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Thread: Surveillance

  1. #1

    Surveillance

    Hi All,

    Pretty far off topic, but given its very limited press attention, it seems worth posting and you can decide whether it is worth your time.

    UK Gov passed a law last week giving everyone with any tenuous link to the government access to a database with 1 year of every UK citizen's internet usage history (except MP's history of course, they're exempt).

    For the full list of people with access see here;

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-st...-a7436251.html

    Highlights include the Food Standards Agency, Tax Man, Gambling Commission and Ambulance service.

    For more details on the Bill, which is awaiting Royal Assent;

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...rely-a-whimper

    and the Petition against it;

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/173199

    If you google 'snoopers charter' you'll get half a dozen companies offering VPNs in the first page; these are perfectly legal and completely bypass the info gathering database. People who have something to hide can continue to hide it with zero technical knowledge, this bill has no practical use, except the possibility in future to be used to dig dirt on people, or to expose every detail of your life when someone leaves a laptop on a train or the system gets hacked....

    As you've probably guessed, I completely oppose it. With how much of our daily lives now gets routed through the internet, this is the equivalent of bugging every citizen, just in case they one day are suspected of something. It is also worth noting that consulting a judge is not required to access the data.

    Hopefully someone will find this useful and worthwhile, if you oppose it, please sign the petition and contact your MP.

    Thanks for reading.

    Ryan

  2. #2
    Hello Ryan.

    I'm with you on this one! It's an appallingly illiberal piece of legislation with no equivalent in any other democratic country. However this obsession with putting in place what accounts to potential blanket surveillance is not unique to the UK. In the US it was pretty much knocked on the head by the Snowden leaks, but there is a similar thing happening in France for example. The Germans, with recent experience of what that means and potential misuse are far more wary about these things.

    Now someone is bound to say that they have nothing to fear as they have nothing to hide. The problem is that you don't have a say on what it is that you may like to hide. And that even if the government (not even specifically the current one, I mean it was Blair who first went after this) is benevolent and well-meaning, you have no guarantee that a future one would not put such powerful tools to more nefarious use. More prosaically, at my local hospital, I've seen a post-it note on a PC with the login details for patient records for convenience. Now imagine everyone with access does something like that. There's your safeguards gone...
    "Wishy washy hand-wringing diversified all encompassing liberal"

  3. #3
    I am very concerned about the potential for future abuse, but my more current concern is the one you mentioned - the more people who have access, the less seriously the security measures are taken, and how long until the post-it ends up in the wrong hands.

    I'm shamelessly ripping off a comment on one of the articles I have read on the issue but I like this quote from Terry Pratchett;

    "Commander Vimes didn't like the phrase 'The innocent have nothing to fear', believing the innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like 'The innocent have nothing to fear'."

    Those that want to get their conspiracy hats on might notice that every article on the issue is not available on the home page of newspapers, but is hidden under 'Tech', as if it is a new development in phone technology, instead of a violation of 70 million people's privacy to levels most dictatorships would be proud of...

  4. #4
    I must admit it scares me a little,as things I have done in the past may well return to haunt me. This is particularly worrying if the devolved Governments or Assemblies can go fishing.
    Honour all men, Love the Brotherhood, Fear God, Honour the Queen.

    Keep the Faith.

  5. #5
    Hi Pine Marten,

    I missed the first bit of your post completely!

    I think France and Germany are also less likely to get this level of surveillance due to being covered by the ECHR (correct abbreviation?). Not in any way trying to make this political, this legislation is equally intrusive regardless of your political views.

    Ryan

  6. #6
    Hi fourth Horseman,

    There is nothing to stop fishing, and the broad access seems to almost promote it.

    Maybe this isn't as off topic as I initially thought - how long until it is included in Firearm Licensing background checks?

    Just a thought.

    Ryan

  7. #7
    Well I regularly visit websites about firearms, wishy-washy liberal politics, some of which are in Foreign, am in regular contact with a network of people who share some of these interests, many of whom are also foreign and so who knows what they're up to, a couple of them are middle-Eastern, or Russian, or involved in NGO's, or "activist leftwing human rights lawyers" as the current PM calls them. You can tell that from the IPs and email adresses, even if you can't read the content.

    Paints a pretty suspect picture if you leave it at that, doesn't it?

    [Hi there, GCHQ guys! It's a lovely day outside, you should go for a walk...]
    "Wishy washy hand-wringing diversified all encompassing liberal"

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by EccentricJackal View Post
    Hi Pine Marten,

    I missed the first bit of your post completely!

    I think France and Germany are also less likely to get this level of surveillance due to being covered by the ECHR (correct abbreviation?). Not in any way trying to make this political, this legislation is equally intrusive regardless of your political views.

    Ryan
    Well we're covered by that too, and it may yet come into play. In fact it has several times, as in the recent ruling the the UK had been illegally gathering data on people for the past 17 years, but under the new legislation, it would be legal. So that doesn't help. The ECHR generally isn't keen on telling countries how to legislate, it's usually about individual cases. Especially when it comes to "security" and governments in the UK and France certainly are now always claiming that everything is about security. France had very strong and prescient digital privacy legislation with a specific exception for matters pertaining to "security". When Sarkozy was Interior Minister/Home secretary (concurrent with Blair here), he undermined it all by showing that security applied to more and more areas. And so that broke that safeguard down. But even then it's not as intrusive as what's proposed here.
    "Wishy washy hand-wringing diversified all encompassing liberal"

  9. #9
    Haha you have given a similar argument as I did to someone who laughed it off saying if they want to read my emails about second hand furniture they can;

    I have done quite a bit of research on the dangers of reloading and double charging muzzle loaders, what sets powders off and what I need to be careful of getting near my reloading room. I am also a chemist, and have done research on all of the peculiar things that working for a chemical company while studying for a degree entails.

    This info alone, taken out of context and put in front of the right people would probably convince a lot of people that I am up to dodgy things.

    On the other hand, thanks to the new laws I plan on getting a VPN just as my own little protest, so in a way in has probably improved my privacy slightly!

    With regard to the ECHR, I have little to no knowledge on it, I may have been misinformed but was told that Holland (or maybe another nearby EU country) instated something similar to what is happening here, but was defeated in the ECHR, and subsequently removed it.

    I doubt similar would happen here, since PM is hellbent on removing ECHR, but it is food for thought.
    Last edited by EccentricJackal; 29-11-2016 at 11:21. Reason: Replying to PM to avoid double post

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by EccentricJackal View Post

    On the other hand, thanks to the new laws I plan on getting a VPN just as my own little protest, so in a way in has probably improved my privacy slightly!
    No, it makes you more suspect for deliberately hiding! What are you hiding, eh? Of course the proper answer that most people would understand face to face would be "Well it's none of your bloody business, is it?".
    "Wishy washy hand-wringing diversified all encompassing liberal"

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