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[P]
British Government considers interception plans more radical than Carnivore

By imperium in Internet
Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 11:54:00 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Carnivore reads your emails. The UK Regulation of Investigatory Powers threatens to jail you if you can't find your PGP key. Now the British Government is contemplating "powers to seize all records of phone calls, emails and internet connections made by every person living in the UK". Seven years of recordings will be stored in a vast data archive: not just the numbers you call, but the live recordings.

What's wrong with these people? How can we campaign more effectively against their mad schemes?


According to BBC News and the Observer newspaper (I'd recommend the Observer story), the British secret police have made this request to government, and it's being considered.

Legislation has recently granted UK citizens (technically, we're still subjects of the damn Queen, but we'll leave that for another day) the right to privacy, but it doesn't appear that the police, MI5 and MI6 (our military intelligence) are aware of it. Or perhaps they don't care.

The justification is the usual: the fight against terrorists and paedophiles. Clearly, they must realise that terrorists don't use plaintext on Hotmail, nor do they call each other up on land-lines and say where the bomb is. Equally, paedophiles use steganography, encrypted data sent on CD-Rom, and images set to display at size zero on innocent looking websites. There are even rumours that they send stuff by post.

Now, it seems obvious to me (and I'm perhaps the least geeky person on this wonderful site) that well-funded terrorists and determined perverts are the last people this is even intended to get. It's those planning to go to Seattle 2, or anti-nuke people, or even pro-fox hunting people. It's the farmers and truckers who blocked fuel here in September.

It's equally obvious that this is an issue where we could unite big business, libertarians, greens, anarchists, the liberal left, and indeed anyone who doesn't like the idea of their call to their boyfriend being trawled for crime. But have we been part of such a broad coalition? Not so far. Why? Perhaps we spend too long posting to things like Kuro5hin and the other one? Suggestions greatly appreciated (other than links to civil liberties websites!).

imperium

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Display: Sort:
British Government considers interception plans more radical than Carnivore | 73 comments (73 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
People just don't care (3.61 / 18) (#1)
by enterfornone on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 06:01:51 AM EST

Unfortunatly the majority of folk think that catching drug dealers is more important that personal privacy. Since "I have nothing to hide" they figure there is no harm in letting the government do this.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Yeah... (3.50 / 6) (#6)
by ruet on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 07:37:00 AM EST

...I here this a lot from people (like my parents).

So then the question is:

How do you convince the "innocent," drug-fearing proles that there is anything wrong with this?
I've tried to think of a good argument before, but I've realized that most of my arguments hinge on being naturally paranoid and secretive (like me :-). Anybody have a good idea?

___
kiss my cyberspace
[ Parent ]
Try the PGP guide (4.33 / 9) (#8)
by seb on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 08:12:16 AM EST

The guide by Phil Zimmerman which comes with PGP makes several good points. I think the most persuasive to people like your parents is the one that asks: would you send all your letters on the backs of postcards? Why do you put them in envelopes if you've got nothing to hide?

[ Parent ]
It's a question of confidence (4.11 / 9) (#9)
by imperium on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 09:18:13 AM EST

I agree with seb on this, pretty much, but, as for myself, I think I would need just two things to support total surveillance. I would be relaxed about it if I believed that all laws are just, and that all police and judicial systems are open, fair and free of corruption and incompetence.

Sadly, I am not yet aware of any country able to meet these high standards. The UK certainly can't, in particular given the ability of the system to stitch up random Irishmen for crimes they didn't commit.

For fine upstanding civic types, sceptics about civil liberties, therefore, the evidence of corruption, miscarriages of justice and the like is my preferred method of counterargument. A tool this powerful in the hands of fallible and corruptible people is simply too dangerous.

imperium

x.
imperium
[ Parent ]

Misplaced confidence (4.00 / 6) (#11)
by seb on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 11:21:05 AM EST

To take it back to my parents, though... My parents,even though I think they're fairly enlightened people, would say of miscarriages of justice relating to random Irish people: "It's shocking that this happened, but the police must have had some reason to arrest them. I daresay they're guilty anyway."

The sad fact is that so many people do have a misplaced confidence in authority. For these people, I think the postcard / letter analogy is likely to be more effective. Even if I lived in a world where everyone was super-enlightened, I still wouldn't want other people reading my letters. I think there's something more to privacy than protecting the right to dissent, although that's probably the most important aspect.

[ Parent ]
waaaaay misplaced confidence (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by polychrome on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 09:56:18 PM EST

A specific example; the sister-in-law of a policeman was found dead. The offical coroner's report at the time concluded that it was suicide. She had bullet wounds to both hands, and two bullet wounds to the head. That's some suicide. The report stood for 15 years, before finally being re-opened and then overturned. Over and over again there is the reminder that corrupt, untrustworthy, murderous police exist. archival discussion
That the prisoner's dilemma even exists tells you everything you need to know about people.
[ Parent ]
Most ridiculous logic I ever heard... (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by mecca777 on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 10:53:53 PM EST

...was the excuse made by the judge at the Court of Appeal who refused to allow the appeal of the Birmingham Six. His argument was that if the appeal was successful, it would mean that British police officers had framed, tortured and extracted confessions from innocent men; and that since clearly this would be a horrendous and disgusting state of affairs, which would dent the public's confidence in its law enforcers, it would be unacceptable for the appeal to go ahead. I have never been able to comprehend the intricacies of this argument, but then I'm not one of the highest legal authorities in the land...

[ Parent ]
don't (1.83 / 6) (#23)
by mikpos on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 01:37:13 PM EST

I've tried to think of a good argument before, but I've realized that most of my arguments hinge on being naturally paranoid and secretive (like me :-). Anybody have a good idea?

No offence, but if you have no reasoning behind your beliefs, maybe you shouldn't try to force them onto others.

[ Parent ]

I think... (none / 0) (#71)
by nstenz on Fri Dec 15, 2000 at 05:24:52 AM EST

I think the point ruet was trying to make is that if no one convinces people like the 'trusting parents' that the government isn't all good, we're going to get stuck with legislation like this, and it will affect us as well. I can only hope we don't end up with half those stupid laws you can dig up in Europe... We have enough of our own already.

[ Parent ]
What scares me... (3.50 / 2) (#28)
by Eimi on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 04:22:56 PM EST

I guess it does come down to paranoia, but it's pretty much that I don't trust that the people with those records will Use This Power Only for Good, Never for Evil. I don't trust the current government; I guess your parents do. But I think no one should have to trust that the government of seven years from now is going to be trustworthy. And though I say seven years, how do we know that the laws won't change and the recordings kept forever? It just seems like the temptation to use that kind of power would be way too strong.

[ Parent ]
How about this (none / 0) (#64)
by Ceebs on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 10:09:09 AM EST

If they have access to your e-mail, wouldn't it be relatively trivial for them to add an extra email into yours, so that they then did have the evidence they needed to prove that you had done what they said you had?
Secondly Can they guarantee it's security, it is well known that policemen get caught every now and then selling information out of the polices computer system to journalists, Private detectives, etc. Why should we think that this system is going to be any different? How would they feel if their entire past year's e-mail and phone calls were published?


[ Parent ]
Scary (4.30 / 13) (#2)
by dreamfish on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 06:17:02 AM EST

Fortunately this proposal is in conflict with the recent Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act so I have some hope that it'll be killed off before it gets anywhere.

It's just another example of how the Jack Straw, the Home Secretary (Secretary for Interior, for other folks) has seemingly gone mad with power, what with his RIP Act, locking up mentally ill people, etc. He just has to go, for the sake of us all.

I think a little publicity about how this would not move us closer to a police state but actually make us a police state (totally surveillance of citizen's communications? I'd say that was a pretty complete definition) would be enough to scare the public into opposing this. After all, isn't monitoring every single person's phone calls assuming they're guilty until proved innocent?

Outdated news! (1.10 / 10) (#3)
by Nick Ives on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 06:38:25 AM EST

This story is so outdated its not even funny. The RIP bill has already been passed and is nowhere near as bad as most people would have you beleieve. Previously monitering internet communications was a massive grey area and in many cases could possibly be in conflict with the data protection act, the RIP bill seeks to regulate this

Also, *nowhere* in the RIP bill does it give the british secret service *ANY* powers, I should imagine they either have to go through the same channels as the police or they already have their own methods of surveillence. It regulates electronic surveillience, previously there was no regulation. The whole issue about encryption keys is moot, it does not reverse the burden of proof. It is up to the prosecution to proove you have not lost your keys, the power to lock you up for not divulging your keys will only be used in the absoulute worst case, for example where you refuse to provide a key for data which results in a loss of life. Any abuse of that power would surely be lambasted in the british press (and we have some of the most feircely critical tabloids newspapers that will turn anything critical of the government into news). In short, everyone should vote this down. I decided to post this as topical rather than editorial because in the (likely) event of this getting posted everyone should deserve to see just how factually incorrect this post is.

This isn't about RIP (4.66 / 9) (#4)
by enterfornone on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 06:46:30 AM EST

As the article states, this isn't about RIP, it's about further powers that the government are considering. Did you read the linked articles at all?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Oh poop (1.88 / 9) (#5)
by Nick Ives on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 06:57:35 AM EST

Its noon on a sunday and I just got up.
I read the story a little closer and I understand now, but still, -1 because its confusing to people who've just rolled out of bed (and had very confusing surreal dreams which have wacked out reality for the next few hours).

Ignore me today people. I'm not really here.

[ Parent ]

Oh poop? (1.00 / 1) (#45)
by blixco on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 09:55:34 PM EST

He heh hehh heh he heh heh....heh heh...



BAW! ha ha ha ha ha!

heh heh.

heh.

fucking hell.
-------------------------------------------
The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]
Rest in Pieces (none / 0) (#70)
by meta_ktabic on Wed Dec 13, 2000 at 08:41:41 AM EST

This story is so outdated its not even funny. The RIP bill has already been passed and is nowhere near as bad as most people would have you beleieve

Not nearly as bad as most peole believe meaning as long as no worse case scenarios happen.

Also, *nowhere* in the RIP bill does it give the british secret service *ANY* powers, I should imagine they either have to go through the same channels as the police or they already have their own methods of surveillence.

Well technically it doesn't. But RIP does allow anyone authorised by the Seceratary of State all of the powers that RIP lets them have. If his cleaner's pet dog was given authority, you would have to hand your encyptions keys over to it.

The whole issue about encryption keys is moot, it does not reverse the burden of proof. It is up to the prosecution to proove you have not lost your keys, the power to lock you up for not divulging your keys will only be used in the absoulute worst case

The burden of proof is on you, if they demand a key that has been destroyed in the past. They don't have to prove that you have it. You have to prove you don't. This page has some of the worse case scenarios: http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/~chl/scenarios.html

[ Parent ]
Some questions (3.11 / 9) (#7)
by seb on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 08:09:28 AM EST

There's lots of reasons why this post is interesting...

Do they *really* think they're going to log all voice data for 7 years?

How on earth will they implement *any* of this?

Was it proposed by people to stupid to realise that it's impossible to implement, or is there another agenda behind all this?

Can those of us who care about privacy *ever* convince everyone else that it matters? Or will it always be an 'alternative' / micropolitical issue?




A response. (4.00 / 3) (#17)
by ObeseWhale on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 12:37:52 PM EST

>>Do they *really* think they're going to log all voice data for 7 years?
Yes. If it's a legitimate proposal before the government, I wouldn't think it's just some prank being pulled by the military intelligence.

>>How on earth will they implement *any* of this?
Easily. It is known widely that in terms of technology, first world militaries are years ahead of the common citizens. It is not considered paranoia anymore to think that the NSA has quantum computers. Using high compression such as 16kbps mp3 or Ogg Vorbis combined with the encredible storage capacity that the British Intelligence has as well as the British Government's tight reigns of control over their telecom industry, implementing such a plan is not much of a problem.

>>Was it proposed by people to stupid to realise that it's impossible to implement, or is there another agenda behind all this?
No, these people are not stupid. Please don't try to tell me that the minds behind MI6 are in any way delusional in their policy proposals. They have the power to adopt such a plan, it is only up to the government whether they will be allowed.

>>Can those of us who care about privacy *ever* convince everyone else that it matters? Or will it always be an 'alternative' / micropolitical issue?
Yes, complaining about it with like-minded people on Kuro5hin doesn't do much though. Remember that it is highly unlikely that a parliament would pass such a measure, and upon its passage there would definitely be a backlash in the courts. Privacy policy is not micropolitical. This act has not passed yet, so you are not yet threatened by it.

---

"The hunger for liberty may he suppressed for a time; yet never exterminated. Man's natural instinct is for freedom, and no power on earth can succeed in crushing it for very long."
-Alexander Berkman
[ Parent ]
and besides: the source of the story (3.75 / 4) (#19)
by imperium on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 12:50:34 PM EST

This information did not get out by press release: it was a leaked intelligence service memo. I suppose it could be intentional, but the official response in the Observer article was 'I am not going to comment on a classified document that is in unauthorised hands'!

I don't accept the point that it would be unlikely to pass through parliament, though. All sorts of nonsense (including the R.I.P. Bill someone thought I was posting about, and the privatisation of Air Traffic Control) has got through the UK parliament since 1997. The government majority is so large that they could propose abolishing Saturdays and only the undemocratic House of Lords would oppose it.

As to the cost, they believe it would cost three million pounds to set up, and another nine to run each year. The evidence from the calculations posted here make that seem a bit unlikely to me! (even with reverse-engineered you-know-what).

imperium

p.s. ;) to the ObeseWhale- I accept your point about their tech levels really!

x.
imperium
[ Parent ]

May be only logging connections, not data (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by pw201 on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 05:02:06 PM EST

Do they *really* think they're going to log all voice data for 7 years?

If you read the leaked report, Section 5.1.1, you'll see that they say that " THE DEFINITION DOES NOT INCLUDE THE CONTENT OF THE COMMUNICATION. " I'm not sure whether this means that the legal definition of the things they can log should not be defined by the content (to enable them to log more broadly) or whether they intend only connection details and not content to be within the scope of this proposed law. I think it's the latter, from the examples of about telcos.

How on earth will they implement *any* of this?

Some people on the other site have suggested that storage capacity may have increased by the time it becomes law (which it is a long way off doing yet: the document is a discussion document, not the text of a proposed law). I've not done the numbers on this. There's also the obvious "GCHQ has quantum computers/ technology from crashed UFOs/whatever" argument, although the fact that the document talks about farming out the job to contractors suggests that this explanation is wrong (surprise!)

Was it proposed by people to stupid to realise that it's impossible to implement, or is there another agenda behind all this?

The proposals on trusted third parties (which eventually got thrown away), were pretty ridiculous to start with, which suggests that it's possible that they simply haven't realised what it is they're asking for here. I think these agencies have good technical people working for them, but I don't know whether they get consulted about high level policy like this. I'd love to know where the estimates for the costs of this idea came from: I've visions of the Dilbert cartoon where Dogbert says "Next week, a doctor with a torch will show us where budget estimates come from" :-)

Can those of us who care about privacy *ever* convince everyone else that it matters? Or will it always be an 'alternative' / micropolitical issue?

Cynical answer: No. In an increasingly broken society, people will accept almost anything that is billed as making the life safer for them and little Jason and Tracy. Maybe they're right: I certainly don't mind the number of CCTV cameras there are in Cambridge.



[ Parent ]

Not logging content? Then what's new? (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by imperium on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 06:17:51 PM EST

Although you have the advantage of me in having read the whole document already(give me a break, I'm on trial tomorrow for pulling up GM crops!), I would be surprised if what was proposed was merely the logging of connections- phone numbers called, times etc.

For one thing, I have long been led to believe that this happens as standard already, and that the itemised billing system is, as they say, a civilian application of this technology. If anyone knows more about this, I'd appreciate a further post.

It might, after all, be one of those things like "everyone around the world laughs at the Brits, cos they still think TV detector vans can see if you've paid your licence fee"!

imperium

x.
imperium
[ Parent ]

bugged conversations (none / 0) (#59)
by pallex on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 11:34:43 AM EST

they want an excuse so they can bug peoples houses, then when it comes to court, if they didnt get a warrant for it they can say `oh, we got a copy of the conversation from the phone company`, rather than having the evidence ruled `illegally obtained` and the case thrown out. They are doing this because they tried making it easier to get permission for bugs and were told where to get off.

[ Parent ]
the fear of pedofiles (3.95 / 21) (#10)
by boxed on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 10:00:31 AM EST

Why is it that the entire world seems to have gone crazy over the existance of pedofiles? It has stopped being a question about the children and taken on the legacy of the witch hunts. As women where burned for being witches, men of today will be destroyed (this time only mentally) by accusations of pedophilia. The same is happening (in Sweden at least) with wife beaters. There is a huge campaign against wife beaters in Sweden now with pictures of crying children and a text underneath: "Please don't force me to see dad", "I don't ever want to be like dad" or "What if mommy dies?". Does this really give young men a healthy picture of what it means to be a good father?

Nowadays it is almost impossible for a man to work in a kindergarden without people starting to suspect he might be a pedofile! This is a witch hunt that will create more wife beaters and more pedofiles, not less.

Yes but no (3.57 / 7) (#12)
by seb on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 11:25:02 AM EST

You're right about the whole paedophile witch-hunt thing. It'd be interesting to know how international this phenomenon is.

However, I'm not sure that a witch-hunt makes more people want to be witches.

[ Parent ]
wanting to be witches (2.42 / 7) (#20)
by boxed on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 01:04:58 PM EST

It's not about wanting to be a witch, it's about becoming one. Many of us grow up thinking that we will not remake the mistakes of our parents, that we will be kinder, more tolerant, that we will not make our children ashemed of us, but very few succeed. Will alone is not enough to become who you want to be most of the time. This is sad.

[ Parent ]
Yes but No (II) (3.16 / 6) (#21)
by titus-g on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 01:14:25 PM EST

It's unlikely to make more people become witches.

But it's very probable, that there will be a lot more people acused, maybe they won't be convicted as there will be no evidence, but like the guy who posted the article here about his PC being snaffled by the FBI cos he was nosy...

How many witches burned at the stake were actually witches?

How many of the lives that McCarthyism wrecked were communists?

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

Witch hunts (4.00 / 6) (#18)
by theboz on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 12:50:28 PM EST

Does this really give young men a healthy picture of what it means to be a good father?

Not only that, but does it have a detrimental effect on fathers? It is a problem that most people throughout history have been governed based on fear. Whether they are afraid to stand up against a tyrant, afraid of invaders, afraid of a plague, or whatever, it is all based on fear. Why can't there be an effort to promote being a good father? Since the majority of men in this case would probably not be wife beaters, why not show a picture of a father hugging the mother and child, all smiling happily? While there are very unfortunate cases where this is not what is happening, it would be much better than trying to make people afraid and depressed.

As to not be entirely off topic, I see this law as the same. Rather than focusing on the good people using the internet, and the positive aspects, our governments are trying to pass laws that treat us all like criminals. I am a U.S. citizen so I can't speak for the British, but in the U.S. the citizens are sheep and will allow this to pass. They want to be ruled by fear and would see this as progress. People readily accept information from those they believe are authorities about the internet, and don't want to think for themselves. Perhaps we could get some representation. Maybe our lawmakers could ask some of the users and programmers and sysadmins what we think should be done. We all have something to add but noone is listening. Before someone replies with "write your congressman" I do, as well as the president, representatives, etc in the U.S. government. I have been somewhat slack on mailing local people but I do make an effort. It is unfortunate though, that I don't think anyone reads what I send.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Not just guys.... (3.33 / 6) (#27)
by andpigswillfly on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 03:58:28 PM EST

The saddest thing of all is public misunderstanding. An article in, I think it was either the Evening Standard or our local paper (Lambeth, in London), told of this woman who was hounded at her home for being a paedophile. What had actually happened was that the local residents had got news that she was a "paediatrician," which is something different entireley, and either lack of education or the old rumour devil had driven the ensuing mob to trash her car and blockade her house. Hey, don't flame this, OK? I know it sounds like a really dumb joke, but it's true - I'll try and post the link as soon as I can find it, but it just goes to show that public awareness and making sure that people really understand are the order of the day.
Flap flap oink oink....
[ Parent ]
Reminds me ... (5.00 / 2) (#52)
by StrontiumDog on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:38:36 AM EST

... of the Totally Hidden Video spoof where a "reporter" asked people on the streets what their reaction would be if they discovered that their best friend was a homo sapiens. Based on the reactions, I (as a practising homo-sapiens) am now dead scared of "coming out".

[ Parent ]
Or... (3.66 / 3) (#55)
by priestess on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 07:36:15 AM EST

Or the guy who went around the streets with a petition asking people, mostly women, if they would sign to end women's suffarage. Women are suffering all over the world, sign this petition to end their suffarage.

People.
----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
[ Parent ]
Heres the link! (4.66 / 3) (#53)
by pallex on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:55:26 AM EST

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/wales/newsid_901000/901723.stm Very very sad. This country is being overrun by violent, ignorant peasants.

[ Parent ]
hate (4.75 / 4) (#43)
by polychrome on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 09:34:07 PM EST

I saw an interesting article on this a year or two back. The author argued that paedophiles are the latest convenient hate target for people who need someone to hate. The important point that the article made was that the hatred aroused had _nothing_ to do with the crime of paedophilia. It was all about the name, and the creation of a group who it was socially acceptable to hate. Handy, really. A shadowy group of people it's not only OK to hate but who, by definition, have committed a crime to hate them for. Never mind the sheer mindless violence that the accusation of paedophilia can provoke, and the individuals who have been assaulted and had their lives destroyed when they are maliciously accused of paedophilia.
That the prisoner's dilemma even exists tells you everything you need to know about people.
[ Parent ]
Hate... (none / 0) (#72)
by nstenz on Fri Dec 15, 2000 at 05:34:20 AM EST

Do I have the right to hate paedophiles if more than one of them has almost destroyed more than one of my friends' lives?

Think about that one for a minute.



[ Parent ]
"Report from Iron Mountain" (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by h2odragon on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 07:03:28 AM EST

Not terribly relevant to your point other than showing that it's easier to justify the need for power if there's an enemy to point to.

[ Parent ]
Slashdot Has A Discussion On The Subject (2.50 / 8) (#13)
by David Hume on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 12:07:29 PM EST

I sort of hate to do it, but I thought people might want to know that Slashdot has an article on the same subject entitled Will Britain Log All Communications For 7 Years?, without the benefit, of course, of imperium's analysis. :)

It is a shame, really, since I think the article has been pending in Kuro5hin's posting in box for awhile, and I certainly don't want to suppress the discussion here. On the other hand, I thought the people here might want to see what the people on Slashdot have to say about the subject.


The is-ought problem.
Re: Slashdot Has A Discussion On The Subject (4.00 / 3) (#22)
by dreamfish on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 01:35:38 PM EST

I had a look at the Slashdot discussion. Unfortunately I gave up after the first fifty or so comments which were mostly irrelevant or stupid (prattling on about the constitutional powers of the Queen - excuse me?)

I think I'll stick with K5 when I want intelligent discussion ;)

[ Parent ]

Eavesdropping (3.00 / 7) (#14)
by brad3378 on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 12:10:57 PM EST

>Seven years of recordings will be stored in a vast data archive: not just the numbers you call, but the live recordings.

Looks like a good time to sell all my stocks and buy into Western Digital & Maxtor! Maybe even a few CD Burner manufacturers.

I wonder how many Terabytes this would add up to after seven years!

So much for attempting to start my new drug cartel in London! Ha ha ha!


A quick calculation (4.20 / 5) (#16)
by seb on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 12:35:36 PM EST

Let's say there's 20 million UK citizens online. If ISPs log every GET request of their browsing behaviour, my conservative guesstimate is that one person might generate 3Mb of log files in a year. That's 420 terabytes of browsing metadata over 7 years. You'd also have to pay for each ISP to do this for you, because there's no way they'd underwrite the costs themselves. And that's not including email, or voice metadata. As for voice data...

So, either (a) the secret services are being disingenuous, (b) they're being stupid, or (c) they have more advanced data warehousing capabilities than ever we could imagine. I think (a) is the truth. They know they'll never get this through, but by pushing for it, they weaken the public's resistance to monitoring by invoking the paedophile menace. They're also more likely to get the more draconiam bits of RIP in legislation in the future.

I agree with imperium. It's important to counterbalance these politics with a politics of an equal and opposite force - play them at their own game. We have to campaign for *total* privacy. Don't be reasonable about it, be excessive, be obsessive, be paranoid. I'm not sure how to bring together the disparate groups who might support an organised movement, though.



[ Parent ]
Compression (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by jesterzog on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 02:44:26 PM EST

What does compression do to that figure, given that plain text usually compresses well? Is it still ludicrous?

(I'm not trying to imply that it isn't, but an opinion would be nice.)


jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
oh yeah.. (none / 0) (#41)
by seb on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 06:33:25 PM EST

good point...log files, being repetitive plain text, probably compress at up to 20%. Oh well.

[ Parent ]
By 20%... (none / 0) (#73)
by nstenz on Fri Dec 15, 2000 at 05:36:38 AM EST

By 20%, do you mean down to 20% of original size? If I recall, text often compresses at 5:1... just thought I'd ask. =)

[ Parent ]
420Tb (none / 0) (#61)
by SIGFPE on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 01:00:09 PM EST

Assuming $100 for a 30Gb drive this costs practically nothing. Any government could store this much data today without it even showing on their budgets.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
You missed my point (none / 0) (#63)
by seb on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 04:46:20 AM EST

I was doing a quick calculation on browsing metadata as an illustration of the kind of figures involved. If all email and voice calls were archived, you could multiply those figures by a very large factor indeed.

Anyway, granted that you could spend $1,400,000 and cover 420 Tb of storage. Quite a bit less than that, in fact. But how would you access that kind of storage? How many disk arrays? How much are they? Would a $100 quantum HDD last seven years? You'd need to use tape, probably. How would you warehouse / index / etc the data?

I'm sure it's *possible* to store all this data, but it would cost *way* more that UKP3million to set up. I maintain it's practically impossible.

[ Parent ]
If the systems department of my company... (none / 0) (#65)
by SIGFPE on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 02:16:47 PM EST

...with minimal budget, off the shelf equipment and only 2 systems people can maintain 4Tb of active data (and a whole lot more on tape) I am sure that a determined government could manage 420Tb.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
You still missed my point! (none / 0) (#66)
by seb on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 08:10:55 AM EST

Partly my fault for wittering on about disk arrays and stuff :)

420Tb was an estimate for http logs. What I was trying to illustrate is: if http logs took up 420Tb of data, imagine how much would be taken up by email, or voice data. I don't think that would be achievable (with current technology) without a substantially larger investment than £3 million.

[ Parent ]
Hard drive longetivity (none / 0) (#74)
by nstenz on Fri Dec 15, 2000 at 05:39:25 AM EST

Would a $100 quantum HDD last seven years?

I would certainly hope so - mine have. (Except for that one I repeatedly knocked over while it was running... oops)

Is there anyone here whose hard drives don't last 10+ years (not counting the usefulness of a drive that small)?



[ Parent ]
Unrealistic expectations (3.81 / 11) (#15)
by smartbomb on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 12:32:18 PM EST

But have we been part of such a broad coalition? Not so far. Why? Perhaps we spend too long posting to things like Kuro5hin and the other one?

One problem might be that it is governments that are implementing these snooping systems. I'm not a citizen of either the U.S. or Britain, but I can't say that I'm in favour of what they're doing. I haven't (yet) heard of any such measures in Canada, but I may just be ignorant here. So I can't really expect the U.S. govt. to listen to what an objectioning Canadian would have to say.

The other thing is, and perhaps this is not a popular opinion to share, but I've never trusted the internet, or any facet of being online. Furthermore, not being a warez or porno hound, and not plotting any terrorist acts, I'm not all that concerned about my mail being scanned. I know this sounds like the pro-cop line, but really, let's be realistic here.

This paranoia (or lack thereof, I'm not sure which) sounds like it's coming from people who are a lot younger than me. I grew up on computers, but not the internet. The internet has been around for 5 years. I give it a hell of a lot less credit, and must have a way more cynical view of computer technology than you guys. I seriously would not expect, having programmed, worked on, hacked & experimented with computers for nearly 20 years, that *any* digital signals leaving my house would be anonymous or un-crackable. If I really don't want someone reading an e-mail, I'm simply not going to send it as an e-mail.

The cold war in the 80's caused me a lot more concern than anything happening on the internet these days.

So the net is insecure. So you're not guaranteed anonymity. So there's a chance you might get investigated by the cops for some obscure thing you wrote. You probably have a better chance of getting hit by lightning.

There's something else ironic here. If you are of a hacker mentality, can't you see the humour in it? I mean, even the cops are hacking the internet! Why should crazy guys in the basement get all the fun? :)

*bzzt* wrong. (3.62 / 8) (#26)
by Inoshiro on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 03:44:40 PM EST

"The internet has been around for 5 years." .. wrong, by a fairly large margin at that. DARPA existed since 1968, with actually communication starting in 1969 once they completing the first router (a huge beasty). DAPRA net became the Internet in the 1980s after the Military slashed its budget on research, and it went under the auspices of NSFnet (which Gore actually helped get through congress ont he advice of his staffers). You also can't mean the World Wide Web, which Tim-Berners Lee created in 1992.

Saying the internet didn't exist in 1994 is like saying that North America didn't exist in 1491.. out of sight != nonexistant :)



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
oops (4.00 / 4) (#36)
by smartbomb on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 05:11:38 PM EST

I can't believe I said that. I meant it's been popular.. used by the masses for 5 years. Doh.

[ Parent ]
True, but Passive (4.66 / 6) (#35)
by Khedak on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 05:08:35 PM EST

The other thing is, and perhaps this is not a popular opinion to share, but I've never trusted the internet, or any facet of being online. Furthermore, not being a warez or porno hound, and not plotting any terrorist acts, I'm not all that concerned about my mail being scanned. I know this sounds like the pro-cop line, but really, let's be realistic here.

This paranoia (or lack thereof, I'm not sure which) sounds like it's coming from people who are a lot younger than me. I grew up on computers, but not the internet. The internet has been around for 5 years. I give it a hell of a lot less credit, and must have a way more cynical view of computer technology than you guys. I seriously would not expect, having programmed, worked on, hacked & experimented with computers for nearly 20 years, that *any* digital signals leaving my house would be anonymous or un-crackable. If I really don't want someone reading an e-mail, I'm simply not going to send it as an e-mail.


That's true, but the point is that we don't want to give anyone that kind of blanket permission to scan your private communications. In the United States it's been the case that you (are supposed to, anyway) have a warrant to monitor someone's communications, because that's regarded as similar to search. Now, there are times when search is warranted, just as there are times when monitoring communications is warranted, but I think we can agree that that is not all the time. To extend the analogy, allowing all communication to be recorded is like allowing a video camera to record your house at all times and store that somewhere, in the event the authorities need to view it. Yeah, it might come in handy for crime, and yeah, maybe most of us will never get investigated, but I think we can all agree that that would be a pretty huge violation of our individual rights to privacy. I didn't want to be the one to say it, but: Orwell. This is almost literally Big Brother in terms of communications, and in England no less.

Privacy doesn't just mean our privacy to keep to ourselves, it means the privacy to interact with others without having those interactions being monitored by unwanted parties.

[ Parent ]
still unrealistic (2.25 / 4) (#37)
by smartbomb on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 05:22:44 PM EST

Privacy doesn't just mean our privacy to keep to ourselves, it means the privacy to interact with others without having those interactions being monitored by unwanted parties.

I just don't think that's a reasonable expectation. I would however be more concerned with limiting how anyone may use that information as "proof" of anything.

[ Parent ]
Hit by lightning (5.00 / 7) (#39)
by Wah on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 05:42:13 PM EST

So there's a chance you might get investigated by the cops for some obscure thing you wrote. You probably have a better chance of getting hit by lightning.

Getting hit by lighting increases dramatically as you raise your elevation in relation to the things around you. Doing so in a storm can make it a near certainty.

For the metaphorically challenged, this means that passage of these laws can lead to selective enforcement in times of trouble or political dissonance to silence any who rise up and speak out. bzzzzzt.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Cheap and easy communication may worry the.... (2.20 / 5) (#24)
by flex_fc on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 01:57:09 PM EST

powers that be. I know most terrorists probably will not use regular cell phones and email to organise things but since it is so easy to keep in touch with lots of people, the government do not want anything bad planned under their noses. They are just as concerned about scanning email etc. as people here are but for maybe for different reasons? How would you feel if your population had a vast, easily accesable communication network avialable to all? I'm not saying that it is right to scan private information, I don't like it myself but that is one aspect to take into account. K5 could also have a poll to see just how many people encrypt their mail, it would be interesting.
-- You are not the contents of your wallet - Tyler Durden
Worry? (4.33 / 3) (#32)
by Jim Dabell on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 04:50:09 PM EST

How would you feel if your population had a vast, easily accesable communication network avialable to all?

Bloody well pleased with myself. It would mean I was doing a pretty good job of running things. Getting people talking to each other is a basic function of society, and the more you do to encourage it, the better your society becomes. Unless they are in some kind of police state, terrorists will always be able to communicate with each other. The trick is to keep the population happy, and therefore not create terrorists in the first place. One of the basic requirements of happiness is freedom - if the U.K. goverment decides this is a good idea, then they are headed in the wrong direction, if they want to fight terrorism.



[ Parent ]
Though I mostly agree... (2.00 / 1) (#60)
by SIGFPE on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 12:48:36 PM EST

The trick is to keep the population happy, and therefore not create terrorists in the first place.
I'm sure you know as well as anyone that this is an impossible task. It only takes one terrorist to kill dozens of people with one bomb (well, maybe a few more to get the parts etc.). I doubt there can ever be a society that can keep all of it's tens of millions of members happy.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Leaked Document on Crytome (3.71 / 7) (#29)
by Aztech on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 04:26:33 PM EST

The leaked report can be seen on cryptome.org here.

doh! (1.00 / 1) (#31)
by Aztech on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 04:36:48 PM EST

doh, twice! that wasn't meant to happen

[ Parent ]
Do what lawyers do -- bury them in crap (3.00 / 5) (#33)
by freakazoid on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 05:00:17 PM EST

If there is something a trial lawyer doesn't want the other team finding out during the discovery phase of a trial (or maybe just for the hell of it), they send everything they can dig up, hoping the other team will miss the juicy bits. The Internet has a lot of traffic flowing through it that is going to be a challenge to analyze already. Let's step up the pace a bit.

I think it's time that those of us who aren't encrypting everything start doing so. Encrypt all your traffic. Start using mixmaster remailers for even trivial stuff. Set up a Freenet node. If you run a web server, make it a secure server, even if it doesn't have anything particularly secret on it. Use anonymizing services for browsing, particularly if those services support SSL. Encrypt everything on your hard drive, just because. Use StegFS or the loopback filesystem.

As for phones, develop codes with your friends and make codebooks. You can send them encrypted via email through anonymous remailers, then have fun codetalking on the phone. When you talk in the clear, throw out as many interesting keywords as you can. The system the British are proposing for phones doesn't sound exactly like the US Project Echelon, but if they ever do go digging up your phone logs, they'll at least have a lot of work to do to be able to get anything out of them.

The point is that we've been spending far too long being casual about encryption. Because most people only encrypt sensitive stuff, the police state can convince everyone else that the presense of encryption implies shady activities. If enough people start encrypting routine traffic, this will no longer apply. It won't even apply to you as long as you start encrypting *all* your traffic. Even if they still jail you because you won't cough up your key, you can stand on the fact that you would be giving them access to *all* your email, since you encrypt all of it.

Not to defend the British or US, but if people don't start doing this sort of thing, maybe you deserve what you get.


And crap is all you get (4.00 / 2) (#44)
by QuantumAbyss on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 09:50:18 PM EST

Look, what you just said is all well and good for those of us who know how to do it. But not everyone knows how to make encryption work on their computers, and not everyone wants to talk to friends in code (although I do have fun doing it sometimes). That said, people shouldn't need to know that stuff either. Just because we get a kick out of it doesn't mean other people do or should - and they certainly don't deserve to have their lives be pried into because of that.

Another thing - lawyers throw all that junk out because they are being are trying to hide something. Such tricks just tie up the legal system and get innocent people put in jail and guilty people to walk free. It makes money be the factor - because unless you can buy a legal team that can wade through the stuff or out crap create your opponents team you are screwed. That isn't good, that isn't the way it is supposed to work.

Certainly, this is the 'real world' and as such I recognize that if I want my information to be kept a secret then I need to take action to ensure that it is a secret. But we should never accept a standard that allows the government to violate our rights - whether it is protecting crap or not. Also it isn't a good idea to make rights be based upon personal knowledge - because you'll find yourself in a position sometime where your knowledge doesn't get you out of a stitch and you don't have money to buy yourself out and then you are just as 'deserving' of it as those people who don't encrypt everything they do.

Science is not the pursuit of truth, it is the quest for better approximations to a perception of reality.
- QA
[ Parent ]
bury them in crap, but make it look like fudge (none / 0) (#68)
by scabpicker on Sun Dec 10, 2000 at 06:08:30 PM EST

Well, a problem with encrypting everything is that it will strengthen the government's case yet again, in some people's eyes. "Since everything is encrypted, we need access to those keys even more now!" The same people who give them the power to record everything will grant them those rights under such circumstances, since they do not see you as having a right to privacy in the first place.

Sooo, I say use some sort of data hiding technique. Hell send all of your important email hidden in a .jpeg attached to another, less important email. If you hae a lot of spare time, write an encryption algorhythm that makes the output look like clear text. ( i have no idea how you are going to know when you are receiving it, I just thought of it.) But in general, yes, give them too much, but they already get that. Make it so they do not know what they are looking for in all of that, and then you may have something.



[ Parent ]

The UK is an elected dictatorship (2.20 / 5) (#38)
by redelm on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 05:35:27 PM EST

Make no mistake about it. There is nothing wrong with the PM, Home Secretary or MPs. They are just doing what rulers around the world do -- they exercise absolute power. The new legislation will override any prior privacy legislation because all laws are equal in the UK.

It is shameful the UK has to contemplate that the EU Charter of Rights may give its' citizens more rights than domestic legislation and just might override it.

The US is in the unusual position that its laws have a heirarchy with the US Constitution reigning supreme. Plus courts that are eventually willing to enforce the heirarchy. Thus it's tougher for the current legislators to take away rights previously granted. Not for lack of desire or trying, however.


Constitution (2.00 / 2) (#42)
by caine on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 08:19:39 PM EST

There's nothing special about USAs' constitution. Sweden has its basic laws, "grund lagar", which serves the same purpose, and are alot harder to change than normal laws. They take at least > 8 years to change, and requires there's been an election inbetween. Even then it's hard. And I can point out that we've had printed laws longer than most nation.

--

[ Parent ]

US' privacy standards aren't much better (none / 0) (#47)
by Khedak on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 10:22:50 PM EST

What you say is true, except the part where you insist the US is better than the UK. From Carnivore to the DMCA to UCITA (in some states) the United States has had its fair share of citizens privacy rights smashed. I don't see any evidence that "it's tougher for the current legislators to take away rights."

[ Parent ]
US -is- tougher (1.00 / 1) (#48)
by redelm on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 11:14:32 PM EST

At least the DMCA might be ruled unconstitutional, and UNITA too, or not adopted. Wasn't there a Internet Child Decency Act that was? Sure, the legislators try. Sometimes they succeed. And sometimes they get overturned. They always have to worry.

No such luck for our UK friends. Parlement has the last word, and the Law Lords will not overrule it.

[ Parent ]
Same in the Netherlands (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by Chakotay on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 02:35:43 AM EST

We have the "Grondwet", literally translated "ground law", "base law" or "basic law", which is our constitution. Generally the requirements of being a constitutional monarchy are having a constitution and having a monarch. Oh my, we've got both :)

Accepting a new normal law, or accepting changes to a normal law, requires a 1/2 majority in parliament (Tweede Kamer), a 1/2 majority in the senate (Eerste Kamer), and the monarch's consent. Accepting a constitutional law, or accepting changes to a constitutional law, requires a 2/3 majority in parliament, a 2/3 majority in the senate, and also the monarch's consent. Constitutional laws always override national laws, in turn override provincial regulations, in turn override municipal regulations. An interesting factoid is that the equivalent of ministers in the provincial and municipal governments are called "wethouders", which literally translates to "law keepers".

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]

The Constitution is not the only Supreme law (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by aprentic on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 02:47:26 AM EST

Actual, a treat, if signed by 2 thirds of Senators present (Artcle 2, Section 2, Clause 2) is the supreme law of the land along with the constitution (Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1)

[ Parent ]
the "subjects" fallacy (3.00 / 5) (#51)
by streetlawyer on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 04:05:26 AM EST

Just to pick up on one thing:

>>(technically, we're still subjects of the damn Queen, but we'll leave that for another day) <<

This isn't true. It's a popular fallacy. A glance inside a British passport will show you that the only people who are referred to as "British Subjects" are a fairly obscure collection of Gibraltarians, Channel Islanders and colonised people. Those born in the UK are British Citizens. The Reform Acts of 1832-36 have put this all on a nice sound legal footing, too. We Brits are not "subjects" of the Queen in any interesting sense, and you'll note that she reigns rather than ruling. The supreme authority of the land is the "Monarch /In Parliament/", and her position as Head of State is akin to Germany's President. Indeed, it's the US which is unusual in having the Head of State also being the Head of Government.

etc, etc, etc thank you.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
Jack Straw (2.25 / 4) (#57)
by PenguinWrangler on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 10:39:39 AM EST

Jack Straw is a complete twat. He's gone from being a left wing student to a power-crazed Home Secretary who's more right-wing and loony than Margaret Thatcher at her loopiest.

No wonder his son is always out getting stoned. "Oh fuck, I'm Jack Straw's son. Pass the joint.."

"Information wants to be paid"
Old Jack (3.66 / 3) (#58)
by Aztech on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 11:18:07 AM EST

I don't mean to slur old Jack... but one of his brothers is on the sex offenders register for assaulting a 16 year old girl, if that wasn't enough he then assulted another 16 year old girl and got charged again.

His other brother has just been convicted of common assault, Jack's son is a junkie and got arrested for dealing.

Finally jack himself has been in trouble latterly for making his driver blast round the motorways at 110mph. No charge has been made against the driver, however once you go over the 100mph mark and get caught you most definitely loose your license without exception along with a modest fine, but that only applies to us mere mortals. You really couldn't make it up, truth is stranger than fiction and all that.

The above just provides for light entertainment and just about shows anybody can become a politician, the stuff that bothers me is the RIP bill and his revised 'Freedom of information act' which is a contradiction in terms, it isn't 'free' at all but more like covering the asses for civil servants.

The sweeping hooligan laws which are intended to stop hooligans leaving the country have serious weaknesses, incidentally thanks to this law a customs officer can stop you leaving the country and take your passport off you if 'look like trouble' (whatever that is), all this is done without the intervention of the courts, I think it's pretty obvious this law is wide open to abuse.

Do you think I have enough reasons to loose faith in this gentleman?

Az.

[ Parent ]
jack (none / 0) (#69)
by fantastic-cat on Tue Dec 12, 2000 at 07:23:21 AM EST

it's incredible that he manages to be consistently more authoritarian than the last consdervative government which is quite some feat

[ Parent ]
Going with the trend (2.33 / 3) (#62)
by tumeric on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 03:07:09 PM EST

This fits in with the RIP and the supermarket loyalty card movements being made by the tax office in the UK.

The message from the interested authorities is clear -- do nothing wrong and you've nothing to worry about (any parallels between this behaviour and oppressive regimes in the last century is coincendental). I guess, in the future, the UK will have a more technically literate community of criminals than the rest of the world. Or is the expectation that they'll all get caught?

British Government considers interception plans more radical than Carnivore | 73 comments (73 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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