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UK Web Snooping Plan Invades Privacy, Despite Claims To the Contrary 65

sweetpea86 writes with a snippet from this story at TechWorld:"The UK government's proposal to separate communications data from content, as part of new plans to allow intelligence services to monitor all internet activity, is infeasible according to a panel of technology experts. Speaking at the 'Scrambling for Safety' conference in London, Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, said that the distinction between traffic data as being harmless and content as being sensitive is becoming less and less relevant. 'Now that people are living more and more of their lives online, the pattern of who you communicate with and in what order gives away pretty well everything,' he said. 'This means that, in data protection terms, traffic data is now very often going to be specially sensitive data.'"
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UK Web Snooping Plan Invades Privacy, Despite Claims To the Contrary

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  • Re:Trade-off (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @06:17AM (#39754725)

    do we want more privacy, accepting increased risks of criminal/terrorist acticity, or are we willing to trade off some privacy to get more security.

    The first one. Whatever the ignorant masses think, the latter two will just make it easier for an oppressive government to abuse its citizens.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @07:15AM (#39754869)
    Here's what the Conservative/LibDem Coalition apparently promised before they were elected: (copy-pasted from []) We will implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion. We will introduce a Freedom Bill. We will scrap the ID card scheme, the National Identity register and the ContactPoint database, and halt the next generation of biometric passports. We will outlaw the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission. We will extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency. We will adopt the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database. We will protect historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury. We will restore rights to non-violent protest. We will review libel laws to protect freedom of speech. We will introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation. We will further regulate CCTV. We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason. We will introduce a new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences. We will establish a Commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British liberties. We will seek to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these obligations and liberties.
  • Re:obviously (Score:4, Informative)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @08:10AM (#39755005)

    It's worth pointing out for the benefit of anyone who doesn't know much about how UK ISPs work:

    The incumbent telco, British Telecom, set up their own broadband network and also sold their DSL product at a wholesale rate to ISPs. There was quite a lot of fuss from ISPs about this, as the incumbent effectively had an advantage over them - the incumbent owned the infrastructure so could do what they liked with it, up to and including unceremoniously yanking customers broadband.

    The upshot is that British Telecom was split into two companies: Wholesale (BT Openreach) and retail (the company you buy your telephone line and broadband from). Openreach own and run the infrastructure, retail effectively just packages and resells it. You or I cannot approach BT Openreach under any circumstances. They won't investigate issues, they won't talk about new or existing lines, they won't do anything unless you're a company that has a contract with them. They will politely point you in the direction of a retailer.

    Anyone can set up an ISP and contract BT Openreach. Optionally, they can put their own equipment in the telephone exchanges though this is generally limited to the larger of the (still pretty small) alternative ISPs. But even if they put their own equipment in the telephone exchange, actually running the copper between telephone exchange and customer is contracted out to BT Openreach.

    The telephone line rental is totally separate from the broadband, and many of the smaller ISPs won't contract Openreach for the line rental itself or any telephone calls that run over it - they'll only deal with the broadband. Which means it's quite possible to be in a position that your ISP is blaming your telephone provider for your broadband being down; your telephone provider is blaming your ISP. Lots of people I know won't even consider buying broadband unless they can get the phone line from the same company for exactly this reason.

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