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The UK Is About to Legalize Mass Surveillance [Update] (vice.com) 394

From a report on Motherboard: On Tuesday, the UK is due to pass its controversial new surveillance law, the Investigatory Powers Act, according to the Home Office. The Act, which has received overwhelming support in both the House of Commons and Lords, formally legalizes a number of mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. It also introduces a new power which will force internet service providers to store browsing data on all customers for 12 months. Civil liberties campaigners have described the Act as one of the most extreme surveillance laws in any democracy, while law enforcement agencies believe that the collection of browsing data is vital in an age of ubiquitous internet communications. "The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 will ensure that law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need in a digital age to disrupt terrorist attacks, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight," a statement from the Home Office reads. Much of the Act gives stronger legal footing to the UK's various bulk powers, including "bulk interception," which is, in general terms, the collection of internet and phone communications en masse. In June 2013, using documents provided by Edward Snowden, The Guardian revealed that the GCHQ taps fibre-optic undersea cables in order to intercept emails, internet histories, calls, and a wealth of other data. Update: "Snooper's charter" bill has become the law. The home secretary said:"The Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation, that provides unprecedented transparency and substantial privacy protection. "The government is clear that, at a time of heightened security threat, it is essential our law enforcement and security and intelligence services have the power they need to keep people safe. The internet presents new opportunities for terrorists and we must ensure we have the capabilities to confront this challenge. But it is also right that these powers are subject to strict safeguards and rigorous oversight."
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The UK Is About to Legalize Mass Surveillance [Update]

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  • Doubleplusgood! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rantrantrant ( 4753443 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:46AM (#53384499)
    It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of civil society :)
    • It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of civil society :)

      Sadly, I expect it to continue to get worse and worse until it gets bad enough that the "resistance" decides to reset society with an EMP bomb or some such weapon like the tv show "Revolution".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:47AM (#53384505)

    ... at least until they legalize mass-less surveillance too.

    • ... at least until they legalize mass-less surveillance too.

      Neutrinos have mass. Best be a photon. This has the additional benefit that no one will ever see you coming.

      • by tomxor ( 2379126 )
        Until you smack into their cornea and become a draconian brain wave through phototransduction!
  • And us too - soon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:50AM (#53384535)

    FBI and NSA Poised to Gain New Surveillance Powers Under Trump [bloomberg.com]

    All because you sheeple want to feel safe.

    "People want to be slaves" - Academy Award nominated director I work out with.

    Face it, the people don't want to really be free. They want to feel safe above all else. They are so afraid of terrorism when the fact is they are most likely to die from complications of their obesity or from a car accident because they were distracted while they were updating their facebook page.

    • You assume that politicians are doing the will of the people. That is incorrect. This is the government increasing the governments powers while spreading FUD to justify their actions to the populace.
  • by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:51AM (#53384559)
    Encrypt everything! ... They may be able to crack the encryption in the end but it will make their lives much, much, much more difficult.
    • You don't need to crack the encryption. They have access to the unencrypted endpoints.
      • You don't need to crack the encryption. They have access to the unencrypted endpoints.

        That only works for endpoints they have already compromised. What the security services are currently more interested in is something completely different, they are interested in using this data for threat detection and to identify potential assets. If you have ever watched that CBS show 'Persons of interest', that kind of an AI with that kind of access is the wet dream of the NSA, GHQ, FSB and every other security service with a bit of ambition. For that purpose they are monitoring, warehousing and data mi

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, we need to do everything.

      Share connections.
      Encrypt everything.
      Create false data.
      Move to a system more secure by design. Whether that's Freenet, Tor, Onion, or similar, or something entirely new and different.
      Speak to friends and family about privacy and security and what it will mean to live with neither.

      Personally I've been pointing out to many folks here in the UK "didn't we fight a cold war against this shit?" Didn't people die and didn't we cause suffering all around the world (mostly via proxy wars

  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:52AM (#53384571) Homepage Journal
    ...when guns are illegal. They wouldn't dare do mass surveillance in the US because gun owners would overthrow the government. Right? Right?
    • ...when guns are illegal. They wouldn't dare do mass surveillance in the US because gun owners would overthrow the government. Right? Right?

      No they just wouldn't legalize it. If you think the US Government isn't doing all this behind the scenes then you're an even bigger fool than I give you credit for

    • What we need are guns that are built into computer monitors. Anyone can fire them from anywhere in the world rendering their internet foe dead immediately. Then no one will spy on you.

      The trick of course is getting your foe to buy a monitor that can kill them.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Reminds me of the face-stabbing peripheral from a few years back. Still got mine.

    • The only people in recent recorded history to wave a gun at the government were in dispute over land rights with its tree hugging arm. The next nearest thing likely to happen is lynching of foreigners and brown people. So no the gun owners are largely useful idiots who only respond to primal instincts and are easily manipulated. UN tanks and FEMA death camps my backside.

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      because gun owners would overthrow the government. Right? Right?

      In case you slept through the US elections, gun owner just did overthrow the government. That's the entire point of democracy: a non-violent means to overthrow the government. Popular vote is a really stupid way to run a government, but the best means yet found to remove one.

      What happens next is anyone's guess. Trump is certainly not a predictable sort of guy.

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        because gun owners would overthrow the government. Right? Right?

        In case you slept through the US elections, gun owner just did overthrow the government.

        Really.....so a cabinet full of experienced politicians (and now the spouses of politicians) and a Congress almost completely full of re-elected members is somehow an "overthrow" of government?

  • Benjamin Franklin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:53AM (#53384579)
    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
    • "Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead."
    • UK class system (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

      Indeed, and you might notice that Franklin was one of the founding fathers of a country specifically established to escape the tyranny of the British ruling class.

      The UK has never had an American style democratic system. Despite pretending it does to the outside world, and going around trumpeting its special relationship with the USA like they are brothers in arms, the UK is still well and truly under the control of a pseudo-hereditary ruling class that is closely associated with ancestral land ownership. U

    • It isn't the UK citizenry that's voting for this, though, is it? It's their MP's. I doubt the majority of UK citizens wants this.
    • by Falos ( 2905315 )
      It doesn't matter what specific advocation Franklin was calling; the arrangement of words is a succinct, useful one.

      Useful to help others to realize, to help drop the scales from their eyes, to help them see that we are being told the bogeyterrorist will eat us if we don't go to bed on time.

      It's not like it's a well-kept secret, they only need the inclination, the curiosity to turn their head and wonder about the man behind the curtain. Their exact deductions and conclusions don't mater; as long as t
  • As a UK Citizen (Score:5, Informative)

    by richard kettle ( 3009327 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:58AM (#53384627)
    Look, I know my browsing will be in a huge database that nobody will look at it... for now. But if this year has taught all of us anything it is that things change. If you take these powers, whoever is in power in the future can abuse them. Everyone, no matter how good intentioned, should think about how those powers might be abused in the future.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's already been abused. The police have been using it to identify journalists sources when they were criticised. Some unknown number of people were caught using it to spy on their lovers. And that's just the stuff we know about.

      Keep in mind that a lot of stuff data collection has been happening for years, it just wasn't mandated or legal before.

    • Look, I know my browsing will be in a huge database that nobody will look at it.

      The problem is not correctly posed as "nobody will look at it." This isn't a people problem.

      What "looks at it" is computer systems, programmed to look at it. What a human would consider "lost in a sea of data", a computer will have no trouble finding, characterizing, and reporting back as "this is the data you were looking for" to any interested inquiry, perfectly formatted for immediate use / subsequent action.

      So the day they m

      • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

        So the day they make your particular fetish or recreational substance / entertainment / political stance / religion / etc. a crime...

        You're an optimist, and overstating the safety and benevolence of this program. Quit sugar-coating it, you apologist! ;-)

        Peoples' fetish, substance, etc is already illegal, somewhere. And since no government (including UK) has shown itself to have the ability to store things securely (it's almost as though they employ people), it is reasonable to assume the data is (or eventua

      • Apologies, but that was the point I was making. 'In the US, the constitution explicitly forbids -- both to the federal government and that of the states -- going back in time and making crimes out of actions that were not crimes at the time, or increasing punishment along the same lines' How progressive, 500 years later than Europe, but good to know you have simple logic. But any future government can change that. As for 'you've forfeited that option. Sorry.' Really? Who did and when? And how? I have no ide
    • "Look, I know my browsing will be in a huge database that nobody will look at it... for now."

      This sounds like a line of reasoning from a 90-year-old who's never heard of "computers" (and "search") before.

    • You forget that right now, you are not a problem for them. But know this, as soon as you are, your browser history will be used to incriminate you for whatever they can find. So remember to keep in line, don't think or do anything that might upset the government, keep your head down and your thoughts to yourself.

  • by nightfire-unique ( 253895 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:58AM (#53384629)

    I think this is something that will ultimately hurt a lot of innocent people in the UK over the coming years.

    However, it will also help the Internet mature with new encryption and canary protocols, and more ubiquitous deployment of them, to ensure privacy and protection from all threats.

    • Wish I had mod points. Exactly right, I do not understand this self-defeating attitude by our government. Perhaps it is just ignorance of technology.
  • The law doesn't change anything. They've already been doing all this stuff for years, and more probably since its not been under any control.
    At least now its out in the open and controlled/limited by visible laws. And now that its out in the open people can start viably fighting against it.

  • by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @10:34AM (#53384945)

    It's not a matter of IF but WHEN hackers start leaking embarrassing information on the Royals and members of the government, all collected as part of this program, that their tune may change.

    Until then, the "Free world" seems to be engaged in a race to Orwell's vision of Big Brother.

  • How are ISPs supposed to get browsing history when all of the web traffic is encrypted? The best you can do is domain via SNI/public key transferred in the clear during handshake. Practically speaking you won't really get much more granularity out of that v. netflow.

  • I don't see the point in installing cameras in Catholic churches.

    Church of Elvis maybe...
  • Zoom out the lens a bit, and the larger problem becomes rather evident, which is trying to convince the masses to give a shit enough about privacy to execute even a single extra click of effort to protect their communications. This also speaks as to how easily something blatantly called the "Snoopers Charter" still passed with arrogant colors, flying in the face of the Snowden revelations. I fully expect the next bill to be simply titled Fuck You, That's Why, with pure ignorance greasing the approval skid

  • "The Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation"

    If by that you mean "Leading the world into totalitarianism and a perpetual police state"

  • by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @07:57PM (#53389589)

    The Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation, that provides unprecedented transparency and substantial privacy protection.

    WAR IS PEACE

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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