UK Releases Details, But Delays, Plan To Surveil Every Bit Of Communication

from the one-more-year-to-be-free-of-draconian-rules dept

We recently noted that some articles were appearing in the UK about a plan by the government to track all phone calls, emails and internet surfing histories in that country in a giant database. The whole thing sounded so extreme we even doubted it was true. However, it appears to be based in fact, as the government is outlining the details of the plan, while at the same time agreeing to delay introducing it for at least year, in order to hear from the public (or, perhaps, to hope that public dislike of this proposal dies down enough that it can be introduced quietly). The backers of the plan stress that all they want is the data about the communications, rather than the communications themselves. So, that would mean they're interested in who called whom, not what was said, and who emailed whom, not what was written. That may be small comfort to some, but it still seems like a huge privacy violation, and the database is almost certainly to be abused and misused by those who have access to it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    me, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    track this!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Siddhartha Gautama, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 2:11pm

    Epoxy Resin

    Gamma epoxy calculator seventeen white horse if expect overheard paint thunder.

    ~Long Lasting Flavor

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    USA citizen, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 5:21pm

    I have nothing to say... not if it is going to come to haunt me in five years...

    I have nothing to say... not if it is going to come to haunt me in five years...

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    No Six Pack, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 5:39pm

    UK is Pants

    The George Orwell novel titled "1984" is NOT a how-to reference manual.

    But some of those in government do not care.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Craig Dudley, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 6:55pm

    Sounds like Masterpiece Contemporary on PBS

    Their current show is titled "The Last Enemy" about UK having a TIA law and department (MI-5?) that implements the law.

     

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  6.  
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    PaulT (profile), Oct 18th, 2008 @ 1:52am

    "The backers of the plan stress that all they want is the data about the communications, rather than the communications themselves. So, that would mean they're interested in who called whom, not what was said, and who emailed whom, not what was written"

    So then, what's the point? Emails are easily spoofed and made anonymous, as are machine details (MAC/IP addresses, etc.). Defence in any prosecution could come up with a hundred innocent explanations for communication if the nature of the communication is not recorded, the system could easily be abused and truly guilty parties would simply piggyback off innocent users.

    Yet another attempt to destroy our freedoms in order to "protect" them in a way that would be woefully ineffective.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    ulle, Oct 18th, 2008 @ 11:33am

    I know computers and components have been coming steadily down in price the last few years but still it seems to me it would cost a large fortune to build and operate a system that could do what they want.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    guy fawkes, Oct 18th, 2008 @ 10:10pm

    V for Victory

    Where is Guy Fawkes when you need him?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Oct 19th, 2008 @ 7:29am

    So what's the real reason?

    To those of you stating that this would be ineffective - Correct

    In the US, the National Research Council recently reviewed the US's own data mining efforts which although possibly more limited in scope, go deeper and analyse the messages - they concluded the technique was 'ineffective'.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10059987-38.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=25 47-1_3-0-20
    So exactly how effective is a wider scoped, shallower data mining effort going to be?

    To those of you stating this would cost a small fortune - Correct

    The government announced a price tag of 1BILLION for the INITIAL TRIAL
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4882600.ece
    The actual price is already projected to be 12-14billion and that's before unforeseen cost overruns, cock-ups etc

    To those of you stating you could get around this by using spoofed IPs etc - Correct (Kind of)
    You'd actually probably need to enlist the assistance of some non-UK proxies which didn't turn over their traffic details to the UK government - that'd probably work OK. Simply spoofing an IP wouldn't work for anything other than single one way communications and even then this system is likely to operate at a level lower than IP

    So what's the real reason they want this? Even if it wouldn't be a relatively simple job for the next serious terrorist nut job to get around; and by serious I mean any with a better plan than trying to blow up propane canisters still equipped with safety valves; or creating a nail bomb so ineffective, it couldn't even kill the guy holding it when it went off in his hands - you know the serious ones with plans you might actually want to be a bit worried about?

    This plan is also expensive, massively so in a time when most peoples question isn't "do we have a recession coming?", rather "how bad will it be?"

    It's a hugely unpopular piece of legislation; almost a guaranteed vote loser. I know that the internet by nature tends to lean towards liberal at times and that only people with strong feelings ever usually reply to most blogs, but just Google "Intercept Modernisation Programme" and check out comments on non government sites - almost 100% negative, with the few comments that aren't actually negative tending to be along the lines of "We must be reading this wrong"

    So why would anyone want to spend huge sums of money they don't have, on something that will probably be useless in the form described and lose them the next election?

    Sorry to sound like a nut (yet again), but there's a piece of this picture missing - even Jacqui Smith isn't this lunatic. There has to be more to it than presently advertised, and somehow I doubt its good news that they just forgot to mention

    NO2ID

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2008 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Sounds like Masterpiece Contemporary on PBS

    Great Show! A must watch to see how we are all going to be living in the future unless we do something now.

    George O was right, F.A. Hayek was right.

    “All power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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