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Supporters say the legislation is to fight terrorism, opponents say it's too invasive

While some in the United States are worrying about handing over their Facebook login credentials to employers, UK citizens have an even tougher battle looming. Some in the UK government want freer access to the e-mails, text messages, phone calls, and websites that UK citizens visit. Under a pending legislation, internet firms in the UK would be required to provide the UK intelligence agency GCHQ access to these communications in real-time, on-demand.
 
Supporters of the legislation say that the access to the communications is needed to fight crime and terrorism according to the BBC.
 
Those in the UK government that oppose the legislation say that it simply gives the government easier access to snoop and spy on citizens. Tory MP David Davis called it "an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people."
 
GCHQ would still need a warrant to access the content of e-mails and phone calls. 
 
“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 spokesman for The Home Office said.
 
"As set out in the Strategic Defense and Security Review we will legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows to ensure that the use of communications data is compatible with the government's approach to civil liberties."
 
Conservative MP David Davis is against the legislation saying that it would simply make it easier for the government "to eavesdrop on vast numbers of people."
 
The legislation would require all that data to be recorded for two years. Davis said, "What this is talking about doing is not focusing on terrorists or criminals, it's absolutely everybody's emails, phone calls, web access. All that's got to be recorded for two years and the government will be able to get at it with no by your leave from anybody."
 
The legislation will be announced in the Queen's Speech, but it would still have to make it through Parliament and is expected to face opposition in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Source: BBC



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We'll circumvent it
By BugblatterIII on 4/2/2012 5:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
SMS compromised? We'll use the data connections on our phones using something like Viber instead.

Email compromised? We'll again switch to something else; something encrypted.

We'll do this not because we have something to hide but because we have a right to privacy.

Of course the terrorists and serious criminals have already done this. So now it'll be harder to find them because everyone will be hiding their information so the criminals won't stand out. Well done!

They really want to do this to prevent further riots. Oh, and all other forms of civil disobedience while they're at it.




RE: We'll circumvent it
By Aloonatic on 4/2/2012 6:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
YOu want to encrypt the message sent to your wife telling her that you'll be late home for dinner? I can only assume that it's really a message that is more sinister, please come this way...

I quite agree, by the way, and it's ridiculous that we are where we are. Hopefully this will not make it onto the books though.

Maybe spam will be our saviour on overload the system :o)


RE: We'll circumvent it
By Adonlude on 4/3/2012 11:52:44 AM , Rating: 2
This is the UK we are talking about. You have no freedom there. Your government has over 1200 laws allowing them to enter your home:

http://news.techeye.net/business/government-has-12...


What is wrong with the UK?
By muhahaaha on 4/2/2012 11:49:44 AM , Rating: 2
Why is the UK becoming such a police state? I thought the US was getting bad. Remember when people fled to America to get away from the British tyranny? Too bad there isn't anywhere new to go anymore.

The next thing they will do is put a huge cage over the whole country and force everyone to watch Dr. Who 24/7 until their brains turn even more to mush.




RE: What is wrong with the UK?
By Aloonatic on 4/2/12, Rating: 0
RE: What is wrong with the UK?
By geddarkstorm on 4/2/2012 2:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't think you know enough about history in this case.

Many groups fled to America, the Mayflower (the generic Puritans) was just one ship. The first English colony, Jamestown, was established by a London based company; nothing to do with puritans.

My ancestors came here to New Amsterdam in 1626, leaving their danish homes right before their home town was attacked, burned off the face of the map, and everyone left in it slaughtered. The English still chased them down and in the 1660's blockaded New Amsterdam and captured it, renaming it to New York.

And of course, another famous historical "fleeing" to America was the mass Irish immigration due to the potato blight induced famine.

But really, when you look at history, most of the immigrants were corporations, or people fleeing the threat of death in the Old World from a variety of sources.


RE: What is wrong with the UK?
By Aloonatic on 4/2/2012 6:51:01 PM , Rating: 1
I really don't think that you understand the word context.

The OP was referring to people fleeing British tyranny, which I doubt that many Danish people were.

Sorry, I should not use the word many, seeing as you seem to think that that means all, every single last person.

Go back, read my comment properly, stop trying to be a know it all.

Of course lots of people moved to what is now the USA from all sorts of places. Do you really think that I thought that only British people did? Really? The thing is, no one was talking about the other countries, just the evil, "tyrannical" British.

Geez, this place... I remember why I don't bother to comment here much any more.


Jingoistic, nationalistic nonsense aside
By Aloonatic on 4/2/2012 12:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
I do not understand how any politician can argue that having to get warrant to do any of this is something that they shouldn't have to bother with.

If this kind of surveillance is seriously needed, then they should have no bother getting the proof that is needed and show that there is a good reason why they should spy on someone like this, so getting a warrant should not be a problem.

I do not trust the people who will be responsible for this one bit. The powers that already have been bought in have been abused a countless number of times. Powers that were enacted to save us from terrorists being used to monitor where people lived to see if they were in the correct catchment area for the schools that their kids go to, whether they were putting their bins out at the right time, and weather their dogs are fowling the local park..... Not exactly issues of national security.

It's deeply disappointing (to put it mildly) that this is being proposed, and that we seem happy to let them get away with it. If there was a reason why people should be loudly protesting against government it is over issues like this, not the stupid things that people often do seem to get upset about.




By Trisped on 4/2/2012 8:53:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I do not understand how any politician can argue that having to get warrant to do any of this is something that they shouldn't have to bother with.
If you read the article, they are suppose to have a warrant.
quote:
GCHQ would still need a warrant to access the content of e-mails and phone calls.
Of course this conflicts with the quote
quote:
All that's got to be recorded for two years and the government will be able to get at it with no by your leave from anybody.
Which indicates that there does not need to be a warrant.

If you go to the original article from BBC you find:
quote:
A new law - which may be announced in the forthcoming Queen's Speech in May - would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant.
Which only leaves website visits out of the warrant requirement.

The problem is the original article does not do a good job explaining the situation. The summary states:
quote:
The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon.
Then later implies that the data must be collected on everyone and held for 2 years.

I am not sure what the law is, but it makes sense to me that the government needs the ability to issue lawful warrants monitor the communications of individuals suspected of breaking the law. As long as the process is handled properly, according to the laws of the country (with no bias or favoritism) I do not see what the problem is.

If they are giving themselves the ability to spy on anyone without proper and documentation then that is a problem.


Same old fear mongering
By Hakuryu on 4/2/2012 12:59:40 PM , Rating: 3
If you are a goverment, and want to spy on your own people, all you have to do is append "... to fight terrorism". Get people scared, and you can start watering down their rights 'for their own good'.

Countries like the US and UK spend untold millions for forces like the CIA, and they need to monitor regular citizens to find leads? Are they telling us their huge well funded workforces with satellites and operatives all over the world are simply ineffective money sinks?

If there is someone suspicious enough to warrant attention, then there is a judge that will issue a warrant for wiretapping/etc. Spying on anyone at will lead to the abuse of power; see random history books.




Blanket warrant
By wallijonn on 4/5/2012 6:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GCHQ would still need a warrant to access the content of e-mails and phone calls.


No warrant necessary, they'll just say "National Security"... Maybe the government should pay part of the phone, cell, & internet bills.




To all you snarky America haters...
By MrBlastman on 4/2/12, Rating: -1
RE: To all you snarky America haters...
By dark matter on 4/2/2012 12:01:53 PM , Rating: 3
The same country where they can sack you if you don't give them your facebook account.

You've just sold me. I'll be on the first plane. And have my genitals photographed on the way in.


RE: To all you snarky America haters...
By MrBlastman on 4/2/2012 12:15:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The same country where they can sack you if you don't give them your facebook account.


Wait until this goes to the Supreme Court before you pass "judgement."

At least here termination of your job is the worst that can happen. Elsewhere in the world refusal to comply could result in termination of your life, your "freedom" (by being thrown in prison) or other means. Oh, what about speaking your mind? You can do that here--and even trash talk our Government, without going to jail...

Complacency threatens to ruin all this though.


By Aloonatic on 4/2/2012 12:22:45 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Wait until this goes to the Supreme Court before you pass "judgement."
You mean like the way you waited until this went through The Commons, The House of Lords, and then the European courts too, where it will almost certainly end up eventually.

You sir, are an idiot.

And if you think that something similar is not already going on, or is at the very least in the pipeline, in the land where mom is yearning to bake a pie containing something other than apples... You are even more of an idiot than your last post, and the stream of other posts that plague this site, suggest.


RE: To all you snarky America haters...
By dark matter on 4/2/2012 12:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
I've seen videos of American police. They seem, rather "pleasant" Not to mention all the local tinpot "security" guards you have.

Care to remind us about the "patriot" act.

Yes, a great country to be in. You can bad mouth the government all day long. But share a few albums worth of music and their friends in the RIAA will ruin your life.

Seems like a very balanced country to me.


By JediJeb on 4/3/2012 6:47:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But share a few albums worth of music and their friends in the RIAA will ruin your life.


Didn't we have an article here not so long ago about the British equivalent of the RIAA suing someone that worked in a shop for playing their radio too loud so that everyone could hear it claiming it was an illegal public performance?


By JediJeb on 4/3/2012 6:48:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And have my genitals photographed on the way in.


They only photograph them on the way out, you can come in without much more than a sideways look.


RE: To all you snarky America haters...
By mmntech on 4/2/2012 1:03:55 PM , Rating: 2
Canada resents that last paragraph. North America is becoming one of the last bastions of online freedom.


RE: To all you snarky America haters...
By MrBlastman on 4/2/2012 1:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
Ah sorry, I forgot about our Canadian friends. I, unlike many, actually respect our northern neighbors. The Quebeccans are a little crazy, but otherwise ya'll are pretty cool in my book. :)


By Samus on 4/3/2012 3:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
Toronto has nice hookers. Canada is eey-o-kay!


RE: To all you snarky America haters...
By B3an on 4/2/2012 1:54:37 PM , Rating: 1
I'm VERY glad I don't live in america :)

Also i'd bet this article only appeared because of my previous comment LOL.

BTW they need a warrant to do this. Where as in america it's perfectly legal for an employer not to employ someone if they dont give out their facebook name and password.

I find it very ironic that you americans call the U.S the land of the free. It certainly wasn't for blacks and asians until recently in your history.


By geddarkstorm on 4/2/2012 2:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, from the quote from Davis and such, it doesn't look like a warrant is needed at all, and the intelligence agency can simply order the surveillance for any reason at any time.

And even so, the quote from Davis basically says this plan requires all data from everyone in the country to be recorded and stored for two years just -in case- a warrant is eventually issued for any reason.

There are plenty of dumb laws that get proposed all the time and very few ever go anywhere, so this isn't a worry to the British people until or if it gets passed.

Still, it reminds me of a quote I once saw though I don't remember the source, saying something like "I'd rather live in dangerous freedom, than peaceful slavery".


By MrBlastman on 4/2/2012 2:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
BTW they need a warrant to do this. Where as in america it's perfectly legal for an employer not to employ someone if they dont give out their facebook name and password.


We do have laws here that protect applicants from answering certain questions in an interview--as well as interviewers asking former employers about your past at previous jobs. It is only a matter of time before shenanigans with revealing Facebook passwords become illegal too.

For the time being though, your best hope to prevent exploitation of your Facebook account is to not have one at all. If you don't put the information out to the public for all eyes to see, they can't find it.


By Reclaimer77 on 4/2/2012 5:34:04 PM , Rating: 1
????

In places like China human slavery went on into the 1980's. There are places where it STILL takes place. And you bring up 100+ year old American race issues and say you're glad you don't live here? Ha, okay.

How about you go to Mexico where the cops are paid to look the other way as massive kidnapping/ransoming rings "disappear" hundreds of people a year and compare that to being not hired because of Facebook. You idiot.


By dasgetier on 4/3/2012 2:57:27 AM , Rating: 2
"RDF activated"


"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton














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