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United Kingdom Government Your Rights Online

GCHQ Tried To Track Web Visits of "Every Visible User On Internet" 86

An anonymous reader writes with Ars Technica's story on the relevations reported today by The Intercept that the UK's GCHQ has been tracking World Wide Web users since 2007, with an operation called "Karma Police" -- "a program that tracked Web browsing habits of people around the globe in what the agency itself billed as the 'world's biggest' Internet data-mining operation, intended to eventually track 'every visible user on the Internet.'"
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GCHQ Tried To Track Web Visits of "Every Visible User On Internet"

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  • Well, at least they have good taste!
  • That sounds ridiculous. They should have used something with more of a verbal punch, perhaps recalling banditry and tracking on a live document [wikia.com].

    • Re:Karma Police? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @07:41PM (#50602001)

      That sounds ridiculous. They should have used something with more of a verbal punch, perhaps recalling banditry and tracking on a live document [wikia.com].

      All puns aside, the name is no more ridiculous than any bullshit justification for tracking "every visible user on the internet".

      Yeah, go ahead three/four-letter agencies, I'd love to see what reasons you'll pull out of your ass for this one.

  • by He Who Has No Name ( 768306 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @07:15PM (#50601899)

    Considering the next lyrics in that song after "Karma Police" are... ..."Arrest this man".

    I *totally* feel safer and more free already, and I don't even live under that regime.

    Not that they couldn't just make one phone call across the pond and have whatever they want done to me in the dead of night with no trace. Yay freedom.

  • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @07:22PM (#50601929)

    For all the snorting over Windows 10 and privacy... it is nothing compared to this nonsense...

    And some people think, "oh, but I run Linux, so I'm safe!"

    Yep, sure you are... :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Don't just ignore your privacy rights in one area because there is a greater threat in another. If you want these organizations to respect your privacy, you have to start by respecting it yourself.
    • by slashdime ( 818069 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @08:12PM (#50602123)
      Do you know anything about IT and the internet? Your post suggests otherwise.

      This datamines via cookies. You consent to these (or not) via your browser. This is about the same as you walking down the street and deciding whether or not you care to dodge the cctv cameras watching you.

      Windows 10 is your operating system and you have no idea what it does. How do I know this? Because I have no idea what it does. And I'm willing to bet 99% of Microsoft has no idea what the new telemetry of Windows 10 collects. This is the same as hiring a butler that watches everything you do over your shoulder and every 10 minutes, he speaks quietly into an encrypted walkie talkie and you have no idea what he's telling his association of butlers. But you do know one thing, which is that the NSA/GCHQ has access and power over this association.

      So laugh away? Ha ha ha?
    • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @09:14PM (#50602301)

      For all the snorting over Windows 10 and privacy... it is nothing compared to this nonsense...

      Newflash for those who don't already know: The Internet is insecure. There is no way to change this without assured failure and or imposition of tyranny.

      Those who want security across a global communication network run by those with interests unaligned with their own must take responsibility for their communications by establishing trust and deploying end to end security.

      Denying passive, untargeted en-masse Internet surveillance to the worlds governments, Intelligence agencies and (criminal) enterprises is a relatively trivial undertaking. We have only ourselves to blame for allowing this bullshit to persist.

      What you do locally on your own computer on the other hand is none of the operating system vendors business. There is no ethical reason to intentionally leak information about you or what you are doing to the operating system vendor and by extension governments and criminal enterprises. This can be stopped by ditching the offending operating system.

    • by Burz ( 138833 )

      I run Qubes OS, you insensitive clod.

  • You know... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    You know its getting a lot harder the tell the good guys from the bad guys, so much so I am not sure there is any meaningful difference.

  • "Tried to" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2015 @07:49PM (#50602031)

    Article suggests "does". The sequence will go as follows, or similar, looking at web site visits, search queries, benefitting from LE access to Facebook etc to see instant messages:

    - genuine national security threats
    - interest in Islamism
    - anti-establishment politicians and their most powerful supporters
    - all remaining politicians, to keep them in line
    - high stakes economic criminals
    - campaigners against government policy or government-friendly business
    - the most dangerous suspects of crime, e.g. murderers
    - people involved in distributing child pornography
    - users of anonymising services
    - people who view any pornography that doesn't pass regulations
    - posters to prominent or troublesome political forums
    - pirates, yarhh!
    - posts to Grauniad CIF or BBC HYS

    Eventually nearly everyone is either under suspicion of committing at least one crime or has said something which taken out of context looks dangerous enough to warrant further investigation should anyone want to make their lives miserable in the future. The rest have said or viewed something embarrassing enough that (you were depressed once and looked for help? Furry porno watched one curious weekend? A racist rant... oh, you were just trolling?), should they ever become relevant in any way, the media will somehow find out.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @07:53PM (#50602053)
    show under one roof. sucker born every minute.
  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @09:05PM (#50602283) Journal
    Just think of the possibilities if they had used all those resources for something useful instead of poking their noses into things that were none of their business in the first place!
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo.world3@net> on Saturday September 26, 2015 @06:19AM (#50603247) Homepage

      I'd like to see the possibility of prosecutions explored, and at the very least the head of MI5 must now step down. He was on Radio 4 just a few days ago saying that there was no "population level" surveillance. Clearly that was a lie. He has zero credibility now.

      • Are you a citizen of the UK? I'm suspecting you might be..
        U.S. citizen here. It apparently being a common phenomenon that you have a harder time getting the straight scoop on what's going on inside your own country than it is from the outside, I'd have to say that while the U.S. is very buggered by it's own leadership right now, I'd still rather be living here than in England or anywhere in the UK. The only thing that sounds worse to me would be living in Australia or New Zealand. Anywhere in the EU is righ
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @11:46PM (#50602673)

    I mean, if they've been watching since 2007 they've definitely seen me torrenting, but eventually they'd figure out I was just grabbing various Linux distros. That's gotta be a letdown.

    Maybe we should all just keep seeding old and new versions of all the distros so GCHQ has something to keep themselves busy - they're obviously not interested in actually going out and tracking down terrorists.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anybody who lives here knows our government is very sneaky about their eventual descent to out and out fascism. They have worked very hard over the last few decades to be able to monitor everywhere you go in the real world, everything you say over distance and everything you do in the online world.

    Why would a government working for and behalf of the people want a dossier on the physical movements, conversations and browsing details of every single one of the people it supposedly serves? Nothing but good int

  • It's sad, but as European politicians pontificate about the evils of the US, and consider banning sending personal user data to the US, they conveniently overlook their own spy agencies are even more intrusive.

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