UK Parliament Ignores Concerns; Moves Snooper's Charter Forward

from the sad dept

This isn’t necessarily a huge surprise, but the UK’s House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in support of the Snooper’s Charter, officially known as the Investigatory Powers Bill. As we’ve discussed, this is a dangerous bill that will give the UK government significantly more surveillance powers (or, in many cases, will “authorize” things that the UK government has already been doing on dubious legal authority), with little to no real oversight. And despite people being upset about it, it still was approved by a vote of 444 to 69. And, yes, the current version of the bill still asks for backdoors to encryption, but leaves a vague exemption if a company claims that it would not be feasible or would be too expensive. That’s better than the alternative, but it’s still a step in the wrong direction. The bill still needs to be considered by the House of Lords, but it’s disappointing that the House of Commons seemed so willing to cave to demands for more surveillance powers.

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Comments on “UK Parliament Ignores Concerns; Moves Snooper's Charter Forward”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

See this?

Stuff like this is why I have absolutely no sympathy when the UK politicians throw tantrums about how their personal data and communications gets scooped up along with everyone else’s.

They could reign in the spy agencies but deliberately choose not to, and in fact bend over backwards to give those same agencies more and more power, so any whining about how they were treated the same as everyone else is good for a hearty laugh at their expense, but no sympathy at all.

And, yes, the current version of the bill still asks for backdoors to encryption, but leaves a vague exemption if a company claims that it would not be feasible or would be too expensive. That’s better than the alternative, but it’s still a step in the wrong direction.

‘Better’ only in the ‘One step forward two steps back’ sense, because all it does is make it seem optional for companies to cripple their own security based upon whether or not they can afford it, but take a wild guess who’s likely to decide what is and is not ‘feasible’? If you said ‘The very same people demanding crippled security’ then congrats, you are almost certainly right and should be able to easily see the conflict of interest.

What you’ll get instead is every large company will be forced to choose between either no longer offering service in the UK(with the immediate cost/losses that will bring) or intentionally crippling their own security(which will lead to even more long-term costs/losses), with only the smallest local companies allowed to argue that they can’t afford it, and even then you can be sure that there will be heavy pressure applied in an attempt to force them to cave.

It’s not ‘better’, it’s replacing an obvious, immediate problem with a slightly more hidden problem that is if anything worse because it allows them to spin it so that the companies are being unreasonable for refusing(‘Company X cares more about their profits than preventing crime by allowing us to do all we can to stop criminals/terrorists/communists’), rather than the government for making the demands in the first place.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: See this?

Not terribly surprising(though still disgusting of course), politicians and government agents/agencies the world over more and more seem to see themselves as better, deserving of special rights and protections that their lessers don’t deserve.

‘Feudalism 2.0’ as it were, the idea that there are rulers and there are the ruled, that one group makes the laws but doesn’t have to follow them while the other group is simply expected to obey the laws put forth by their betters, ideally as quietly as possible so as not to disturb those that of course know best.

Anonymous Coward says:

this is turning the UK into a mockery! it has always been the most strong advocate for freedom, privacy and democracy, condemning countries that did any different, particularly countries like China and N.Korea. now, it has become even worse than those countries! it has thrown all beliefs under the bus and, in my opinion, it is doing so simply because the USA has more or less had to stop doing the same thing (or at least says it has stopped!). the UK is so far up the USA ass, the shiny bit is showing at the top and i have to wonder what the real reason(s) is. i wouldn’t mind guessing that there was a lot of money thrown into the UK general election by certain industries because the UK is not only taking over from the USA in surveillance of it’s citizens, it’s taken over concerning copyright infringement with the most harsh and ridiculous prison sentences for copying a music disk! there is no other country on the planet taking such drastic measures as the UK and dont forget, after bringing in a law that was much better suited for the digital age, it lasted about 3 weeks before it was rescinded due to a challenge in the courts by the music industry. that whole thing was nothing but a charade, with the government making it appear to have joined the digital age, when in fact there was no intention of doing so at all! what it is doing is screwing it’s citizens at every opportunity, and mainly to suit what the USA has more or less been stopped from doing itself, then handing the surveillance findings to the USA government and the copyright issues over to the industry which is backed totally by Hollywood, the RIAA and the MPAA!! and all because a father copied a disk for his daughter!!

Inteligents says:

Haystacks, Needles, Needles, Needles, Cash and Mind Games

Some of the 444 House of Commons members where probably confronted with whatever wrong they had done in their lives and the rest were simply for sale or have an intense need to feel superior through control via force.

Now the purses, searches and head swelling is surely being directed at the House of Lords members.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Haystacks, Needles, Needles, Needles, Cash and Mind Games

The problem here is the tribal nature of UK politics.

Both the Tories and Labour voted for this – hence the huge majority.

Just about everyone else (ie every MP who has any pretence of independent thought) voted against.

WS Gilbert had it right:

When in that House M. P.’s divide,
If they’ve a brain and cerebellum, too,
They’ve got to leave that brain outside,
And vote just as their leaders tell ’em to.


Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Haystacks, Needles, Needles, Needles, Cash and Mind Games

The actual problem is neoliberal infiltration into the Labour party, i.e. Thatcherite policies adopted by a party that was always supposed to be about worker’s rights and the welfare state. Result: zero-hours contracts and the erosion of the welfare state, which began under Bliar.

This is why the Labour party helped out in such a big way. There’s also the problem of deliberate ignorance; they take pride in knowing nothing and won’t listen to anything outside of their echo chamber. I saw one security expert giving testimony to Parliament get absolutely hammered in a disgraceful display of arrogance by members of both parties.

There’s also a conflict of interest that’s not getting a lot of press. I’ve actually argued with fellow Pirates over this who think it’s a government-only problem: one of the former high officials of GCHQ runs his own security company now and is “advising” HM Government over security matters. As I have already argued elsewhere, this is surveillance for fun and profit, they’re not interested in protecting us from terrorism.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is about the UK. Do not for a moment believe it is only the UK getting this info once it is received. You don’t have to be a fly on the wall to know that in a tit for tat, the UK’s GCHQ and the NSA are in this right up to their eyeballs in trading info. They both will get the info their own countries have previously denied them the ability to take just to have more haystack.

Only thing is, neither are very good at prevention and spotting the would be terrorist before the fact. But after the fact, they are hell on wheels once they know where to look. A sure sign that their haystack is so big that they can’t actually do what they claim they want to do, which is find the terrorist before.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Personally I think they are seeing the attacks before they happen, and letting them through to justify more tyranny based laws “to stop such an attack from ever happening again”

A lot easier to strip someone of their rights if you do right after a tragedy instead of before 1 happens. Fear will make the common man give up everything for that illusion of safety that slave collar he willingly puts around his neck gives him.

Anonymous Coward says:

Germany, next months

Currently the German Gov is planning to pass something like this too. Allowing every spying the BND (German NSA) does to be applied to German nationals too. Basically criminalizing every citizen.

Rumor has it that it will be passed during the upcoming football(soccer) European Championship. Thought it would be nice if an international audience would know about it because Germany does still inquire about what the NSA did and how they spied on German citizens. Kind of funny they want to do the same now in my opinion.

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