanisms, so they allow less danger, but there are still lots of dangers around.

      Yes, protection of privacy is hard stuff, but that doesn't mean we should give up. Yes, we leak data, but that doesn't allow everyone else to collect those data and analyze it. Yes, we are vulnerable, but that doesn't allow everyone else to stick a knife into our body.

  • Without restraint (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @12:04AM (#44722117)

    There is ample evidence, historically, and in every country that has ever existed for any length of time, that the government's expansion of police powers will continue until the people fight back. When the cost of consolidating power exceeds the cost of political activism, that is where the balance lays.

    In today's "internet culture", with instant gratification and a certain detachment from one's peers, there is no real political activism occurring in industrialized countries that are economically stable. This has meant a rapid expansion of police powers in virtually every one of the top 20 countries by GDP.

    Bluntly, the internet may give us access to the knowledge of what's going on anywhere on Earth, our collective knowledge, and does it all nearly instantaniously, but all of this information has blunted our resolve. It has given rise to the idea that technical solutions to social problems are not only viable, but preferred. It has substituted direct social interaction for abstract social interaction.

    It could be argued that the internet itself is the proximate cause of the current state of affairs; It has made people complacent and politically impotent.

    • by Alwin Henseler (640539) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @12:37AM (#44722197) Homepage

      In today's "internet culture", with instant gratification and a certain detachment from one's peers, there is no real political activism occurring in industrialized countries that are economically stable.

      You mean Occupy Wall Street and similar movements didn't happen? Are not political activism? Countries where these movements were active, are not economically stable? And I don't think OWS is the only recent political activism, it comes in many shapes & forms. Am I missing something here?

      • by Beardydog (716221)
        Occupy Wall Street was the Brownian Ratchet of political movements.
      • by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @01:17AM (#44722313) Journal

        What did OWS achieve? Is or was that achievement compatible to the achievements of the 60's and 70's in the US?

          I know there were other political activism periods in other countries but I'm not intently familiar with them. So let's see, in the 1960's, we saw the activism pass civil rights legislation (regardless of if you agree with it, was pretty significant) and in the 1970's, we saw protests that changed how parties selected presidential candidates, we saw the ending of the Vietnam war largely because of political activism, we saw some bad changes too like free speech zones being created to contain the Vietnam war protesters on college campuses that were instituted at political conventions in the 1980's by the democratic nations convention (DNC).

        I must be missing something here because I do not see the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests achieving anything other then turning some parks into a camp ground for a while and irritating the locals to the point they sent the police in to remove them. Even if we look at other recent political activism, we find them largely ineffective for the most part. Abortion activist, whether pro choice or pro life seem to irritate people more then anything. Laws regarding abortions are passed by the same people who supported them for years. Gun rights and gun bashers in modern times are about the same, the largely liberal states seem perfectly fine with taking your gun rights while the more conservative states seem to be perfectly fine with encouraging you to carry loaded weapons (concealed carry laws). About the only political movement that has been largely successful is the gay marriage and they fought their battles in the schools training little kids to be tolerant and accepting of them and in the courts instead of political activism on the streets (I guess they notices the "We're here and queer and in your face" approach was hurting them more then helping). Perhaps the old activism isn't people setting out complaining but in finding compassionate judges willing to construe the constitution in your favor and politicians willing to ignore the will of the people who pass laws by referendum and refuse to defend them in courts.

        • by nbauman (624611) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @02:13AM (#44722465) Homepage Journal

          What did OWS achieve?

          It brought popular recognition to the idea that we don't have a democracy because the richest 1% are running the country.

          We can thank the Canadian left for coming down here and showing us how to do it.

          Now it's up to us. If you don't like the idea of owing $50,000 or $100,000 in non-dischargeable college loans, or paying twice as much for health care as they do anywhere else in the world and still going bankrupt, or having the Republicans attack your Social Security retirement benefits, or shutting down government services with sequesters, or spending trillions in wars like the one in Iraq, or losing your constitutional rights to free speech and freedom from arbitrary searches, or working in minimum-wage, non-union jobs that don't pay enough to live on, then you have to do something about it.

          It took the conservatives 30 years to destroy the country (starting from Ronald Reagan's presidency). It's going to take a long time to bring it back. Maybe we never will. It's not easy fighting billionaires. But maybe we will.

          • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

            by sumdumass (711423)

            And nothing will ever change. You want to know why? I'll tell you anyways. It is because you haven't the slightest clue about what you are talking about. I will demonstrate this a bit for you.

            It brought popular recognition to the idea that we don't have a democracy

            Most educated people were never under the disillusion that we were a democracy. We are a republic that uses democracy as part of the process to select the people who "represent" all of us. That 1% is included and our representative's jobs are to h

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Most educated people were never under the disillusion that we were a democracy.

              Bullshit. Most people, when you tell them that we are not in a democracy, will argue with you. And most educated people will argue that a republic is a "representative democracy", which is a bunch of self-contradictory bullshit. But they cling to it because of Cognitive Dissonance. Their self-image is wrapped up in our national image, and they want to believe our nation is the good guys and not the Evil Empire (still looking for those droids...) so they tell themselves that we have what we claim to be bring

              • by sumdumass (711423)

                Bullshit. Most people, when you tell them that we are not in a democracy, will argue with you. And most educated people will argue that a republic is a "representative democracy", which is a bunch of self-contradictory bullshit. But they cling to it because of Cognitive Dissonance. Their self-image is wrapped up in our national image, and they want to believe our nation is the good guys and not the Evil Empire (still looking for those droids...) so they tell themselves that we have what we claim to be bring

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Most educated people were never under the disillusion that we were a democracy. We are a republic that uses democracy as part of the process to select the people who "represent" all of us. That 1% is included and our representative's jobs are to help ensure we can make money and earn a living. That also includes the 1% who seem to be able to do it more and better then the rest of us. Anyways, what you see as the 1% running the country is smoke and mirrors exaggerated due to your inabilities. I have those same inabilities but I'm not under any illusion that something is owed to me that is being possessed by the 1%.

              I hate to break it to you, but social mobility in the US is lower than anywhere else in the developed world. This means that, with very few exceptions, the reason you are a member of the 1% is because you were born into that class. Born into that class, so your parents could send you to private school, to after-school tutoring, or at least one of the few good public school systems. Born into that class, so your parents could pay most of your college costs, allowing you to start life free of crushing debt

        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @02:21AM (#44722483)

          I must be missing something here because I do not see the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests achieving anything other then turning some parks into a camp ground for a while and irritating the locals to the point they sent the police in to remove them.

          It wasn't the locals. It was a nation-wide crack-down coordinated by the FBI and DHS all with the banks at the lead.

          http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/29/fbi-coordinated-crackdown-occupy [theguardian.com]

          Maybe the reason Occupy didn't really cause any immediate change is because they were the first social movement in the US to face wide-scale, modern techniques of repression backed by essentially unlimited funding.

          • by hazeii (5702) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @04:27AM (#44722789) Homepage

            The actual FBI docs revealing this are available online [justiceonline.org].

        • Peaceful American protesters in the 1960s *normally* didn't have to worry about heavily-armed forces showing up expressly to force them to leave, spraying them (even if they were sitting still) in the face with pepper spray, instigating fights, or seizing the cameras/phones of anyone (including journalists) they saw recording the incidents. The media also was still making an attempt back then to give accurate reports to the American public, and not using propaganda tactics to turn the public against the pr

          • by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @05:14AM (#44722875) Journal

            Peaceful American protesters in the 1960s *normally* didn't have to worry about heavily-armed forces showing up expressly to force them to leave, spraying them (even if they were sitting still) in the face with pepper spray, instigating fights, or seizing the cameras/phones of anyone (including journalists) they saw recording the incidents. The media also was still making an attempt back then to give accurate reports to the American public, and not using propaganda tactics to turn the public against the protesters by painting a wildly-inaccurate picture of who was protesting or what they believed in.

            You should revisit this a bit. The national guard was routinely called out to break up protests. the police routinely unleashed attack dogs on them, they used high pressure fire hoses and instead of spraying pepper spray, they lobbed military grade tear gas into crowds. Ever hear the song "4 dead in Ohio"? It's about the result of one of these attempts to break a protest up where the national guard shit and killed 4 students at Kent state University. Cameras were routinely broken and taken from journalists, about the only thing in this comment that is literally true would be the taking of the phones and the reporting.

            Don't get me wrong, I have immense respect for what my parents' generation managed, and even chose my college in part because of it. But the police back then knew that the media wasn't under government's thumb yet, so any brutal behavior would be accurately reported to the public and turn it in favor of the protesters much, much faster than happened.

            Not really, the government just called the protesters hippies and commies, draft doggers, and drug crazed lunatics and the public generally accepted the abuse of them on those grounds. When they would go to arrest a protester, they would walk up to them and start beating them with a baton and force them to the ground while handcuffing them. This often happened after tear gas was used unsuccessfully to disperse crowds. People were maimed, injured and even killed in these protests and the public largely saw it as "they had it coming" for not following the cops directions. That is a difference between then and now. Another difference is they had a cohesive message. This message was to end a war, to treat people of color and women the same as white men. Ask a dozen OWS what their grievances was and you got a dozen different answers with most of them appearing ridiculous.

            • There was an incident after WW1 where veterans protesting in Washington over not getting their war bond money had their little tent city rolled over by tanks and set on fire. Yes, tanks used in Washingon against war veterans.

          • by tburkhol (121842)

            Don't get me wrong, I have immense respect for what my parents' generation managed, and even chose my college in part because of it. But the police back then knew that the media wasn't under government's thumb yet, so any brutal behavior would be accurately reported to the public and turn it in favor of the protesters much, much faster than happened.

            You went to Kent State [wikipedia.org]?

          • by mbone (558574)

            Peaceful American protesters in the 1960s *normally* didn't have to worry about heavily-armed forces showing up expressly to force them to leave, spraying them (even if they were sitting still) in the face with pepper spray, instigating fights, or seizing the cameras/phones of anyone (including journalists) they saw recording the incidents.

            You obviously were not around for any of those protests. (Of course, back then the standard was tear gas grenades, not pepper spray, but ...)

      • It's a case in point; the Occupy movement was smashed by the FBI and Homeland security, by infiltration and (almost certainly) involving illegal interception of communication. See How the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy [theguardian.com] for example.

    • Re:Without restraint (Score:4, Informative)

      by ian_billyboy_morris (219947) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @02:05AM (#44722441)

      In the UK this week our Prime Minister lost the vote to bomb Syria because MPs from all sides (even his own party ) rebelled due to the strength of public opinion. The last time a PM lost a vote to go to war was the US war of independence. Democracy can work in the age of the Internet.

      • by Xest (935314)

        You've read way too much into that vote. It has nothing to do with MPs caring what we think and everything to do with party politics. Ed Milliband has no policies other than opposing government simply for the sake of trying to make the PM's life difficult. Most Labour MPs wanted military action but we're whipped into voting against it because Ed figured it'd pass and if it did go wrong he could pretend it was nothing to do with his party. The problem is he didn't factor in the Tory far right who are trying

    • by Anonymous Coward

      People were complacent in the 80's and 90's too, before the internet. So your scapegoating of the internet is merely a strawman. You should have expanded your scope.
      I think it has been a systematic desensitizing through all media.
      Mainstream media sensationalizes everything so that we aren't capable of fighting for one specific thing. OWS kind of proved that.

      So those of us who would have been the most revolutionary are tugged in too many directions by their own resolve. Meanwhile those of us who would join

  • Guilty! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @12:18AM (#44722153)

    ... the police will now be allowed to examine the material to investigate whether a crime of 'communication of material to an enemy' has been committed

    Miranda is clearly guilty, then, as he certainly communicated embarrassing information to dirty red commie journalists.

    Sadly, many Western governments are unable to carry out some actions they want to if the general public knows about them, simply because most people consider them immoral and unacceptable. They are, then, presented with a dilemma. They can stop doing things their electorate would find objectionable, they can try to eliminate the ability of the electorate to influence government, or they can lie about what they are doing and try to keep it secret. The third is impossible if people like Snowden are allowed to tell people what their government is doing on their behalf.

  • State Terrorism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 31, 2013 @12:29AM (#44722177)

    Gee, how short people's memories are these days.

    This is how the Cheka started. Countering counterrevolutionary terrorism by becoming state terrorists.

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @12:35AM (#44722191)

    Big difference. Former requires probability and evidence. Latter is an invitation to a fishing expedition.

  • Double or quits (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 31, 2013 @12:51AM (#44722245)

    They're playing double-or-quits, raising the threat to the Guardian in an effort to suppress further reporting. This law is under examination for MET's extreme over use of it, so MET pushes for even broader use of it.

    That works on the Daily Mail, who are chicken shit scared. But the other non-Murdoch newspapers are expanding their reporting. So this isn't working. BBC was threatened with DA notices, and even they're reporting more about these leaks.

    If you're not aware of it, MET is the police agency that gets GCHQ data feeds. It's the secret conduit by which GCHQ targets people for police prosecutions. Any evidence GCHQ provides is heard in court in secret, is not seen by the defendant, and cannot be challenged because it isn't revealed.

    The argument for this is that is protects NSA intelligence gathering methods. Methods that are now public courtesy of Snowden and is clearly illegal mass surveillance. So they're covering up crimes of a foreign spying agency and their accomplices in GCHQ.

    Mass surveillance is not legal, is does not matter whether it is GCHQ for NSA or STASI for KGC.

  • by Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @01:50AM (#44722395)

    I don't agree with the misuse of anti-terrorism laws in this case, but this is ridiculous:

    a piece of paper with the password to part of the encrypted files was discovered along with the hard drive

    Why? Why would you do that? What possible rationalisation could there be for writing the password down and keeping it with the encrypted data?

    It's a pity there is no law against negligent custodianship of encrypted data, it might teach people to be more sensible.

    • To be fair, not every password is a simple word or phrase. If it's a randomly-generated password, you need to store it. I agree that having it on paper and not in some sort of encrypted keychain is an extremely bad idea, and I'm surprised that the Greenwald/Miranda/Poitras team made such a huge mistake.

    • It says 'part of.' Maybe that data is just a decoy.

      It wouldn't matter though. In the UK, police have authority to demand a password - refusal is a criminal offense under the RIP act. So even if the password were not on a convenient piece of paper, the police would simply ask for it - then start jailing Guardian staff until they get it.

      • Ah yes. They claim he had the password on him, which directly contradicts statements by Greenwald that Miranda didn't have any passwords. They also claim that out of tens of thousands of documents they so far recovered less than 100, which implies to me that there may have been many passwords and they don't know the important ones. Also, these people have a track record of lying, constantly, whereas the journalists don't. So we'll see. Regardless, the assumption that intelligence agencies have better securi

        • Also, these people have a track record of lying, constantly, whereas the journalists don't

          Are you serious? Really? I am literally at a loss for words.

        • Perhaps they have managed to crack the encryption*, but do not wish to reveal their have the capability to do so? In that case, claiming he had the password on him provides a plausible excuse as to how they managed to get access, while at the same time scoring the bonus of making the newspaper staff look like idiots.

          *I'm not proposing any sort of magic maths, just a practical attack like looking through the swap file on the laptop or having previously bugged the office at one end or the other.

      • by mbone (558574)

        It says 'part of.' Maybe that data is just a decoy.

        It wouldn't matter though. In the UK, police have authority to demand a password - refusal is a criminal offense under the RIP act. So even if the password were not on a convenient piece of paper, the police would simply ask for it - then start jailing Guardian staff until they get it.

        I, for one, look forward to the day when the current Prime Minister orders the police to start jailing Guardian staff wholesale. The resulting shitstorm would be very entertaining. As the PM just lost a critical vote in the House of Commons, the inevitable vote of confidence should be entertaining as well.

        • The PM wouldn't. This isn't his area. The request would come from someone in the police, most likely - someone expendable enough that if there was too much of an outcry, they could be shunted to another office.

    • by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @02:32AM (#44722503) Journal

      Why? Why would you do that? What possible rationalisation could there be for writing the password down and keeping it with the encrypted data?

      It's a pity there is no law against negligent custodianship of encrypted data, it might teach people to be more sensible.

      You would not believe how common something like that is. In fact, most offices will have at least one if not more desks with most of the passwords to not only the computers but banking and other sites written down somewhere and placed within easy access to the user. Generally, they are taped to the side of one of the desk drawers (because sticky notes on the side of the monitor is so unsafe) or printed on a paper shoved under the desk mat.

      The problem is that good passwords are hard to remember and unique passwords make it even more difficult when you use them once or twice in a blue moon. Another problem is that competence is not always a requirement for some jobs. At most sites I administrate, we have a master folder located in one of the CEO's offices in a locked file Cabinet or safe. We pick the top dog's offices because they are watched pretty well by other employees (to see if the boss is around) and usually locked then they are out of the office. I once found the master folder containing everyone's passwords to log into all the system, everyone's email, most of the password protected websites used for business (excluding the banking which is kept elsewhere for security reasons) and all the databases on location just sitting at the receptionist desk because the telephone guy needed information to log into the PBX. I guess whoever got the file out didn't think of just getting the information needed and copying it. Instead, they handed him the entire folder and when he left, he gave it to the receptionist on the way out who left it sitting one the desk for two or three days before asking someone what to do with it. That someone replied to ask me when she saw me next.

      It doesn't matter if it is encrypted data, or whatever. If the person hasn't been trained to understand the concept of security or the purpose of keeping the information private/secrete/secure, they will likely do something extremely stupid with the passwords sooner or later.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Good passwords are not hard to remember. Use the XKCD methods, but double the number of words. That gives you 88 bits of entropy, 8 more than what NIST recommends for documents categorised as top secret, and they are generally very easy to remember.

      • by oobayly (1056050)

        I have a KeePass file (with a 13 word passphrase) containing all of our company passwords, I also keep a printed copy in the company safe so at least they have them if I get run over by a bus.

    • by JigJag (2046772)

      maybe to protect the datamule. After all, there is law in UK allowing imprisonment for people who refuse to divulge their password.

      What's the point then? Easy: Hidden volumes [wikipedia.org]

      There is no way to tell they even exist.

  • Democracy doomed? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @02:38AM (#44722515)

    Democracy only works if those in power are committed to its preservation. Important policies and actions need to be discussed and public opinion allowed to influence final decisions. There is ample evidence that the U.S. and some other older democracies no longer really want their people involved in important decision making. They need to pay lip service to the concept. However, a combination of lies, secrecy and manipulation (partly by politicians themselves and partly by well funded PACs) ensure informed participation from the general population is next to impossible.

    "Democracy" and "human rights" in these countries will no doubt remain for a long time as key justifications for very undemocratic foreign policies, but are well on the way to being dead in any meaningful sense.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      The UK has a lot of legal experts who will love a day in court over this or talk at length in to press as to why and how why where shut out.
      The UK press has faced this style of cold war intrusion before and has the cash, legal skills and PR to mount a good defence on any more UK/US gov legal efforts.
      Add in historians, publishers, bloggers - its a powerful mix to fight off per case in the web 2.0 age.
      The ability of anyone in the UK to still seek news/truth on the topics 'outside' the UK makes any rulings
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Democracy only works if those in power are committed to its preservation.

      Yes. And The People are in power, if they only realized it. Too bad they 1) think they already have democracy and 2) believe working within the system is a solution.

  • Stop these constant terror threats of broadcasting when the perfect weather for an attack will occur. It's insane!
    • Stop these constant terror threats of broadcasting when the perfect weather for an attack will occur. It's insane!

      You think that's funny? Ask the Spanish Armada.

      There's a reason why military services maintain meteorological divisions. Weather can be a life-or-death situation. Thus, anyone who disseminates weather forecasts can be considered giving aid and comfort to the Enemy.

      As vague and alarming as the UK's allegations against Miranda are, for all we know, the most damning evidence against him may be a copy of the Sunday Times.

  • the police will now be allowed to examine the material to investigate whether a crime of 'communication of material to an enemy'

    What enemy, you ask? Well, that would (generally) be the citizens and the alternative and independent media that hasn't been compromised or taken over.

    The good? At least things are becoming clear; those who've had their heads buried in the sand for decades are starting to clue in that Fascism is, indeed, alive and well (and who its representatives might even be).

    The bad? I'm afraid the only reason Evil is beginning to become confident enough to display its true colors (ahem, coloUrs) in such brazen fashion

  • I hope they read him his rights. (Yeah I know that doesn't apply in the UK, but they have something similar).
  • Is that the rule now in the UK? Do y'all have an impeachment process for high court judges?
  • Congratulations UK! (Score:4, Informative)

    by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday August 31, 2013 @09:33AM (#44723605)

    You are now a province of America. Don't let the shame overwhelm you now....

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