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Every Email In UK To Be Monitored 785

ericcantona writes "The Communications Data Bill (2008) will lead to the creation of a single, centralized database containing records of all e-mails sent, websites visited and mobile phones used by UK citizens. In a carnivore-on-steroids programme, as all vestiges of communication privacy are stripped away, The BBC reports that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says this is a 'necessity.'"
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Every Email In UK To Be Monitored

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  • That's it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:09AM (#25394313)

    I'm out of here!

    Fuck the UK!

  • In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:09AM (#25394317)
    Snail mail no longer the subject of jokes.
  • Re:That's it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PunkOfLinux ( 870955 ) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:13AM (#25394335) Homepage

    Anarchy in the UK? :D

    Actually, I just thought of something. There's a line in that song. "I use the enemy." That sounds SO much like our government in $country. "$enemy is going to get you if you don't let us $action!"

  • Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ip_freely_2000 ( 577249 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:14AM (#25394341)

    I thought the cameras were bad enough, but this goes far, far beyond anything remotely reasonable. If they do this, they should have no problem listening to every phone call, opening up every piece of mail and package. In fact, they should just put microphones in every house, restaurant, bus and automobile.

    Next year, they'll want to plant RFID into every person.

    Is the UK government and authorities completely without morales? Or are they this > close to being destroyed by some threat? Or are they incompetent? Or all of the above?

  • Re:Unbelievable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deep_creek ( 1001191 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:18AM (#25394375)
    Is the UK government and authorities completely without morales? Or are they this > close to being destroyed by some threat? Or are they incompetent? Or all of the above?

    spot on. mod points... mod points.
  • by bestiarosa ( 938309 ) < agent59550406@s ... c.com minus poet> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:19AM (#25394387)

    I wonder whether the UK govt will have the money to implement such a grand plan after the Zillion Quids Great Gift to the banks.

  • by demiurge11 ( 898886 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:22AM (#25394423)

    If this database were publicly accessible, and could be used by anyone to monitor the communications of anyone (like in David Brin's The Transparent Society [wikipedia.org]) then I might not object to this sort of system. It could just as easily be used by the people to find government corruption as it could be used by the government to prosecute individuals.

    However, if the database could be used only by a few to monitor anyone, then this is clearly incompatible with the concept of a free country.

  • Re:And the rest... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moniker127 ( 1290002 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:22AM (#25394425)
    It does not matter if they're unable to do it effectivly now. The thing is, they are trying to. That is why this whole thing smells of bull shit. What the flying fuck happened to civil rights? More and more we see governments walk all over them with no explaination whatsoever. This is unacceptable. We not only need to bill burned, we need to see someone fired for drafting it.
  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:23AM (#25394435) Homepage

    How long before somebody thinks it's "necessary" to see the content as well?

  • Movie quote. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by B5_geek ( 638928 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:25AM (#25394447)

    "People should not be afraid of their government, instead a government should be afraid of its people."

  • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:25AM (#25394453)

    If they do this, they should have no problem listening to every phone call, opening up every piece of mail and package. In fact, they should just put microphones in every house, restaurant, bus and automobile.

    Don't forget the telescreens, not just cameras. The UK is part of Oceania, ya know.

  • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:28AM (#25394475) Journal

    That's dumb as a box of hair. Better to say:

    Hey, dude. You looked the BOMB when I saw you at the STATION. Hope you look the BOMB when I see you at 11:17am at King Cross. Don't forget to bring your BOMB the Bass CD. Then OSAMA will pick us up and GUN the engine of his car and take us through LONDON as we BOMB along the M25.

    I'm more concerned about how large the scope of this will be. Once again the here and now is bad enough, but what about in the future?

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:31AM (#25394515) Journal

    Orwellian down to the doublespeak:

    There are no plans for an enormous database which will contain the content of your emails, the texts that you send or the chats you have on the phone or online.

    Translation: We might build one now, we might build one later. We might already be building one, just without a plan.

    See? No lies, just no plans!

    Nor are we going to give local authorities the power to trawl through such a database in the interest of investigating lower level criminality under the spurious cover of counter terrorist legislation.

    In other words: There's going to be a database, but only available to those sufficiently high up in the government. Not to local authorities. What a relief!

    If you think I'm being too harsh, read again. If there's not going to be such a database, why would she go on to talk about who should have or not have access to such a database?

    Some of the commentary on the speech is at least as disturbing as the speech itself:

    The raw idea of simply handing over all this information to any government, however benign, and sticking it in an electronic warehouse is an awful idea if there are not very strict controls about it.

    How'd you fall this far, Britain?

    So, to translate: It's actually a fine idea, so long as there are sufficiently strict controls. I wonder who gets to decide how strict those controls should be.

    And who controls the controllers, so to speak?

    More of the same:

    The government must present convincing justification for such an exponential increase in the powers of the state.

    Again: A giant database of every email ever sent, from now till forever, in Britain, is alright so long as there's sufficient justification.

    At least someone has the balls to take a stand:

    These proposals are incompatible with a free country and a free people.


  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:34AM (#25394545) Journal

    Does Britain actually have problems with terrorism?

    Or is this just a power grab?

  • by TheModelEskimo ( 968202 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:35AM (#25394555)
    ...it's called "The Last Enemy." I caught an episode and the thrust of it seemed to be that these powerful surveillance tools become an instant menace once *one* person uses them for the wrong purpose.

    So, apparently some people in the UK care enough to get the word out. These tools are being entrusted to people who don't get it.

    It's like giving a nuclear-powered car filled with laser-armed sharks to your local branch of Neo-Nazis. (Sorry, had to get the triple analogy in there)
  • by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:35AM (#25394557)

    Home Secretary Jacqui Smith ... promised that the content of conversations would not be stored, just times and dates of messages and calls.

    I don't trust her any farther than I could throw her, but even if I did, promises mean jack squat. Even if she happens to be the most honest, unabusive
    person that exists, there will be someone that abuses this.

    That's why the American Founding Fathers had it straight on. If men were angels, there would be no need for government. If angels governed men, there would be no issue.
    But since men govern men, this fact must be acknowledged, and governments given as little power as possible over people.

  • Re:Movie quote. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wog ( 58146 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:39AM (#25394593)

    Too bad that in the UK, the authorities and the criminals (but I repeat myself) are the only ones with guns.

    Not much to be afraid of when you can just shoot the dissenters.

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:39AM (#25394595) Journal

    Apparently they're only logging origin and recipient. So PGP isn't going to help you.

    They claim that's all they're logging. Even if that were the case, it sets a dangerous precedent.

  • by assemblerex ( 1275164 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:45AM (#25394647)
    Get together a group of 500 similarly frustrated people.
    Have each person send everyone on the list a 1GB non-compressible, encrypted message titled "Iraq Iran Afghanistan Islam and North Korea"
    This would generate 250TB of data per day that they would need to store.
    In a month this would create more than 7 Petabytes of data to warehouse,
    which is physically impossible with current technology.
    So in short, 500 determined people could bring this system to it's knees in less than a month.
  • Re:A Letter (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:46AM (#25394659)

    Joe Sixpack The United States of At-Least-We're-Not-Yet-as-Fucked-Up-as-You


  • by erikina ( 1112587 ) <eri.kina@gmail.com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:51AM (#25394703) Homepage
    Indeed. PGP isn't a bad idea (it's a great idea), it just isn't a solution to the problem (unless as you said, they start trying to read the content of messages).
  • Re:That's it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tenebrousedge ( 1226584 ) <tenebrousedgeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:53AM (#25394721)

    They had representation then, too, just not for the colonies. Seriously, what do you think the Americans were wanting representation in, anyway, if not Parliament?

    On a side note, to what degree do your elected representatives represent you personally? I think the tree of liberty could use some refreshment on both sides of the Atlantic...

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:59AM (#25394785) Journal
    I suspect cultural accretion. In broad terms(and with numerous exceptions, I know) institutions of an aristocratic or nonrepresentative character are very often markedly conservative, in the "small c" sense of "resistant to and/or skeptical of large, sudden, or otherwise dramatic political or cultural changes". On the minus side, this is why it is occasionally necessary for the proles to rise up and kill them all. On the plus side, such institutions can be very useful when the latest media-savvy conman shows up.

    It can also be the case that, for cultural, demographic, or in some cases merely contingent, reasons, some institutions have much stronger and more stable institutional cultures than others. The role of the army in Turkish government is an interesting example. I would suspect that the Lords have some of that going as well. I suspect that undergoing a sleazy, poll-driven, media circus every so often in order to keep your position tends to dent your sense of tradition pretty sharply.

    The US Senate is arguably supposed to have some of these characteristics(hence 6 year terms, rather than 2 years, as in the house); but the effect appears to have been limited. The judiciary is probably the closest thing to this phenomenon in American governance. It is hardly perfect; but it has some of the same (relative) resistance to popular hysteria, persecution fads, and "OMGNOVELCRISISOFASORTNEVERBEFORESEEN" style claims.
  • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:03AM (#25394843)

    that's the truest joke of all... back in the 1980's when they had REAL IRA problems there's no way they would have tolerated such intrusion. When the survivors of German bombing were still alive to remind people what freedom really was. Now they put firecrackers on a few subway cars and it's the end of the world, they need super-spy powers.

  • Re:That's it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:10AM (#25394915) Journal
    "The sad thing is they actually have representation now."

    I know a lot of American's belive the "fight for freedom" started with the Boston tea party. However the English started limiting the power of their own overlords way back in 1215 when a group of Barons forced King John to sign the "Magna Carta Libertatum" (Great Charter of Freedoms).
  • Re:That's it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:10AM (#25394919) Journal

    On a side note, to what degree do your elected representatives represent you personally?

    Well, given that I live in California, for my senator anyway, I am represented as 1 out of about 18 million. How much representation do you expect a single citizen to get?

    There are a few ways to power, one is by paying money to your representative, which is good if you have money, but annoys people who don't have money.

    Another way is to convince other people to agree with you. This is a much stronger power, because as a democracy, the government tends to follow the will of the people.

    A good example of this in action is the FCC: do you want to know why they act so strongly against nudity? Because a small minority of people with very strong opinions engage in constant letter writing campaigns to our government, and to the FCC to try to keep pornography off the air.

    If you have neither money nor the capability to inspire people, then enjoy your 1 in 18 million representation.

  • by Fred Ferrigno ( 122319 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:19AM (#25394997)

    There is no "fifth amendment" in the UK.

    Which happens to be why there is one in the US.

  • by EaglemanBSA ( 950534 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:25AM (#25395053)
    That's all fine until anti-semitists use it to target Jews, or Christians use it to target Muslims, or radical Muslims to target Christians, or for corporations to wage commercial war - I think the point a lot of us are trying to make is that _no one_ should have this kind of power. It's important to have controls like the freedom of information act, but a database this wide covering so many people of normal citizenry is ludicrous.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:25AM (#25395059)

    This is fucking amazing.

    Not only does the UK have the most extensive network of CCTV surveillance of its citizens of any country in the world, now every single electronic means of communication will be monitored, intercepted and stored for an in-definite period, with access granted to an unspecified range of bureaucrats and snoops.

    WTF for? What evidence is there that this kind of massive untargetted domestic spy effort - against the 99.999% of the population who never commit ANY crimes - can be justified?

    It's like fining everyone who uses the freeway just because one or two people might be speeding, or jailing everyone just because one or two people might be murderers.

    The UK has NO basis to ever criticize China or any other 3rd world despot or totalitarian state ever again for any abuse of press freedom or censorship or human rights, since now they set the benchmark for over-the-top Govt abuse of power.

    As a businessman, I also don't like the idea that if I travel to the UK all my commercial-in-confidence business communications will be recorded by the UK Govt and possibly used to benefit UK companies who may be my competitors. Grrr.

  • Re:That's it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ocularDeathRay ( 760450 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:28AM (#25395077) Journal
    don't leave yet! remember, remember, the fifth of November...
  • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindowlessView ( 703773 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:30AM (#25395081)

    The USA has 300 million people (5 times the UK population), which changes the dynamics somewhat.

    It doesn't seem to me it changes the dynamics at all. Merely the scale.

    If it can be done in China [rollingstone.com] it can certainly be done in the US.

  • Re:That's it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:31AM (#25395097) Journal

    And you think they give a flying FUCK what you think?

    Yeap. I think they give about a one in 200 million of a flying fuck what I think. Which isn't much. But it is something. And if enough of us get together, he will start caring, because if he doesn't, he will get voted out in favor of someone who at least acts like they care.

    I mean, this is how it works, it's a democracy. Why do you think the two parties are so similar? It's because both of them are trying to appeal to as many people as possible. When enough people want something, it will happen, one way or another.

  • Big Brother (Score:2, Insightful)

    by robertblockred ( 1384803 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:35AM (#25395119)
    The trouble with big brother sort of things like this is that these programs get out of hand, go out of control, and end up making everyone's lives miserable. And do we really want to live in a world that is so full of cameras and government spying that we can't fart without being caught? And since I'm already on a rant about this sort of thing then what the hell, check out my new web site at this place [geocities.com] where I'm going to write about my thoughts about the upcoming election and how I think government should be. Let me sum up by saying that all this government spying over the excuse of doing it to keep us safe well that is not the way I'd solve the security situation around the world. Because you have to find some kind of balance. If you have a government network of ten cameras on every street corner, then, well, you're going to receive so much video data that there won't be enough people in the Universe to watch all of it, much less to pay attention and look for activity that is really suspicious. It just won't work. There is infinity amounts of information in the world. The trick to figure out is how you reject nearly all of it in such a way that most of the remaining information is a positive hit on something suspicious. Unfortunately, governments do not know such boundaries or limits. They pass a law saying there will be fifty cameras on every intersection. They don't stop to think that it will cost millions or maybe even billions of dollars to do it. What do they care anyway? The tax payer will pay for it. This is no way to run a country. It's only a way to take away everyone's liberty without gaining any benefit from it at all. Because governments don't know limits or boundaries, and so they don't know how to do something in moderation. It's too much, too late, ineffective, expensive, and it will accomplish nothing. If only I were running for President right now. Everything would be okay.
  • by andy.ruddock ( 821066 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:35AM (#25395121) Homepage
    But it probably wouldn't be a new programme. It would be an extension to an existing programme and would more easily and quickly pass into law.
  • Re:PGP... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WDot ( 1286728 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:39AM (#25395155)
    The problem with encryption is that you know it's encrypted. If suddenly all messages sent are garbled groups of characters, the government will think something's up and may outlaw private encryption (government encryption is, of course, still okay). The best code is the one that no one is aware of.

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

    This may be the future. I imagine a mix of clever computer algorithms and understood slang will be necessary to secure messages: Look and act like a dumb slob, all the while getting your message across.
  • Re:That's it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edalytical ( 671270 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:57AM (#25395275)
    Sometimes I am happy to be an American. Seriously for every stupid freedom killing thing we think of, you guys seem to come up with something 10 times worse. Fuck man, get out while you can!
  • USA NOT SAFE! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BountyX ( 1227176 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:01AM (#25395293)
    My fellow americans:
    Guess what? This is as much our burden as it is the UK's. There is an american agenda being pushed here. We already know that the USA's biggest survelliance post is the UK (See NSA's menwith hill listening post). We already know a large amount of traffic is routed through the UK. Finally, we already know the US does not spy on its own citizens, it tells the UK to. In return, the US spies on the UK citizens. That way we're not breaking laws right? This is not a UK only thing. The UK is being used as a world wide communications filter. Let's see average person on earth is connected between 6 hops to any other person on earth. 5 more of these setups and that should have enough data to cover every connected individual, on average. Please check my stats and references and correct me if I am wrong (I recalled them from memory). *sigh, The sad thing is just by knowing your being watched you lose a degree of freedom.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:24AM (#25395465)

    By strapping magnets to George Orwell's corpse, and surrounding his coffin with wire coils, this law will enable the generation of near limitless clean energy as Orwell spins in his grave!

  • by mcelrath ( 8027 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:29AM (#25395521) Homepage

    Origin and recipient? So they can tell the 98% of the email that arrives at my inbox that is spam, where the origin and recipient are forged, without looking at the body!?!? Please, share that tech with us, oh great and mighty Police State Overlords.

  • It's already way past bad enough for revolution, and no one outside of /. seems to care.
  • Re:That's it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gd2shoe ( 747932 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:45AM (#25395633) Journal

    When enough people want something, it will happen, one way or another.

    No, that's still wishful thinking. When enough people want something, it causes politicians to make themselves busy pretending to fix things. They then turn around and either claim to have fixed things, or that they made a sincere effort.

    Real immigration reform? Social Security? Healthcare? (Which is broken, but I don't want it socialized and broken further)

  • Re:That's it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:58AM (#25395725) Journal
    Nah, those are all examples of things about which the only consensus is that something's wrong. No one likes how any of those things are run, which is why the politicians make so much noise about them. On the other hand, there is no clear agreement on how to change them. When there is a clear enough agreement on what the solution to any of those problems is, then politicians will be falling over themselves to implement that solution.

    Democracy is inefficient, but it is that way by design, to keep bad people from getting too much power.
  • Re:PGP... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IBBoard ( 1128019 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:21AM (#25395855) Homepage

    Except that it does have the advantage that your email can't be read until they specifically single you out, and to demand your keys off you then they must have a reason (for now at least). That gives us some level of protection even if the government is unreasonably grabbing for power because of the 'terrorist' bogeyman. It's not as if we didn't have our own terrorists posing seemingly more present threats in the past twenty years!

  • Send SMALL email (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:22AM (#25395863) Homepage

    Right now they are just going to record who sent something to whom. So send only SMALL messages and send a lot of them. And use a lot of different email addresses so every possible combination gets recorded. And be sure to reply. Drown out the spam!

  • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:32AM (#25395923)

    From "the official government website for citizens":
    This email snooping bill is meant

    to ensure strict safeguards continue to strike the proper balance between privacy and protecting the public.

    Since there is no privacy in Britain anymore then this should be rather easy to accomplish,

    As a person who does not live in Britain how can I ensure that the British government is not reading the email that I send to my British friends? The British government already said that they will insist on people giving them private keys to encrypted materials. It's about time that I started sending suspicious emails to police offers in Britain. We need a good "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monsters_Are_Due_on_Maple_Street [wikipedia.org]) scenario to happen in Britain.

  • Re:That's it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:32AM (#25395927)
    remember, remember, the fifth of November...

    Ah yes, the only man with any integrity ever to enter the Houses of Parliament... ;-)
  • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:38AM (#25395961)

    How is this different from what is already in place? Phone companies and ISPs already keep logs and records of these things; how else would the phone company be able to send you a itemised bill? Tne new thing is that they want to collect it in one, central database for convenience.

    Nobody in their right mind would imagine that any government authority would be able to listen to all phone conversations happening in the UK or read all emails being sent - let alone analyse them and understand them. And that's just the meaningful emails - add SPAM to that; it just can't be done. So where is actually the big, bad surveillance? As far as I can see, the reason why they want this is because it takes too long to go and retrieve the records from individual ISPs and phone companies - it was a lot easier when there was only one phone company. Speed is of the essence in dealing with crime, especially since they can't get through with extending the period the police can retain terror suspects, and having it all in one database will make it a lot faster to find out who communicated with your suspect when and where.

    So, is it worth making a big fuss about? Not to my mind. What does worry me is that this is yet another big project that a public authority will let EDS handle. That combination has in the past led to too many failures and I think they are going to waste a lot of money at a time when it would be better spent elsewhere. That should comfort those who are worried about this project - it doesn't have much chance of getting off the ground. Of course, it shouldn't take a competent database developer many months to make this work; perhaps they should have chosen to develop it as open source?

  • Re:Unbelievable (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:46AM (#25396007)

    > Next year, they'll want to plant RFID into every person.

    They're called cell phones. And as a bonus they can serve as a microphone. But yes, implanted chips will eventually come given the natural progression of things "that can't happen"

  • by KlausBreuer ( 105581 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:48AM (#25396023) Homepage

    I guarantee this would get ALL of you arrested. Your house would be raided, your computers confiscated, yourself dragged off into prison (to wait until a court has time for you) for a nicely long time.

    Finally, after weeks of enjoying your newly-found prison life, they will accuse you of "possibly thinking about trying to start a terroristic union (as shown in deliberate attacks on gouverment projects) which might want to plan a terrorist attack", you'll be off again to a special prison, and might even get sent to The Beloved Friends to get tortured.

    Yes, I'm quite serious.

    Still interested in doing this?

  • Re:That's it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The_Noid ( 28819 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:48AM (#25396031) Journal

    And if enough of us get together, he will start caring, because if he doesn't, he will get voted out in favor of someone who at least acts like they care.

    They all act like they care. You'll never get more then that, because the person that actually cares will never be a candidate. Big money picks the candidates. You can vote, but you don't have a real choice.

  • Oblig. Orwell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OldManAndTheC++ ( 723450 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:05AM (#25396139)

    We have always been at war with $enemy.

  • by radio4fan ( 304271 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:12AM (#25396191)

    Oh for fucks sake.

    The Gestapo rounded up and executed the political opponents of Hitler. Thousands of Germans were killed in 1942. These people were not resistance fighters but students, trade unionists, 'communists', etc.

    The Gestapo had V-men in every part of German society and bureaucracy. To suggest that they respected anyone's privacy is absurd.

    The Gestapo were part of the SS, who killed several old men in my village in reprisal for a stolen map.

    Please maintain a sense of perspective. What Britain is doing is frightening and stupid, but it is not comparable to the Gestapo, SS, Stasi, Guoanbu, KGB etc.

    Signed, a refugee from Britain now living in a house in France once occupied by the SS.

  • Re:PGP... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:50AM (#25396485)

    Not really. We legislated to make encryption ineffective against criminal investigation several years ago with the RIPA.

    Furthermore, you can encrypt email all you like (and anybody with half a brain who's planning anything untoward would be encrypting, writing in some sort of code or both) it doesn't prevent there being a whole bunch of logs which show that user@example.com is regularly exchanging email with osama@binladen.com.

  • Re:Annoyed (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:52AM (#25396491)

    If you're arguing with someone who is emotional about a subject, you have to deal with their emotions. The way you argued seemed, at least to me, to be very logical and calm. Which, (irrationally, and incorrectly, I'm sure) made it seem as though you didn't care about the issue that they cared about so much.
    In this example, it probably would have gone down better if you'd first acknowledged how terrible rape is, and how much you wish the guys that did it would be strung up. Then you could argue, with a worldly wise and heavy heart that a) it's impractical to prevent such a video from being online for a tiny amount of time b) the people who see such a video are likely to feel horrified by it - and rightly so c) whether or not the video is seen doesn't change what happened and stopping people seeing it won't take back the pain and hurt of the victim.
    Then, if you still get met with argument about the issue, and the conversation works it way round to censorship, it probably would have been best to argue passionately against government censorship and in favour of free speech. You could have talked about elderly relatives who fought in the war so we could stand up and say what we believed in, wiping away a tear from your eye, and then say, if my grandad was willing to fight with his life for freedom, I think we should be willing to struggle to clean up our own forums and video hosting sites ourselves, for the sake of our own freedom.
    Then YOU could end the argument saying "I don't know if I can care about someone who doesn't respect the sacrifice and courage of people like my grandad, and just gives in to fear so easily."

    Arguing with people who are emotional about a subject is difficult if you only work with logic. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the things you base your logic on, your axioms, will be different from person to person. For you, it's obvious that censorship is a bad thing. The fact that she doesn't see it that way makes you doubt her intelligence. (However, if you really were the smart one, you would have picked up on this difference before it was too late and tried to convince her to care about censorship.) The second reason is that there is no system of first order logic adequate to describe human behaviour. This means that, when people make emotinoaly statements, they are loaded with subtext and you have to take account of the full meaning of what they are trying to communicate.
    When "she" says "I can't believe people put videos of woman being raped up on YouTube. They should stop that." it's not just about youtube. She's letting you know just how strongly she feels about the issue of rape, how angry, upset, scared, horrified, how much she doesn't understand people who don't feel that way, how much she wants to stop anyone who would take someone else's suffering lightly. What she's looking for from you was probably some sign that you also felt strongly about this. Maybe the issue makes her feel scared, so she wants reassurance.
    Towards the end of the argument, she probably knew she was being impractical and irrational but she carried on because she must have felt like you weren't acknowledging or taking serious how strongly she felt. I mean, for god's sake, she even pulled the "I don't know if I should care about you" thing - which is pretty clearly an escalation of conflict for the sake of trying to provoke a stronger reaction from you. Also the whole "not knowing when to stop arguing thing" - again, she's treating you as if your opinions don't matter and you should stop arguing with her. This is because she feels strongly about the issue and it seems as though you don't care and you're just arguing with her for arguments sake. In such a situation, you have to let her know that you care about your opinions, express belief in the things you believe in. But at the same time, you also have to acknowledge how she feels and be understanding. Maybe she's far too proud to come to you and say "I heard about this youtube rape video thing, I'm really really scared that something like that will happen to me." but maybe that's what she's really saying. Read through the conversation again, but replace what she said with that in mind, it makes much more sense that way.

  • Re:Annoyed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @05:07AM (#25396585) Homepage

    You just got caught in one of those "Why do you keep nagging about warrants, don't you want to catch the pedophiles! OMG won't someone think of the children!?" except in this case with censorship, rapists and raped women respectively. Once you get locked into that arena that it's the cost of putting a few reviewers in place vs raped women, you're going to lose as it's always [generic right] vs [vile, horrible people that don't deserve it]. You have to get the big picture in there somehow.

    Her: Then we'll have the government pay for it, or even set up an agency to review the videos.

    Look, YouTube is not that unique - people use it only because it's a simple, free and quick way to share videos. If you start making it cost money or involve a lot of beureucracy, people will simply share it on a different site, or send videos directly or share on P2P or torrent sites or one in a million other ways that you couldn't stop without killing the whole Internet. Almost all the videos on youtube today are legal, it's a great way for people to share experiences and you want to kill it because it doesn't catch people before they do something bad. It's like people speeding through residential areas, we don't catch them before they run into a traffic control. Your suggestion is like saying we need a police man in every passenger seat to make sure the driver never exceeds the speed limit in the first place, and anything less is unacceptable. Don't think I'm not sorry for the women in those videos because I am, but this would only drain a huge amount of resources that could be used for much more important things, like say catching the people making those videos.

  • What the hell? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @06:27AM (#25397153)

    What the hell is going on in the UK? I mean, shit, the U.S. is bad, but at least we have the EFF and the ACLU to slow this stuff down.

    This is fucked up. UK citizens, how do we help? I mean, shit, if it happens in the UK, it will probably come to the U.S. (and vice versa)

  • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @06:43AM (#25397257) Homepage Journal

    Am sorry for misunderstanding what you said earlier.
    But tell me, how far is it going from this draconian law to becoming a Gestapo state?
    Fifty years ago such laws would be have been shouted down by the press and people, not to mention the government itself, but today everyone is silent.
    Plus, today if am jailed for forgetting an encryption key, tomorrow my neighbors may be jailed for not telling the government i encrypt my disks!
    Freedom is a fragile delicate flower. Once lost, regaining it is a lost cause.
    The more we allow government into our private lives, the more we will be pushed out of our homes.
    Soon, the schools will be teaching that spying on parents for seditious thoughts is a necessity for security. They will also teach that Security over Freedom is more preferable and that in order to prevent terrorists it is necessary to spy on everyone's bedroom activities since if terrorists can be stopped from being conceived, then the State has ensured security for all.
    Tell me where will it stop.

  • Re:That's it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindKata ( 957167 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @06:59AM (#25397357) Journal
    "It's what the British people want."

    Its not what people want, its simply the ones in power refuse to actually listen to us anymore. Each party in power at the time, pretends to listen. They pretend to care, but then they still go off and do whatever it was they intended to do, regardless of what anyone says about their plans. The ones in power are simply looking for ways to convince us all of their views. The ones in power are are people who constantly seek power over others. The ones in power don't actually care what people think. The very nature of seeking power over people, means that person seeks to push others below them.

    You can probably guess today, I've finally sadly had enough of living in a growing police state, I once knew as England. The people in power seek information on everyone, because knowledge is power. Unfortunately most people fail to see the connection between information gathering and any danger. The process of information gathering (i.e. Big Brother) allows the creation of lists of people's views to be created... I write about how the power seekers are using that knowledge to control, in the other UK Big Brother style news on Slashdot today ...
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=997305&cid=25397001 [slashdot.org]

    Add this phone and email reading news, to the password wanting news and then add in the political profiling news, all on Slashdot today, its clear where things are heading. So much for fairness or freedom.
  • by geckipede ( 1261408 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @07:16AM (#25397483)
    The average death rate for London is somewhere just under 150/day. On the day of the transport bombings, there were actually fewer deaths than usual even just for the inner city, because there were fewer people on the roads having accidents, fewer people out walking to get mugged, and lots of people thinking of committing suicide decided that that wasn't the best day for a cry for attention.

    50 people just isn't significant.
  • Re:That's it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @07:18AM (#25397491)

    On a side note, to what degree do your elected representatives represent you personally?

    Well, given that I live in California, for my senator anyway, I am represented as 1 out of about 18 million. How much representation do you expect a single citizen to get?

    I was expecting a lot more than that!
    On average, each MP (member of Parliment, the lower house) in the UK represents 74,000 people. There are 646 MPs. The largest number of people represented by one MP is 110,000, the smallest 22,000.

    Incidentally, the House of Representatives has one member for about 693,000 people.

  • Re:Oblig. Orwell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:34AM (#25398075)

    Somehow, I doubt even Orwell conceived of a situation where $enemy =~ /abstractnoun/, though.

    On the subject of spin, I love this quote quote from Jacqui Smith (from TFA):

    What we will be proposing will be options which follow the key principles which govern all our work in this area - the principles of proportionality and necessity.

    I've got a quote for her, too, from a Prime Minister of days gone by, William Pitt:

    Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.

  • Re:Oblig. Orwell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BurtCrep ( 601313 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @09:41AM (#25398867)
    Well, history has shown us that occasional revolutions and civil wars are also necessities to social balance. After a few centuries of relative freedom, we seem to be going back toward Big Power these days. In a few more centuries (or decades in this era of disposable empires), the necessities of the ruling class will be counterbalanced by others. Let's just hope that the 21st century will allow us to do it cleanly this time...
  • Re:PGP... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by n0dna ( 939092 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:10AM (#25399329)

    Don't forget that Steganography is 20 years old, it's never become the future so far.

    I wish I could find the article, but it was some years ago I read it, some of the more advanced Steganalysis techniques are really quite good at detecting Steg files... not decrypting them, mind you, but detecting them. There were some interesting claims in the article about being able to batch inspect files from websites like ebay and flickr with some startlingly high percentages of Stegged files.

    So in practice, it may not be any better than PGP/GPG since it may not be any more convert. It may also be tougher to maintain since I would think most people would eventually be reusing images which would be a dead giveaway if they are being monitored. Couple that with the hassle of encrypting the data before stegging it, and the overall vetting of PGP/GPG alternatives, Steg doesn't seem like a very valuable solution to me.

  • by pseudorand ( 603231 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @11:02AM (#25400165)
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: At least they're honest about it. If you don't think the US government already does the same thing, you're deluding yourself. They just don't tell us about it.
  • Re:Oblig. Orwell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tha_mink ( 518151 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @11:26AM (#25400535)

    Well, history has shown us that occasional revolutions and civil wars are also necessities to social balance. After a few centuries of relative freedom, we seem to be going back toward Big Power these days. In a few more centuries (or decades in this era of disposable empires), the necessities of the ruling class will be counterbalanced by others. Let's just hope that the 21st century will allow us to do it cleanly this time...

    I really couldn't agree more. I think that over the years, everyone in almost every line of work has looked to technology to make their job easier/better/more accurate and that includes big government. I am really shocked if TFS is correct. There would be no way that any society would allow the government to record all telephone conversations or photo copy all regular mail, so why is this form of communication OK to archive? Because of its relative ease.

  • Re:That's it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lobster Quadrille ( 965591 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @11:31AM (#25400623)

    as a democracy, the government PREtends to follow the will of the people

    There, fixed that for you.

  • by MadTinfoilHatter ( 940931 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:58PM (#25401891)
    ( ) The approximately 1.5 billion Christians in the world might not want to have something implanted in their right hand or forehead... And they may not be the only ones (*) Feelgood measure that does little to solve the problem - and does in fact not even feel good Furthermore the following philosophical arguments may apply: ( ) Censorship is almost invariably a greater evil than whatever it's supposed to prevent (*) Fascism is invariably a greater evil than whatever it's supposed to prevent (*) He who would trade an essential liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security ( ) Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is generally not a good idea (*) Who will watch the watchers? (*) People should not fear their government, the government should fear its people (*) When they came for the Jews, I said nothing, for I was not a Jew. When they came for the co[NO CARRIER]
  • Re:That's it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hydraq ( 706666 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @01:31AM (#25408977)

    As a Briton living in the USA (resident alien), I do not get to vote. Strangely, a rather large chunk of my pay is docked for these things that look suspiciously like "taxes". Let's see ... "Federal Income Tax", "Medicare Tax", "CA State Income Tax", "Social Security Tax" ... oh, and they're under a heading, "Statutory". Hrm.

    Please, tell me more of your "No taxation without respresentation", this is an intriguing concept. I wish to drink of your kool-aid.

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