View previous topic | View next topic

Monitoring communications

Page 1 of 3
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next

bobwilson
898157.  Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:17 pm Reply with quote

This is all probably just hype

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17576745

but there seems to be an underlying idea that all email, text etc traffic can be monitored at any time (or rather, that it can be legally monitored rather than the current situation where it's illegally monitored - we already know it's illegally monitored because of the reluctance to disclose sources of information in extant court cases).

I'm a great fan of giving up whatever's wanted - and in the spirit of openness and acceding to the desires of the Government can I make a suggestion?

Let's just all cc every email communication to the Home Secretary - that way he doesn't have to invoke new legislation, and there'll be no misunderstandings as he'll have direct access to every communication directly.

I realise this might cause some difficulties for our illustrious masters - the volume of traffic they receive might be overwhelming. Perhaps they might like to make it a criminal offence to offer information gratuitously?

 
nitwit02
898162.  Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:48 pm Reply with quote

Bob - This was actually done here in Canada recently. Many thousands of people flooded a certain government minister (Vic Toews) with tweets and emails advising him of what they were doing (taking a crap, etc).

This was in response to Vic's attempt to impose similar legislation you are describing above. It woked, the bill is in limbo at present.

The onslaught was dubbed "Vickyleaks"
http://www2.macleans.ca/tag/vic-toews/

 
bobwilson
898164.  Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:32 pm Reply with quote

Good for them Nitwit

And on the basis that the BBC has now closed all comments on this story (within 24 hours) I'll be flooding them with all my trivial information as a first step and I hope everyone else will do likewise. And when that avenue closes I'll start picking off the employees of the BBC.

If the BBC wants to act as an arm of Big Brother then it can expect to be injected with the heroin - if it wants to behave like a responsible broadcaster then it can expect respect.

I like this bit

Quote:
But once again the mainstream media demonstrated its relentless bias against Conservatives by recording and replaying the words he actually said.


Damn those fucking liberals - actually quoting what was said. How unreasonable is that?

 
aTao
898186.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:26 am Reply with quote

What niggles me about this s its bloody pointless. Hiding communications is trivial. Especially given that illegal, virtually unbreakable encryption is simple, servers can be sited outside jurisdiction, and the means to swamp any communication channel are commercially (if not freely) available. GCHQ has no chance of spotting a professionally disguised message.

 
tetsabb
898224.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:23 am Reply with quote

From now on all my contributions to these boards will be in block capitals, in groups of 5 letters, enciphered on a terribly clever machine I copied from something I saw near Milton Keynes the other week

HOWDO YOULI KETHE MAPPL ESTHE N

Foolproof.

 
Efros
898235.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:43 am Reply with quote

Excellent idea about informing the gummint about your doings, I wonder if they have actually considered the feasibility of monitoring that sort of volume of traffic, and if it is feasible what use is it if it takes you 16 weeks to search the traffic for a specific item?


Last edited by Efros on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:04 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Moosh
898239.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:57 am Reply with quote

Mass monitoring looking for keywords or whatever is stupid because of the volumes involved and the huge numbers of innocent hits that someone would have to sift through, so this must be to do with targeting previously identified individuals.

Just based on the article bob linked to, it seems the idea is if a particular person's name comes up in an investigation, then the police/intelligence agencies can start reading their emails/see their internet use, providing they can get a warrant.

Which, to be honest, I thought they could already do, but it appears that this is about making ISPs do more to help, i.e. storing the information and passing it over more readily.

As with all surveillance it has potential to be used for good, and potential to be abused.

 
Neotenic
898244.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:00 am Reply with quote

It's the whole feasibility thing that means I'm not particularly bothered about any of this.

I can't help but think that people are rather over-estimating how much the government (or the State) give a toss about what they get up to, most of the time.

I will be very, very surprised if it ever comes to light that, without probable cause, spooks would feel the need to rummage about in the browsing history or inbox of Mr N. Tenic of Deepest, Darkest North London. There are, quite frankly, much better things for them to be doing.

However, when a reason does emerge to warrant (ho ho) such a rummage, then I think it's generally right that the Powers That Be have the appropriate tools to do so.

It's either that, or we don't have long, finger-pointy inquiries the next time the tube explodes, or something like that.

Indeed, I already have access to quite detailed information on financial transactions that are made (if you have taken out a mortgage in the last five years, for example, I could probably find out how much it was for, the LTV and the income multiplier), but actually combing through to look at any one individual's details is a quite spectacular waste of my time.

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.

 
Moosh
898257.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:38 am Reply with quote

Whilst that argument works for the likes of you and me, there is another issue, in the form of those individuals whom the government may want to keep tabs on who are not criminals or terrorists.

It would, of course, be illegal for "them" to read the emails of, say, Mr B. Crow of Woodford, London, but there's surely going to be some temptation there, and this does seem to make it easier to do it.

 
suze
898264.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:49 am Reply with quote

Isn't there a more fundamental issue too?

Victoria Derbyshire's phone in this morning was about this subject, and she made the point that I would have. If you're planning to make the tube explode, then unless you're exceptionally stupid you're not actually going to send e-mails headed "Our plan to explode the tube".

And if you have half an ounce of intelligence, you're going to use some kind of proxy when you send that e-mail. It only needs one link in the chain to be in Russia, or some other country which is not well disposed to the British intelligence services, and the spooks can't track it.

So quite apart from the privacy issue, would what is proposed actually achieve what it's intended to?

 
Sadurian Mike
898318.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:54 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
I can't help but think that people are rather over-estimating how much the government (or the State) give a toss about what they get up to, most of the time.

I will be very, very surprised if it ever comes to light that, without probable cause, spooks would feel the need to rummage about in the browsing history or inbox of Mr N. Tenic of Deepest, Darkest North London. There are, quite frankly, much better things for them to be doing.

This is very true. GCHQ doesn't have enough analysts to properly deal with a fraction of the important information that they collect. I'm damned sure that they aren't going to waste analysts on looking at random citizens in case they are putting the wrong rubbish in the wrong recycling bin.

It reminds me of a talk we had from a senior GCHQ official (who cannot be named due to the rules of the seminar). Apparently, a woman regularly wrote to them asking why they were monitoring her from their receiver mounted on the pyramids.

 
Neotenic
898332.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:32 am Reply with quote

Quote:
It would, of course, be illegal for "them" to read the emails of, say, Mr B. Crow of Woodford, London, but there's surely going to be some temptation there, and this does seem to make it easier to do it.


Yes and no - the powers would be given to GCHQ, so I don't think they could necessarily be used for transient party political purposes.

Indeed, just filtering out what may be of material use from the barrelfuls of communication by various media is simply going to require too much resource for anyone to want to undertake without a bloody good reason for doing so. And 'we don't like Bob Crow' really isn't good enough.

Quote:
And if you have half an ounce of intelligence, you're going to use some kind of proxy when you send that e-mail. It only needs one link in the chain to be in Russia, or some other country which is not well disposed to the British intelligence services, and the spooks can't track it.


Of course - but we should also bear in mind that those minded to terrorism are not always criminal masterminds, and very often don't have an ounce of intelligence between them.

After all, we can witness in the Wikileaks stuff from Iraq and Afghanistan just how many suicide bombers managed only to carry themselves, or even just bits of themselves, over into a martyrs life in paradise. And how scores and scores managed nothing more than a rather underwhelming fizz and puff of smoke.

Then, there were the wannabe British terrorists a few years ago that didn't notice when the police swapped out the fertiliser they were going to use to make bombs with kitty litter.

It is absolutely fair to say, as it is with almost any criminal endeavour, that if the perpetrators are both smart enough and committed enough, then no amount of surveillance will be able to stop them. But I don't think that's a particularly good argument against putting in place measures to stop those who aren't quite that smart.

 
suze
898347.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:03 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
After all, we can witness in the Wikileaks stuff from Iraq and Afghanistan just how many suicide bombers managed only to carry themselves, or even just bits of themselves, over into a martyrs life in paradise. And how scores and scores managed nothing more than a rather underwhelming fizz and puff of smoke.


I'm afraid that has reminded me of an anecdote which came to Elven attention when we were researching I for Idiots. The story could not be completely verified and so we didn't use it, although there were quite a few reports in the more salacious prints.

It concerned a militant group in Turkey who were down on alcohol. They'd heard that a particular movie theater sold beer, and so an operative was sent to enter in the guise of a patron, establish that beer was indeed sold, and then bomb the place. But it turned out that this particular theater in fact showed adult movies, and the operative had never seen one before.

One report noted that "The bomb blew off both his legs and his testicles. His penis was relatively unscathed, since it was safely inside his right hand."

 
CB27
898354.  Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:25 am Reply with quote

This reminds me this old story from 1999:

Israel insisted on a premature switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time to accommodate a week of pre-sunrise prayers. Palestinians refused to live on "Zionist Time." Two weeks of scheduling havoc ensued. Nobody knew the "correct" time.

At precisely 5:30pm on Sunday, two coordinated car bombs exploded in different cities, killing three terrorists who were transporting the bombs. It was initially believed that the devices had been detonated prematurely by klutzy amateurs. A closer look revealed the truth behind the explosions.

The bombs had been prepared in a Palestine-controlled area, and set to detonate on Daylight Saving Time. But the confused drivers had already switched to Standard Time. When they picked up the bombs, they neglected to ask whose watch was used to set the timing mechanism. As a result, the cars were still en-route when the explosives detonated, delivering the terrorists to their untimely demises.

 
bobwilson
898846.  Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:09 pm Reply with quote

I think both Moosh and Neo (to a lesser extent) are missing the point.

As Moosh says

Quote:
Mass monitoring looking for keywords or whatever is stupid because of the volumes involved and the huge numbers of innocent hits that someone would have to sift through


and as Neo says

Quote:
It's the whole feasibility thing that means I'm not particularly bothered about any of this.


There is no necessity for greater powers to monitor traffic than already exists in order to protect the public. There has never been an instance of a plot being discovered due to illegal eavesdropping which has failed in the prosecution as a consequence of that illegal eavesdropping.

Put another way - if MI5 picked up on me plotting to plant a bomb due to illegal monitoring, there's no hint that either the prevention of the event, or the prosecution, would be compromised by a revelation that the initial intelligence came from illegal activity.

So - there's nothing to be gained from this legislation.

On the other hand - by codifying the legislation there's plenty of scope for monitoring activity by those who oppose the current state.

If you give them the power to legally monitor traffic then they WILL abuse that power. They don't need the legal power.

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.

 

Page 1 of 3
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group