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UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the back-in-line-citizen dept.

United Kingdom 147

beaker_72 (1845996) writes The Guardian reports that the UK government has unveiled plans to introduce emergency surveillance laws into the UK parliament at the beginning of next week. These are aimed at reinforcing the powers of security services in the UK to force service providers to retain records of their customers phone calls and emails. The laws, which have been introduced after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that existing laws invaded individual privacy, will receive cross-party support and so will not be subjected to scrutiny or challenged in Parliament before entering the statute books. But as Tom Watson (Labour backbench MP and one of few dissenting voices) has pointed out, the ECJ ruling was six weeks ago, so why has the government waited until now to railroad something through. Unless of course they don't want it scrutinised too closely.

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UK is not a free country (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47423931)

Sad to say it, but its just true.

Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini would be very proud of what the UK has become.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 5 months ago | (#47423943)

First and best post ever.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424003)

I've always wondered. What *is* a "free country" anyway? Who maintains a list of such things?

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424049)

I'd wager a guess a free country would be anywhere in the US outside of the 100-mile constitution-free zone around the borders. Even then...
Maybe some tiny european country no-one really knows about has more freedoms than the US...

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 5 months ago | (#47424353)

I'd wager a guess a free country would be anywhere in the US outside of the 100-mile constitution-free zone around the borders

This also includes the coastline and international airports. So, maybe the interior of Alaska is free.

Re:UK is not a free country (3, Informative)

dryeo (100693) | about 5 months ago | (#47424465)

Perhaps San Marino? They were even free to vote i a Communist government and vote them out. Been a republic since 301 as well.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:UK is not a free country (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424949)

San Marinese are a bunch of tax dodging twats.

Re:UK is not a free country (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424089)

Freedom of speech, specifically political
Private ownership of property that cannot be taken by the government without due process of law
Right to self defense
Not being locked up/imprisoned without due process of law in a public trial by peers

Re:UK is not a free country (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424199)

Freedom of speech, specifically political

Nope. Not "specifically political." Just "freedom of speech." The end.

Also, how about privacy? You can't be a free country when you have something like the NSA's mass surveillance.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424213)

Freedom of speech, specifically political
Private ownership of property that cannot be taken by the government without due process of law
Right to self defense
Not being locked up/imprisoned without due process of law in a public trial by peers

This seems oddly specific...

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

viralburn (606633) | about 5 months ago | (#47424095)

look for direct democracy

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424227)

look for direct democracy

Direct democracy only works with small populations. Especially ones that are mostly ethnically homogenous and don't have much to disagree about.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424461)

It could also work with a population connected via internet (read smartphones(because of their immediate accessibility) ), and the right apps or tools to facilitate a fair governance. You make a good point about using a set of people that do not have much to disagree about, maybe it could be state-wide, or have a cascading effect with different groups?

Re:UK is not a free country (4, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#47424717)

Democracy without constitutional limitations is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424129)

Rules & laws must exist for a society to exist. Otherwise you are free to go live in a jungle. However there are certain things we can expect in a free society -- if your actions are not actively harming another person's well being then you should be free to do whatever the hell you want. Rest of the rules originate from this one fundamental principal.

Freedom of thought
Freedom of speech (read: communication)
Right to privacy

People adversely impacted by your past behavior or people close enough to you who get concerned that you are about to something bad, may choose to notify appropriate authorities to keep an eye on you or perform deeper investigation. A judge should look at the arguments and then decide whether or not to issue a warrant.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424327)

If your actions are not actively harming another person's well-being then you should be free to do whatever the hell you want.

(I love how everyone always says whatever "the hell" you want, like there's something intrinsically aggressive about this axiom, but I digress.)

How does this supposed "right to privacy" derive from "do what thou wilt"? You don't say how we're supposed to validate that rule, but it implies (a) it must be possible to determine whether someone's actions are actively harming another person and (b) that unless "privacy violation" equals "active harm", and it doesn't, any privacy violation is allowed. Both these factors point towards a conclusion from that principle which ensures NO privacy at all, since I have the right to violate your privacy as much as I like provided I'm not actively harming you in doing so, and I must violate your privacy to make sure you're not actively harming others. Oops.

Fortunately, this ain't math. You don't start with a couple principles and derive "rules for a free society" from them using logic; it simply doesn't work that way. In fact you are balancing various forces, some of which pull towards less privacy or less personal freedom, and some of which pull towards more of those, and different societies balance those forces in different ways while still remaining fundamentally free.

If you look at society as a system, how autonomous are the component parts? Are they really not autonomous at all, like burger flippers at McDonalds? Are they semi-autonomous, like breathing? Or are they fully autonomous, like the heart? The scary thing is when you ask how autonomous the component parts should be, you can't even answer the question until you understand the purpose of the system. So talking about a free society really has no meaning unless we can agree fundamentally on what society (or, properly, government) is for.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424495)

and it doesn't

It does. Post invalidated.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 5 months ago | (#47424517)

I love how everyone always says whatever "the hell" you want, like there's something intrinsically aggressive about this axiom

I don't follow. How does adding "the hell" imply aggressiveness?

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424993)

To a native English speaker, adding any "curse" word as a quantifier implies aggression or excitement.

Re:UK is not a free country (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47425389)

To a native English speaker, adding any "curse" word as a quantifier implies aggression or excitement.

Maybe that's because English people are stupid?

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 5 months ago | (#47425527)

It doesn't imply any such thing to me, and I'm a native English speaker. I view 'curse words' as nothing more than simple words.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47425769)

It doesn't imply any such thing to me, and I'm a native English speaker. I view 'curse words' as nothing more than simple words.

Same here, although my post above got modded down for no reason apart from perceived xenophobia I guess.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#47424603)

> (a) it must be possible to determine whether someone's actions are actively harming another person and (b) that
> unless "privacy violation" equals "active harm", and it doesn't, any privacy violation is allowed.

Except that assumes that the law is always correct. Privacy is, fundamentally, a restriction on the reach of the law; an a necessary and right one. Why, not too long ago privacy was the best defense homosexuals had from persecution.

Society has always been full of people who disagree with the law, and break it to little consequence. Why shouldn't they? The law is just a few rules written by aristocrats....it needs serious limits on its reach, more so than we have.

Re: UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424939)

Actually, you're pretty much NOT free to go live in a jungle. Every inch of this planet is claimed by an oppressive government (that would be all of them) and those inches they have less interest in are controlled by corporations or thugs.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47425633)

" Otherwise you are free to go live in a jungle"

Hardly, I don't think there is a piece of habitable land left on the planet where a person/group of people could go that is free from one government or another control. Even some of the Sea-societies that have been proposed I believe are required to be registered under the authority of a country.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424091)

Godwin on the first post. This is a record.

I wish people wouldn't compare present-day UK to what once was real fascist dictatorships. People are not disappearing in the UK, nor there are purges happening where millions of people go poof in the night, and all pictures in Facebook get photoshopped to "airbrush" the people (whom disappeared) out.

The UK has its issues. However, comparing the PM to Pol Pot may get headlines, but belittles the atrocities that happened in Cambodia.

Lets me accurate -- this is not a road the UK should be going down on, but this is how the citizens of the country have voted for and, thus approved implicitly.

Re: UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424121)

There have been Godwins in the submissions, so no, not a record.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424347)

Why do you reference Godwin's Law as if it discredits an argument or proposition. Godwin's Law is merely an observation. It has no bearing on the accuracy of the comparison.

The German citizens approved of Hitler's actions implicitly as well. That doesn't lend any legitimacy to his actions any more than it lends legitimacy to the UK's today.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424489)

It's not right to compare the two as if they are already equal, however there have been plenty of warnings from the past. What I take away from "First they came for [undesireables] and I said nothing" is to not let things get that bad in the first place, because once they do the entire world must be moved to set it back.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

chihowa (366380) | about 5 months ago | (#47424511)

So people disappearing is the line at which you think a government is atrocious? There was more wrong with the dictatorships of the past than just purges. Would a dystopia where everyone is kept locked up in cages, but nobody is missing, not compare to a real fascist dictatorship? This argument people like you keep parroting is like the No True Scotsman argument of bad government.

Re:UK is not a free country (3, Insightful)

chihowa (366380) | about 5 months ago | (#47424589)

OK, to clarify... disappearances and purges are bad news, but it's not as if these historical dictatorships were all fine and dandy up until the point where people started disappearing. Holding off judgement until something is allowed to fully develop into its inevitable final product is dangerous and naive.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

sabri (584428) | about 5 months ago | (#47425231)

People are not disappearing in the UK

David Kelly. [bbc.com] .

Campaign leader Dr Stephen Frost said: "The continuing cover-up of the truth of what happened is a national disgrace and should be of concern to all British citizens."

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424097)

Sad to say it, but its just true.

Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini would be very proud of what the UK has become.

Oh yeah, because the Land of the Free is such a shining beacon to the world when it comes to citizens, mass surveillance, and privacy.

Freedom is an illusion, fueled by mass ignorance.

Stop lying to yourself.

Re:UK is not a free country (5, Informative)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#47424407)

I'm torn because whilst things like this sicken me (as a British citizen) I think it's still sensationalist nonsense to claim Britain isn't a free country, god only knows we still don't have quite the limits on free speech of France and Germany. As Western countries go we're still pretty free, and Western countries are still generally freer than most, so it seems a silly stretch to claim Britain isn't a free country. Most things used when citing Britain as not free are FUD made up by people who love to bash Britain, or like a bit of conspiracy theory or reason to bitch and moan in general, for example, claims about CCTV counts that include static traffic cameras that only take photos of people actually speeding - i.e. breaking the law and don't have a capability for constant monitoring, or only log a text response when a particular number plate is detected. Do I like them? no, but it's hardly the constantly filmed bullshit the paranoid conspiracy theorists claim it is. Similarly there's a lot of FUD about RIPA's password clause by people who haven't read the law which explicitly states that police have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone has a key before they can be prosecuted for not handing it over (if you don't believe me Google it - section 53.3 makes the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt that a suspect actually holds the key explicit in law) which is in contradiction to the nonsense about how you can arbitrarily convicted with that as the excuse - you can't, it's never happened, everyone prosecuted to date has been like the plonker in yesterday's news story who incriminated themselves for the simple reason they were actually dickheads.

But this? this is genuinely fucking embarrassing. This is a genuine what the flying fuck are you thinking politicians? This is a genuine there is something very broken with our country. It's not that we're not still free, we really are, anyone who claims otherwise is full of shit, the problem is that there's a slippery slope that we might slide down to become not free, and that's the real worry. Sometimes slippery slope arguments don't occur making them a fallacy, but sometimes they do, and I'm not willing to accept that risk when the claimed benefit just does not exist - 7/7 still happened, the Boston bombings still happened - blanket data sweeping does not work, terrorist attacks are still occuring as (in)frequently as they always have even with the NSA and GCHQ's absolutely massive dragnet.

The worst part is they're saying this is a temporary power that'll be reviewed in 2016 when Labour will almost certainly be in power. The Milliband/Brown/Balls strain of Labour is the most dictatorial leadership we've seen in decades given that they were the "brains" behind the ID card database, they wanted the IMP, they wanted a nationwide DNA database of everyone. I see little hope for this doing anything other than getting worse in the coming years.

Which is a shame, because things had largely gotten better in the last 4 years on this particular front - the Digital Economy Act whilst not destroyed has at least been gutted, the national ID database had been scrapped, the ability of many authorities such as local councils to spy had been massively curbed, CCTV had been scaled back. Still a hell of a long way to go, but definitely civil liberties had improved in the last 4 years, especially compared to the massive downward spiral under Brown. Unfortunately it seems the ConDems decided they'd fuck up the only thing they haven't fucked up right in their last 9 months. Why? What the fuck is wrong with them? We nearly did it. We nearly made it a full parliamentary term without dictatorship syndrome kicking in, alas, here it is.

Re:UK is not a free country (2, Insightful)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 5 months ago | (#47424695)

god only knows we still don't have quite the limits on free speech of France and Germany

"X is worse than Y" != "Y is good."

Why do people adore this 'logic' so much? Evaluate something on its own merits.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#47425279)

I never said that, you're just drawing a conclusion that isn't there. I'm merely stating that some things are worse elsewhere, that doesn't inherently mean I believe therefore that everything is okay. There's always room for improvement but I tend to weight things based on comparisons to other countries. If we're in the top 20 globally that doesn't mean we're doing good overall, it just means we're doing well relatively.

I think you're missing the point of relatively well, vs. absolutely well, and making some implication that I must mean that because it's not as bad as elsewhere then in an absolute manner it's okay, but that makes no sense as you pointed out yourself so I don't really know why you'd jump to such a conclusion in the first place.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 5 months ago | (#47425489)

I think it's still sensationalist nonsense to claim Britain isn't a free country, god only knows we still don't have quite the limits on free speech of France and Germany.

The second part of the sentence seemed to be offered as 'proof' that the claim that Britain isn't a free country is sensationalist nonsense.

Well, I know you didn't mean it that way now, but that's what I thought at the time. I see a lot of people use logic like that.

There's always room for improvement but I tend to weight things based on comparisons to other countries.

Whereas I tend to judge things on their own merits.

so I don't really know why you'd jump to such a conclusion in the first place.

Because I thought you were making such an argument.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#47425723)

No, the reason I originally wrote that I'm torn was because I meant I was torn between the fact that yes we're a fucked up country, but we're also not as bad as we could be. I'm torn in the fact that in the global rankings of shit countries we actually do very well, but doing very well is still apparently depressingly bad.

It's really quite sad. It's almost like we need a new cold war so that Western countries can actually pretend to be the freedom loving side again and actually have to do something to prove that.

I do sympathise with your point though for what it's worth, I've noticed much of the logic you describe in many guises ranging from people with the viewpoint that America is bad so Iran must be good, rather than the more rational possibility involving shades of grey for both, through to North Korea is worse so Britain must be perfect. I do know where you're coming from.

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424871)

It is not just your country. In the US the FBI is recommending that anyone who knows such things as "Encryption" or "VPNs" be turned in to their local police immediately as a terrorist. So, because I am good at my job and understand complex concepts, that means that I am a terrorist? That's funny, it used to be called "American pride".

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

mpe (36238) | about 5 months ago | (#47425673)

In the US the FBI is recommending that anyone who knows such things as "Encryption" or "VPNs" be turned in to their local police immediately as a terrorist. So, because I am good at my job and understand complex concepts, that means that I am a terrorist? That's funny, it used to be called "American pride".

There's a good chance that actual terrorists will be using some communication method so "low tech" that it would be un-noticed.
Only a terrorist group which is geographically dispersed is going to need "telecommunications" in the first place.
Even then dead drops and codes even broadcasting (e.g. spam) maybe more use to them than any form of cypher.
Maybe there is a super special watch list for anyone who has ever read http://www.amazon.com/Codes-Se... [amazon.com]

Re:UK is not a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424977)

At least we're not as bad as our neighbors.
They have slavery. We have indentured servants.
That must mean we're better.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

infinitelink (963279) | about 5 months ago | (#47425045)

I'm torn because whilst things like this sicken me (as a British citizen)

You mean "subject"? When Parliament began using "citizen" in Britain it still conferred or recognized almost no actual (meaning, inalienable) rights to the British subjects. Your EU citizenship meanwhile has guaranteed that the State must respect that you have rights at all (http://www.jcm.org.uk/blog/2009/08/british-citizenship-vs-european-citizenship/). Best of wishes for you in the difficulties that lie ahead.

Talking of FUD (4, Interesting)

kevlar_rat (995996) | about 5 months ago | (#47425151)

Similarly there's a lot of FUD about RIPA's password clause by people who haven't read the law which explicitly states that police have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone has a key before they can be prosecuted for not handing it over

Except it doesn't.
The actual quote from the law [legislation.gov.uk] is:

For the purposes of this section a person shall be taken to have shown that he was not in possession of a key to protected information at a particular time if— (a)sufficient evidence of that fact is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it; and (b)the contrary is not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

IOW the defence has to show "sufficient evidence ... to raise an issue", and then and only then does the prosecution have to prove 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. So this is a completely new standard of proof introduced into the British criminal system after 1000 years of using only [wikipedia.org] the 'proof beyond a reasonable doubt' test. How do you show 'sufficient evidence' that you have forgotten a password? Nobody knows.
AFAIK (and IANAL) no judge has yet accepted the defence has shown 'sufficient evidence'. How do you show a negative - that you don't know something? Maybe judges think (correctly) that it's impossible to 'raise an issue', so the prosecution never has to prove anything apart from that you didn't hand over a password.
This is what's known as the 'reverse burden of proof' introduced in RIPA. You don't have to prove 'beyond a reasonable doubt' you forgot the password, but you do have to show 'sufficient evidence', or - if you don't hand over a password - you're automatically guilty.
What's more the Home Office code of practice [google.com] says that even if you have 'sufficient evidence' - it might not even be allowed in court 'if the person fails to raise some doubt as to whether he still had the key when the notice was given'.

it's never happened, everyone prosecuted to date has been like the plonker in yesterday's news story who incriminated themselves for the simple reason they were actually dickheads.

Perhaps you're assuming no judge would be that corrupt,so here's a case of someone who quite plausibly forgot his password being imprisoned [newstatesman.com] :

A TEEN who refused to give police officers an encryption password for his computer has been jailed for four months. Evidence showed that the defendant admitted in police interviews that he had set an encrypted password of between 40 and 50 characters containing both letters and numbers using an encryption software programme and that he had had originally relied on his memory to recall it but could not recall it when he was served with the notice.
The jury heard both the prosecution and defence case and accepted the prosecution case that the defendant must have kept a record of this very complex password, rather than relying on memory, and that he had deliberately failed to disclose it to the police. They returned a guilty verdict after 15 minutes deliberation.

Incidentally, if you do get ordered to hand over a password - even to sometimes else's data you happen to have - you're not allowed to tell anyone [theregister.co.uk] , presumably not even to ask for the password.

Re:Talking of FUD (2)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#47425667)

"and then and only then does the prosecution"

Where exactly does the law state that? There's no "then and only then" or similar even written there, this is an assumption you've made up to try and align your incorrect understanding of RIPA with what's actually written. The rest of your rant is therefore irrelevant because it's based on a mis-reading of the law, and insertion of a clause that just is not there. You're effectively parroting the Daily Mail esque FUD that The Register has spouted over the years, and ultimately that's the problem with reading The Register, it'll let you be about as informed as someone who gets all their news from Fox.

This is the same publication after all that was claiming the Eurofighter had no air to ground capability whilst it was actually blowing up tanks in Libya. Yes. Really.

Now read the news Statesman article you linked to,where you claim someone quite plausibly forgot his password, I quote:

"Evidence showed that the defendant admitted in police interviews that he had set an encrypted password of between 40 and 50 characters containing both letters and numbers using an encryption software programme and that he had had originally relied on his memory to recall it but could not recall it when he was served with the notice.

The jury heard both the prosecution and defence case and accepted the prosecution case that the defendant must have kept a record of this very complex password, rather than relying on memory"

So again we're talking about someone stupid enough to incriminate himself, he admitted he had set the password, he admitted he knew the length and consistency but could not even begin to take a stab at what it was. Hence, the jury found his story to simply not be plausible. You have to keep in mind that in such trials a combination of things are taken into account that are not ever recorded in reports on it - if someone keeps changing their story this may not be mentioned but it's enough for the jury to take into account to reach a beyond reasonable doubt conclusion.

Worse, even the CPS themselves highlight that your earlier interpretation of the law is wrong:

"As the defendant claimed to have forgotten a password that he had previously memorised, it was for the prosecution to rebut this and to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that this was not the reason for the defendant failing to disclose it."

Note that they themselves accept that it's upto the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he hadn't simply forgotten it. Something they must hence have achieved to obtain the conviction.

This is a far cry from simply saying "I've no idea what it is I never set it", or simply "I forgot it". As I said, no such case to date has ever happened - all convictions have been based on the stupidity of self incrimination and why? Because guess what, a lot of criminals crack under cross-examination and that's one of the key methods juries and judges use in determining cases.

So to jump to the conclusion he genuinely forgot it and is a victim of injustice is complete nonsense. You claim the judge must have been corrupt, okay, sure, so why didn't he appeal to get another judge? It's not like this is the US where he wouldn't have been able to afford representation, he'd have got full legal aid in 2009.

Re:UK is not a free country (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 months ago | (#47425021)

Yes and this emergency law is there to legitimize what they are already doing in advance of legal battles.

Re:UK is not a free country (1)

aeschinesthesocratic (1359449) | about 5 months ago | (#47425493)

Hitler's revenge. The UK may have won WWII, but ultimately they became what they loathed. Sometimes men who fight monsters become monsters themselves...

So what is the emergency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47423945)

It sounds a little too much like "our evil plans, foiled!" to be believable as fixes to a genuine problem.

Re:So what is the emergency? (4, Insightful)

JosKarith (757063) | about 5 months ago | (#47424679)

"Our data trawling has been illegal all along like we were being told but ignored? Quick, pass some hastily drafted loophole-ridden over-reaching legislation so we can't be sued...

"Emergency" laws. (5, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 5 months ago | (#47423947)

Everyone knows the best laws are the ones rushed through the commons and passed on the nod in the other place.

From TFA:

Mr Cameron said: "We face real and credible threats to our security from serious and organised crime, from the activity of paedophiles, from the collapse of Syria, the growth of Isis in Iraq and al Shabab in East Africa."

Paedophiles are a threat to national security now? Organised crime? Maybe, but for heaven's sake how stupid does this government think we are, that we would swallow yet another use of pedophiles as the bogeymen du jour? That was a rhetorical question, it's not a question of stupidity as much as it is voter apathy coming back to bite us in our collective backside. Again.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424001)

Also from TFA:

"I'll be explaining today why emergency legislation is needed to maintain powers to help keep us safe from those who would harm UK citizens."

Same as retroactive immunity for telcos in the US. Apparently the "emergency" is that what they were doing was illegal, so it has to be made legal very quickly, preferably before anybody can bring a case to the court. If you make it retroactively legal fast enough, nobody has standing to bring a case, and no politicians are embarassed, and none of their accomplices in both the government and private sectors need worry about expensive penalties for breaking the law. To use an old phrase, "It is the same way in every country."

Re:"Emergency" laws. (2)

Warbothong (905464) | about 5 months ago | (#47424075)

"The government says if there had been no new powers there would have been no obligation on phone and internet companies to keep records if there was a UK court challenge to the retention of data."

So? That's a good thing. It's the reason why the ECJ ruled as it did. Grrrr....

Re:"Emergency" laws. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424099)

I like how they use the word "pedophiles" as if pedophiles are inherently evil or dangerous. Just because someone is a pedophile doesn't mean that they look or child porn or rape children.

Re: "Emergency" laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424421)

The FBI wants a word with you.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (3)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 5 months ago | (#47424147)

They must be getting desperate if they are using "Think of the Children" and "TERRORISM DURR HURR" at the same time.

Re: "Emergency" laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424541)

They're not desperate, they know they can do it and it's just surprising that they still feel the need for some excuse instead of simply pushing it through and telling the people: "so, rabble, what are you going to do about it, heh?".

Re:"Emergency" laws. (1)

splutty (43475) | about 5 months ago | (#47424235)

This law is actually only enacted because their previous law got invalidated by the EU, and they really really want to still be able to do this!

The discussion on this was when the first law was enacted, it's too late now, really.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (2)

N1AK (864906) | about 5 months ago | (#47424283)

This law is actually only enacted because their previous law got invalidated by the EU, and they really really want to still be able to do this!

I disagree with these rules on retention, but the false comments by others who share that view are blurring an important debate. The law that got invalidated by the European court was an EU law not a UK law, so no this isn't because their law was invalidated. There's been a fuss made about this bill being rushed through as though it to hide something; however the bill has come about very quickly compared to most and given the desire of the government to get cross-bench support the timing isn't overly suspicious. They've also added a very short which means which requires a new bill be passed in 2 years which gives time for proper debate.

I'll repeat my assertion that I don't want ISPs to be recording this information for all customers; however making the story about how the bill is being passed (actually very reasonably for the circumstances) distracts from the questioning of whether any such bill should exist at all and isn't helpful.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 5 months ago | (#47424301)

Apologies: It was meant to say it includes a "very short sunset clause"

Re:"Emergency" laws. (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#47424261)

The Lib Dems seem to have finally completely and utterly removed any reason for their existence too. I really don't get it.

They'd already seen their support tank for ignoring students, but those that remained in support of them still largely supported them because despite that they were still the best option for civil liberties given that they blocked Cameron and co's previous plan to brink back the interception modernisation programme. For all their mistakes they had at least to date still stood in defend of civil liberties.

Now they've thrown that away, so there's literally no reason to vote for them anymore. We used to see regular jokes on TV, in the media and so forth about the Lib Dems being pointless but it's now no longer a joke, it's a simple statement of fact.

Personally I'd vote Pirate but they don't stand around here anyway so I guess my only choice is the greens whom unfortunately focus far too much on feminism issues for my taste (it's important to me, but not as important as they rate it- there are many other things that matter more than that because they effect everyone, not just half the population). This said I don't even think the greens stand around here now anyway, so I guess it's time to scribble the old "Fuck you" party onto my ballot from now on.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (1)

Justpin (2974855) | about 5 months ago | (#47424307)

Sure but I don't think they really care as the politicians who got into power walk away with a large severance package and an extremely valuable pension that would put most 401Ks to shame

Re:"Emergency" laws. (1)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#47424425)

To be fair I don't think that's really true in the UK. I earn more than most politicians and I'm just a developer.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (3, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#47424751)

How much cash do you get slipped to you?

How many implied promises of speaking fees exceeding your yearly gross?

Politicians have exceeded the capacity of money and trade in power. Money just falls off the power; it's a force of nature. e.g. Chelsea Clinton gets how much for speaking fees?

Re:"Emergency" laws. (1)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#47425677)

I think it depends what level you're at, genuinely there are a large number of MPs that really don't get much on the side (other than the expenses they manage to fiddle). It's easy to see people like Tony Blair, or Chelsea Clinton (who last I checked was never a British MP) and assume they all make millions but that's rarely true. Even the genuine millionaires largely came into the profession with their fortunes in the first place which is a problem in itself, albeit it a separate one.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (2)

Justpin (2974855) | about 5 months ago | (#47424275)

Paedophiles yup because quite a number of politicians were named in cases involving paedophilia and quite conveniently the police files on them were destroyed y'know completely by accident of course. Therefore to protect their identities, I mean national security this law had to be enacted.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (3, Interesting)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 5 months ago | (#47424419)

What I don't get is how ANY of those groups pose a threat to anyone outside of their local areas. ISIS doesn't care about the West, their entire reason for existing is that the al-Maliki government in Iraq essentially locked out the Sunnis from representation in the country's government and they had a handy bunch of Islamic fighters in the country next door who were willing to divert their rebellion against Bashar al-Assad for a little while to try and take down al-Maliki. If anything, they'd have more reason to go after the United States (who installed al-Maliki) than they would to try something against the UK.

al-Shabab is a localized terror group based out of Somalia. Yes, they attacked a mall in Africa, but defense analysts in the United States have said multiple times that al-Shabab does not have the resources or the manpower to mount an attack on the United States or any of its interests. I would assume that the UK, being a long-time ally of the United States, would count as a "United States interest".

Last I checked, the UK also has existing laws on the books for dealing with pedophiles and organized crime - they were certainly able to handle the IRA before the days of mass-surveillance programs. Neither of these seem to pose any real "national security" threat that I can see, though I don't live in the UK.

Cameron was lying through his teeth and he knows it.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#47424463)

This bit was a complete joke too:

"I am simply not prepared to be a prime minister who has to address the people after a terrorist incident and explain that I could have done more to prevent it."

Right, but you're willing to stand up and be the cunt the said fuck you to human rights law and obliterated all remaining semblance of privacy in the UK? What a twat.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424499)

Yeah, in America we call it the 'Affordable' Health Care Act.

Re:"Emergency" laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47425417)

"Paedophiles are a threat to national security now?"

This is understandable, if you have read the Franklin Cover-Up by John DeCamp.

It is an expose detailing a high-level pedophile/blackmail ring involving some of the most prominent people in government (specifically, the Bush-Reagan administration), big business, and the Catholic Church.

People like Larry King and Craig Spence allegedly ran these types of sadistic pedophile rings and used photographs and videos to compromise prominent people.

If, for example, photos of the President engaged in pedophilia were used to blackmail him, that would most certainly fall under 'national security'.

This isn't just in the United States; pedophile rings are everywhere. Even here in Canada. Just Google "Perry Dunlop whistleblower".

I believe that the fabric that binds the world's rulers together is pedophilia. It explains much abuse of children in the world. It explains secret societies and 'old boys' clubs and male dominance in the world. It also explains the incompetence and corruption of governments around the world.

1984 30 years later (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47423969)

The wars are starting now.

The problem with "democracy" in the UK (1)

Air-conditioned cowh (552882) | about 5 months ago | (#47423973)

Is basically this: "...will receive cross-party support..." Everything that erodes privacy or impinges on liberties such as overbearing police powers, mass spying, rampant drug prohbition etc. It all gets unquestioned and unchallenged "cross party support".

Just a reminder to everyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47423999)

...of what "national security" laws are actually used for in practice [theregister.co.uk] .

Everyone who voted Tory becuase they hated Blair's authoritarianism, please note here that they're exactly the same. Well, at least we knew Blair's cabinet was full of ex-Soviet-sympathisers, but this lot are just duplicitous cunts.

"A message on 10 July 2014 was posted from IP address X.X.X.X noting that the government are a bunch of duplicitous cunts."

Re: Just a reminder to everyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424133)

Voted Democrat due to Bush.. Same story from across the pond.

I lament that our UK cousins have to endure this..and that we have to endure our own version here in the US. Hell, even the Australians are fucking up!

*grumble*

Re: Just a reminder to everyone... (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 5 months ago | (#47424399)

Methinks New Zealand is going to get much more crowded over the next few years.

6 weeks isn't long! (1)

phayes (202222) | about 5 months ago | (#47424011)

Not long at all for lawmakers who had their previous law invalidated and worked in concert with members of the opposition to ensure that the proposed version is acceptable to a majority.

But of course Timothy WILL put the most muckraking spin on it he can...

Let "The Game" Begin! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424019)

This: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Is Where: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wik... [memory-alpha.org]

We Are Headed: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt07... [imdb.com]

Never Forget: https://tinyurl.com/poorwesley... [tinyurl.com]

They want control of your mind.

This isn't about entertainment at all - the end 'game' is the battle for your mind!

The Mind Has No Firewall | by Timothy L. Thomas. Parameters, Spring 1998, pp. 84-92.
http://pastebin.com/JdkqxBAa [pastebin.com]

"It's just metadata" (3, Informative)

PigleT (28894) | about 5 months ago | (#47424021)

The BBC news is reporting [bbc.co.uk] that apparently it's not as bad as it could be because it's not storing the content of phone-calls made, just who was called and when.

Anyone who wants to know just how powerful mere "metadata" actually is should go read http://kieranhealy.org/blog/ar... [kieranhealy.org] .

Re:"It's just metadata" (1, Insightful)

Justpin (2974855) | about 5 months ago | (#47424317)

Well considering the BBC is the UK's state propaganda akin to Pravada, I'm not really sure you can be citing them as a reliable source. The BBC loves to omit certain things. For exampe 'c'est soir' in regards to the Iraq war.

Re:"It's just metadata" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424485)

Oh please! The BBC is a socialist mouthpiece, and hence anything but state propaganda when the Tories are in power...

Re:"It's just metadata" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424505)

They keep quiet about the Iraq war because it happened under a Labour government. If the Tories had happened to be in power back then, they'd have never shut up about it.

Re:"It's just metadata" (0)

jez9999 (618189) | about 5 months ago | (#47424507)

"It's evening"? Huh? What do you mean?

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424549)

yes, and anything to do with Northern Ireland.

Check the fine print (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424041)

Are there any exemptions? Odds are they exempted themselves because...you know...they're above all that.

Poodles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424131)

So I guess the Brits are going with their own version of the "Patriot Act" now?

emergency, the worldcup end is near (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424233)

Rush in unpopular laws while everybody is watching footy

Mesa propose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424237)

In response to this direct threat to the UK, mesa propose [wikia.com] that the Senate give immediately emergency powers to the Supreme Minister David Cameron!

CAPTCHA: "controls"

Sad... (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47424251)

70yrs ago, England stood alone in Europe against the shackles of tyranny. A few years later, and millions lives lost, England prevailed. Little did they know at the time that less than a century later the same arguments made by the Nazis regarding an imaginary immigrant threat and terrorist would be used again by their own government. The government will save them from criminals, but who will save them from their own government?

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424369)

The government will save them from criminals, but who will save them from their own government?

The terrorist and the paedophiles. The enemies of your enemy may not be your friends, but they are the closet thing you have to an ally.

Become seditionist; support the paedophiles and terrorists. Only then the corrupted will lose their powers and render unable manipulate you into accepting fascism. It's the only way out.

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47425071)

This peadphile, didn't he turn out to be on the PM's staff? I don't remember all the details....

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47425631)

I want to mod you up so much.

Re:Sad... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#47425721)

Because great men like Winston S. Churchill are now long dead.

Best Buddies! (0)

Jahoda (2715225) | about 5 months ago | (#47424477)

What disturbs me is the apparently lockstep between the UK and the US in the subversion of democracy and installation of fascist totalitarianism. I'm not even a so-called conspiracy nut, this should just be obvious to anyone following the news. Why is this not being talked about?

Re:Best Buddies! (4, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 5 months ago | (#47424995)

Yesterday Glenn Greenwald published a new story about five innocent Muslim Americans who were targeted by the NSA for collections, one of whom was surveiled without a warrant. These people were lawyers; one was a Republican candidate for state legislature and a former official in Bush's Department of Homeland Security. We were told the NSA was only spying on foreigners, and here they are caught in yet another bald-faced lie. To me, this is a huge story. Puts names and faces on the people illegally and unconstitutionally spied on by the government.

Let's see, front page of CNN.com? Nope. Foxnews.com? Nope. If you search you can find like a blog post mentioning it. Same thing happened last year when the Snowden leaks first came out. They either ignored it or ran "Hero or Traitor? You decide!" fluff pieces or showed pictures of his stripper girlfriend and completely ignored the whole "hey, isn't this creepy as fuck and blatantly unconstitutional and yet is supported by all three branches of government and the bulk of both parties?" thing.

I was never the kind of person who thought the media was necessarily a mouthpiece for the state. I thought they were just shitty at their jobs and it was easier to report horserace politics and debates on "controversial issues" than real journalism. But this kind of shit...fuck man. There's really no other conclusion you can draw. The media intentionally downplays the abuses of the fascist surveillance state. And it must be intentional, because this shit is real news about which they could have their fake talking head debates and get ratings. It's right there...easy stuff. And nothing. There is only one conclusion to draw from that.

Legislate in haste, repent in leisure (1)

sandbagger (654585) | about 5 months ago | (#47424487)

Rewording a statute so that the recently disavowed laws are changed cosmetically 'just enough' to make it through a summer session will politics as usual. This is nothing other than kicking the can down the road and making work for the legal-industruial complex. We DO want the security services to go after the bad guys but could can we all at least keep our dignity when doing so?

'We need unlimited emergency powers all the time because of a special existential threat that we're not going to tell you about' is not acceptable as an explanation.

What's the "emergency"? (4, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 5 months ago | (#47424539)

FTA:

"I'll be explaining today why emergency legislation is needed to maintain powers to help keep us safe from those who would harm UK citizens."

— David Cameron

No need to explain, David. We all know this is just another excuse for more power-hoarding privacy invasion, and that "those who would harm UK citizens" are in fact you and your masters. Kindly stop pretending and man up. The only "emergency" here is the fear fantasy you're manufacturing and trying to get UK citizens to swallow.

Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424553)

I'm sure Obama would gladly send copies of the expanded Patriot Act and NDAA for the UK to use a reference.

He's transparent like that.

Relevant Quote (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 5 months ago | (#47424599)

"In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society which I assure you will last for ten thousand years."

-- Emperor Palpatine

Re:Relevant Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47424617)

These aren't the laws we're looking for.

Step 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47425261)

Step 1) Enact "Emergency" law
Step 2) Declare an "Emergency" (anything will do, declare an epidemic of ingrown toenails)
Step 3) Don't ever resolve the emergency

Voila! You now have a law on the books that doesn't have public support but applies anyway. Bonuses, pats on backs, job well done, etc.

Patriot Act, UK (1)

dasgoober (2882045) | about 5 months ago | (#47425509)

... or sounds a whole hell of a lot like it...

What Happened to Laws that Make Sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47425609)

Like this law; If you are part of a terrorist cell and are communicating with terrorist cells or other members of a terrorist cell expect to be brought down. Your privacy will be invaded. You will no longer be able to hide behind privacy laws of law abiding citizens ever.

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