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UK Law Enforcement Is Against "3-Strikes"

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the swing-and-a-miss dept.

Encryption 134

Now that the UK is discussing plans for some form of 3-strikes regime to discourage file-sharing, TechDirt reports that the fans of due process have picked up unlikely allies: the law enforcement and spying establishments fear that a 3-strikes policy would result in far more encryption on the Net, greatly complicating their jobs. "Of course, they're not as concerned about due process and civil rights, as they are about making it more difficult to track down criminals online: 'Law enforcement groups, which include the Serious and Organized Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit, believe that more encryption will increase the costs and workload for those attempting to monitor internet traffic. ... A source involved in drafting the Bill said that the intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, had also voiced concerns about disconnection. "The spooks hate it," the source said.'" The Times (UK) Online has more details.

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UK (0)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29887787)

After all the news about UK i'm surprised to read they've actually considered whats good for people.

Good job and continue that.

Re:UK (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29887969)

They are not concerned for what is good for the people. They don't want the law solely because they are afraid that it will lead to citizens making use of encryption that makes it harder for them to snoop. Pure selfish interest.

Re:UK (3, Insightful)

spydabyte (1032538) | about 5 years ago | (#29888179)

Sure, it makes sense. Make it such a PR issue that everyone and their grandmother is concerned with security so that they use Tor. It's simply an arms race [wikipedia.org] .

Re:UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29889505)

Running a TOR server for an average person is something you cannot do.

Running a TOR server for an intelligence service is cheap as chips and comes fifteen to the dozen.

Re:UK (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 years ago | (#29890749)

When MI5/6 owns your first contact with TOR and you enter "How was London yesterday" in clear text, all the have to wait for is that to exit.
TOR can flash it around the world a few times, when your clear text message returns, they have the IP of both users and the fact they feel the need to use TOR.
With the links to your telco, it becomes too easy.

Re:UK (3, Interesting)

DaveGod (703167) | about 5 years ago | (#29889245)

To be fair the "UK law enforcement and intelligence services" should not be commenting on due process and civil rights, other than to confirm that they uphold them. It is their job to track criminals, it is our job to dictate the rules they must follow in doing so.

It's not really fair to apportion them with blame for the laziness, apathy and short-sightedness of voters and their elected officials. They're probably even more surprised than we are when their more outlandish proposals actually get approved.

Re:UK (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 years ago | (#29890905)

With new roles comes new funding.
New funding means a few token arrests, but a vast backend.
Today it tracks p2p, soon it just tracks.
Like cctv for the IRA is now OCR ed for tax and other revenue options.
As for laziness, apathy and short-sightedness, sure, they sold out to rendition and will be named over time.
Could be a new set of rules.
In the past outlandish proposals could be blocked as MI5/6 knew of the sexual needs, fraud, theft of their political masters and could end a political party for a decade.
Now with torture, containers, black sites, ghosts and false flags operations set up by top MI5/6/SAS ect, elected officials now have the upper hand.

Re:UK (1, Flamebait)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | about 5 years ago | (#29890151)

Ummmm yeah... that's pretty much exactly what the article summary said. Being able to read is now +5 insightful? Oh well, I'm here to witness the dying days of /. I guess.

Re:UK (1)

hannson (1369413) | about 5 years ago | (#29888055)

Don't be surprised. They're not considering what's good for _people_ they're considering what's good for them. It's bad for big brother if all the internets are encrypted.

3 Strikes is Better than... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29887827)

3 Strikes is better than 3 niggers wasting time on the corner.

Of course... (2, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | about 5 years ago | (#29887829)

They dont want people to have any excuse to use encryption other than if you've got something to hide.

Besides.. linking terrorists to filesharers is a stretch despite how much easier it would make the UK RIAA's job.

LAWL (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29887835)

The Serious and Organised Crime Agency, as opposed to what, the Laid-back and Disheveled Crime Buddies?

Re:LAWL (1)

wisty (1335733) | about 5 years ago | (#29892561)

The "Serious and Organised Crime Agency", as opposed to the RIAA (or whatever it's called in the UK).

Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (5, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | about 5 years ago | (#29887917)

Never really understood this "3 strikes and you're out" theory. Law enforcement is too complex to be modelled after the rules of a US sports game. Can somebody explain how this idiotic idea came about, the thinking behind it?

What next? You don't go to jail if you say "Simon says" before committing an offence? Police can't arrest you if you're not touching the ground when they catch up with you?

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (5, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | about 5 years ago | (#29888051)

Can somebody explain how this idiotic idea came about

It comes from the music industry executives.

the thinking behind it?

There isn't any.

Well, other than the fact that taking people to court, not to mention the whole annoying thing about having to come up with evidence/proof, is too difficult. So they thought it would be a good idea if they could just bypass the legal system. All that "due process" stuff is too much trouble. It's much easier if they can just kick people off based on accusations.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (4, Informative)

TimHunter (174406) | about 5 years ago | (#29888323)

Can somebody explain how this idiotic idea came about

It comes from the music industry executives.

Well, actually, no. Close, but no. It got started by the only group capable of giving the music industry executives competition in the stupidity race, politicians. Politicians learn very quickly that you can't go wrong by being tough on crime, so every year they enact increasingly medieval laws designed to make the populace think "there, that'll get those criminals off the street!" "Three strikes" originally meant "if you get convicted of three felonies then we'll put you in jail forever."

"Three strikes" sounds good until you fill up the jails and you have to ask the voters for money to build more jails. (The only thing voters hate more than criminals is taxes.) Of course your average politician is unable think past the next election, so the jails filling up with struck-out felons naturally came as a surprise to them.

And of course, once you've made a crime law you can't undo it, no matter how stupid and counter-productive it is, because then your opponent in the next election will accuse you of "being soft on crime."

There, now I've gone and gotten off-topic. Damn hot-button topics.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (0, Offtopic)

Shagg (99693) | about 5 years ago | (#29889209)

I was talking about the filesharing version, not "3 strikes" laws in general.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29889575)

How does it not relate? A simple modification of the original is all that was needed.

psychopathology (5, Interesting)

Onymous Coward (97719) | about 5 years ago | (#29890345)

This simplistic and damaging law-making gets traction because of the people who are overly punitive.

That trait of excessive eagerness to punish is often coupled with these other traits:

  • conventionalism
  • authoritarian submission
  • authoritarian aggression
  • anti-intraception (anti-{need to analyze behaviors and feelings of others})
  • superstition and belief stereotypy
  • power and "toughness"
  • destructiveness and cynicism
  • projectivity
  • exaggerated concerns over sexuality

Authoritarian Personality WP article [wikipedia.org]

"The Authoritarians" paper [umanitoba.ca]

Citation conspicuously absent, you're mistaken (1)

ifwm (687373) | about 5 years ago | (#29891217)

This simplistic and damaging law-making gets traction because of the people who are overly punitive.

While I appreciate your efforts to shoehorn your opinion into this, that's not what happened at all.

In fact, the original three strikes law was limited to serious offenders

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Washington_initiatives_to_the_people#1993 [wikipedia.org]

593, establishing the three-strikes law, mandating that criminals who are convicted of "most serious offenses" on three occasions be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole

I don't find anything "overly punitive" about incarcerating repeat serious offenders. I doubt any reasonable person would either.

So, no, it really had nothing to do with being "overly punitive", and that characterization is really not accurate at all.

However, as the person you incorrectly "corrected" said, politicians used it as a stumping point, and that's when things went to hell.

Last, I would avoid using simplistic tools like your list and links, they really have no value in the analysis of the "psychopathology" of the three strikes law, but are instead a very thinly veiled cheap shot at a certain group of political opponents.

It's as though you used phrenology to analyze skin cancer, it's useless and displays a gross lack of knowledge about the subject.

Re:Citation conspicuously absent, you're mistaken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29892703)

You should look a little closer at what you are quoting.
He didn't say the law originated with the overly-punitive, he said that simplistic and damaging law-making gets traction with people who are overly punitive.
If you believe (which you said you do not) that the original law was "simplistic and damaging" then you would have a point.
But, since you pretty explicitly said you do not believe the original law was a problem, then all you are doing is agreeing with him.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

salmosri (1051404) | about 5 years ago | (#29891907)

You don't go to jail...

"After a three-hour meeting in London, the Featured Artists Coalition, which emerged as a breakaway lobby group in the summer, backed the government's proposed introduction of "technical measures" to combat the rising tide of copyright theft. If they ignore two warning letters, persistent illegal filesharers should have their broadband connections throttled "to a level which would render filesharing of media files impractical while leaving basic email and web access", according to a statement after the meeting."

Source The guardian [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 years ago | (#29888345)

The three strikes idea comes out of of California. The basic idea was that after you committed 3 serious criminal offenses, they were able lock you up for an extended period of time. It first was passed in California, in 1994, long before the internet was popular.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 years ago | (#29888743)

Sorry, here's the wikipedia link to the three strikes law [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

Shagg (99693) | about 5 years ago | (#29889171)

You're correct. I was talking about the variation of it that is specifically applied to filesharing.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 5 years ago | (#29891175)

Yeah, sorry about that. I voted on that issue... I had just turned 18/graduated/etc.

If it's any consolation, in the intervening years I've gone from a young starry-eyed liberal democrat through a "damn wasteful people" republican, to a cynical "I'm really tired of this bullshit" Libertarian.
-nB

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29888117)

They probably thought that a three strikes rule would be easier for people to remember. It's a rule that isn't based on justice but intimidation.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 years ago | (#29891075)

"It's a rule that isn't based on justice but intimidation."
Its truly fun for the Forward Intelligence Teams.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forward_Intelligence_Team [wikipedia.org]
Note your licence plate number at a few too many protests and find your IP.
As the database would be IP and counter based, just send out a letter and 1+ the strike counter.
Soon the faces on spotter cards of people who might "instigate offences or disorder"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/25/spotter-cards [guardian.co.uk]
will be without home networking.
Forced to use a cyber cafe under cctv with face recognition and logging or via a friend :)
Two people sharing a computer is a terrorist cell just waiting for a sneak and peek security letter :)

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

cs668 (89484) | about 5 years ago | (#29888257)

I think the notion is that if you have committed 3 crimes of a certain level, Felonies for example, you are likely to just be an habitual criminal and be locked up permanently for the good of society.

Not saying it's right or wrong, just explaining were the idea came from.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#29889669)

And after that, all you have to do is start making everything a felony! Brilliant!

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

stms (1132653) | about 5 years ago | (#29888263)

You forgot get out of jail free cards. Those are defiantly next.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29888267)

Never really understood this "3 strikes and you're out" theory. Law enforcement is too complex to be modelled after the rules of a US sports game. Can somebody explain how this idiotic idea came about, the thinking behind it?

What next? You don't go to jail if you say "Simon says" before committing an offence? Police can't arrest you if you're not touching the ground when they catch up with you?

Simple. It's not modeled after baseball. It's simply a method of curbing recidivism. Additional penalties on the second offense was deemed too harsh, four too light. Three offenses seemed to be the 'Goldilocks' number. And hey, call 'em "strikes" and it sounds catchy.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 5 years ago | (#29888331)

Law enforcement is too complex to be modelled after the rules of a US sports game. Can somebody explain how this idiotic idea came about, the thinking behind it?

If you're a music industry executive who's incapable of rethinking the music industry's failing business model, which do you think is easier - steal an idea from a common past-time or come up with your own idea?

Given that music execs haven't come up with an original idea in decades, the answer should be obvious...

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

megamerican (1073936) | about 5 years ago | (#29888343)

It's nice because instead of using the Chewbacca defense I can use the foul ball defense.

Who's on first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29889131)

Who's on first?

Yes.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (2, Interesting)

Experiment 626 (698257) | about 5 years ago | (#29888381)

In some US jurisdictions, being convicted of three felony offenses raises the penalty to life imprisonment, as by this point supporters argue that the criminal has repeatedly not rehabilitated and just keeps on committing more crimes. Music executives apparently want something analogous for punishing intellectual property "criminals". A noteworthy difference between the situations, however, is that in the criminal justice case, the penalty kicks in after three felony convictions in a court of law, whereas most versions of the Internet banishment proposal only require multiple accusations.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 years ago | (#29888737)

Yes, the big idea of "three strikes" laws was that you were dealing with a repeat offender who wasn't at all rehabilitatable, and so the solution was to lock them up for an extended period of time. It was never completely clear if the extended period of time was to give them greater time to rehabilitate, if people were hoping that great prison sentences would serve as an increased deterrent (i.e. "I can't do anything bad because I already have 2 strikes!"), or if the idea was to get dangerous criminals off the street.

However, three-strikes laws have generally been considered failures, largely because they remove the possibility of judges using any discretion for sentencing. Arguably that was the point-- to prevent judges from being too soft on crime-- but really we have judges so that they can use their judgement on some of these very issues. You ended up with cases where a person could be sentenced to a life term in prison for a relatively minor crime, e.g. shoplifting.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

nelsonal (549144) | about 5 years ago | (#29888611)

3 strikes became a cause in the US, during the rise in violent crime as various street gangs warred for control of the crack trade. Essentially cities saw huge increases in crime and policies of the time weren't doing enough to make citizens feel safe. So led by Western states (where voters almost always have some ability to directly pass laws) votors passed laws mandating that for certain types of crimes (normally murder, attempted murder, rape, and armed robbery sometimes others as well) a third conviction would result in an automatic life sentance.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

wayland (165119) | about 5 years ago | (#29888713)

The impression I've gotten is that some judges (the ones I've heard about have been left-leaning) are too sympathetic to the criminals, and say things like "Well, yes, he did *murder* someone, but he's just a big lovable puppy" (ok, I exaggerate :) ).  This was the legislator's attempt to say "While we don't want to take things out of the hands of judges completely, there's a certain point where people should just be locked up".

HTH,

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

atlastiamborn (1252206) | about 5 years ago | (#29891281)

He was a sweet and tender hooligan, hooligan And he swore that he'll never, never do it again And of course he won't (oh, not until the next time)

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29889191)

Never really understood this "3 strikes and you're out" theory.

I was actually hoping someone would craft a turn of phrase for the UK, something to do with wickets, perhaps...

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29890065)

3 stumps, 2 bails and you're out

HAHAHAHAHAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29889249)

best fucking slashdot comment in a long time

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (3, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | about 5 years ago | (#29889613)

Never really understood this "3 strikes and you're out" theory. Law enforcement is too complex to be modelled after the rules of a US sports game. Can somebody explain how this idiotic idea came about, the thinking behind it?

What next? You don't go to jail if you say "Simon says" before committing an offence? Police can't arrest you if you're not touching the ground when they catch up with you?

Actually, maybe it should be more closely modeled. They should have 'balls' in there too. Like, say you try to download a torrent of Iron Man, and it turns out to be dubbed into Swedish. If that happens 4 times, the MPAA has to send you a free movie of your choice.

Re:Law enforcement isn't a US sports game (1)

Threni (635302) | about 5 years ago | (#29890759)

> What next? You don't go to jail if you say "Simon says" before committing an offence?

Close - I believe the phrase is `I have diplomatic immunity`. Only works for the elite, though - you have to have been a public school, have rich parents etc.

Preemption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29887921)

Give people legal right to 1mbit as the finns, then this law would never happen.

wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29887933)

Fantastic agency name. They are serious and organized about crime! Yeah!

possible reason... (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | about 5 years ago | (#29887951)

I'm guessing that one possible reason is whilst encryption is moderately rare - then they might assume that any encryption means a greater chance of something to hide and hence they can focus on it.

And of course that unencrypted stuff is easier to track though less immediately suspicious.

Anybody work in forensics and can give us an insider viewpoint?

E7J9D W34F6 (4, Funny)

davebarnes (158106) | about 5 years ago | (#29887963)

LP098 5B6FR

Re:E7J9D W34F6 (3, Funny)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 5 years ago | (#29889095)

LP098 5B6FR

1. LP098 5B6FR

2. ZD002J WPRRNS3 QOR3N7L

3. ???

4. Profit!

Strat

Your First Premis Is WRONG (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29888005)

There is NO law enforcement in the United Kingdom.
However, there is Fascism [youtube.com] .

Yours In Novorossiysk,
K. Trout

So, its Copyright vs. National Security. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29888011)

Did the Copyright cartels not think 3 steps ahead here?

Granted suspected 'evil-doers' are probably already using encryption, but once you force untold thousands into the encryption game, you've suddenly forced a needle in the haystack scenario, if it isn't there already.

It would be highly amusing if National Security was brought to its knees by the very heart of the Copyright industry. Protecting profits at the expense of your national safety..... blah, blah, something about reaping what you sow.....

Re:So, its Copyright vs. National Security. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 years ago | (#29891243)

Encryption game is fun too.
Its like seeing something of interest on youtube or web 2.0, then getting the ip and paying a visit in full riot gear at 6 am.
Just to have a chat to tell you they know you, what your doing and can come back any time to chat about the "use" of the internet.
You also need a new door, sofa, wall paint, light, computer, modem and an electrician to turn the power back on.
Call it community policing :)

Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin with? (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 years ago | (#29888021)

Law enforcement groups, which include the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit, believe that more encryption will increase the costs and workload for those attempting to monitor internet traffic. One official said: "It will make prosecution harder because it increases the workload significantly."

One would think that encryption would stop them in their tracks, not just "increase the costs and workload"

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (4, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | about 5 years ago | (#29888069)

IIRC, you are required to turn over keys if asked by the government in the UK, jail time if you don't.

If they're currently trying to figure out who to ask keys from, if everyone does it, workload on figuring out what is malicious and requires them to ask everyone or figure out some way to narrow it down.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (2, Interesting)

jammindice (786569) | about 5 years ago | (#29888083)

Law enforcement groups, which include the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit, believe that more encryption will increase the costs and workload for those attempting to monitor internet traffic. One official said: "It will make prosecution harder because it increases the workload significantly."

One would think that encryption would stop them in their tracks, not just "increase the costs and workload"

Those increased costs and workload are for actually doing "real" police work instead

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (3, Funny)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | about 5 years ago | (#29888111)

Encryption requires the extra step of going to the hardware store and buying a $5 wrench.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (2, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | about 5 years ago | (#29888319)

This. [xkcd.com]

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29889287)

Explaining the joke will not get you upmodded

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (1)

melikamp (631205) | about 5 years ago | (#29888193)

Encryption simply forces them to tap your keyboard, and the costs of that are much higher than the costs of running Wireshark on a router somewhere.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (3, Interesting)

Mendoksou (1480261) | about 5 years ago | (#29888773)

Encryption simply forces them to tap your keyboard, and the costs of that are much higher than the costs of running Wireshark on a router somewhere.

Not only that, but it usually requires a much more involved process of those troublesome warrents and all to get actual wire-tepping done (usually, not always). Curse that due process!

Let's not be too disparaging here, the police sometimes have legitamte interests in information gathering, there really are some people who need to be taken down. It is not their job to just protect our rights politically, that's our job and the job of the politicians (who epically fail in internet law). It is their job to protect our rights in life, but not to lobby for it in law-making; so they serve their own interests here, but they do so legitimatly (refering to other posts, not yours here). At least it does point out one of the social problems of treating practitioners internet freedoms as common criminals... it makes real criminals easily lost in the system.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 5 years ago | (#29889027)

Even keyboard logging isn't a shoe-in. 90% of the time they're not also monitoring the MOUSE as well. Some programs are now using on-screen keyboards for password entry to get around keyloggers. You can also on many systems pair a key-file with your password. The keyfile needn't necessarily stay on your computer if it's easily retrievable.

For example, you could use a source file from the first release of the Linux kernel as a keyfile. It's easily remembered, and easily retrieved from tons of locations on the net, yet incredibly hard to guess.

You can also keep your encrypted media hidden in the real world. Take those little cell phone memory cards for example. They're like 1 cm squared and wafer thin, but can hold gigabytes of information. Go to your front door, remove the top hinge, and cut a tiny notch in the door behind the hinge. Stick your card there and then replace the hinge covering your little notch. Or open your VCR or game system and tape the thing on the inside of the device before reassembling. Unless they see you do it, almost no one will find that. Or worst case scenario, get a wooden box, put your card in a zip loc bag (or really several of them), and just bury the thing somewhere that you know isn't likely to be searched. Having the key is no good if they can't find the lock.

Also is the mere fact that not everything you encrypt is stuff you'll be accessing too often. I have encrypted containers that I haven't accessed in years. They'd be keylogging a LONG time before they caught me typing my password.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (2, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | about 5 years ago | (#29890133)

My point is, no amount of encryption adds to your physical security. If they bug your ceiling, they can see you entering the password and doing all the other things you do with your computer. Hence the encryption does not make spying impossible, only a lot more expensive, geographically isolated, and more subject to the due process, as Znork (31774) points out nearby. IMHO, all the more reasons to use the end-to-end encryption as much as possible.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29888231)

If commerical encryption were truly unbreakable by these groups, then I'd assume that they would have outlawed their use by now. That is a troubling thought.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (4, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | about 5 years ago | (#29888591)

If commerical encryption were truly unbreakable by these groups, then I'd assume that they would have outlawed their use by now.

They pretty much have. In the UK you are legally obligated to give up your keys if required.

Of course, then comes the question of how they're going to determine if the keys were the real keys... or just to the first layer... or just to the first and second layer... or...

The intelligence agencies would do well to object quite a lot; we still haven't the final mass migration to rubber hose protected encryption and f2f darknets, but it's well on the way. If three-strikes regulation becomes popular, then most of the internet will become pretty opaque to any form of snooping, and any real threats will happily tag along on the mass of ordinary citizens just out to protect their privacy from whatever lobbyist it tugging at the puppet strings of the politicians for the moment.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 5 years ago | (#29889917)

Please, please, please...the word is obliged, not obligated. Thank you for your time.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29888993)

If commercial encryption were truly unbreakable by these groups, then I'd assume that they would have outlawed their use by now. That is a troubling thought.

Good (ie created by people who know what they are doing, not some snake-oil salesman) encryption is currently unbreakable, If it were breakable, the feds wouldn't have had to install a key logger on a mobsters computer to get the PGP passphrase. If it were breakable, the UK wouldn't have enacted a law to make it a crime to keep your mouth shut when asked for the encryption key. If it were breakable, the police wouldn't care if people used it.

Sure, you can go about and spew conspiracy theories about how the NSA can break anything, but I seriously doubt that is the case. Oh, it's no doubt that they try. They need to know if other governments can break the encryption, so they try. But once they have something broke, they make recommendations on how to secure the algorythm. Remember DES? They told IBM to make a couple of changes, making the algorithm stronger. If they knew of a significant weakness in AES, they wouldn't have recommended AES. If a significant weakness in AES is found (and there are attacks on it coming from the public sector), a new call for encryption will be made.

Another reason I don't think the NSA is overly concerned that they can't crack something is that they know that sometimes a $5 wrench, a $500 bribe, or $5,000 informant is a lot cheaper and faster then trying to break the encryption.

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 years ago | (#29891545)

$5 wrench, a $500 bribe, or $5,000 informant is cute
But why not just pay 500,000 and get the shipped consumer grade code altered?
it will last 2-10 years in the real world and the NSA ect will be able to read it in real time.
Its MS or Apple consumer quality .
If your using Linux and are just too smart using real encryption, then you get a logger as you glow in the dark.
As for " install a key logger on a criminals computer " ...
they might write a few drafts, drafts 1 and 4 point to new ideas, networks, names ect. The final sent version might just be boring and suggest working faster, harder at a known activity.
If it were breakable you get 1 message, with the logger, you might get some more insight.
Loggers and demands for encryption key say nothing about breakable encryption.
Loggers are powerful tools, encryption key requests keep you in custody for days, a powerful legal tool to keep you locked up as further enquiries are made.
Both say nothing about breakable shipping consumer grade encryption.
As for IBM, they liked 20th C eugenics and seemed connected to ww2 Germany.
Not a great foundation for todays codes.
All that is known is the USA and UK love real time decryption, why would this change???

Re:Soo... encryption isn't that useful to begin wi (1)

dedazo (737510) | about 5 years ago | (#29888477)

They'll just pass a law requiring you to hand over the key. I believe those exist already in the US at least.

Either way, you're screwed.

beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29888149)

This is actually a precursor to demands to regulate encryption, not an attempt to stop a 3 strikes law.

UK civil "service" hell is the compromise created by pleasing as many special interests as possible, except the interests of the individual.

Anonymity, not encryption is their real concern (4, Interesting)

tomtomtom (580791) | about 5 years ago | (#29888157)

I'd hazard a guess that the real issue these agencies have is about increased use of anonymous communication networks such as Tor rather than just "encryption" of the content. It's almost a given that widespread adoption of Tor will have two important effects: (1) there will be larger numbers of relay or exit nodes in the network - at present it is suspected that intelligence agencies control a large number of the exit nodes (and possibly relay nodes too) in the network; and (2) greater traffic through the network will make it significantly harder to perform timing attacks on entry and exit from the mix network to correlate traffic and thus break its anonymity.

Re:Anonymity, not encryption is their real concern (1)

astar (203020) | about 5 years ago | (#29888379)

I use openbsd. The latest version has tor in the ports tree. I expect to try it, but I hear that tor is presently sort of slow.

I have a couple dedicated servers at hosting companies. I have thought about making them tor "nodes", but as best I can figure out, it is a bit of a hassle for the full tor server to coexist with lots of server protocols.

Still, it seems like the "right" thing to do.

Re:Anonymity, not encryption is their real concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29888723)

Until you monitor the exit traffic and see that you are funnelling a lot of untasteful material (child pr0n comes to mind), and its the ISP / Content monitors that see your server as the one gobbling up the content. Something to consider.

Re:Anonymity, not encryption is their real concern (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | about 5 years ago | (#29889445)

Don't monitor the exit node, no doubt anonymity tech such as onion skinning and the like are useful for moraly dubious things (file sharing, Lolita cartoon porn ), and morally repugnant things (child pornography, coordinating bombings or other attacks), but if just one person succeeds in undermining political censorship, then that justifies it's existence, in my opinion anyways.

Re:Anonymity, not encryption is their real concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29889793)

Which is why far more people run relaying nodes (where you can't tell what's in any of the traffic and neither can your ISP/law enforcement/whoever) than exit nodes. It still helps the network's anonymity if you run a relay node.

Showtime! (1, Insightful)

Dysphoric1 (1641793) | about 5 years ago | (#29888173)

Time to break out the popcorn and watch the private sector fascists go to war with the government fascists.

Competition in the fascism market benefits everyone. I think we can pretty much all agree we don't want any monopolies here...

In other news, (1)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | about 5 years ago | (#29888279)

law enforcement is against bad weather because it motivates people to live in houses and that makes citizens more difficult to monitor for criminal activity.

Ha Ha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29888397)

The cops pirate MP3....

Backfire! (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 years ago | (#29888429)

....and oops. I just showed this article to a friend who was resistant to using OTR to encrypt his IM communications, even though he had pidgin and could easily turn on OTR. Now he has seen the light and switched on OTR. Thanks UK Police!

-Steve

Just remember... (1)

MaerD (954222) | about 5 years ago | (#29888473)

Of course, they're not as concerned about due process and civil rights, as they are about making it more difficult to track down criminals online

The enemy of my enemy is not my friend, even when they aid me.

Of course not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29888721)

The enemy of my enemy is not my friend but a tool to wield against my enemy. Often while also using my enemy against my enemy's enemy so that they are both sufficiently weakened by the conflict, and cannot defend themselves against me.

Seriously, have you not played any strategy games ever?

MI5 and MI6? (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#29888475)

I didn't know they made three more movies, but MI3 sure sucked.

Re:MI5 and MI6? (3, Informative)

nelsonal (549144) | about 5 years ago | (#29888733)

Military Intelligence Division 5 and Divsion 6, I believe. MI5 is the UK's version of the FBI, while MI-6 is the UK's version of the CIA. If you listen to bond carefully, you'll usually hear some references to MI6.

Re:MI5 and MI6? (3, Informative)

Timosch (1212482) | about 5 years ago | (#29889279)

Although, to be precise, the MI6 is nowadays called Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and in contrast to the FBI, the MI5 does not have police-like powers like arresting etc.

Re:MI5 and MI6? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29890125)

Joke-detection Fail Alert!

Re:MI5 and MI6? (1)

Mendoksou (1480261) | about 5 years ago | (#29888847)

Yes, but MI6 was a Bond film.

Encrypt EVERYTHING (privacy advocate) (1)

mrnick (108356) | about 5 years ago | (#29888535)

As a privacy advocate I recommend that, whenever possible, one should encrypt everything regardless of the sensitivity of the particular data.

This will effectively keep law enforcement from tagging encrypted network traffic as being suspicious because encrypted network traffic will become the norm.

How will the police track down dangerous criminals using the Internet you may ask? My answer would be who cares? In my book criminals have just as much right to privacy as do any law abiding citizen. Plus more law abiding citizens will have their right to privacy violated in the pursuit of criminals than do the actual criminals.

Benjamin Franklin said it best when he wrote "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Nick Powers

Re:Encrypt EVERYTHING (privacy advocate) (1)

Mendoksou (1480261) | about 5 years ago | (#29888827)

But... but... encryption is only for hardened CRIMINALS! No one would EVER encrypt stuff that isn't illegal! (see signature for explination). Nice quote, btw... I wish more people thought like that.

BIT Torrent BBC Nwesnight Report (1)

spacedoggy (1657691) | about 5 years ago | (#29888725)

This blatent peice of BBC propaganda from a couple of years back demonises "so called BIT TORRENT FILE SHARING" for encouraging encryption and making illegal wire tapping of UK civilians' data and telephone communications more difficult for the CIA and MI5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dq2PK2W-vVI [youtube.com]

Reassuring (2, Interesting)

Cap'n Refsmmat (1003152) | about 5 years ago | (#29888915)

At least this hints that there isn't a trivial way of breaking RSA, AES, or the other popular systems.

Re:Reassuring (2, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | about 5 years ago | (#29889169)

Not really necessary when you can lock someone up for two years for refusing to divulge keys.

Re:Reassuring (1)

ermon (845186) | about 5 years ago | (#29890161)

Not really necessary when you can lock someone up for two years for refusing to divulge keys.

However, asking for someone's key lets them know you're watching them... Perhaps it isn't a problem if you already have what you need from the wiretap, but how can you be sure?

wilderness of mirrors (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 5 years ago | (#29889447)

Then that was necessary for them to do so that we'd think they couldn't crack it. Standard espionage novel fare-let the enemy catch you trying to steal their code machine so they think you need to steal their code machine because you can't crack their code otherwise...

Re:Reassuring (2, Interesting)

u38cg (607297) | about 5 years ago | (#29890077)

Maybe that's what they want you to think. You *have* read Cryptonomicon, haven't you? Sometimes having the information can be more of a pain than not having it.

unintended side effects (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 5 years ago | (#29888927)

I would certainly expect a side effect of increased **AA-related harassment to be increased use of encryption and anonymizers. My expectation keeps my blood pressure down. Every time I get upset about more ridiculous **AA junk, I consider the probable outcome and how this is all probably a good thing in the long run. While hiding from **AAs, people increase their privacy and make it more difficult for anyone else to eavesdrop at the same time.

Fear is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29888941)

You can see now, when HADOPI in France is active, really _massive_ movement French to anonymouse and encrypted networks like i2p2, tor, freenet.

Different sports analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29890001)

Too bad the law wasn't thought up by Canadian lawyers. If you get caught filesharing, you can't connect to the Net for 2 minutes.

Of course, starting a flame war might get you 5 minutes, but would that really be so bad? :P

Applies to Internet Filtering Too (1)

zuperduperman (1206922) | about 5 years ago | (#29890249)

This is one reason I think all these countries that are busily setting up mandatory internet filtering are completely defeating themselves.

Right now, 95% of people accessing child porn and the like just post on open unencrypted connections. Stupid - but there you go. Once the connection is filtered and only encrypted connections even work any more they will all become educated about encryption and anonymization sufficient to bypass the filters and 99% of the intelligence sources that are now helping to track down these criminals will go dark.

more like "devestating to our case" (3, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | about 5 years ago | (#29890779)

'Law enforcement groups, which include the Serious and Organized Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit, believe that more encryption will increase the costs and workload for those attempting to monitor internet traffic.

I like this. In reality, properly-implemented encryption will completely prevent even the most well-funded government agency from monitoring your Internet traffic. But Police and Three Letter Agencies would never admit as much in a press release. Instead, encryption just "increases their costs and workload." Feh.

I think one of the reasons that the average person doesn't care enough about encryption to use it is because they have no idea how effective it is.

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