Less Than A Week After Failing Last Attempt, UK Lords Try To Sneak Through Snooper's Charter Once Again

from the total-failure dept

A week ago, we noted that a group of UK Lords were trying to rush through the "Snooper's Charter" that had previously been rejected by the UK. The bill, of course, was about giving the government tremendous levels of access to everyone's electronic data with little oversight. Thankfully, despite having little notice, the attempt caused a flurry of attention and the Lords were forced to back off the plan. It seemed like another good "win" for supporters of privacy and democracy.

Many people still expected the UK government to try again, but few expected it would happen so soon. Yes, less than a week after having the last attempt rejected vocally, the same group of Lords are trying yet again:

On Saturday, ahead of a “report stage” debate on Monday (the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill is almost fully baked), Lords West, Blair, Carlile and King introduced a new amendment that appears to be almost identical to the last, and to the Communications Data Bill before it.

Again, this new amendment would force “telecommunications operators” – which these days includes the likes of Facebook and Skype, as well as traditional telcos – to store communications metadata for up to a year and hand it over to U.K. authorities when requested. This data retention regime may require the providers to install “specified equipment or systems.”

As David Meyer at GigaOm notes, just as with the last time, this bill lets any "relevant public authority" get access to the data, meaning that such data will be widely accessed and almost certainly widely abused as well. It appears that there are only very minor cosmetic changes between what was proposed and rejected last week and what has been proposed this week. Of course, it won't surprise you to learn the backgrounds of those pushing for this information:
The four peers in question all come from the security establishment — a former Metropolitan Police commissioner (Blair), a former secretary of defense (King), a former minister for security and counter-terrorism (West), and a former government anti-terror adviser (Carlile).
Meyer also quotes Lord King saying that he doesn't know about or understand the various new social media services like WhatsApp and SnapChat, "but what is absolutely clear is that the terrorists and jihadists do" -- which is why he thinks the Snooper's Charter is needed. In other words, he admits his own ignorance, but doesn't seem to care, because he is ruled by irrational fear. That does not seem like a particularly intelligent way to govern or to legislate.
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Filed Under: democracy, lords, snooper's charter, terrorism, uk


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 1:56am

    They'll never stop, neither can we

    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
    -Thomas Jefferson

    People like them, those who would destroy the rights and freedoms of those they pretend to serve and protect, will never stop trying to do so. Whether it's because they truly believe that to protect the rights of the public they must eliminate those same rights, or whether it's for personal gain, they will always try again, no matter how many times their efforts are shot down.

    Make no mistake about it, the odds are almost entirely in their favor. Those that oppose them, those that would protect the rights and freedom of the public, they have to succeed every single time. Those that would destroy the rights of the public? Strip them of their freedom and curtail or destroy their rights, all in the name of 'safety'? They have to succeed once.

    Just once, since once something is on the books, it is all but impossible to get it removed, and what politician would have the spine, the courage, to vote to repeal a law supposedly designed to catch and/or stop terrorists? Or criminals? How many politicians would be willing to put their career, and cushy position on the line and say 'No, they may be terrible people, they may be absolute scum, but just because they act that way doesn't give us the right to do the same, and they deserve the same fair treatment under the law that anyone else would get'?

    Once the law is in the books, it's there to stay, and once one law is there, many more 'additions' and 'minor expansions' are sure to follow. 'For the children', or 'For public safety'.

    They bank on people becoming complacent, or on people becoming worn down, making attempt after attempt in an effort to sap the morale of those that would oppose them, allowing them to eventually slip through unopposed, their opposition too tired to fight back, too jaded with 'Why try and stop them, they'll just try again next week?'

    It may seem like a nigh impossible, never ending struggle, and really, that's a pretty good way to describe it. However, what worthy goal doesn't require struggle, require that you fight to attain it?

    Fighting back against those that would take the rights and freedoms away from those they claim to serve is not, and never will be easy, but the cost of not doing so is far, far too high to even consider anything else.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 7:44am

      Re: They'll never stop, neither can we

      Great post... what saddens me is that you and myself are largely in the minority. People often gladly give up their freedoms and liberty for a crumb from the table, just a bit of assistance, for a sliver of the rich mans pie!

      "You gotta admit, I played this stinking city like a harp from hell!"
      ~Penguin

      There are a lot of Penguins running around!

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 7:51am

        Re: Re: They'll never stop, neither can we

        "what saddens me is that you and myself are largely in the minority"

        But please take heart in the knowledge that people who want to change the direction power is going in have always been in the minority, and yet manage to get positive change done regardless.

        Heck, even the American revolutionary war wasn't supported by the majority of the colonists.

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

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 6:21pm

      Re: They'll never stop, neither can we

      worst case there is always a last resort of armed revolution

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

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 3 Feb 2015 @ 6:05am

        Re: Re: They'll never stop, neither can we

        Good luck with that. You may find yourself revolting all by yourself, then getting jailed for terrorism.

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

  • icon
    Jeff Green (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 3:00am

    Intelligent legislators?

    "That does not seem like a particularly intelligent way to govern or to legislate."

    I've never yet in all my reading of history come across an example of any state finding an intelligent way to legislate. People in power, on the whole, tend to act in their own perceived interest, and they cannot believe anyone else does otherwise.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 10:52pm

      Re: Intelligent legislators?

      Take equal parts sociopathy and remedial game theory, stir, and voila. Instant politician.
      (Careful you don't use advanced game theory, or you'll wind up with an economist.)

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

  • identicon
    David, 2 Feb 2015 @ 3:12am

    Democracy

    In other words, he admits his own ignorance, but doesn't seem to care, because he is ruled by irrational fear. That does not seem like a particularly intelligent way to govern or to legislate.

    So tell me: how do you get to vote particularly intelligently, and who will register the difference?

    While I am aware that in this particular UK-borne disease, I mean, case nobody votes in the Lords, this is a more general problem.

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 10:42am

      Re: Democracy

      We need essay votes, or fill in the blanks. This multiple choice with easy labels like "Republican" or "Democrat" means morons with no understanding of what's at stake can sell their vote to the highest bidder - or the person with the most hysterical rhetoric. If they had to write in the name of the people they wanted for the correct office, or fill out a description of the bill they wanted passed, they would have to at least known something about the person (enough to remember his name and office) or the bill. The morons can still vote, but they're going to have to study, which means they really have to want this.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 3:19am

    To quote Vhas from Farcry 3: "The definition of insanity is doing the same, exact, fucking thing and expecting shit to change."

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

    • identicon
      David, 2 Feb 2015 @ 4:58am

      Re:

      Why wouldn't you roll for yet another attack when there is no return damage?

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

    • identicon
      avideogameplayer, 2 Feb 2015 @ 5:55am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 2nd, 2015 @ 3:19am

      Einstein said it first...http://mobile.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/albert_einstein.html

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      its sad if you think thats where the quote comes from

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 8:34am

        Re: Re:

        Meh. It's a dumb quote no matter who said it.

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

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, the vast majority of events are different for the same actions, every single time. It's the non-linear nature of reality poking through. We call it chaos, or random events.

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

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 12:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            My objection is more that there isn't enough truth to it to say anything worthwhile. Doing the same thing expecting different results isn't even close to the definition of insanity. Taken to an extreme, it might be OCD, but that's a far cry from insanity.

            BTW, a Discordia's most aneristic eristic, I am duty bound to point out that chaos is a form of order. It is most definitely not an example of randomness even though it looks like it to our puny minds.

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

            • icon
              JoeCool (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 6:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hehe - yeah, I went through a phase where I was using computer programs to generate graphs of strange attractors. It was fun for a while, but it puts a whole new lean on the idea of "random". Annnnnnd most random number generators aren't.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 3:14pm

      Re:

      "There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 3:29am

    English Only!

    Meyer also quotes Lord King saying that he doesn't know about or understand the various new social media services like WhatsApp and SnapChat, "but what is absolutely clear is that the terrorists and jihadists do".


    You know what else they understand? Foreign languages! And they use those foreign languages to make their plans so that the rest of us won't catch on! It's time to outlaw foreign languages!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 4:58am

      Re: English Only!

      To Lord King, it seems that English is a foreign language, otherwise he wouldn't keep pushing this through.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 7:29am

      Re: English Only!

      You know what else they use:

      guns
      Knifes
      profitable businesses (someones paying for those guns)
      cars

      so when are we going to ban guns, knives, cars and profits?

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 3:42am

    For God sake, the fact that some loony, puny extremists may use communications network it DOES NOT give anybody the right to collect and store every single communication. And it's not even effective. You will only know what to look for in the mountains of data if you do SOME basic investigative stuff otherwise you'll be lost looking for water molecules in the ocean.

    Can we please start calling law enforcement INCOMPETENTS? Because if they are advocating mass collection of data this is what they are. Instead do your goddamn investigative work and target the people that are the problem, yes? And if one or two attacks happen once in a while it happens, even total surveillance is not impervious to failure.

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

    • identicon
      David, 2 Feb 2015 @ 5:04am

      Re:

      And if one or two attacks happen once in a while it happens, even total surveillance is not impervious to failure.

      I don't see any failure. This is the "we already did everything we could legally, so we need to do more of the same including the currently illegal stuff which we actually already did" defense.

      How else are you supposed to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre? Do you want to leave the abolishment of civil rights to the terrorists?

      Think of the children!

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 5:17am

      Re:

      Incompetence would actually be an improvement over what we have now. If they were just incompetent, then they would suck at their jobs, screw up regularly, but that would be about the extent of it. Currently though they seem to go out of their way to make things worse, which goes well beyond simple incompetence.

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

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re:

        True enough if we were talking about the law enforcement but we are talking about law makers. It doesn't make your observation any less valid though because we have a mix of incompetence and totalitarianism. The former fueling the latter at the latter's will.

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

  • icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 9:35am

    At least this will be a wake up call to British voters and they can get these four guys out of office next election. Right guys? Guys?

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

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 2 Feb 2015 @ 1:53pm

    See, Even Teh Limeys Lord King Understands Terrorism

    You got to listen to this guy. He wasnt appointed to the post of Lord King for nothing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 2:53pm

    Are you fucking kidding me.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 3:09pm

    "Meyer also quotes Lord King saying that he doesn't know about or understand the various new social media services like WhatsApp and SnapChat, "but what is absolutely clear is that the terrorists and jihadists do" 

    Tyrants use governments.......lets ban governments........no!?, i didnt fucking think so

    What a shortsighted way to look at the overall bigger picture........create NEW problems today so future genrerations can fix tomorow.......thats IF they mangae to fix this NEW thing that wasnt their yesterday...........how have they fixed the nuke problem amongst other things.......something NEW, as THIS is........dictated by the few, OUR lives affected........what gives them the righ without consent

    You know what this kinda news inspires me to think, that the system is BROKEN.......that this kind of thing happens, and the system allows it...i.e. BROKEN

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 3:17pm

    They probably already doing it

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

  • identicon
    Dave The Cardboard Box, 2 Feb 2015 @ 3:23pm

    Techdirt continues to be totally ignorant of British government

    Mike Masnick, you have no idea about British government, mainly because you have confused the two houses of the British Parliament with the two houses of US government so many times it has become a joke.

    The House of Lords does not make laws. It has no such power. It reads bills and most of the time it amends them so they won't be reversed by British law courts (yes, we have a judiciary totally independent of political influence, unlike your country). Bills go back to the Commons to be voted on to become laws by a vote. I know you can't grasp the concept because so many of your country's industries write laws for your politicians but we don't allow an unelected body to pass laws.

    Please stop writing uninformed crap.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2015 @ 11:28pm

      Re: Techdirt continues to be totally ignorant of British government

      The House of Lords does not make laws. It has no such power. It reads bills and most of the time it amends them...
      Which may be why the article is about how "Lords West, Blair, Carlile and King introduced a new amendment that appears to be almost identical to the last."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2015 @ 4:29am

      Re: Techdirt continues to be totally ignorant of British government

      You keep writing mike, probabably wouldnt have realised it was happening if i hadnt per chance to have seen it written about here....thanks for that

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 3 Feb 2015 @ 4:37am

      Re: Techdirt continues to be totally ignorant of British government

      Mike Masnick, you have no idea about British government, mainly because you have confused the two houses of the British Parliament with the two houses of US government so many times it has become a joke.

      I am aware of how the UK government works, thank you.

      Now, do you have an actual critique of the facts in the article?

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 6:27pm

    Re:

    if they acted on their information they would not have an excuse for setting up a police state so the few that desire dictatorial control will get it. Someone wants to be king and is willing to sacrifice as many of their fellow countrymen as they have to, to get it

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 2 Feb 2015 @ 6:28pm

    Have we learned nothing about Hitler's rise to power?

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

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 3 Feb 2015 @ 1:46pm

      Re:

      "Have we learned nothing about Hitler's rise to power?"

      Oh dear, indeed we have.
      We, the uber-rich, can now do it correctly.

      Hitler's fascist backers lacked the computer and mass television disinformation dissemination and global public surveillance, and globally chlorinated drinking water and toxic mercenary medicine, but we got all those things now and way, way more that we haven't even tested yet.

      So this time we millionaires, bankers and corporatists can do it right and establish a new feudal system on earth with ourselves as the Lords of the Land, and there is nothing the peasants can do to stop us because we are doing it all legally and by the book!

      Of course, we had to rewrite the book first, but that does not count. Its what the book says now that counts, and it says "We win, You lose."

      hehehehehehehe

      Hitler would be so proud of US!

      For we the wealthy, it will be heaven on earth and we will be the new gods and we will do as we see fit without consequences, forever.

      ---

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


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