UK Government Refuses To Confirm Or Deny If Your Pronunciation Of Its Massive Surveillance Program 'Tempora' Is Correct

from the oh,-come-on,-stop-being-tiresome dept

A few weeks back, we reported that some digital rights groups were challenging GCHQ's spying at the UK's secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). As Wired UK reports, a first hearing has now taken place, dealing with preliminary matters before the main case in July. Here's one ridiculous problem that had to be addressed:

while the Prism programme has been officially acknowledged, the UK government will not acknowledge the existence of the operation named Tempora, as detailed in the documents released by Edward Snowden. Mr Justice Burton suggested that it might be wise to define the operation in other terms, so that it could be discussed as a factual hypothetical, rather than deal with the inevitable roadblocks that will consistently be encountered if it is called by its code name. Tempora, he said, could be referred to as the "fibre-optic interception programme" for presentational purposes.
This isn't the UK government being purely bloody-minded. By refusing to confirm or deny Tempora's existence, even though there are numerous leaked documents attesting to it, it is trying to persuade the IPT to hold a closed hearing, so as to stop the British public learning anything about what's really going on here. But as the Wired UK report reveals, it's taking this "neither confirm nor deny" policy to absurd lengths:
There was also some jovial discussion in the hearing over the pronunciation of Tempora and whether the emphasis should be on the "Tem" or the "por". When called on to advise as to whether they were pronouncing the code name correctly, government counsel could neither confirm nor deny.
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  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:17am

    There was also some jovial discussion in the hearing over the pronunciation of Tempora and whether the emphasis should be on the "Tem" or the "por". When called on to advise as to whether they were pronouncing the code name correctly, government counsel could neither confirm nor deny.

    I can picture 2 British gentleman discussing in pompous words which term is the correct.

    Anyway, just call it what they are. Massive-privacy-violating-totalitarian program.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:39am

    Re:

    That can easily be condensed into one word: Terrorists.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Nanotech, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:43am

    comment

    I thought the uk as country had a lil more dignity then this! Your lil program was outed, so just admit it and beg forgiveness from your people =P

     

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

  4.  
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    Stephanie, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:50am

    tempor

    Its happening.
    The totalitarianism has already taken over
    Underneath the wiring.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 4:42am

    It is not a specific political wish to push that far in the surveillance direction. It is the police/military and the non-political parts of the administration pushing in these directions and the politicians not daring to go against the policy of necessities these interests represent today.

    At some point there is a need for less opacity in those areas. Especially since they have a vague "threat to national security" leverage no educated people can argue against because of the secrecy surrounding the areas.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 5:09am

    On a side note, what is the correct pronunciation of blackbriar?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 5:12am

    Tempora

    Sounds like sushi. Damn it. Now I want a tempura roll...

     

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

  8.  
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    beltorak (profile), Feb 20th, 2014 @ 5:49am

    Re:

    yeah but then you have a different problem; which Massive-privacy-violating-totalitarian program?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    Dream scenario for a clever lawyer. Just have the case dismissed at country level and rush to ECHR. They actually violate right to fair trial as well.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Jackson Polluck, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 7:27am

    Use your noggin

    I'm assuming that asking for the government to clarify the pronunciation of Tempora is really a sly way of confirming whether the program does or does not exist.

    Clearly if the government gave back an explanation on how to pronounce it, they acknowledge creating the name and the associated program.

    A great trick though.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    Emphasis on the "Massive" or "privacy"?

     

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

  12.  
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    Mike Shore (profile), Feb 20th, 2014 @ 9:21am

    And people still wonder why there is no respects for anything that originates from government?

     

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

  13.  
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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Feb 20th, 2014 @ 1:13pm

    Tem Po Rah!

    Personally I feel it should be pronounced with emphasis on the last syllable, as it is in the popular phrase 'Fus Roh Dah' from Skyrim.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Bill Stewart, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 4:53pm

    O

    Mores.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Byte, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 7:39pm

    British citizens

    Notice to all British citizens: please bend over more deeply so Your Government can shove any idea you may have of a functional democracy up where the sun don't shine. We do what we want and invent a court to "make it legal".

     

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


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