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Manchester Attack Could Lead To Internet Crackdown ( 384

New submitter boundary writes: The UK government looks to be about to put the most egregious parts of the Investigative Powers Act into force "soon after the election" (which is in a couple of weeks) in the wake of the recent bombing in Manchester. "Technical Capability Orders" require tech companies to break their own security. I wonder who'll comply? The Independent reports: "Government will ask parliament to allow the use of those powers if Theresa May is re-elected, senior ministers told The Sun. 'We will do this as soon as we can after the election, as long as we get back in,' The Sun said it was told by a government minister. 'The level of threat clearly proves there is no more time to waste now. The social media companies have been laughing in our faces for too long.'"
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Manchester Attack Could Lead To Internet Crackdown

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @11:34PM (#54481877)

    But only because so many people are willing to give them all their personal information for free.

    • by ewanm89 ( 1052822 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @05:06AM (#54482691) Homepage

      No, this isn't just that, this is "we want to access all encrypted information". We must have broken encryption because "terrorism". Basically Theresa May has fascist tendencies she wants to enforce. Unfortunately the other political parties are such a mess at the moment that well... yeah, the whole thing is not good.

      • I can see it now. Banners, pitchforks, and people chanting, "Broken encryption for safety!!!"

        (Government is the best solution for EVERYTHING! Just ask someone in government and they will tell you!!!)
      • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @10:59AM (#54484327)

        Basically Theresa May has fascist tendencies she wants to enforce.

        Yup, time to Godwin this discussion and start calling the British PM "Theresa Maydolf".

        The thing that gets me is how few people among the 'general public' understand that every single time a country enacts measures like this, it's an unqualified win for the terrorists. But you can be sure that the leaders of those countries are aware of that fact, and welcome terrorist attacks as excuse and justification for fulfilling their darkest fantasies of domination and subjugation.

        The other thing that many people don't stop to think about is that if their governments hadn't insisted on on interfering with other countries' governments and ways of life, we wouldn't have nearly so big a problem with terrorism.

        • by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @05:44PM (#54487421) Journal
          20 people die listening to Ariana Grande and it's a national tragedy.
          A couple of days later, 100 civilians die from a bombing in Iraq and nobody bats an eye.
    • What the UK government, like pretty much every government, apparently, doesn't understand is that 'cracking down on the Internet' (i.e. censorship) is an endless, pointless, no-win game of Whack-a-Mole. Just ask anyone who ever operated a discussion forum site and tried to prevent people from posting certain words; they'll come up with endless permutations of that word to get around word filters. So it will go with 'cracking down on the Internet' in the UK: They think they're going to prevent radicalization
  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @11:39PM (#54481887)

    ...Mainstream media are reporting today that the government was given credible warnings about the suspected bomber as many as five times over the past few years, from a variety of sources and via exactly the sorts of channels you're supposed to use if you're worried that someone might do something like this. None of these source appear to have relied on high-tech surveillance and intercepted communications. They were reportedly based on in-person observations, which tragically doesn't seem to have set off the right alarm bells soon enough.

    • Re: In other news... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      He and a bunch of others. Are you saying the police should go round up all the other foreigners on their watch list?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm wary of speculating or trusting early information too much in a situation like this. The truth is that I have no idea how many people actually come to the attention of the police and security services so many times or for reasons as disturbing as saying they think suicide bombing is OK. It seems likely that in this case something has gone wrong with the system, obviously with horrible consequences, and no doubt there will be a lot of reviews and discussions in the weeks and months ahead to try and work

        • Sadly the ability to monitor all of a persons communications would probably have caught this piece of shit if all of his communications had been monitored. What the Snoopers Charter is disliked for is its envisaged use by general policing and low level bureaucrats in a wide range of government departments. This will obviously lead to widespread criminalization of the population, we will need double the number of jails to hold all the people this will ensnare. Catching terrorists is already a fairly low prio

          • No it won't. There is something called too much data or noise. If you had ALL the fingerprints in the world updating with time of death, it will make case solving worse! The entire database would become useless. You would have too many false leads to weed through. To keep a proper justice system, you would need a lot of man power to execute on the results. Resources that systems just do not have.

            We are already at this level of information. This is why "all the signals were there" but ignored happens in

      • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

        If someone is saying hey, lets go blow up the train, rounding them up is a good idea. If all they're doing is saying Allah Akbar then certainly not.

      • So you're assuming that whatever social media trawling they engage in is going to create a smaller list of suspicious individuals? That's ridiculous. If they can't investigate the leads they have now, then adding more noisy data is not going to help anything.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The simple truth is that 24/7/365 surveillance of a target is expen$ive. It was mentioned in BBC interviews that full coverage of an individual requires something like 70 people with air and ground assets, analysts, investigators, etc. The UK and also the US are wealthy countries, but we don't have the resources to cover everyone on the suspicious list with that level of monitoring. The UK could probably monitor a few dozen suspects at that level for a limited amount of time. They have thousands of people o

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Physical surveillance would be a hopelessly inefficient approach. Building bombs requires supplies, and purchases of such supplies can and should be tracked. I mean, I'm not advocating that buying nails should require a photo ID, but if somebody goes into a hardware store and buys hundreds of dollars' worth of nails using cash, that should raise red flags, and should get reported along with surveillance camera photos.

        Similarly, if somebody buys any quantity of nails on a credit card belonging to someone

    • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @01:52AM (#54482233)

      None of these source appear to have relied on high-tech surveillance and intercepted communications

      We know that. And we know also that most people, maybe 95%, don't have the necessary scientific background to comprehend that fact, and presented with the horror of these attacks, will comply without blinking to more Internet censoring.

    • Re:In other news... (Score:5, Informative)

      by golodh ( 893453 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @02:05AM (#54482283)
      Yes, here's the link: []

      It appears the authorities were warned on five (!) separate occasions about this boy being mentally unstable and embracing terrorism by people who knew him personally. They ignored it.

      To be honest, they might have thought the suspect was just a buffoon. You can't go round arresting every loony you find. But what you can do is pay such people a visit (you can even use social workers for that if the police has a capacity problem) and/or interview them at the police station, have a mental assessment done, and see who they're connected with.

      Well, now is the time to improve procedures instead of outlawing encryption and introducing Internet censorship..

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        This guy was just a tool, used by the ones who planned the attack and built the bomb. If he had been arrested, they would have used someone else. They take standard precautions to make sure that low level people like him being picked up doesn't compromise the ones higher up.

        They have been doing it that way for decades now. The police are running around blowing up doors and random "packages" that turn out to be nothing, but it would be crazy to assume that those responsible had not anticipated their actions

      • It appears the authorities were warned on five (!) separate occasions about this boy being mentally unstable and embracing terrorism by people who knew him personally. They ignored it.

        They get ten thousand similar reports a week. They can't possibly follow up on all of them.

        Monday morning quarterback.

      • by bazorg ( 911295 )


        (you can even use social workers for that if the police has a capacity problem)

        Unfortunately, the social services have the same capacity problems that police does in the UK. We have an ageing population, increasing tax revenue from working people and companies is complicated. Even if we did fund everything better, recruiting and convincing the village idiot to blow themselves up is likely to be much cheaper than anything authorities can do about it.

        In any case, Theresa May would not miss an opportunity to "do something" about the internet.

      • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @04:45AM (#54482659)

        His Dad was also a Libyan militant, in Libya, who he had just visited, days before the bombing.

        This guy is a poster child for the type of person that should be picked up trivially if MI5 was even half way competent. There's literally no reason if MI5 were doing this job that this guy should've slipped through the net - just about every indicator for potential terrorist was ticked, and they failed to follow it up.

        I agree with you - on it's own, you can't just pick people up based on reports. But I don't imagine there's too many people flying back from ISIS hotbeds with family that are linked to militant groups, and who have been reported for saying "suicide bombings are okay" repeatedly over a number of years, including by others in his extended family and local Imams.

        I simply cannot comprehend what MI5 are doing to have managed to have missed this one. I've often written before that all the terrorists that slip through the net in the West whether it's in the US, France, or the UK all seem to be known to the security services, but this particular case shows an astoundingly exceptional level of incompetence compared to even those.

        How can they ask for more access to data when they can't even work with intel handed to them on a plate?

      • To be honest, they might have thought the suspect was just a buffoon. You can't go round arresting every loony you find. But what you can do is pay such people a visit (you can even use social workers for that if the police has a capacity problem) and/or interview them at the police station, have a mental assessment done, and see who they're connected with.

        I'm sure they would have done that and more, if they had the resources. Regrettably, they don't. Remember, we have been in the grip of the Conservative goverment's austerity policies for what almost feels like a lifetime, because of the financial crisis, which in turn was caused by the drive towards privatisation and deregulation over the last few decades. I know there are people who don't want to admit that this is the way it is, but I think most of us realise that this is true. I'm not really a huge fan o

      • by purple_cobra ( 848685 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @06:17AM (#54482847)
        If you are a UK resident, do not vote Conservative. There are soldiers on UK streets instead of police because we don't have enough police to do the job! The government that slashed police numbers, meaning they were and are effectively crippled? That would be the Conservatives and their Home Secretary at the time, Mrs Theresa May. There is blood on May's hands for this event yet the tabloid press will not report it. She was an incompetent Home Secretary and is an incompetent Prime Minister, but her tabloid lapdogs continue to point everywhere but to the person with whom the blame should rest.

        Vote these Tory idiots out before Daesh turn the country into a smoking ruin.
      • *Did* they ignore it? The wonderful thing with intelligence is you don't get to hear what they did or didn't do. They might have investigated him and found him to be mentally unstable with an interest in terrorism, but the evidence may have fallen short of proof of criminal activity.

        If that was the case, we can do what the US do and intern people without trial, or we can let them remain free in society. If there are enough people like this, you can't effectively monitor them all, so you have to accept th

    • How many duch credible warning do they get per day, and how many can they realistically investigate ? If the y get 5 per day in average and can realistically investigate 10, no excuse. But if they get 50 per day for the same workforce, the y have to prioritize, and maybe some of the workforce were locked into other investigation too (the other nutjob at the bridge comes to mind)
      • If the y get 5 per day in average and can realistically investigate 10, no excuse. But if they get 50 per day for the same workforce, the y have to prioritize, and maybe

        ...just maybe they should investigate someone for whom they have had five separate reports.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      While I still tend towards "incompetence" and not "intent", it is getting harder. Obviously, May does regard this as an excellent opportunity to push stronger for her anti-freedom agenda (which will do exactly nothing to curb terrorism, but may encourage it).

  • by Streetlight ( 1102081 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @11:42PM (#54481895) Journal
    If the Internet and the World Wide Web become too dangerous for terrorists to communicate they'll find other ways to communicate their nefarious plans which may be more immune to cracking. This could include face to face meetings in secure venues such as caves or messenger transmissions. It may be that the best way to learn of such plans is the old fashion method of inserting moles into such organizations. They must be really good or they'll end up as recent moles have in China.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @12:39AM (#54482035) Journal
      The UK faced that with the Irish question before the wide use of the Internet. The UK solved that by collecting all phone calls into and out of Ireland, the UK.
      The very smart thing the UK did was never to mention collection to lawyers, the media, human rights groups or its own police.
      Very interesting people in Ireland and the US, UK kept on talking, funding, making calls, arranging meetings, moving hardware thinking phone calls and voice prints could only be used in the Soviet Union for a select few Soviet mil sites and officials.

      The very interesting people in the UK do not need the internet. They can use their holidays to move information in person.
      The UK solved the "This could include face to face" meeting issue down to two people meeting in isolated areas.
      Get the voice prints, the faces and follow a person all over Ireland, the UK with vans, trucks, cars, helicopters, early satalite tracking. Find out who they meet, record the talk or exchange and then offer both sides a "deal" to work for the UK intelligence services.
      The deal on offer was usually accepted.
      As people who got turned early on moved up to more trusted Irish networks, more interesting people got exposed and got offered the same deal.
      The UK police, media, lawyers, human rights groups never really worked that aspect out.
      The other aspect was support from the USA. The US was not interested in UK/Irish issues so the UK had to act in the USA without US knowledge.
      The same methods got used in the US and support and funding from the US to Ireland was tracked and later "found" with a good cover story.
      Face to face meeting provide not much of the expected cover if one or both people are known or the meeting place is been watched
    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      If the Internet and the World Wide Web become too dangerous for terrorists to communicate they'll find other ways to communicate their nefarious plans which may be more immune to cracking. This could include face to face meetings in secure venues such as caves or messenger transmissions.

      Really. You're not curious as to why after decades of face to face meetings and messenger transmissions they switched to using social media? You don't think that maybe, just maybe, they adopted social media because it allows for a loose, decentralized form of terrorism, as opposed to a complex structure with secret protocols and challenging geographical restrictions that can be more easily taken down?

      Bring up privacy issues if you have to, but please, let's not make up absurd reasons for not making it more

    • by knorthern knight ( 513660 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @02:24AM (#54482309)

      "Cracking down on the internet" will do nothing but inconvenience innocent ordinary citizens.

      The US had a very hard time finding Osama bin Laden after 9/11. He dropped off the net, and no cellphones either. He communicated via trusted couriers.

      Another example is "Millenium Challenge 2002" [] This was a simulated war game with "Blue" force (USA) versus "Red" force (middle eastern, probably Iran).

      > Red, commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted
      > an asymmetric strategy, in particular, using old methods to evade Blue's sophisticated electronic
      > surveillance network. Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to front-line
      > troops and World-War-II-style light signals to launch airplanes without radio communications.

        The initial result was an absolute disaster for "Blue" at the beginning []

      >At this point, the exercise was suspended, Blue's ships were "re-floated", and the rules of engagement were changed;


      > After the war game was restarted, its participants were forced to follow a script
      > drafted to ensure a Blue Force victory. Among other rules imposed by this script,
      > Red Force was ordered to turn on their anti-aircraft radar in order for them to be
      > destroyed, and was not allowed to shoot down any of the aircraft bringing Blue
      > Force troops ashore. Van Riper also claimed that exercise officials denied him
      > the opportunity to use his own tactics and ideas against Blue Force, and that they
      > also ordered Red Force not to use certain weapons systems against Blue Force
      > and even ordered the location of Red Force units to be revealed.

      The USA lost to "low tech" in Viet Nam. Afghanistan and Iraq weren't exactly "glorious victories" either. The UK seems to be falling into the same trap. They'll only succeed in shutting down internet connectivity for innocent citizens. Terrorists will continue to use "sneakernet", trusted couriers, etc.

    • by c-A-d ( 77980 )

      Watch them start their own number station. Try and block that.

      • by Alioth ( 221270 )

        Why would they need to? Radio direction finding is well understood, and the transmitter will be located in short order. Ofcom continuously monitors and triangulates transmissions and will undoubtedly be sharing this data with GCHQ.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Indeed. The Snoopers Charter is extremely dangerous to individual freedoms of ordinary citizens, but it will do absolutely nothing to reduce terrorism. It may encourage terrorism though, because the terrorists must think they are winning.

  • Guilty by default? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Marco Alvarado ( 4089331 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @11:47PM (#54481905)

    It is an ominous action what was performed when parents were waiting to pickup their children after a concert.

    After declaring something that it is true, let's talk about technology and the justification to violate the privacy human right in the name of security.

    If there is any justification to break all rights trying to catch terrorists, then we must stop using paper because somebody "could" have been designing a terrorist act in a piece of paper. Let's also stop talking, because when we talk could be possible that we let others to receive messages describing how to perform terrorist acts.

    Let's give the authorities the right to use "advanced" interrogation methods, because we could be thinking on performing terrorist acts and, in general, let's become guilty by default in a world were it is enforced to demonstrate that we are not guilty on any possible action that could hurt others.

    The main problem is that the human being it is very capable to bypass the obvious communication methods and the bad people will continue performing bad actions in one or another way, and in the middle all the really innocent people will become guilty by default and the freedom that humanity has been working to acquire during thousands of years and millions of lives will be lost in just some years. And if this happen, the terrorists will win the war.

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @11:53PM (#54481919) Journal

      The main problem is people overreact. This isn't a Luftwaffe bombing campaign, there is no existential threat against the British state, so the idea that British authorities should just start torturing people seems like outrageous overreaction.

  • Ahh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @11:54PM (#54481921)
    Multiple warnings over several years, and the UK government never acted on them. So now, rather than admit they were incompetent or not funding their human agents enough, they're going to cut off free speech online? Congratulations Britain, you have the dubious honor of being the second country in the world to fall to terrorism.
    • And what is it you're supposed to do with a warning. Their could be dozens or hundreds or probably more individuals whom authorities are being warned about; terrorists, murderers, rapists, Mafioso and plenty of other people that some foreign and/or domestic intelligence agencies are warning any government about. In a lot of cases until they actually strap on a nail bomb or gun down a competing mobster, any government is stuck with finite resources and trying to find the most efficient way to use them.

      The fa

    • The UK might not have ever had free speech that you're worried about them losing.

  • I'd be saying, "Sure, but we're going to shut down all GovCloud regions. One level of encryption for everybody."
  • will they force apple to unlock phones as well?

  • by seoras ( 147590 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @12:03AM (#54481959)

    Legislation only removes objects, even virtual and intangible, from the law abiding public.
    Not from those outside the law who will carry on doing what they do.
    Manchester was someone outside of the law and this crackdown does nothing, yet again, to prevent re-occurance.
    Government's cause terrorism, who in turn target the public for voting them in.
    You end up feeling like the pig in the middle between both extremists (legislative & violent).

  • As many here have pointed out, attacks like this were far from unknown during "The Troubles". Yet somehow, the UK managed to muddle through without turning into a police state.

    May and the rest of her pet fascists need a strong lesson in reality, and I don't think the voters can deliver it without some encouragement about votes having consequences.

    I wonder what would happen if every social media account in the UK...all of them...stopp

    • Most of that Irish stuff happened before The Internet posed a significant threat to government control of the population. They didn't need to control anything but roadblocks back then. Today's a different story.
      • What, there were no telephones? No other ways for terrorists to communicate without actually meeting? You were right, perhaps unintentionally, when you spoke of "government control of the population". Because that's what this is about. Not terrorism, but control.

        Today is NOT a different story, at least not as far as this loathsome law is concerned.

        • I'll state the obvious, as you seem to have missed it. Internet = broadcast. Telephone = point to point. Therefore different story.
  • Just like our government used 9/11 to implement all kinds of useless but intrusive laws to poke into our private lives, expect the UK to do the same. It's unlikely something that protects the citizen will come about, but that really isn't the point. The government has a golden opportunity to do all kinds of shit that people would normally be up in arms about, but now they will cheer the erosion of rights along.

  • by Going_Digital ( 1485615 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @03:23AM (#54482439)
    Clearly they learnt nothing from the CIA exploits leak that cased the NHS to go into meltdown when black hats got hold of the code. They just don't have a clue, compelling legitimate companies to provide ways to break into their encryption just means that the terrorists will use other encryption techniques either developed themselves or from a company outside of the UK who doesn't care about UK laws. End result, law abiding citizens loose their privacy, terrorists continue with impunity.
  • Unfortunately (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @03:54AM (#54482543)

    Unfortunately it is likely to be a crackdown on people supporting equality, democracy, and free speech and pointing out that Islam is against all of these. The muslims will be allowed to carry on as normal.

    Why is it that when the muslims say they fear reprisals from non-muslims after an attack it is fine, but when non-muslims say they fear further attacks by the muslims it's islamophobia?

  • The existing anti-terrorism laws didn't work so we need more of the same shit, even if this guy is a loopy mass murderer and has nothing to do with terrorism.

    How convenient that governments can use their own incompetence to increase their power.

  • It is not possible to understand a crime deeply without answering a question: Cui bono? or Cui prodest? (Eng. Whom does it profit?)

    In fact the original text of Marcus Tullius Cicero's speach was: "...asking, time and again, To whose benefit?" []
  • You must be joking, that's the local equivalent of the National Enquirer.

  • by Z80a ( 971949 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @04:46AM (#54482661)

    Is that you never, ever, EVER give the president a power that you will regret later when someone like Trump steps in.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson