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UK Child Abuse Investigators Resent Being Charged For ISP Data 241

Posted by timothy
from the thinly-veiled-threat dept.
nk497 writes "In the UK, ISPs are charging a child protection agency for access to IP user details they need for their investigations into online-related abuse. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has paid out over £170,000 since 2006 on IP data requests related to child abuse cases, and expects to pay another £100,000 this year — enough to fund another two investigators. The CEOP's CEO said that any ISP which can't afford to give the police such help 'simply can't afford to do business.'" Surely it must cost the ISPs money to comply with such requests, no matter how official the quest.
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UK Child Abuse Investigators Resent Being Charged For ISP Data

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RMH101 (636144) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:28AM (#26572115)
    First off, when did it become private enterprise's problem to pay for law enforcement?
    There is obviously a cost of some form to the ISP for providing this information, and it seems fair that this cost should be passed to the law enforcement organisations to be serviced out of their budget - this is what their budget is for. If it's not sufficient, they should lobby for it to be increased via taxation or other methods.
    The telcos are already allowed to charge for providing background information - and this is as it should be. If information is made available freely and at the drop of a hat to third parties then it encourages misuse of that information and encourages scope creep to monitoring a wider population than you might originally have required.
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:32AM (#26572137)

      It's like there is this imaginary fantasy that IT work costs nothing. They made 9400 requests last year, that's 36 a day or a request every 15 minutes. By my estimation, that could be the work of two people doing nothing but requests for officials. It sounds like to me that they are being charged fairly.

      • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:03AM (#26572559)

        They should only be able to get this information via a court order for fucks sake. Getting away with a couple of quid per inquiry is cheap. They should stfu and be happy that they get any information at all.

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:08AM (#26572847)

          I have to agree... in a more calm manner.

          Since when has it become Ok to sell (or give away) our data, that we have a contract on, that says that they will not give that data away?

          Sure, if it's really the police, that police has the same policy of privacy (which they have, at least on paper), and the police has a search warrant or some other court order... then there's fair reason that it must be investigated.

          But everything else is not only a breach a contract (requiring compensation for damages), but -- if it really is the police -- also an illegally acting police. (Which should result in the boss of those cops going to jail, because breaking the law is worse when you're a cop... that's the price of having special rights.)

      • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

        by htnmmo (1454573) on Friday January 23, 2009 @10:43AM (#26574285) Homepage

        Unfortunately, some people believe doing something noble should be free, unless of course their the ones doing it.

        When the police investigate or arrest someone, for child abuse, do they mark it different on their timecard so they get paid in hugs instead of money?

        Does Jim Gamble, the CEO of CEOP do this for no pay?

        Should doctors not get paid?

        Should attorneys that handle adoptions not get paid?

        Doing the right thing may be it's own reward but it doesn't keep a roof over your head or put food on your table.

        This is completely ass backwards.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tx (96709) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:54AM (#26572243) Journal

      Absolutely, having these charges will hopefully reduce the amount of spurious fishing trips. Let's face it, if it didn't cost them, we all know how that would end.

      Mind you, when I read about this yesterday on theregister, it said that ~10000 requests had resulted in ~300 arrests, but no data was available on how many of those arrests had resulted in convictions. So we don't really know the quality of those requests as it is.

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by daveime (1253762) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:40AM (#26572695)

        More than 300 people get arrested on a single Friday night for having had too much to drink. They get to sleep it off in the cells and get released at 4am, even if the police station is 4 miles from where you actually live. All were arrested, none were convicted.

        Likewise, out of those 10000 requests leading to 300 arrests, we might assume that 10 actually made it into the courts system ? And if it isn't thrown out for improperly appropriated evidence (police fishing attempts), or thrown out because the arresting office decided to stick the boot in before bundling the suspect into the paddy-wagon, maybe we might just see one conviction.

        At what point does 100,000 pounds of taxpayers money and 299 peoples lives tainted due to false arrests cease to justify the successful conviction of the one person who spent too much time surfing 4chan ? Or does "won't somebody think of the children" throw a mental blanket over common sense ?

        • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sa666_666 (924613) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:03AM (#26572815)

          Or does "won't somebody think of the children" throw a mental blanket over common sense ?

          Yes, it does.

          • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

            by meist3r (1061628) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:43AM (#26573081)

            Or does "won't somebody think of the children" throw a mental blanket over common sense ?

            Yes, it does.

            Absolutely, what are you going to answer to that?

            "Fuck the children" will get you dirty looks and probably a visit by the coppers. Any answer other than that starting with "But wait a minute ..." is immediately dismissed and ignored after the first three syllables. People that live on these "we have to protect our children from any type of experience" are so ignorant it doesn't even matter if you speak their language or not.

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          Child porn cases pretty much always get reported in the papers, and as far as I'm aware, there has been at approximately one conviction in the past year, which was for a child murderer. I don't think there was any evidence of internet related stuff here, but probably it was one of the 10,000 requests.

          There is another abduction case going through at the moment, where he had been chatting with the girl for about 6 months on MSN and Facebook before taking her out of the country to France. The evidence for th

      • by mpe (36238)
        Absolutely, having these charges will hopefully reduce the amount of spurious fishing trips. Let's face it, if it didn't cost them, we all know how that would end.

        Without them it would be a suprise if any of the requests wern't "spurious fishing trips". Possibly even to the point where actual child abusers are ignored, because they don't fit some bogus profile.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by superskippy (772852)

      The reason this attitude is considered acceptable in ISPs and not for other fields of work (do you think BT hand over phone records without charging?) is because ISPs in this country are giving way into the idea that they are responsible for what their users are doing. It's kind of become accepted that ISPs could look inside every packet and decide whether it's bad stuff.

      They shot themselves in the foot when they introduced all that packet filtering for torrents and so on, and when they started thinking

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HungryHobo (1314109)

        They have no common carrier status. Never did.
        Psychologicaly you're correct though, once they opened the door to the idea that they could search for one thing every fool with an agenda realised he could get his piece.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      Another issue is that if it's connected with a cost then the risk of abuse of the IP search decreases.

    • by mpe (36238)
      There is obviously a cost of some form to the ISP for providing this information, and it seems fair that this cost should be passed to the law enforcement organisations to be serviced out of their budget - this is what their budget is for. If it's not sufficient, they should lobby for it to be increased via taxation or other methods.

      Presumably when police want some kind of forensic examination carried out by an external lab (which could include one attached to a different police force) they get charged a
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mdwh2 (535323)

      it encourages misuse of that information and encourages scope creep to monitoring a wider population than you might originally have required.

      I agree. And on that note, Jim Gamble (head of the CEOP, who is quoted in the article) supports the law on "extreme" adult images - even with consenting adults - that comes into force this Monday. (He was interviewed on this matter on a rather one-sided "Woman's Hour" on BBC Radio 4.)

      From a practical point of view, it's not like it makes any different - this isn't "ch

      • by mpe (36238)
        Let's also not forget the Government plans to criminalise non-realistic images (cartoons etc) that have some appearance of an under-18 "child" (also note the age of consent is 16 in the UK - so a cartoon of a legal act will be illegal to possess); the bill was recently published.

        IIRC this is already the case with photos/videos.
        There's also the whole issue of if it's possible to tell a person's age by appearance. On one hand you have supermarkets saying "If you look under 21/25 we will ask you for ID for a
  • Erm.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:28AM (#26572117)

    Cant the UK govt legally steal it via some regulation that allows it?

    Our govt is immune from copyright and patent infringement, and only listen to "entertain".

    • by novakyu (636495)

      Our govt is immune from copyright and patent infringement

      I believe that the government has agreed to be sued for copyright and patent infringement [stason.org].

      IIRC, the only case involving copyrights where sovereign immunity was invoked was the specific sections of DMCA forbidding by-passing technological measures (and really, this case was where an *employee* of the government put those measures in place in the first place).

      UK government is decidedly more authoritarian and I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to steal from their people, but as far as U.S. is concerned, we

    • by Archtech (159117)

      Cant the UK govt legally steal it via some regulation that allows it?

      Yes, it's called "taxation".

  • by lucas teh geek (714343) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:28AM (#26572119)
    Any chills protection agency who can't afford to help ISPs with the costs of THEIR investigation simply can't afford to do business
    • Any chills protection agency

      Perhaps a prophetic typo, given the likely effect of allowing government arbitrary access to this sort of information without any incentive not to use it unnecessarily.

  • by Manip (656104) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:28AM (#26572121)

    They requested data on at least 3,000 people from the ISPs (at £60 per request). But assuming most ISPs don't charge them then the real number is likely significantly higher perhaps even over 10,000 requests... That's a lot of requests.

    As far as the charges go... I like them. It forces the police to at least look at how many people they're requesting data on so they just can't put out a drag net to see what they catch.

    Plus it does cost ISPs money.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Yuuki Dasu (1416345)

      They requested data on at least 3,000 people from the ISPs (at £60 per request).

      [Citation needed]

      I'm not sure where you're getting this figure from. From the article:

      The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) told the BBC following a freedom of information request that since April of 2006 it had made 9,400 requests for user information, at a total cost of £171,505.99.

      That breaks down to about £18.25 per request. Less than a third what you claim. If you look at the claims for 2008, too (4600 claims at £64604)(from the article linked in the article), you get an even smaller figure of £14 per request.

      I can't say for certain that it's that expensive to process one of these requests, but it's certainly not that bad. I, too, am not willing to bend over backwards and t

  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:30AM (#26572135)

    The ISPs should not be cooperating with pseudo-government institutions who want to know the addresses of people who look at album art on Wikipedia.

    • by plasmacutter (901737) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:41AM (#26572191)

      I'd say A few pounds per person is a very small price to pay to ruin someone's life.

      Many innocent people are accused and even convicted of "abuse" of children, only to be exonerated after their businesses have failed due to boycott, they've lost their jobs, they've been driven from their communities, they've spent years in jail, etc.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:59AM (#26572537)

        Happened to my friend's dad two years ago: he was investigated on suspicion of being part of a child porn ring. He lost his job, and the family had to move house because of the weight of the mortgage. Then had to move again because news of the investigation leaked out in his new community, resulting in several smashed windows and graffiti on the door.

        7 months later, the allegations were all dropped. After turning his home, his office and his life upside down the police found no evidence of child porn, or any "morally dubious" (scare quotes intended) items of any sort. My friend's dad is perhaps one of the most boring people in the world.

        Well over a year after the charges were dropped, he is still unemployed and he and his family still suffer regular abuse. He had a nervous breakdown late last year and is still recovering.

        Still, I suppose he can take comfort in knowing that it's all for the children.

        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:55AM (#26572759)

          This is why the government should be legally liable for any consequences of a failed investigation, in the same way as anyone else whose defamatory behaviour damages an innocent's reputation, who kidnaps someone and holds them against their will, who steals their money, etc. For example, in cases like this, there should probably be financial compensation, arrangement for sufficient public awareness work to restore the damaged reputation, and provision of any extra security needed in the meantime.

          We must never allow a "greater good" argument to be used to justify government destroying unlucky individuals' lives.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Elldallan (901501)
            Even better, force the newspapers and other media to dedicate the same amount of coverage to proclaiming the individual's innocence in case of a dropped or innocent verdict as they do spend on blackening said person before the trial. Meaning if it's on the first page for 3 consecutive days said newspaper have to dedicate the frontpage to proclaiming his innocence for 3 consecutive days.

            The government is not at fault for investigating him, the media is at fault for judging him in the court of public opini
          • by Heian-794 (834234)

            Wouldn't the police then simply convict innocent people so as to avoid incurring those costs?

            • by VJ42 (860241) *

              Wouldn't the police then simply convict innocent people so as to avoid incurring those costs?

              The Police don't get to convict anyone, that's the job of the courts.

      • by wisty (1335733) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:38AM (#26572687)

        Let's face it, the only reason they have these crackdowns is that it makes the politicians look tough, without actually hurting a large number of voters. Violence and exploitation of children is a huge problem, but the internet porn factor is only a small part. Removing kids from violent or neglectful environments is expensive and controversial. Busting a few perverts for looking at naked kids is cheap and easy. The police themselves are probably doing a good job (given the resources they are allocated), but they should be working on other things.

        • by mpe (36238)
          Let's face it, the only reason they have these crackdowns is that it makes the politicians look tough, without actually hurting a large number of voters. Violence and exploitation of children is a huge problem, but the internet porn factor is only a small part. Removing kids from violent or neglectful environments is expensive and controversial.

          Especially since the vast majority of child abuse is perpetrated by close relatives. Many of which are nowhere as high profile as Karen Matthews.
      • by mpe (36238)
        I'd say A few pounds per person is a very small price to pay to ruin someone's life.
        Many innocent people are accused and even convicted of "abuse" of children,


        At least one terrorist group (SHAC) has a policy of making such false accusations against their targets

        only to be exonerated after their businesses have failed due to boycott, they've lost their jobs, they've been driven from their communities, they've spent years in jail, etc.

        It's not unknown for innocent people in the UK to be charged for ti
  • Surely (Score:5, Funny)

    by NetDanzr (619387) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:34AM (#26572153)

    Surely it must cost the ISPs money to comply with such requests, no matter how official the quest.

    It does. And don't call me Shirley.

  • Costs. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by malkavian (9512) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:46AM (#26572209) Homepage

    The costs of this seem to average out at approximately £18 per query, which is less than the amount that can be charged for a "Freedom of Information Act" request, so the ISPs definitely are not gouging the investigators.

    It also definitely does cost the ISPs money to obtain the specific requests, so by any measure, they should be able to charge. If they're suddenly expected to donate their time for free "because of the children", then surely the investigators should be expected to do the same (how would they like their job to be suddenly unpaid)?

    This token amount, though small, operates as one of the balances to ensure that investigations are at least slightly sane, otherwise I can see requests flying out on every person they can find, simply because there is no reason not to.

    From reading the figures, the information gained from about 10,000 requests was useful in about 240 arrests. While a little on the low side for hit rate, it does show that they're targeting the searches at the moment. Long may the targetting, rather than scattershot fishing expeditions so favoured by digital enforcement agencies, continue.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      surely the investigators should be expected to do the same (how would they like their job to be suddenly unpaid)?

      Virtual +1 Insightful from me. Like priests preaching about the virtues of poverty from a golden pulpit.

    • by mpe (36238)
      From reading the figures, the information gained from about 10,000 requests was useful in about 240 arrests. While a little on the low side for hit rate, it does show that they're targeting the searches at the moment.

      To work out how well targeted these investigations are you'd need to look at how many of these 240 people were changed then what proportion of these were convicted. As well as the proportion found not guilty after a trial. The simple act of dragging an innocent person through a criminal trial
  • by squoozer (730327) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:54AM (#26572245)

    Well the frist sensible decision which involves children in a decade. As other posters have pointed out it is not the (direct) responsibility of businesses to pick up the tab for crime fighting irrespective of how vile that crime is. This is just another one of those quasi-governmental bodies the UK is so fond of throwing it's weight around.

    Personally, I'd like to see more crime fighting measures costed out like this. Perhaps if the public got to see how much these stupid wars on X, Y and Z cost they would grow up a bit and realize that there will always be bad people in the world and, with finite resources, you are only ever going to limit their number.

  • by Zoxed (676559) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:57AM (#26572261) Homepage

    Unless CEOP's CEO works for free on this worthy cause then why does he think other people should ?

  • Everyone gets the same deal.

  • Pay the bill... ignorance of the technology is no excuse...

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:59AM (#26572281)
    The root cause is nothing to do with IT or information policy. It is the ability of the British Government to govern by statutory instrument (SI), an essentially undemocratic tool not overseen by Parliament which allows civil servants to make laws. The result is that they pass laws in response to to Murdoch- and Rothermere- dominated tabloids, without stopping to consider how they will be paid for. Additional work is placed on the police, the emergency services, local government and the NHS without any funding. They are then left to consider which activity, not being screamed about by Paul Dacre just at the moment, they will have to cut. We're at risk of child abduction by paedophiles! Stop it! OK, let's cut the traffic police to pay for it. Or stop manning local police stations.

    The answer, which won't happen while the Civil Service is run by Civil Servants, and while the government is run by politicians, is either to roll back the SIs and rely on properly thought out laws, or to require that any SI must first identify all funding issues required and explain how they are to be addressed.

    My favourite idiotic SI is the one passed a few years ago, under which it is now illegal for, say, a professor of electrical engineering to rewire his or her own kitchen or bathroom, while the same job can be done by an unqualified trainee who merely works for a registered electrical contractor. That's typical of Civil Service thinking: don't look at the job to be done, look at the paperwork.

    • Part P (Score:2, Informative)

      by jbb1003 (514899)

      I rewired my own kitchen perfectly legally. I had to pay 100 pounds to the local Buildings Control Office who sent someone round to look at it. He knew very little, but it was pretty clear to me that he was really there to figure out if I knew what I was doing - if he got a bad impression, he'd send an electrician round.

      Part P has got a bit of a bad press, and certainly bad implementation by many councils. I'm not saying it's a good idea, but it isn't quite as idiotic as a lot of people make out.

      • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:03AM (#26572557)
        You've just said it. You had to pay an unqualified and incompetent person 100UKP to assess your competence, whereas you would not have had to pay anything if a contractor sent round an unqualified apprentice. Which is idiotic, and makes my point exactly. Why can't a C Eng or TE simply send a copy of his incorporation certificate to the Council and get a waiver back? Because that would make the qualification dependent on competence, not form filling. Which would open the way to sue contractors who sent round unqualified people to do work. Part P was all about sucking up to the NICEIC, not improving electrical safety.

        Incidentally - I did have a professional involvement in this as a member of BSI electrical safety committees in the 80s and 90s. Did you know that the Government would not make the Wiring Regulations statutory, against the advice of their own experts, because of resistance from the electrical installers?

        • by CompMD (522020)

          The resistance of the installers made it more difficult to conduct business. *ducks*

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by badfish99 (826052)
        So: you were forced by law to pay 100 pounds to someone who knew nothing about the matter, and who judged you on how good a blagger you were. And you think that's not idiotic?
      • Re:Part P (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:25AM (#26572643) Homepage Journal
        I could understand it if you were doing it for someone else as a business - for hire or reward, I think the phrase goes - or if the house was to be rented to someone else. But it's just madness if it's your own house where only you and your family live. I suspect this originated in Brussels.
        • Re:Part P (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:02AM (#26572809)

          I think the argument is that it's necessary to make sure any home is properly and safely wired up. If you sell it to someone else and they move in expecting the wiring to match the usual design specifications, and someone ignorant of those specifications has messed around, then... Well, I'm not quite sure what bad stuff they expect to happen, particularly if there is a record of how the new wiring was done, but I'm sure it would be very bad and nasty.

          You're right, it probably originated in Brussels. But I bet our own guys pushed for it!

          • As I note above, the system ensures no such thing. It enables a person who is completely unqualified - e.g. a Building Inspector - to approve electrical wiring work! It also allows someone to do wiring in dry areas, but not wet areas. Guess what? You can cause just as much damage in either. In fact, a wiring error in a wet area is more likely to trip the RCD, indicating a fault, while a bad earth in a dry area is not. The worst wiring error I know of was done by electricians working for a contracting firm (
        • by Weedlekin (836313)

          "I suspect this originated in Brussels."

          Because British local and national government would obviously never behave like clueless fuckwits without those jealous Europeans forcing them to. That's why all the most horrible European laws are only forced on Britain, while the rest of the EU goes around acting as if they don't exist at all.

    • by squoozer (730327)

      I hear what you are saying regarding Part P. It's an absolute farce. I had to rewire our house so I went off and got myself Part P qualified. While I'm glad that I took a course and got the qualification (because I now feel competent to work on my house) I couldn't help feeling that the whole Part P thing was little more than a protection racket. It really feels like the certification bodies simply lent on the government to protect their business sector. Lets face it they must be making a killing out of Par

  • and expects to pay another £100,000 this year - enough to fund another two investigators.

    Let's see, 100,000 / 2 = 50,000. Unless the living costs in the UK are much higher than in Denmark, or the British pound has tanked more than I'm aware of, that would seems to be quite a decent bag of money you get as such an investigator...

    • by mikeb (6025) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:23AM (#26572399) Homepage

      As a rule-of-thumb when hiring staff you use a 'fully costed' approach which takes employment taxes, telephone, expenses, office space, heating etc. etc. etc. into account - so employers will take the base salary of the person and then double it to get the fully-costed figure. 50,000 headline figure probably translates into a salary of 25,000 to 35,000 whi

    • and expects to pay another £100,000 this year - enough to fund another two investigators.

      Let's see, 100,000 / 2 = 50,000. Unless the living costs in the UK are much higher than in Denmark, or the British pound has tanked more than I'm aware of, that would seems to be quite a decent bag of money you get as such an investigator...

      Actually, recent npr reports show the british pound in virtual freefall against the US dollar right now. Some of the gloomier of british economists are suggesting parity between the two in the next couple months at this rate.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:13AM (#26572345)
    If the law was passed to make it free the first thing the child protection agency would do is request information on everyone. This would bankrupt some ISPs and force others to increase prices. They would probably put a request like this in every month and arrest hundreds of people who followed those nasty links that slashdot (and other) trolls like to put in their posts - then shut down the browser as soon as they realise it is not a computer related site.
  • The Real Story (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bencollier (1156337) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:25AM (#26572403) Homepage
    The real story here is how the agency obviously thinks it can frighten ISPs into giving them a free ride, by invoking the dreaded paedo-bashing tabloids. Pretty shabby behaviour.
    • 'simply can't afford to do business.' does sound rather more like a threat than anything else. "Well, if you can't give us what we want, I'm just not sure how you'll be able to stay afloat..."
  • by Peregr1n (904456) <ian.a.ferguson@gmail.com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:36AM (#26572453) Homepage
    All the other UK law enforcement agencies pay ISPs for investigation, and have never raised a stink about it. The only reason why this has become news is because child abuse is a highly emotional and touchy subject here in the UK at the moment.

    As bad as child abuse is, what good reason is there for giving the investigators cost benefit over, say, murder and rape investigations?
    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      How ever can you say such things? Don't you know that saving one child from a single nude photograph that involved no physical contact is far more important than preventing murder, rape and even genocide of entire populations. It's one of the few things that is more serious than pirating DVDs!

      (Yes, that's sarcasm in there ;) )

  • TFB. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:01AM (#26572543) Journal
    The CEOP's CEO said that any ISP which can't afford to give the police such help 'simply can't afford to do business.'

    If the police can't afford to pay for the ISP's time, perhaps they simply can't afford to continue their witch-hunts against teens doing what teens do [slashdot.org] or works of pure fiction [slashdot.org].

    Can ya hear the violins, CEOP?


    Hey, we'd all love to see actual kiddie predators burn at the stake. But we also know that 99% of these "child protection" laws exist to make it difficult or embarassing (or sometimes even illegal) for adults to see or do things that society (C.1690) has deemed of questionable morality.
    • When you wrote "adults" there, did you actually mean "children"?

      Or are you also talking about more general "child protection" laws made by people who apparently can't see any difference between a loving parent smacking a child lightly as a discplinary measure and an abusive parent seriously injuring a child through repeated beatings?

  • Charge a fee of $100,000 per customer.

    It is unnerving that your privacy comes with a price tag, but at least if it were more expensive, you could hope that law enforcement agencies will only request it if they're really, really sure they need it.

    What really happens, judging from the news, is that ISP data gets requested at the drop of a hat, houses get searched, computers confiscated and reputations ruined - only to follow up with a lame apology if the whole thing turns out to be baseless again.

  • Blime (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:41AM (#26572699) Homepage Journal

    [phone rings]
    Ford: Hello, fleet sales. How can I help you?
    Police: The Met here, we're after some new cars. About 20 mondeos, we were thinking.
    Ford: Estate or saloon?
    Police: Hmmm, ten of each.
    Ford: To you squire, bulk discount and you being on the level and all, I can do that for [tappety tap tap] 400 grand.
    Police: But it's for the children!
    Ford: Well why didn't you say? Have them, just have them. Do me a favour and take them off my hands. I'll throw in a full tank of fuel and fluffy dice.
    Police: You're a gent! Careful how you go now, sir.

    • by mpe (36238)
      Police: But it's for the children!
      Ford: Well why didn't you say? Have them, just have them. Do me a favour and take them off my hands. I'll throw in a full tank of fuel and fluffy dice.


      Assuming they didn't want a full tankER of fuel :)
  • Please excuse my ignorance but why is UK's current situation so touchy with child abuse?

    Has there been an abnormally large number of abductions recently?

    Did a large pedophile crash against a building?

    • Re:Children at UK (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Stuart Gibson (544632) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:19AM (#26572905) Homepage

      Because the tabloids use child abuse as a big stick to further their own political aims, whipping the unwashed (and mostly dumb) masses into a frenzy with a big "think of the children" stick.

      Of course, this is a really easy one, because anyone who tries to logically argue that there has been no actual increase in child abuse or child kidnap in the last 30 years can be pointed at and branded as "doesn't care about children being abused" or onside with paedophiles. I thoroughly recommend getting hold of the satirical "Brass Eye" special on paedophilia which addresses this exact hysteria and caused outrage in the tabloids for trivialising this "serious issue". Most notable was the Daily Star who had a full page decrying the show and writer Chris Morris while the page opposite had a picture of a then 15 year old Charlotte Church in a bikini with the headline "She's a big girl now".

    • by meist3r (1061628)

      Please excuse my ignorance but why is UK's current situation so touchy with child abuse?

      No the child molesters are afraid of getting stabbed ...

    • "Please excuse my ignorance but why is UK's current situation so touchy with child abuse?"

      Because there was a case here recently of a seventeen months old baby being tortured to death over a long period by his 'care givers'. Despite the fact that he was on the 'at risk register', at no time did the social services notice a broken back [timesonline.co.uk]. See also here where a mother fakes the kidnapping [mirror.co.uk] of her own daughter.

      Every so often the nation works itself up into a paedo-panic. Some time back it reached the heigh
    • by Weedlekin (836313)

      "why is UK's current situation so touchy with child abuse?"

      It's due to the well known British love of all children who are quiet, respectful, properly dressed, in extremely small groups, and stay away from their houses, places of work, or shopping areas when not accompanied by one or more responsible adults.

  • Our society(s) are going to have to accept the fact that even this modern world can be a dangerous place. We have become so insulated, and mind you I'm not trying to argue for some Quaker type of lifestyle; I fully love progress/tech/etc, by our progress that any small hint of danger is blown way out of proportion.

    And then you get the "won't someone think of the children!" crowd who take this already exaggerated situation and blow it up to the nth degree...well you get what we have here.

    And this may seem a

    • by meist3r (1061628)

      And this may seem a bit tangent but I'd argue that we really need to use our progress to push our frontiers, IE space. Without any real frontiers to remind us all that life can be dangerous it's far too easy for people to slip into a very 'safe at any cost' mentality.

      Tell that to the hysteria-drenched housewives whose horizon reaches just above the kitchen sink and the television set with celebrity news on them. We have entire generations of moms (and dads) that never did anything, let alone anything dangerous or adventurous. To them every kid should live in a cushioned cell full of cotton candy and rainbows and god help us if anything ever happens. Hysteria!!! PANIC! We need to teach these people how to deal with life or they'll forever ruin it for the curious rest of

    • by mpe (36238)
      Our society(s) are going to have to accept the fact that even this modern world can be a dangerous place.

      But what "danger" is or isn't considered acceptable is very much a social effect.

      We have become so insulated, and mind you I'm not trying to argue for some Quaker type of lifestyle; I fully love progress/tech/etc, by our progress that any small hint of danger is blown way out of proportion.

      With real dangers being ignored. Thus you end up with parents who are paranoid about their children using "The
  • Do they resent paying for petrol to drive to cases? Surely any garage that can't afford to fuel their cars for free can't afford to stay in business.

  • Why are some random kid's interests of being protected regarded more important than my interests in my privacy being protected? Bold statement? Explain that too, why is someone whose education costed less than mine (by definition, mine consisting of more years than a child, being less than 18 years old, could have gotten) more important than me, who can, unlike said child, contribute to the nation's GDP.

    Yes, I don't give a rat's ass about your kids. If you can't protect them from harm, you are to blame. Not

  • Looking away (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maguscrowley (1291130) <[Maguscrowley] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday January 23, 2009 @09:49AM (#26573685)
    More child sex predators scare. I keep on wondering about why they do this and I know why now. They can't really do anything about the real face of it. They're all too afraid.

    I'll tell you something interesting: No stranger can hurt you as much as mom/dad can. Strangers are easy to single out, but no one wants to think about what goes on behind closed doors. You can get over occasional molestation a lot easier then being shut in a room for every day after coming home from school and being convinced that you're worthless.

    The truth is too scary, so it has to be strangers, school teachers, etc ...

    To all of these agencies: Thank you for all your wonderful protection from the scary strangers.
  • I'm a bit rusty, but isn't all this data stored in /var/log/ files and there's a tonne of scripts out there to audit it ..
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday January 23, 2009 @12:41PM (#26575915) Homepage

    Some history. Back in the 1980s, when Guliani's people and the FBI were investigating the New York Mafia, they had lots of wiretaps. New York Telephone billed them for each one as a dedicated line. The phone bill was over $1 million per year. On one occasion, the FBI didn't pay the bill, and the automated billing system then billed the person being wiretapped.

    Back then, wiretapping wasn't built into the US phone system. It took manual wiring in the central office to patch in. So it wasn't done casually; there was paperwork and billing, and the wiring involved had to go into the cable database. The FBI lobbied for the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act, which required carriers to build remote wiretapping capability into phone switches.

    The FBI had also, on a few occasions, used the ALIT (Automatic Line Insulation Testing) system for wiretapping. This was a hardware setup in central offices which could connect to any line and checked for opens, shorts, resistance to ground, and such. Normally, it connected to idle lines for about a quarter-second, ran some tests, and disconnected. It could be used to listen in, though, which got the FBI the idea for dial-up wiretapping. Each switch had only two or three single-line ALIT units, (early versions had two racks of HP test equipment connected via HP-IB) and a wiretap tied up all that gear for long periods, interfering with its normal wire testing job, so telcos hated it when the FBI wanted to use it.

    That, plus Bush I, got us built-in wiretapping.

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