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United Kingdom Communications Encryption Government Privacy The Internet

UK Plans To Allow Warrantless Searches of Internet History (telegraph.co.uk) 136

whoever57 writes: The UK government plans to require ISPs and telcoms companies to maintain browsing and email history of UK residents for a period of 12 months and make the data available to police on request without a warrant. "The new powers would allow the police to seize details of the website and searches being made by people they wanted to investigate." Exactly how they expect the ISPs to provide search histories now that most Google searches use SSL isn't explained (and probably not even considered by those proposing the legislation). Similarly with Gmail and other email providers using SMTP TLS and IMAPS, much email is opaque to ISPs. Will this drive more use of VPNs and TOR? This comes alongside news that UK police used powers granted to them by anti-terrorism laws to seize a journalist's laptop.
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UK Plans To Allow Warrantless Searches of Internet History

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 30, 2015 @10:30AM (#50832235)

    about how the US is treating its citizens with privacy.. But you people are writing the book on the matter.

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @10:39AM (#50832295)
      The United States wasn't the birthplace that inspired Eric Blair to write under the penname of George Orwell...
      • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @11:04AM (#50832499)

        Errr .... that analogy is, I would say, not excellent.

        Orwell primarily wrote about what was happening in other countries. Animal Farm was a wafer-thin allegory about the events happening inside Soviet Russia and what Stalin was doing in particular. Orwell found it hard to get published because at the time, Stalin wasn't understood as the monster he truly was: rather the USSR was still seen as the ally against the Nazi's that made huge sacrifices to win, the ally that rolled into Berlin.

        1984 was Orwell's attempt to imagine what a Soviet-style totalitarian regime would look like if implemented in the UK. It's full of references to "Ingsoc" because it was another book about the evils of communism as practiced elsewhere.

        Orwell wrote those books because, at the time, he felt very pessimistic about the future of his homeland. He felt sure that a communist/fascist takeover was going to happen. Towards the end of his life he admitted he had been entirely mistaken about that and England hadn't worked out the way he thought it would.

        Ironically, Orwell was a committed socialist himself. He didn't write about the evils of communism because he was a capitalist. Rather, he saw communism as practiced abroad as a corruption of true democratic socialism, and he believed the right way to bring about a hard-left government was through the ballot box rather than through a fascist uprising.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "Orwell primarily wrote about what was happening in other countries."

          Although he was a critic of UK politics before he wrote "1984", see "Politics and the English Language".

        • Stalin wasn't understood as the monster he truly was

          So did Patton, which was part of the reason the OSS took him out...

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            You have some of the most fanciful... umm... beliefs... Patton was pasted by a drunk driver, not the OSS. Hell, IIRC, Patton even set it up so that the driver wasn't prosecuted. How one goes from that to him being assassinated by the OSS is beyond me but I seem to recall that you think almost everything is some giant conspiracy. "Oh no! Someone died! It must be a conspiracy!"

            *sighs*

            Well, at least you're amusing. There's that. Deciding to take a look at what evidence there is to suggest your allegation is tr

            • Jesus Christ you cocksucker. How the fuck does it take you a paragraph to describe a google search. Kill yourself.

              • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                I've never had a stalker before. It kinda makes me ego swell. This is awesome! You should post more angry, ranty, messages. When I get time, later, I'll type out a novella just for you.

      • To be fair, he drew most of his inspiration from his experiences policing the colonies, fighting in the Spanish civil war & the events in the USSR.

    • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @10:42AM (#50832321)

      The USA has constitutional prohibitions against this kind of activity. So the NSA and friends have to make a show about complying with the law. British prohibitions against this are much weaker. So the government just comes clean about it.

      I'm not certain which society is easier to live with. One that lies to you and the judiciary branch or one that just does as it pleases but admits it.

      • The USA has constitutional prohibitions against this kind of activity. So the NSA and friends have to make a show about complying with the law. British prohibitions against this are much weaker. So the government just comes clean about it.

        I'm not certain which society is easier to live with. One that lies to you and the judiciary branch or one that just does as it pleases but admits it.

        Fair enough, but candidly, I just assume any searches I perform without cloaking are accessible to any number of interested parties.

        • by plover ( 150551 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @11:23AM (#50832655) Homepage Journal

          Fair enough, but candidly, I just assume any searches I perform without cloaking are accessible to any number of interested parties.

          And you might want to take extra care there, too. How effective is your "cloaking"? Are you randomizing your wireless MAC when you fire up Tor at the coffee shop that is 0.34 km from your house? Are you sure your machine isn't leaking all kinds of traceable info when it connects? Is the Tor session at the coffee shop usually accompanied by a connection attempt from an iPhone reporting its name as "rmdingler's iPhone"? Does the coffee shop have a camera?

          There's paranoid, and not paranoid enough.

        • by ahodgson ( 74077 )

          I assume any Google searches are delivered directly to the NSA, and routinely shared by them to allied intelligence agencies. After Snowden it would be irresponsible to assume anything less.

          • More likely the NSA has many routing servers at strategic places in the Internet to scan traffic, and record specific content, source, or destination IP addresses.

            That includes stuff sitting around, network-wise, places like Google, facebook, etc.

        • The USA has constitutional prohibitions against this kind of activity. So the NSA and friends have to make a show about complying with the law. British prohibitions against this are much weaker. So the government just comes clean about it.

          ....

          Fair enough, but candidly, I just assume any searches I perform without cloaking are accessible to any number of interested parties.

          There is a plugin worth playing with.
          To quote the description:

          "Confuse surveillers by randomly browsing the internet.
          "Advertisers and government agencies attempt to build a profile of you based on your browsing history. Paranoid Browsing confuses that effort by making a background tab which browses the internet at random.

          "PB was inspired by fictional software described in Cory Doctorow's book Little Brother: "It even throws up a bunch of 'chaff' communications that are supposed to disguise the fact that you

          • This morning, under the influence of the House of Maxwell, I had the the most rewarding experience, courtesy of your post.

            The fun began with the heuristics of judgement as suggested by your charity link...next thing you know I am researching dry-nose vs. wet-nose primates.

            It's why I love the site.

      • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @11:12AM (#50832555)

        The latter is better.

        I don't believe GCHQ gives a shit about the rule of law, seeing as how they're basically a subsidiary of the NSA (to the extent that they seem to share internal networks no less).

        But nonetheless, the fact that governments are passing or trying to pass such laws is STILL a big improvement over the previous state of affairs, where their intelligence agencies are/were building these databases covertly whilst lying about doing so. At least this way the regular democratic processes have a chance to work, regardless of how flawed they might be.

        I think the British government is going to lose this one (practically, not legislatively). The issue they have is that the UK isn't China: it doesn't have a home grown internet industry. The UK contributes to the global tech industry in big ways: virtually all consumer electronics are using ARM chips, the UK built one of the first computers, and there are tons of Brit's doing great work in the computing field today.

        But when it comes to the giant cloud services that store everyone's data there's only really two places in the world that matter, and that's Silicon Valley and Seattle. All that data is entering and leaving the UK in encrypted form: all they and the ISPs can see is which companies are being interacted with. That trend will continue and probably even accelerate now LetsEncrypt is here. So the govt can legislate whatever the hell they like, but the data that results is going to be of low quality.

        I suspect they know this and they're going to try and introduce laws that force Facebook/Google/Apple/etc to act as extensions of GCHQ. To what extent these companies go along with it will be the most fascinating fight of the coming years.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I suspect they know this and they're going to try and introduce laws that force Facebook/Google/Apple/etc to act as extensions of GCHQ. To what extent these companies go along with it will be the most fascinating fight of the coming years.

          This is about the police, not GCHQ.

        • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 )

          I suspect they know this and they're going to try and introduce laws that force Facebook/Google/Apple/etc to act as extensions of GCHQ. To what extent these companies go along with it will be the most fascinating fight of the coming years.

          K.O.

          It's a fixed fight and it was over before it began.

        • subsidiary? no partner, yes.
      • I'm not certain which society is easier to live with. One that lies to you and the judiciary branch or one that just does as it pleases but admits it.

        In the US, the executive branch gets a lot of leeway until legislators and courts catch up. It's not surprising that quickly after the widespread adoption of the Internet and the Web, executive branch agencies went overboard. It will take a few more decades of activism to sort this all out, but there is a good chance that we'll end up with pretty good protecti

      • Watching the other Americans around me I think the term "Ignorance is Bliss" applies. I'm just along for the ride at this point. Aware of the currents sucking me into the whirlpool, but helpless to fight against the current brought by the willfully ignorant that live by "It's the end of the world as we know it..but I feel fine." Well, if you can't beat them, join them... and ride the tide of human suffering to come.
      • The USA has constitutional prohibitions against this kind of activity.

        You mean that piece of paper that the US Supreme court has been shredding, unless it involves freedom of speech by wealthy people?

      • British prohibitions against this are much weaker.

        They are, but European prohibitions are actually quite strict. As long as the UK remains a signatory to the ECHR and remains a member of the EU this proposal is open to challenge by courts that have shown themselves more protective of individual liberties than the US courts have of late.

        Of course, at the same time, the present UK administration is also trying to find a way to remain a signatory to the ECHR without actually being bound by it and to renego

      • What prohibitions?
        Certainly seizure without trial and conviction is unconstitutional also, but every single day police forces pad their operating budgets with "civil forfeiture" absent trial or conviction.
        Thank Scalia and the right for the mass surveillance of your phones, internet and bank accounts with NO oversight whatever.
    • As a Brit I'd like to apologise for the current British government. They are a bunch of right-wing authoritarian fuck-wits.

    • You're both right: The US is probably writing the UK's book.
  • Don't worry, they won't care about your pr0n searches...well, maybe they'll just store them all up for 'later use' should you become a problem in the future.
    As Cameron said "For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone"

    Fuck them all. You heard it here first.

    • Remember that the possession of BDSM pornography in the UK is now an illegal offence.

      • Remember that the possession of BDSM pornography in the UK is now an illegal offence.

        So how about the whole internet take it upon themselves to subscribe every politician in England to every BDSM site magazine and video service they can. Fill their mail and email boxes with it.

  • What you have to remember here is that Her Majesty's Gov't especially Theresa May and David (Knob in a Pig) Cameron can't even spell "internet" let alone being able to draft any coherent legislation to control the Internet.
    This is more from the UK Gov't's Department of Sound Bites for the Newspapers Agency. It will never happen because they don't understand the scale of the problem or the massive bucket of data they'd need the ISP to hold and we all know that GCHQ are doing this stuff already. They also d
    • What you have to remember here is that Her Majesty's Gov't especially Theresa May and David (Knob in a Pig) Cameron can't even spell "internet" let alone being able to draft any coherent legislation to control the Internet.

      But isn't that the scary part? Here in the US, are legislators aren't tech people either. When they write bills, the CIA, NSA, and others that have tech people get to say what they're doing is legal because the legislators didn't know enough to say it should not be.

    • What you have to remember here is that Her Majesty's Gov't especially Theresa May and David (Knob in a Pig) Cameron can't even spell "internet" let alone being able to draft any coherent legislation to control the Internet.

      Unless the real purpose of this is to hide GCHQ's illegal activity? In other words, provide a plausible source for information that could not be legally gathered? To provide a parallel path for "parallel construction" of evidence?

  • by call -151 ( 230520 ) * on Friday October 30, 2015 @10:53AM (#50832423) Homepage

    According to the article, the proposal would pay the ISPs costs to retain the information. Given the value of the data (blackmail, harassment, etc.) there is strong incentive for many independent agents to try to get it and the track record on security for far less valuable information is not so great. I'm sure the ISPs costs are overstated and their incentive to do a great job securing the data properly is not so clear.

  • Anyone who threatens government power.
  • SELECT user, url FROM visits WHERE url LIKE '%sex%' AND user IN (SELECT user FROM visits WHERE url LIKE '%politics%');

    • Rats. Now my search for "How the invention of the sextant influenced politics" is going to get me in trouble!

  • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @11:08AM (#50832519)

    Just remember, European governments are really concerned about your privacy! That's why they want all the private and personal data of Europeans kept on European servers. You know, so that they can better protect you!

  • Quickest way to kill it is to send them the bill for coding, power, location hosting, backups, etc. As soon as they fund the expense it happens. It'll die as an unfunded expense.

  • by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @11:38AM (#50832783)

    Or just use a VPN service or TOR

    Lots of trivial ways around this... no need to panic.

  • No Problem.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MagickalMyst ( 1003128 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @11:41AM (#50832799)
    As long as the government is willing to allow the public access to all government emails and phone records also.

    Spy on them as they spy on us. Fair is fair.
    • "With great power comes great responsibility." They will never reveal how much they know, as it would give them greater responsibility.

      What if they actually knew, in great detail, when certain acts of terror were going to happen? That would make them complicit in these crimes.

  • Searches using Google run through HTTPS. So, how exactly is the ISP to record those searches?

    • They will still be able to tell the IP you connect to, which will tell them the server you queried. That information could be useful to someone.

      But they won't be able to see the content of the query.

      Of course, this sounds like the legislation, as written, could be interpreted to mean that only layer 7 logging needs to happen (since that is where HTTP lives) in which case, even your destination IPs would be safe from logging under this law.

  • by koan ( 80826 )

    Cameron (the dead pig fucker) states himself that they leave "no place to hide", no encryption (that can't be broken) no VPN, etc.
    All of this while holding the specter of the the 4 horsemen of the infopocalypse.

    Dead Pig Romance
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/a... [thedailybeast.com]

    Cameron: No Encryption
    http://www.theguardian.com/com... [theguardian.com]

    4 horsemen
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Couple all that with CCTV, and a garden variety of other assaults on the freedoms on the UK and you get Prison Island. (My name for the UK)

  • was a cautionary tale -- not an instruction manual!

  • Apparently, at year end, Facebook will be automatically sharing all of your old posts to anyone using a search engine, no matter how they were posted, unless you go into FB options for security and change Privacy for all old posts to Friends Only instead of Public. You might also want to look at what FB thinks your history is and delete things like pics you don't want shared.

  • Once this is indeed put in place have a robot access a large set of sites randomly and send emails on frequent intervals to itself or a set of known bad addresses (or even known good ones that have the inbox thrown away daily). This will effectively grow the logs and history to so ridiculous proportions that analyzing anything will be pointless and storing all that data will become a major expense for ISPs. Once there is compelling evidence that this is bad for business and ISPs unfortunately have to cut ba

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