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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!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PunkOfLinux ( 870955 )

      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!"

      • Oblig. Orwell (Score:5, Insightful)

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

        We have always been at war with $enemy.

        • 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: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.

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:18AM (#25394381) Journal
      Ultimate, absolute proof, that despite having given the world George W, we did the right thing by sticking it to (the other) King George. Woohoo! Suckas! No taxation without representation, and no email retention without representation either!! The sad thing is they actually have representation now. Hope that doesn't pass. Dang, I'm gonna go buy me a pistol.
      • Re:That's it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tenebrousedge ( 1226584 ) <> 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...

        • 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.

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

            by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:56AM (#25395265) Homepage Journal

            One good campaign to try and fix some of that is [] , where they want to have 1 member of the house for at most every 30,000 people. Considering the House hasn't been expanded since 1910 aside from Hawaii and Alaska, it has been very distorted from what it should be.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        the colonies had representation... they were considered "corporate" employees of the lords that held title to the land and ran the trading companies. When they joined the colonies they promised to follow the "company rules"... sound familiar?

      • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tim99 ( 984437 )
        Oh for goodness sake! The USA has been involved in this stuff for years []
        The West's e-mail traffic has been monitored and put into databases since ARPA-NET and IBM Mainframes in the 1970s.

        One of the most significant reasons for concern is that the technology for doing this cheaply has evolved faster than the increasing level of normal traffic. It is probably still difficult to filter out the nuggets of valuable intelligence from the morass of management drone spreadshe
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by vawarayer ( 1035638 )

      I'm out of here!

      Fuck the UK!

      Could you please send this comment to me by e-mail?

    • 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:That's it (Score:5, Informative)

      by radio4fan ( 304271 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @05:01AM (#25396541)

      I left in 2007.

      There wasn't one single thing that made me go, but the accumulative weight of paranoia and illiberalism.

      Shamelessly ripped off from here []:

      • The government can ban any groups it labels 'terrorist' (Terrorism Act 2000)
      • The government can monitor any and all private communication (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000)
      • Armed forces can be deployed on UK soil in peacetime (Civil Contingencies Act 2004)
      • Property and assets can be seized without warning or compensation (Civil Contingencies Act 2004)
      • Spontaneous protest is now illegal around Parliament (Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005)
      • Without trial, any British citizen can be tagged, put under house arrest and banned from using the telephone or internet (Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005)
      • Any citizen can be imprisoned without charge for 28 days (42 days has passed the house of commons) (Terrorism Act 2006)
      • The executive can change any current legislation without consulting Parliament, with very few exceptions (Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006)
      • Arbitrary punishments with no legal precedents can be issued with little legal recourse, based on hearsay evidence (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003)
      • British citizens can be extradicted to the United States with no evidence presented (Extradition Act 2003)
      • Compulsory identification for all British citizens, with an unlimited amount of details stored in a central database, which the private sector will have access to (Identity Cards Act 2006)
      • Upon arrest the police have claim to your DNA, even if you are released without charge (Criminal Justice Act 2003)

      Note that some of this predates 9/11.

      The government is not-so-gradually putting in place all the mechanisms that a totalitarian police state needs.

      What's sickening is that this is largely supported by or ignored by the public.

      Every letter I wrote to my MP was replied to by a "we need it to keep people safe, and the public support this measure" fob-off.

      In theory I should stick around to try and change things, but it's like staying in a pool that other people are shitting in.

    • by Ice Tiger ( 10883 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @06:42AM (#25397249)

      A petition has already been started on the downing street website (

      Feel free to express your views against this.

  • 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.
    • Gotcha! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:21AM (#25394417) Homepage

      If you're using snail-mail you must have something to hide!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 )

      Snail mail no longer the subject of jokes.

      Does the UK have laws preventing the government from opening your snail mail?

      And don't forget that all incoming and outgoing international mail is fair game, in any country.

    • Re:In other news (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:43AM (#25394623)

      It really disturbs me that the plots in various movies, video games, and books that would have been considered "out there" or "couldn't happen" are gradually becoming true.

      Obvious ones (which I've mentioned in a related post a few weeks ago): V for Vendetta and 1984.

      Disturbingly accurate: Mirror's Edge. From the Mirror's Edge Wikipedia Article: []

      The game's name derives from the mirror-like aesthetic of the city of tall, gleaming skyscrapers and Faith's existence on the fringes of that city along with other dissidents, who have been pushed to the edge.

      Though set in a seemingly utopian city environment with low crime, clean streets, and sterile architecture, it is ruled by a totalitarian government regime that conducts unbridled levels of surveillance on citizens. [emphasis added.] In this world of communications monitoring, the only way to deliver confidential information between parties is to employ couriers (called runners) to physically deliver the information.

      Granted, it's more likely that drivers, bicycle messengers, etc. would be used in our current era, but I imagine even vehicles will eventually be surveilled and controlled. "We need to be able to watch people in their cars so we know they're driving safely." "We need to be able to remotely shut off cars in case it is stolen or if someone is driving drunk." etc.

      I wonder how they'd handle couriers delivering information to circumvent this system.

      tl;dr: cute Asian mailwomen will backflip off of walls to get your letter to grandma.

  • 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?

  • PGP... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:16AM (#25394357)


    • Re:PGP... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by xrayspx ( 13127 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:25AM (#25394455) Homepage
      I really do hope this drives people to make encryption ubiquitous. All of the egregious US programs have failed to make the public use crypto, but this seems to be well publicized enough that it might make a large chunk of people install and use good crypto.

      GPG plugins for and Thunderbird are at the point now that it's basically set it and forget it, come on folks. (I don't so much like the GPG Outlook plugins, but maybe I haven't messed with it enough)
      • 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. []

        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:PGP... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by janrinok ( 846318 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @07:42AM (#25397667)

        Unfortunately, in the UK they already have the power to demand that you hand over your encryption keys. The solution is not just encryption, but genuine random data sent between your encrypted emails. When they demand your keys simply, and legally, show them that it is random data. The system will not be able to cope with masses of data that _they_ will still believe is encrypted but for which no keys can be produced. Perhaps they will make an example of a few by taking them to court. Well, let's see what happens when it gets bounced to the European Court of Human Rights. The crime has not been committed unless it can be _proven_ to be committed.

        When they (eventually) find some way of closing this loophole, then you start sending binary dumps of data. It is not encrypted but, to all intents and purposes, it is meaningless to anyone looking at it in transit. Will they then make sending binary data illegal? Can you imagine the economic and industrial fallout of such a law?

        To those that think that this is pointless, I disagree. The first thing that will be apparent is the degree to which this monitoring is actually being conducted. No, not the hype that every email will be kept and read, but what can they _actually_ do with that much data? How many people will actually get a visit from the police? (My guess is none.) What I think will be apparent is that they will have a database that, once a suspect is identified, can be examined to find possible additional evidence. But they are not going to be reading everyone's emails everyday. That doesn't make the system any more acceptable but it will show that they are not going anywhere near the 'microphone in very home, restaurant etc' claim that someone posted earlier.

        Then one has to think of all the data that they don't want. Spam, technical updates, forum summaries, OS binaries etc. Perhaps they will discover the ultimate filter for spam or, gasp, get tough on those that generate it - Heaven forbid that something useful might come from this ridiculous law. But, until that time, I sure there is someone bright enough on this forum to devise a piece of software that can hide a message inside something that appears to be spam, a technical update, or a forum summary. Flood the system so that the demands of storing and analysing this entirely innocent and legal data simply make the whole thing unworkable.

        For the 'websites visited' database, that is even easier to flood. Google for a random word, and then have software visit every alternate link on that page, one every second, and simply discard the data. Hey, my broadband is already paid for, it will not affect my data downloading in the slightest. But the database that they have to hold is getting much bigger than they might first have imagined that it would. Out of all the sites that I might visit in 24hours (86400) they have to discover if one of them is actually a front for something more sinister. Before you howl about how one might download something that you wouldn't want to see anyway (pornography, terrorist website or whatever) my answer is that you might already stumble upon such a site anyway. The fact that you did no more that go to a Google link is not yet a criminal offence, and if they want to make it one then much of the internet advertising model is well and truly stuffed the minute they do so.

        All of this is entirely legal but will get the public point of view across very quickly. And if the public don't want to do this sort of thing they perhaps they deserve the sort of Government that they seem to have. Yes, I'm a Brit but, no, I no longer live in the UK, by choice. Just my thoughts....

    • Re:PGP... (Score:4, Informative)

      by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:56AM (#25395267) Homepage Journal

      I used to work for a network monitoring company that used both content and context to classify Internet traffic. Actually, it's a lot easier than even using PGP. All it takes is something as trivial as a ROT13 encryption, using a foreign language, or using code words.

      Simply obscuring the message means that the analysis engine has to try to decrypt the message without knowing the encryption algorithm and the key. It may be possible to recover both but you need something like the computing power at the disposal of the NSA. Code words or foreign languages are even worse because the analysis must also be carried out in the language used in the e-mail (meaning the analysis has to be carried out in all possible languages without knowing a priori which language the e-mail was written in). As the Navaho "wind talkers" demonstrated during WWII, this can be a very effective means of obscuring a message.

      I'm not saying don't worry about it. It's still offensive to even suggest that all e-mails be monitored. I'm just saying that the technical reality of attempting to capture and analyze all e-mails for suspicious content if the population being monitored is at all large is pretty daunting. We ran into all of the above problems where I worked plus some others that would take even longer to describe. Web traffic and certain other internet traffic can be easily classified. For e-mail, SMS, IM, etc., you will only catch what people leave in plain site.

      To me, this ranks right up there with a politician demanding that all porn, hate speech, etc. be filtered. It only sounds like a good idea until you start to try to figure out how to do it. Then it becomes obvious that it's not technically feasible. Hopefully, the Brits will figure that out before they spend too much money on the project.


  • by chiasmus1 ( 654565 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:17AM (#25394365) Homepage
    Assuming email messages in the UK are actually sent using clients and servers in the UK, it seems that this would be a great time to start working on getting a newer fixed up protocol ready to completely replace the easy to snoop on SMTP.
  • by moniker127 ( 1290002 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:17AM (#25394369)
    How about this. Lets start a movement for false positives. If you know someone from the UK, email them saying "Hey, dude, dont forget to plant that bomb at the government building on 231 baker st. Oh yeah, and remeber the time we agreed on. 11:15 on tuesday the 21st. " Police state or no police state, they cant arrest us for doing nothing, espically people outside of the UK sending emails to the UK.
  • by belmolis ( 702863 ) <<billposer> <at> <>> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:18AM (#25394377) Homepage

    In a carnivore-on-steroids programme, as all vestiges of communication privacy are stripped away,

    This is quite misleading. According to the linked article, the program will only log traffic information, not message content. This may not be good, but it is a far cry from stripping away "all vestiges of communication privacy", and it means that it is not comparable to Carnivore, which actually would log message content.

    • 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?

      • Who knows? If they do, that would be a new program and would be much more objectionable. But that isn't what they are proposing now, fortunately.

  • Forcible decryption (Score:5, Informative)

    by adoarns ( 718596 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:21AM (#25394407) Homepage Journal

    Made worse by UK statute giving the police the authority to order the disclosure of encryption keys or the decryption of encrypted data.

    Yay fifth amendment and subsequent interpretations equating disclosing cipher keys with self-incrimination!

  • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) * on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:21AM (#25394415)

    Joe the Plumber is laughing his ass off at you Brits.

  • 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 []) 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.

    • 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.
  • 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."

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> 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 nacturation ( 646836 ) * <> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:32AM (#25394533) Journal

    Your post advocates a

    (*) technical (*) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

    approach to fighting terrorism. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from dictatorship to dictatorship before a bad federal law was passed.)

    (*) Terrorists can easily encrypt their email
    ( ) Other legitimate email users would be affected
    ( ) It will stop terrorists for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
    ( ) Users of email will not put up with it

    [...] anybody feeling ambitious? :)

  • by natergj ( 904065 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:34AM (#25394553)
    1. when that intern you hired accidentally deletes all your users' emails, you can reassure everyone, "Don't worry, the government now backs that up for us"

    2. I'm sure it will take just a few petabytes of Viagra ads for the UK government to develop a foolproof SPAM filter for us all.

    3. Just think of the decline in crap emails from management. No more wading through piles of pointless CC'd emails once they become paranoid.

    4. Did someone just approve my budget for video phones for everyone? Try archiving that traffic, UK!

    I think we all need to look at the glass being half full on this one

  • by TheModelEskimo ( 968202 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:35AM (#25394555)'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.

  • A Letter (Score:3, Funny)

    by CynicalTyler ( 986549 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:35AM (#25394565)
    Dear Everyone in the UK, When emailing me, please be up front about the fact that you're emailing me from the UK so I can promptly not respond. Yours, Joe Sixpack The United States of At-Least-We're-Not-Yet-as-Fucked-Up-as-You
  • 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.
    • 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?

  • by JimXugle ( 921609 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:59AM (#25394789)

    I'm a Dual US/UK National. Will these new wiretaps be incompatible with the preexisting NSA taps on My AT&T Cell phone?

  • by Fractal Dice ( 696349 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:06AM (#25394877) Journal
    *self-censors the comment I was thinking of making*
  • Hot Button Checklist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:13AM (#25394937) Homepage

    She said: "Our ability to intercept communications and obtain communications data is vital to fighting terrorism and combating serious crime, including child sex abuse, murder and drugs trafficking.

    Terrorism? Check.

    Protecting Children/Child Pornography? Check.

    Looks like it's got everything that would be needed to pass it were it introduced here in the US. Plus, it has Murder and Drugs as bonuses. (And before someone misreads my post, yes I know this is happening in the UK.)

    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.

    Of course not. You can trust the highly trustworthy, never corrupt Federal government to keep the corrupt local government's fingers out of that database and to never misuse that database itself. Suuuuure.

  • 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.

  • Annoyed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuoteMstr ( 55051 ) <> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:39AM (#25395153)

    There are many people to whom the UK's system is perfectly reasonable.

    Earlier tonight, I had an argument tonight with this woman who favors censoring YouTube. It went like this:

    Her: I can't believe people put videos of woman being raped up on YouTube. They should stop that.

    Me: Well, they'll take them down, and they're usually taken down pretty damn fast.

    Her: Thousands of people can see the videos on the meantime. YouTube should screen all videos before putting them up. If they won't do it, they should be forced.

    Me: Ugh. That would break YouTube. The expense would be huge. It'd drive YouTube out of business. Would you really rather have no YouTube at all?

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

    Me: The cost to society would still be astronomical. And doing that would provide a very easy avenue for the government to censor anything anyone finds offensive. It's dangerous. If you want to go down that route, why not pass a law stipulating some huge fine for posting videos of rape? Then YouTube will at least be forced to comply on its own.

    Her, crying by this point: I don't care. Fines aren't good enough. People might still see the videos. We have to filter them all.

    [cut argument about my supposedly not knowing when to stop debating]

    Her: It's not about 'cost to society', it's about protecting women. I'm appalled that you would put not being censored ahead of that. I don't know if I can care about someone who doesn't want to protect women. You should go.

    Keep in mind this woman will have a doctorate in less than a year. *sigh*

    • 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.

  • 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 (#25395475)

    Excuse me but:

    Article 12.

                No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

    From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as stated by the UN.

  • by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:46AM (#25395639) Homepage Journal

    It will be very handy to be strolling down the street and have a helpful government man spot you and say "You've got mail".

  • by messner_007 ( 1042060 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:20AM (#25395839) Why can't I browse slashdot with https ???
  • 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. []) scenario to happen in Britain.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant