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aTao
898852.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:31 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:


I acknowledge that there is something a little unsatisfactory about the line 'if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear', but similarly, I can't really come up with a robust rebuttal of it, either.


What is unsatisfactory is that it is a straw man argument. I dont fear such legislation but I do loath it and its consequences.

 
mckeonj
898858.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:13 am Reply with quote

Interesting: every post in this thread is under an alias.
Why is that?

 
tetsabb
898864.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:19 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
I'll just continue sending a copy of all my emails to the Home Secretary until such time as he makes it illegal to spam his inbox.


Errrr, bob, Theresa May is not a 'he', in case you had not noticed.

One aspect of this business that has been pointed out is, inevitably, cost; there was a chap on BBC News last night from the ISP Association, who said that, last time such matters were mooted, the industry came back with a price of a couple of billion wongas for equipment etc. This would have gone up considerably. So we could have the situation of the gummint saying to the ISPs "We can't afford this", so the ISPs have to cough up, putting up access charges, paid for.. us; so we would have the ironic position of we the consumers paying for the spooks to check on what we were up to.

 
Efros
898869.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:28 am Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
Errrr, bob, Theresa May is not a 'he', in case you had not noticed.


I didn't!

 
djgordy
898876.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:50 am Reply with quote

aTao wrote:

I acknowledge that there is something a little unsatisfactory about the line 'if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear', but similarly, I can't really come up with a robust rebuttal of it, either.


Everyone has something to hide. Their privacy, Furthermore, anyone who thinks they only have to fear the government if they have something to hide obviously has learned anything from the history of the 20th century.

 
Neotenic
898880.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:03 am Reply with quote

Quote:
What is unsatisfactory is that it is a straw man argument.


How is it a straw man?

Quote:
I dont fear such legislation but I do loath it and its consequences.


Considering any 'consequences', at this stage, are absolutely hypothetical, I think fear is a much more appropriate descriptive term than loathing. Is it even possible to loathe something which doesn't exist, or at least, has not as yet manifested itself?

I can't help but think that the point of extending the legislation is to keep apace with changing technology.

I think it is a reasonable assumption to make that the secret services operate on the basis of what is possible, even if that extends beyond the boundary of what is legal. The legislative boundary, however, is what prevents cases being brought to court. This is not particularly new or shocking, and will have been the case for as long as espionage has existed, which is probably about as long as nation states have existed.

No case will have failed because of illegally obtained evidence, because only a galloping cretin would bring a case to court that relied on such evidence. The intelligence gathered in this manner will simply then inform those that will look to build a case that is based on evidence that falls within the legal boundaries.

 
djgordy
898893.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:50 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:

No case will have failed because of illegally obtained evidence, because only a galloping cretin would bring a case to court that relied on such evidence. The intelligence gathered in this manner will simply then inform those that will look to build a case that is based on evidence that falls within the legal boundaries.


Generally, evidence is still admissable even if it has been obtained illegally. Of course, the defendant may dispute the vaildity of the evidence but that doesn't mean that the court can't consider it.

 
suze
898895.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:57 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
I think it is a reasonable assumption to make that the secret services operate on the basis of what is possible, even if that extends beyond the boundary of what is legal.


This is undoubtedly true. Whether that makes it right is another question entirely.

Neotenic wrote:
No case will have failed because of illegally obtained evidence, because only a galloping cretin would bring a case to court that relied on such evidence.


In which case we must assume that there are rather more galloping cretins around than we might have imagined. While it doesn't happen every day, it's not hugely rare for a case to come to court and then collapse because some key part of the evidence was ruled inadmissible. And indeed, and looking from the other end, in some circumstances illegally obtained evidence is admissible. (The law in this area is complex and largely case-based, and in some places appears to contradict itself.)


I've already said that I'm not in favour of what is proposed, and for two main reasons. Those reasons can be summarized with the sentence "It can't be done and it wouldn't help anyway".

Back in 2009, Mr Cameron gave a speech at Imperial College in which he was very critical of the increase in communication monitoring under Labour. "Faced with any problem, any crisis given any excuse Labour grasp for more information, pulling more and more people into the clutches of state data capture", he said. What changed?

What, indeed, changed since the Coalition Agreement said "We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason"?

 
Oceans Edge
898901.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:33 am Reply with quote

Benjamin Franklin wrote:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.


I know this is an old chestnut oft trotted out by libertarians and home made militia types and tea partiers to argue for less government intrusion etc., and frankly I'm about as far as one can get from those types. However, it is entirely a valid sentiment.

I have little problem with the things the government needs to know about me. When and where I was born, do I drive, what car do I drive, am I married, do I own a fire arm, where do I work, how much money am I paid?

I seriously doubt collection of such information would be useful to the government; nor do I think it would be effective for any of the myriad of reasons already stated - thus there is NO compelling 'greater good' reason for me to give up my privacy to the government. Would they read my stuff? No, not likely. Do they care about my stuff? No, not likely. And all of that is completely MOOT to the point. They don't need access to my email, thus they shouldn't have it.

Pierre Trudeau wrote:
The government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.

Is what it boils down to.

The other issue that raises my ire, is the wastage! The time, energy, resources and man power that would have to be sunk into making such a hair brained scheme work would be far more effective employed elsewhere. That they aren't ever going to make that investment is obvious - or it would have been done already. Thus the whole charade boils down to security theatre - a headline grabber, to make it look like someone is doing something terribly dramatic about the 'war on terror'. It was all smoke and mirrors when it was 'the war on drugs', it's all smoke and mirrors now.

And I'll be damned if I have my civil liberties eroded just so some political hack can score a few headlines and brownie points.

 
aTao
898906.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:50 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Quote:
What is unsatisfactory is that it is a straw man argument.


How is it a straw man?


On many levels:
It assumes that I have something I wish to hide as opposed to keep private, there is a difference.
I do not fear an invasion of privacy, I do not fear that there might be an invasion of privacy, I strongly dislike (loath) invasions of privacy.

So, I may have nothing I wish to hide and do not fear my life being made public, according to the argument I should then be happy with this proposed government snooping. Which is most certainly not the case, the argument is a stereotypical straw man.

 
CB27
898955.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:55 am Reply with quote

TBH, the whole argument about liberty is over inflated IMO because common sense tells me our emails and internet communication can't be monitored anyway.

The way it'll work is through algorithms, which will need to be updated constantly (ask the likes of Google how much they spend and you'll see how expensive it can get), and it will need to be configured in such a way that only a tiny fraction will get seen by human eyes, probably less than one in 100m emails a day, so it's unlikely most of us will have any of our correspondence seen.

The way it's most likely to work is that a combination of words will be searched in combination with weighting given to destinations, frequency of use, etc, so a single message containing words like "bomb", "afghanistan", "suicide", etc, is unlikely to flag up.

I agree with suze that there is a huge amount of hypocricy in the way the Government is calling for something that seems to go further than what was previously called for which they opposed so strongly when in opposition, and I'm guessing Labour will probably feel like opposing this now they're in opposition. This is one of the reasons I think party leaders should not necessarily be parliamentary leaders.

 
Neotenic
898962.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:55 am Reply with quote

Quote:
The way it'll work is through algorithms, which will need to be updated constantly (ask the likes of Google how much they spend and you'll see how expensive it can get), and it will need to be configured in such a way that only a tiny fraction will get seen by human eyes, probably less than one in 100m emails a day, so it's unlikely most of us will have any of our correspondence seen.


That's almost exactly my thoughts on the matter too.

I think another aspect is filtering - acting on certain bits of intelligence to crawl through the mass of data looking for more connections.

I have been involved in some initial discussions on our use of what gets called 'unstructured data analysis' software, as a tool for sifting though both internal and external data looking for emerging risks and trends. For that to work, you do need a big, fat database of stuff for it to look at - but that stuff needn't go anywhere near a human being unless the programme makes what it thinks are useful connections.

 
bobwilson
899038.  Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:43 pm Reply with quote

I think most of you are missing the point.

Communications are already routinely monitored - traffic analysis, key-word analysis, and doubtless many other processes are already in place. These inform investigations (which are themselves subject to public review) which doubtless enhance public safety and I don't have a problem with any of that.

What the proposed legislation allows is specific monitoring, without oversight and not subject to any public review.

There's nothing wrong with modelling connectivity between nodes (or people), finding links, snooping on those connections, and working from that information building a picture (which can then be used to get authorisation through existing processes to monitor specific email addresses or similar).

That's essentially how the system works now.

There's a fundamental flaw in legislating that a faceless beaureaucrat, who isn't answerable to anyone, can decide, purely on his own authority, to monitor the communications of any person that takes his fancy.

 
Sadurian Mike
899109.  Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:07 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
I think most of you are missing the point.

We need better intelligence screening and analysis.

 
CB27
899171.  Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:23 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
There's a fundamental flaw in legislating that a faceless beaureaucrat, who isn't answerable to anyone, can decide, purely on his own authority, to monitor the communications of any person that takes his fancy.

This is the bit I'm struggling with, but you'll have to forgive my obviously addled mind :)

Is there such a thing as a bureaucrat who is unanswerable to anyone?

What's the point of information gathered by someone unanswerable to anyone, that misses the whole point of "intelligence gathering" ***

What happens when said bureaucrat takes a fancy to you (which would suggest they know you, or of you, first)?

*** When we see failures in "intelligence gathering" they usually fall into two categories, either someone missed a piece of information, or they reported it and it was ignored at a higher level.

 

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