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Leaked Document Reveals UK Plans For Wider Internet Surveillance (zdnet.com) 92

The UK government is planning to push greater surveillance powers that would force internet providers to monitor communications in near-realtime and install backdoor equipment to break encryption, according to a leaked document. From a report on ZDNet: A draft of the proposed new surveillance powers, leaked on Thursday, is part of a "targeted consultation" into the Investigatory Powers Act, brought into law last year, which critics called the "most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy." Provisions in proposals show that the government is asking for powers to compel internet providers to turn over the realtime communications of a person "in an intelligible form," including encrypted content, within one working day. To that end, internet providers will be forced to introduce a backdoor point on their networks to allow intelligence agencies to read anyone's communications.
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Leaked Document Reveals UK Plans For Wider Internet Surveillance

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, 2017 @12:52PM (#54361667)

    That's OK. Being part of the EU means us Brits can take it to the European courts and even if that doesnt work we can up sticks and move to another EU country if we don't like how our government is behaving.
    Hang on, someone's whispering something in my ear......
    This just in, we're f*cked.

    • Indeed. What we're going to get is total May hem.

    • by number6x ( 626555 ) on Friday May 05, 2017 @01:31PM (#54362087)

      Including backdoors is the government helping criminals ripp-off citizens. Encryption, block chain and other security measures will be needed more and more if we want to continue e-commerce in the future. Any law that forces backdoors to be included in code is a law that is creating an opportunity for hackers to bypass security and exploit the backdoor.

      These laws should always be grouped under the idea: 'Your government helping criminals steal your money and ruin your credit'. Some of these criminal groups also fund terrorism, so these can also be grouped under the idea: 'Your government helping fund terrorism'.

      These are exactly the kind of laws politicians should be supporting if they want to harm citizens, promote crime and financially support terrorist organizations. In the long run, the more we can do to strengthen encryption the more we will protect people from harm.

      • Problem is that when you install a backdoor, you can't guarentee that only you will have the only key. Intel's AMT is a good example of this.

    • by balbeir ( 557475 )
      Soon to come: the great channel firewall
    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      Indeed, it's almost another two years they have to keep up with that pesky EU and their civil rights.
      But a true-blooded Tory prepares for that hallowed day they'll regain their God given absolute control over the plebs.
    • Swiss banking opened up the finance world in "creative" ways. I expect some country somewhere would be willing to be the Internet version, with solid privacy rules and VPN access from everywhere. I expect it would pay rather well.
  • Democracy? Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JudgeFurious ( 455868 ) on Friday May 05, 2017 @12:53PM (#54361681)
    I'm thinking that if you are making things like this legal then you're well on your way to losing the right to call yourselves a Democracy.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think democracy has anything to do with this. I think the utter lack of strict limits on the scope of government has everything to do with this.

      If this is the future of humanity, then I don't want to be human.

    • British governments have been able to *call* the nation a democracy for at least a century or so. But it never has been. Just a good enough facsimile to fool most of the people, most of the time.

      • British governments have been able to *call* the nation a democracy for at least a century or so. But it never has been. Just a good enough facsimile to fool most of the people, most of the time.

        Just ask the Scots how much the UK is a democracy. Based on popular votes, even if 100% of Scots, Northern Irish and Welsh all voted one way it'd only take a 55% majority of the English to overrule them.

        The UK is just the English plus some vassal states who are basically colonies.

        • Actually, since the devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament, the situation is reversed.

          Why do Scottish MPs in Westminster vote on matters that only affect England?

          Even before Devolution, English MPs did not (by custom) vote on matters that affect only Scotland.

          Google the "West Lothian question"

          • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Friday May 05, 2017 @03:30PM (#54363117)

            Actually, since the devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament, the situation is reversed.

            Why do Scottish MPs in Westminster vote on matters that only affect England?

            Even before Devolution, English MPs did not (by custom) vote on matters that affect only Scotland.

            Google the "West Lothian question"

            I thoroughly support independence for England. And, no, thats not because I'm pro-English.

            Brexit was a farce, so far as everyone but England was concerned. There was never any point in the Scots, Irish or Welsh even going out to vote. The English cynically use democracy (by popular vote, not talking about the activities of MP's) to control the entire nation. "Oh look, the *majority* of people in the UNITED kingdom voted for this so thats what we'll do then". Fuck that. At least places like Canada, if theres going to be a major constitutional change, all the provinces had better be in agreement.

    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      Why, exactly? Democracy is about the derivation of power from the people through fair elections and the peaceful succession of that power. It has nothing to do with surveillance. Not that I'm defending these idiot politicians, I just don't like people conflating democracy with other entirely separate ideals.

  • And hilarity ensues (Score:5, Informative)

    by al0ha ( 1262684 ) on Friday May 05, 2017 @12:55PM (#54361703) Journal
    This is hilarious and just goes to show how ignorant these lawmakers really are regarding technology. Pass whatever secret surveillance laws you want, you won't be breaking RSA-4096 anytime soon, and when you can, cryptographers will have devised something better. What a utter and ridiculous law. Tools of the oligarchs...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, 2017 @01:15PM (#54361939)

      I think that's dangerously overconfident. By passing laws they can in fact make tech companies add backdoors and vulnerabilities. That will make the vast majority of the population, outside a tiny number of people who take extreme and possibly now illegal measures, even more subject to mass surveillance. It also grants permission for any level of governmental snooping, and can criminalize people found in possession of "circumvention technologies". Possession of GPG can be criminalized with the stroke of a pen, if it interferes with mass surveillance.

      Furthermore it normalizes the entire idea that people should be allowed no privacy. A whole generation grows up with that as "normal". Do not underestimate the capacity of human beings to normalize reprehensible things.

      It's foolish to think that just because there exists some encryption technology where the math can't be broken, that everything is OK. Everything is not OK.

      US citizen here, not a Brit, but I am under no illusions. On this side of the pond we have just as many in our government who look at Orwell's warning as a thing to aspire to, rather than to avoid. If UK citizens allow this to stand, it's only a matter of time before it comes here too. Our countries have a long and rich tradition of adopting each other's worst and most harmful ideas. (We had American knockoffs of the Spice Girls, for instance).

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      you won't be breaking RSA-4096 anytime soon

      How are you defining "anytime soon"?

      It's not anticipated to be that long before computers capable of using Shor's Algorithm will be available to governments and large-enough corporations.

      Post-quantum cryptography techniques have not had thousands of years of failure to back up the soundness of their method - as such, they're being researched, but nobody claims they're remotely secure.

      Honestly, I'm pretty sure there'll be a rather large graveyard of "post-quantum"

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        I suspect in the realm of at least a decade or two. I think our maximum number qubits they've managed to keep coherent is somewhere around 3 or 4? I hear they've managed to successfully factor the number 15!

        Not sure how up to date my info is, but I suspect it'll still be quite a few years before we get the dozens of qubits needed to factor anything remotely useful, never mind being able to do so on a commercial scale. Of course, that's barring some completely unexpected new/different technology or insigh

  • Tally ho!

    The ISP is the weak link. We need a solution to render them obsolete.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this the usual pattern?

    Government and data companies: We be all up in your shit.

    1% of people: make well reasoned, nuanced arguments about why that is a bad idea.

    99% of people: "does twitter still work? it does? and tinder too? erp, what's the problem then??? ignore those nerds and keep us safe!"

    Government and data companies: Thanks! We'll carry on.

    So... any reason to suspect this won't be the same as all the other times?

  • by Teun ( 17872 ) on Friday May 05, 2017 @01:03PM (#54361801) Homepage
    which critics called the "most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a once democracy."
  • No surprise to see this from the nanny state, but the ignorance in these politicians that think this would actually work is ridiculous! Secure encryption just isn't that hard to do. Regulations like this are only going to impact ordinary citizens and the most inept of criminals. Underestimating organizations like ISIS, as if they could not employ unbreakable encryption trivially, is a huge mistake. It actually puts the public at *greater* risk. Oh well, at least we'll be able to watch what the (former

    • Just so you know, the elected politicians aren't the ignorant ones here. They're just doing what they're told. The fact that they remain in power puts the ignorance in a totally different place

      • by hackel ( 10452 )

        Doing what they're told...by whom? Is this some kind of conspiracy theory? Of course voters should be held accountable for electing these people, but they need not meet the same standard. We're supposed to choose people to represent us who are actually smart and will seek out and heed the advice of experts in relevant fields.

        • Doing what they're told...by whom?

          By the party and its 'contributors'... Count de Monet. You (re)elect salesmen, not leaders. That is their job, and with a 97% reelection rate, they prove to be very good at it.

          Is this some kind of conspiracy theory?

          No, it's perfectly natural behavior in seeking wealth/power. Everybody looks for the advantage. It's fundamental animal psychology mixed with human psychopathy. Anybody who makes it out like a 'conspiracy theory' says more about their imagination, subject to prop

        • I'm sorry. Let me put it another way. You seem to be unaware of who your elected politicians actually represent. To wave it off as 'conspiracy theory' is a mistake. That's what they want you to think :-)

    • No surprise to see this from the nanny state, but the ignorance in these politicians that think this would actually work is ridiculous! Secure encryption just isn't that hard to do. Regulations like this are only going to impact ordinary citizens and the most inept of criminals. Underestimating organizations like ISIS, as if they could not employ unbreakable encryption trivially, is a huge mistake. It actually puts the public at *greater* risk. Oh well, at least we'll be able to watch what the (former?) UKIP idiots are up to.

      This has fuck-all to do with catching criminals.

      This has everything to do with mass surveillance.

      You can stop laughing now. Nothing comical about this, especially when you consider that UK citizens won't even resist this, which will pave the way for every other country to do the same.

      • by hackel ( 10452 )

        Uh...what exactly do you think the point of mass surveillance is? Just for fun? It's an attempt—as misguided as it may be—to stop people from breaking the law. Terrorists, scammers, paedophiles, etc. It's not as if the people pushing for it are *wanting* it to be abused, they are just completely naive. What is comical is the fact that these people honestly believe they know what they're talking about and that this is a good idea. The regulations won't even slow down the actual criminals fr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, 2017 @01:29PM (#54362073)

    "most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy."

    Why do people keep referring to modern governments as "democracy"??? Have YOU voted on the issues? NO! Democracy is where We The People actually VOTE on issues.

    Current modern governments are representative, and the problem is: We The People are NOT being represented. The best fix is to FIRE the bastards. We need much more frequent elections: I propose at least twice a year.

    And we need either a People's Lobby, or shut down ALL lobbying.

    • A representative republic can work, and factor in both the needs/wants of the population at large, as well as the geographic area [1]. That is why the US has a bicameral Congress. However, the way elections are done only ensures that Kang or Kodos are elected. We need a better system than first past the post, be it a "1-10" score system, having "x" amount of units, and be able to assign them to different candidates, or just arranging the candidates in a suitable odor of preference.

      Lobbying is something t

      • ...or just arranging the candidates in a suitable odor of preference.

        An apt typo, given how much modern politics in general stinks.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      We do. Regularly. The problem is the next person in line applying for the job is often just as bad if not worse. And even the occasional time you get a good one in, the system is built around majority rules, so the lone good voice just gets drowned out anyway.

      And then of course there's the fact that your idea of "bad" and mine aren't necessarily the same. There's a lot of people that actually want a nanny state (as long as it doesn't affect them, of course.) Lots people get offended just by knowing tha

    • "most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy."

      Why do people keep referring to modern governments as "democracy"??? Have YOU voted on the issues? NO! Democracy is where We The People actually VOTE on issues.

      Current modern governments are representative, and the problem is: We The People are NOT being represented. The best fix is to FIRE the bastards. We need much more frequent elections: I propose at least twice a year.

      And we need either a People's Lobby, or shut down ALL lobbying.

      Democracy is a philosophy of power. It represents where the power to govern comes from. In democracies the government and legislators derive their power from some sort of direct or indirect mandate of the people.

      The best example of this is the US constitution, that declares itself as democratic in its first three words alone: "We the people.." All power in the document is allegedly derived from the people.

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Friday May 05, 2017 @01:39PM (#54362163)

    Why is it that social media addicts post everything you never wanted to know about their lives online for all to see, and yet if you were to demand to see their internet history, they would run around and scream like a rabid monkey, totally offended over such an invasion of privacy.

    Either give enough of a shit about your privacy to try and stop the destruction of it, or don't give a shit about any of it. Fucking pick one already.

    • by XXongo ( 3986865 )

      Why is it that social media addicts post everything you never wanted to know about their lives online for all to see, and yet if you were to demand to see their internet history, they would run around and scream like a rabid monkey, totally offended over such an invasion of privacy.

      So, you're saying that you think it's inconsistent if I have some things that I want to keep private, but be I'm OK with having other things public. In essence, you say, if I allow anything whatsoever to be public, that means that I should have no right to privacy in anything.

      And, furthermore, you seem to be saying that if some social media users reveal information about themselves, all users of social media clearly want the information revealed.

      Either give enough of a shit about your privacy to try and stop the destruction of it, or don't give a shit about any of it.

      That's a false dichotomy. Some things I want to be private,

      • Yet you are probably still all angry about net neutrality going away... You think your ISP needs to check your browsing history when you've created a public life? You probably think Google/Facebook don't know what sex toys you're interested in either since you used "used incognito mode"...

    • Wish I had some points because I would totally mod this up. That is such a good point! Seriously, there are more pictures that people will regret in 2 years and posts about the most idiotic things imaginable that much of humanity has no right to privacy because they are publicising their entire life anyway!

  • That's what this sounds like. I feel sorry for you Brits. Your government is going downhill even faster than ours is, which is saying something.
  • ...was British.

    Coincidence? I think not!

    He just got the date slightly wrong.

  • I never understood this kind of shit happening in the UK. The US can sorta offer the excuse that there are hundreds of millions of people here, many are idiots, they are spread far and wide across an enormous space and often cluster in rural areas in small towns made up of flaking paint, baling wire and groupthink. They get power and authority over these areas and sometimes this power and authority translates into a successful state or federal position. But the UK is so much smaller by land mass and populat
    • The UK has crazy high insurance coverage (despite having less risk) - far above the US so their people may be bigger cowards or at least more risk adverse than the USA? It doesn't surprise me they can be SOLD security at such high prices.

      Perhaps their longer exposure to the FOX-NEWS empire (sky news and related propaganda rags) is the reason for this?

      When the web security requires 3rd party verification the way it does and with the few companies easily accessible by the USA... it may not make mass decrypti

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "I never understood this kind of .... happening in the UK."
      The UK got really addicted to mass collection during ww1 with the Defence of the Realm Act 1914 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      After that its was all about getting the plain text of every other embassy globally. The Soviet Union was always of interest.
      WW2 it was all about Enigma, then the Soviet Union. After WW2 the UK and USA got into all French communications. France finally worked out that its networks leaked plain text and corrected
  • We don't need no stinking First Amendment in a parliamentary democracy! >:-(

  • How are they going to intercept TLS communications like e.g. HTTPS?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They're going to pass the traffic through a proxy that will re-sign the content and provide you with a certificate to trust if you want to be able to use TLS.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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