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Standard User BatBoy
(legend) Sun 01-Apr-12 12:07:18
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UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monitors


[link to this post]
 
UK government plans to allow the intelligence services analyse call, email and Web traffic in “real-time” could be announced by the Queen as early as May.

UK ‘to announce’ real-time phone, email, Web traffic monitoring

By Zack Whittaker | April 1, 2012, 3:35am PDT

Summary: UK government plans to allow the intelligence services analyse call, email and Web traffic in “real-time” could be announced by the Queen as early as May.

Editors note: Despite this being April 1, or ‘April Fools Day’, this story is not a fabrication nor a joke. For background to this story, head this way.

Under new UK legislation, Internet service and broadband providers will be obligated to pass personal browsing, email and call data to the intelligence services for real-time processing.

“Internet firms” could also include social networks and search engines, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google — all of which have a presence in the UK — along with broadband providers. Access to ISP logs will be opened up to the government on-demand.

The ‘third’ UK intelligence service, GCHQ, the signals and electronics eavesdropping station based in Cheltenham, currently process call, web, and email data, such as when communications were made, but not the contents of such data.

ISPs, however, do process this data at their facilities and datacenters. These new plans would force ISPs to ‘mirror’ all traffic through GCHQ allowing for more detailed inspection on a law enforcement level to quickly process information as it happens.

A Home Office spokesperson confirmed the upcoming legislation could be implemented as “soon as parliamentary time allows”.

“It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“Communications data includes time, duration and dialling numbers of a phone call, or an email address. It does not include the content of any phone call or email and it is not the intention of Government to make changes to the existing legal basis for the interception of communications.”

Currently under UK law, GCHQ along with police and other law enforcement agencies, would have to present a Home Secretary-issued or court-ordered search warrant to ISPs to force to hand over the data for inspection.

The new legislation would still require a search warrant to access the specific details of calls, emails and Web activity. Such personal content can still be requested under a search warrant presented to the ISP, though GCHQ will not process this data automatically.

But it will allow the intelligence services to trace people’s communications with others, who they are contacting, and how often for.

The “contact not content” rule applies in that police, law enforcement and intelligence services are interested in who people communicate with, rather than the contents of the communication itself.

But the new measures would force ISPs to install routing hardware in their facilities to open up access to GCHQ as and when it is necessary.

The legislation is expected to be announced at the Queen’s Speech in May. The speech is the only communication the Queen gives that is not written by her. It is written by legislators, specifically at Downing Street, the home and office of the prime minister.

The previous Labour government pushed for similar legislation — a time post the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, and the July 7 London bombings. In hindsight, it seemed like a breach of civil liberties, in an age where subjective anti-social behaviour (ASBO) injunctions could prevent individuals from doing certain things along with when and in specific places, and control orders would impose ‘house arrest’ like sanctions on suspected terrorists.

The proposals were shot down by the then opposition Conservative government, but now in power seek to bring these plans into law by the end of the year.




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Edited by BatBoy (Sun 01-Apr-12 12:12:13)

Standard User soapysoutar
(learned) Sun 01-Apr-12 12:48:24
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Re: UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monit


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
I always think it's strange how the politicians say one thing in opposition, then do another when in power. It just shows that it is not the politicians that really make the decisions and policies, but the permament civil servants who do not answer to the people, but answer to the establishment instead. The politicians just do as they are told.
Standard User GeeTee
(committed) Sun 01-Apr-12 13:30:55
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Re: UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monit


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
And who is going to pay for all the kit, large access channels and ongoing maintenance of all this? Along with the vast amount of hardware required by GCHQ to analyse that volume of data in real time. Oh right - all of us.

There's better things to be investing money in right now and this is wholly unmandated.

Let alone the simple fact that the people they claim to be wanting to protect us from "serious crime and terrorism" will just vpn their comms outside UK borders rendering the whole shenanigans useless.

An utter farce - and an expensive one at that.


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Standard User techguy
(committed) Sun 01-Apr-12 13:55:19
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Re: UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monit


[re: GeeTee] [link to this post]
 
Hmmm

I thought we had a deficit that we had to pay off.

Let's hope its an April Fool.

I have's a question for you though.

Could it be possible that all commercially available encryption has had a weakness built in that governments could exploit or is this truly legislation drawn up by technically illiterate morons?

Virgin (ADSL) => Namesco => Newnet => O2 => Plusnet => Zen => Newnet => Zen Lite 8000
Note: I don't lay turf for anyone. astro or otherwise, all views and opinions expressed are my own based on experience.
Standard User TrishaH
(member) Sun 01-Apr-12 13:57:25
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Re: UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monit


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
So they condemn nespapers (quite rightly so) for phone hacking, saying it's an invasion of privacy - yet their form of invasion of privacy is OK?

I'm all for national/international security, and don't object to most forms of security measures such as cctv etc, but this takes things a step too far for my liking.
Standard User BatBoy
(legend) Sun 01-Apr-12 14:08:22
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Re: UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monit


[re: techguy] [link to this post]
 
No, it's no joke
Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, said: "This is an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran.

"This is an absolute attack on privacy online and it is far from clear this will actually improve public safety, while adding significant costs to internet businesses.




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Standard User GeeTee
(committed) Sun 01-Apr-12 15:06:33
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Re: UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monit


[re: techguy] [link to this post]
 
Sure - it is possible that some commercial encryption has deliberate backdoors. However most VPN providers give options for PPTP or L2TP / IPSec.

I remember 10+ years ago PPTP was considered weak and have not heard of any significant improvement since then.

AES128 and AES256, the encryption cipher most widely used for IPSec is widely believed to still be unbroken i.e. the only way to crack it is brute force guessing, which is computationally unfeasible today.

AES256 particularly is even authorised by the US gov't for securing confidential data up to Top Secret level.

One side effect of this strength of encryption is of course the introduction of laws to compel people to reveal passwords / passphrases / key files to allow access to encrypted data when under investigation. If it is believed you know the key and refuse to reveal it, then it's up to 5 years in the slammer for you. Hence encryption of static data (files etc.) doesn't really serve much use if the intention is to evade law enforcement. It is useful for your own protection i.e. collateral damage such as bank account access etc. when a laptop or USB stick etc. is lost or stolen.

Hmm... went way of topic there talking about static data encryption.. oops smile

As for on the fly VPN encryption, the concern needs to be what jurisdiction the VPN provider and their equipment operates in and what logging they maintain. Probably best in this respect to rent a vps or dedicated server in some unencumbered jurisdiction and setup your own VPN node with zero logging enabled.

Anyways, for the purpose of this discussion - thinking that being able to simply sniff communication data in real time on UK networks is going to achieve anything worthwhile toward the stated aims is, yes, moronic.

Of course - there may well be unstated aims..... smile
Standard User RobertoS
(sensei) Sun 01-Apr-12 15:23:16
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Re: UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monit


[re: techguy] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by techguy:
Let's hope its an April Fool.
It was on the Beeb yesterday.

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Standard User smurf46
(member) Sun 01-Apr-12 15:37:14
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Re: UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monit


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
It presses the three key buttons for government "action": coo safety, that's a good seller; hidden costs, so the gullible joe public won't notice; and snooping. Ignore the inconvenient truth that the harm arises from insufficient bodies and getting it wrong "on the ground". How often do the post-mortems reveal that "the information wasn't acted upon"? "So let's have more of this lovely information stuff that can't or won't make any difference". But no politician ever dealt with anything "difficult".

Get used to it: the politicians think we're stupid, and will do anything for what they think is a good headline. Suggestions to Dave (on a postcard, of course).

We see things not as they are, but as we are .
- Anais Nin
Standard User rikbean
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 01-Apr-12 17:26:02
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Re: UK to announce real-time phone, email, Web traffic monit


[re: soapysoutar] [link to this post]
 
You can write the 'Yes Minister' script to cover this one so easily... Perhaps that's why the show is making a comeback?

Rik
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