And I suspect it's because most of the public don't care either. There are people who would like privacy, who think that GCHQ should be accountable and then there are other people who are perfectly happy that someone is watching everything, everywhere, because that makes them feel safe, and of course they aren't doing anything wrong, so why should they care?
And of course a large proportion of the population either aren't intelligent enough or aren't interested enough to understand what's going on.
It makes me angry, but that's the world we live in.
I'm sorry to Godwin the thread, but it's pertinent. The push on "british values" (nationalism) and "preventing non-violent extremism" (such doublespeak) and "combatting islam" is fucking terrifying to anyone even vaguely familiar with the events that preceded the holocaust and the second world war.
The surveillance state we find ourselves under just makes it that much easier for atrocities to be committed and utterly hidden from view.
I'm a UK resident and I note that the propaganda machine is running on overdrive. The batshit sheep majority (sorry but it's true at least where I live) of the country is almost calling out for anyone with a beard and a turban to be hung and the armed forces are constantly in focus in the media and in public word. If you look around facebook it's terrifying some of the rants you hear yet at the same time these people are slating the Nazis for their prejudice. It's literally:
"Kill all the muslims", "support our boys", "Nazi's bad m'kay".
I will say that none of these people were alive when the Nazis had their gig. Those who were are suspicious and aware of the consequences of thinking and acting like this.
I too am suspicious of anyone who holds a noose.
Well, I'm sorry to say, but you English deserve your oppression. It will be a long road travelled hard before the UK is anywhere near the free, spirited nation it claims itself to be. I can only imagine there are new breeds of dissidents in the British isles, and I can only hope they rise some day to shock British culture out of its utterly self-righteous stupor.
However I'm the opposite. I kick off regularly at people for being that pliable and conformant. What do I get in return? I am shunned for possibly being contrarian, despite the logic being flawless and have put up with a lot of shit over the years despite being right 100% of the time. This country is slowly descending into hell.
Britain needs to look at war-torn Europe up to the late 1990's. It was a fucking mess. I mean a real mess. People sleep with an eye open still and everyone understands what nationalism and prejudice brings: death and suffering.
Britain sleeps with its eyes shut, its fingers in its ears and it's identity in everyone else's business.
Politicians love to shout about their successes. Only, this government hasn't really got any to shout about, so they're falling back to the old standby that all governments do in situations like this. Wave the flag and be proud to be British.
That of course, coupled with the lack of real achievement from the current government, the ongoing and incredibly unpopular austerity cuts, and a long and drawn-out recovery that doesn't seem to be materialising for most people means that any way to make political hay right now needs to be grasped.
David Cameron has responded to this crisis by declaring we need to celebrate "Britishness" with more enthusiasm. More enthusiasm? More? We've been celebrating Britishness with the strained determination of a man desperately trying to shit a cricket ball for the past five years.
Funnily enough, the politicians and journalists making a big deal out of this scandal are strong supporters of replacing state-run schools with state-funded academies run by Christian fundamentalists, especially failing ones in deprived inner city areas. Some of those have been caught teaching kids in science classes that the scientific evidence says the world is 6000 years old like the Bible says, but that didn't cause a big controversy for some weird reason. In fact, our leader David Cameron has been using this to push for more Christian indoctrination in schools.
Today we have history to tell us where things could go. If we don't allow comparisons to the early stages, might we unwittingly make later stages more likely?
There's an implicit valuation of culture in this statement. Most cultures throughout history melded and adapted to other cultures, both in little and big ways. Xenophobia about cultural invasion is also throughout history, but the reality is that dominant cultures are never "pure" and diversity of culture was actively censored and/or ignored by some historians for a long time.
Our precious "British" culture is a Franco-Germanic-Nordic-Celtic-Romano-Pictish-Jutish-Afro-Indian-Sinesian and god only knows what else fusion. They should teach Bayeux, not Carta.
Taking away a person's privacy is a punishment. You can't do it because it might bear interesting information. That you don't know ahead of time whether that information will be important is no excuse: you can't punish someone unless you know they're guilty.
Further, given the shroud of secrecy around the collection of the information, how can we be assured that it's not going to be used for commercial or political ends? Even if you trust the present keepers of these secrets, will the next batch be as clean?
Why do you believe that it's so important to gather this information? Is there any real evidence that it's been used in ways that is truly important to our safety (not just for catching drug dealers), and that cannot be accomplished through conventional means?
And how can you even know? If the government won't even own up to what they're doing, how can the electorate weigh the factors? Given that the nature of the problem renders democratic action impossible, how can it be tolerated in a democratic state?
Which is a much more moderate message.
I'm not really convinced that the UK is becoming any more racist overall, it's just that the internet has given those who are already that way inclined a platform.
In their political sphere, people care about their wealth (economy), their identity (nationalism, religion) & drama (political scandals). These are pretty constant. They are the bread and butter of politics and have ben since ancient time. When wealth decreases, identity is challenged or political drama whips the mob into a frenzy political instability ensues. So long as those are kept in check, political stability is hard to challenge.
If you look at most big stability events (eg the recent riots and protests in Greece), they relate to these. Wealth & political drama. The US banking crisis related to wealth (recession), drama (evolving doors) and identity (corporate welfarism).
Abstract ideas like freedom (of X), democracy, equality, privacy, justice, do not have political weight in their own right. To make them count politically they need to become one of the things that matter, bundled into the national mythology, people's identity.
The US for all their faults, have a genuinely principled foundational mythology/ideology. They can graft principles like privacy onto those making "privacy" into an identity issue. Government spying is offensive to Americans in the same way (though sadly not to the same degree) as a perceived islamization of the UK to the British. Most major political "principle" issues are really identity issues. That's why nationalism and religion are impossible to exorcise from politics.
Americans seem better positioned to put up a fight against this spying stuff than the rest of us because they already have government-skepticism built into their national identity. Europeans can build onto our 'enlightened" edentate though this is less wieldy. But ultimately I have a hard time believing that any of us will avoid being completely surveilled by several governments. There is too much momentum in that direction.
It is disturbing how quickly we forget the lessons of history -- even history still within living memory that shaped the entire future of Europe -- and instead allow an "it would never happen to me" mentality to take over.
- NSA and GCHQ are probably watching your kids naked, a lot, because exploits from webcams are very common, and they cannot know before hand if someone is using Skype to plan tewowist attacks or a video for their teenage boyfriend.
- They are watching everything related to any company, so if an NSA employee happens to have stock in a rival company, well, that's insider trading sponsored by the state.
- Blackmailing is a piece of cake, because completely normal and legal activities such as watching porn are enough to defame you.
- They want security exploits to exist (and they pay for those), because that's how the intercept your communications, the problem is, those are the same exploits tewowist and black hat hackers use against you.
You get the idea.
To fight something like this, we need something that makes people draw a line. An uncrossable one. The main item a politician can identify with.
Otherwise, this is a negotiation. One we'll lose.
How can you blackmail someone with their normal and legal activities? Either watching porn is abnormal, and a source of blackmail opportunities, or it's normal and it's not, surely?
 the legal situation in the UK for porn is not straightforward.
I think that may be the effect rather than the cause. Public opinion is shaped to a pretty large degree by what the media tells people to be interested in.
And with the media mostly telling us that it's happening but that's it's not important, it's for our own good and that anyone publishing details about it (like the Guardian) is threatening national security, that's what a lot of people accept as fact.
It makes me angry because this is the exact reason why freedom of the press needs to exist - not to allow papers to publish details of some celeb's romantic life. But it's only the latter that 95% of the press in the UK seem to be prepared to battle to defend.
* Yet. As long as people such as peterlawest (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7903705) continue to be the majority.
a. Why Surveillance Doesn’t Faze Britain 
b. Why the British like their spies 
The UK Government does not comment on issues of national security. End of discussion.
I think it's sad that it makes you 'angry' that some people simply disagree with you. We have a democracy, and obviously only a minority consider this to be an issue of concern.
If you have a problem with it, stand for election.
"If you have a problem with it, stand for election" is facile: First past the post electoral district representative governments are almost designed to eliminate single issue candidates from ever having any electoral power. The only way to make a difference is to convince the main parties that this matters & that takes years of ground work against a well funded group which will oppose your every move using its access to the machinery of government. It isn't called the military-industrial-congressional complex for nothing you know.
As an aside, very few people have a problem with targeted government surveillance. What I have a problem with is the dragnet sweeping up of every communication, keeping as much as possible for future use against anyone and anybody whilst keeping this policy secret from the population in question. Historically this kind of action has been seen as a signifier of a totalitarian states who are afraid of their own population revolting against them and I fear that the UK/US (and by extension the five-eyes countries) have put in place the full machinery for a panopticon, in which any dissent against the ruling cadres is quietly quashed. This isn't a road I personally wish to see my country taking, yet the politicians and public at large seem blind to the risk, handing over sweeping powers to the security services with almost no oversight or control.
Well, I don't consider that stance well-informed.
Surely its not informed of the tons of abuses of surveillance from "democratic" governments. And its also not informed of thousands of people rotting in jail, targeted by the police, tortured etc. Perhaps people who think that way, believe that all governments are like their local bubble -- or that it has to be some third-world dictatorship for those abuses to happen.
But I'm pretty sure they're also misinformed about the abuses in their local bubble too.
If you're an American for example, you might not know FBI has an attrocious record (under McCarthyism, under the the direction of Hoover, in the sixties against students and black protesters, up to Occupy Wall Street). If you're British, you might not know of an equally disgusting history. And don't get me started on places like Italy, Greece, Spain etc. Or Latin America for that matter.
Or they know those things but just don't care, because either "this time is different" ("and now we're fully and trully a transparent democracy" -- which is the most laughable ignorance one can muster), or they agree with the abuses.
But there's an even easier explanation: they only care for themselves, and since they don't ever do anything to challenge things you think they are safe.
And it might even be true.
But those that do challenge things (from civil rights activists to new political parties, and from artists to people experimenting with new ways of living), are the ones who make society better. Not the cover-my-asses. And it's those people who challenge things that very much are targeted by the abuses.
And what exactly are the benefits? Living in a nanny state?
[edit: fixed typo, child commenter: you a funny man]
No, that's Ireland (where the investigation of a mass grave of children in a nunnery is failing to get off the ground)
Most notably though, I find terrible the statement that "we have a democracy" when essentially what we're talking about are tools whose abuse (which is going to be very welcomed by the government[s]) is exactly to suppress the democracy itself. Not only this, but also that fact the this is put in a context where government[s] are increasingly given powers to silence dissidence and legally rape people (or minorities, at worst), in an immoral (probable cause hello!) or worst, unlawful way (Snowden docs here).
All of this, with the fact that the "benefits" are not proven, and are actually very arguable. It's naive to think that indiscriminately listening to a billion conversations is an easy way to investigate "terrorism".
I don't think honestly that it's a well informed opinion to assume that we have a democracy just because we can vote somebody; more specifically, black/hispanic low-class people would not have the same opinion, at least, in some countries.
1. Governments have always had these powers. The state has 'a monopoly on violence' and that can be abused in many different ways, without the need for pervasive surveillance. But it isn't, at least in the USA and the UK, we don't have 'death squads' roaming the streets or summary extra-judicial executions by firing squad for supporting the wrong political party, or having the wrong religion.
2. Wait, legally rape people... What?
In a recent past, my great-grand-father was arrested and beaten up by the Gestapo for his political views (sorry for the emotional argument but i think it's appropriate). My point is that even if you perceive your country as a democracy where the leaders behave for the best, it may not be so forever. And as history shows, it can change very fast. It's important that we have strong laws that protect the people from their leaders.
There must be a name for this kind of fallacy.
Part of democracy is accepting that you don't necessarily agree with everyone about everything, and you have to compromise.
Is it "sad that it makes you 'angry' that some people simply disagree with you"? Is it ok to dismiss your anger because you don't "stand for election"?
Yes, part of democracy is accepting that some people will disagree with you. The right way to go is to either compromise or to convince them you're right. Incidentally, that's what actually happens most of the time.
Just because one part of an organisation does not have a particular property, it does not negate that property for all other parts. The USA and UK are, quite obviously, democracies. There are free and fair secret elections for government in which anyone can vote, and anyone can stand for election as a candidate. That makes them democracies, the behaviour of their secret intelligence services is irrelevant.
I worry about the thought processes that must occur for people to think this; or similar things, like conflating an instance of some law enforcement department abusing its power with a totalitarian police state... I understand hyperbole as a rhetorical device, but it isn't helpful when assumed as fact.
Sorry, but I'm going to have to call bullshit on this one.
Lobbying and uncapped campaign donations are tantamount to legalised bribery. The system is utterly corrupt.
Free they may be, but calling them fair is a gross misrepresentation in my opinion.
> I worry about the thought processes that must occur for people to think this; or similar things, like conflating an instance of some law enforcement department abusing its power with a totalitarian police state.
We're not saying it's a police state. We're saying it is becoming one because of the very tools that these agencies possess and abuse without accountability.
As an example, you've basically had a man (a criminal) James Clapper lie directly to congress knowingly and unabashedly. He's somehow still walking around, free and lol'ing at the general public he so joyously likes to mislead and scaremonger.
> I worry about the thought processes that must occur for people to think this; or similar things.
I honestly think the same of people who think that there is no problem here, nothing to worry about or even that it's a good thing. I honestly can't wrap my head around the immense wilfull ignorance some people seem to be displaying.
It makes me sad, angry and disgusted all at once.
Right, this is my problem. I have no problem with posession of these tools. States possess much worse things, nuclear weapons spring to mind. And abuse of these tools in an unaccountable fashion is wrong, 100% with you on that. However it is not clear to me that such abuses have occurred, or are occurring in a systematic way. Are there any documented (to the extent possible) cases of this? I didn't think even the Snowden documents showed that. In fact, it looked like they were full of caveats about US and UK citizen surveillance being a problematic area, and stated requirements for legal reviews and checks in these cases?
I agree that having secret proceedings, etc., is a big problem. But there are cases where they're necessary, or at least many people think so. Like it or not, changing the way things work now means gaining some things (e.g. more freedom, more transparency) but potentially giving some things up (some measure of security).
Some people might be willing to give up different measures of freedom for different measures of security - others will have different numbers. That's why, in a democracy, we either convince people or compromise with them.
The question is not so much can it be abused, but to what extent it is being abused. Remember, the security services are not above having people murdered if they're sufficiently troublesome: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-21283169
Doffs tin foil hat.
I see this a lot on a variety of forums whenever topics like this come up.
It would be interesting to do an analysis of the age of the average commenter’s account by topic across popular comment type sites.
The goal is to create the feeling amongst those who are seeking to change the status quo that the population is not with them & that changing things will be difficult, whilst at the same time creating the impression for anyone reading the comments that certain viewpoints are unpopular or contested.
But the knee-jerk responses of 'shill' or 'astroturfer' to dismiss anyone whose opinion differs from the local majority is sad, and seems to be getting more common on many sites I frequent.
You have cared enough to actually think about it and are prepared to engage in debate. Congrats, you are more interested/intelligent than 90% of the population.
>> I think it's sad that it makes you 'angry' that some people simply disagree with you.
No, I'm angry that most people don't care enough or aren't smart enough to think about it, and that's the majority, and so nothing can be done. Your assertion that I'm angry that people disagree with me is incorrect and patronising.
>> We have a democracy, and obviously only a minority consider this to be an issue of concern.
Our democracy is incredibly weak, it's arguable we even live under a democracy when we have secret trials and secret laws.
>> If you have a problem with it, stand for election.
That's a guaranteed way to waste time and money while achieving nothing.
I think those are separate things -- being in a democracy means the majority decide what happens; it doesn't mean that the majority are well-informed rational deciders of objective truth.
If the government were kicking puppies for entertainment, and nobody knew about it, then the majority wouldn't use their democratic powers to vote against that either :P
I'm sorry that this seems to infuriate you people so much, but that's my opinion. If I'm happy with it, I'm happy with it. So are many people.
Your indignation isn't going to going to change my mind, or many other people's minds.
Sure, but then again the majority of Southerners weren't bothered by the slavery or the lynchings either. It took a civil war to make them change their ways.
I mean, if we are to put "not bothered" as some kind of argument.
Yes, peterlawest is entirely right. Our indignation isn't going to going to change his mind, or that of many others like him.
"People don't change their minds. They die, and are replaced by people with different opinions" -- Arturo Albergati, via Paul Graham (http://www.paulgraham.com/quo.html)
"Science progresses one funeral at a time." -- Max Planck
For example, have you ever expressed a view about abortion, either for or against (or homosexuality, or religion, or politics? Right now any of the views you expressed may be socially and legally acceptable. It is conceivable that the legal views on this could change 10 years down the line and if you expressed a view that is out of favor with a government of the future you could potentially be in serious trouble.
To some extent I agree with you that there are benefits to mass surveillance, and that on the whole it is (probably) not currently being widely abused.
However, this is not predictive of the future.
By setting up such a pervasive surveillance machine, this massively enables abuses by future governments that may not be quite as benign towards its citizens.
Just consider how 'useful' this mass data mining of private communications would have been for the East German Stasi, or during McCarthyism in the USA, or many other examples of overly authoritarian governance.
The danger is that a system set up to protect state security, ostensibly with the best of intentions, can be subverted later on as a tool of governmental abuse.
I know you probably disagree with that, but this is my point - not everyone agrees that surveillance is bad. And I'm not alone - I think most people don't really care about surveillance. And this isn't a conspiracy - it's just a simple case of people not agreeing with you - this happens - get over it.
This is absolutely not why people object to pervasive surveillance. The democracy that you harp on about above as the justification for your position is fundamentally incompatible with pervasive surveillance and secret trials.
The problem is not whether they can see pictures of my cats on twitter or imessages to my girlfriend, it's that with pervasive and universal surveillance of our communications which GCHQ is engaged in (collect it all, mastering the internet), those in power would become almost omniscient and able to manipulate our markets, our economy, our politicians, our judges and every other branch of our society. This activity is currently not significantly limited by law, but only by technical ability, which is fast changing. For example all SMS messages in the UK are stored, and all internet traffic crossing the kingdom (which is almost all of it) for as long as possible (Tempora), probably some phone calls too. We also don't even know who they share it with - probably the NSA given their subsidiary relationship. In the wrong hands, this would be a terrible weapon, and even in the right hands, it's likely to pervert those given the power.
If you had access to the private emails of judges, lawyers, accountants, politicians, in retrospect and forever it would be incredibly easy to make and break careers and manipulate everyone else in the country to bend them to your will. Now imagine this power in the hands of a select few, and the rise to power of someone ruthless enough to use it for their own ends. Perhaps initially they'd simply nudge a referendum on independence, or a presidential election by releasing inconvenient emails at the right moment, maybe they'd ensure their continued funding with blackmail (has this already happened, would we ever know?), maybe they'll decide they could run this place better after all - again, we wouldn't even know our democracy had been entirely subverted until it was too late.
IMO the time to oppose this sort of surveillance is now - surveillance should be one-off and controlled by independent judges on a case by case basis, not pervasive and eternal.
This is exactly what is happening right now, and you have to be a complete IDIOT to not see that this is the case. Governments are gathering loads of data about every single one of us. Just because they decide not to act on that data right now,does not mean we should not be worried, and you couldn't be more wrong when you say that the government does not care what you write to your gf on iMessage.
Instead, our problem, is that surveilance is being used as a an invaluable tool for autocracy.
And the question is not whether they will use surveilance for oppressing government opposition, but when if not already.
Maybe that's not surveillance being used to suppress in your book. Whatever. Your post reads like propaganda though.
This statement is nonsensical, because we know now that recording and reading what we write to our girlfriends on iMessage is exactly what they are doing. Indeed GCHQ have watched so many webcam chats amongst random people they can tell us how many are pornographic to three significant digits of accuracy. This is very much the definition of "giving a fuck".
Given that the premise of your post is incorrect, I wonder why you hold the opinions you do.
Your beliefs are wrong, as we have been shown that this mass surveillance has failed to prevent even one terrorist attack since its inception.
Couple that with the immense amount of (wasted) tax payer money it costs to run and you've got a disgusting abuse of power and resources in exchange for the mere illusion of security to those who fail to actually do the research required to see through the bullshit.
We don't actually know this. Mass surveillance may have led to 'extrajudicial' methods of thwarting terrorist attacks, i.e. death squads or drone killings. Or when cases of terrorist plots have been taken to trial, its use could have been masked by parallel construction of evidence.
This level of underhandedness seems to be increasing in recent times. For example, there is a terrorist conspiracy trial currently ongoing in the UK that is being held almost entirely in secret - the public and media are not permitted to know the evidence or the sources of evidence against the suspects. In fact up until recently even the existence of the trial and the identities of the suspects were under a gag order, for reasons unknown.
I'm just not sure how much 'we can't reveal that due to national security concerns' is going to fly as an excuse anymore.
Far too many shady things can be covered up under that umbrella.
For what it's worth, I suspect it's unduly balanced towards authoritarianism as well.
a webcam in all bedrooms would ensure more security and possibly prevent other types of crime.
most people wouldn't go for those - some security measures are too invasive and ripe for abuse to support.
unless you've missed it, your location and contact endpoints are now permanently stored, and some of your conversations both written and audible are.
if one of your associates is within a certain number of hops from someone deemed undesirable - so are you.
the reason the london met phone hacking scandal resulted in outcry was that the general public could understand what happened.
this is slightly beyond their ken but it's the same problem - questionable powers that are ripe for abuse.
How many terrorist attacks have been prevented as a result of this illegal privacy invasion?
Is there any evidence of it ensuring security? I see none.
What leads you to believe that it ensures security?
unbelievable! What if they're building a searchable database of every user, so as to have 'dirt' on someone when he 'becomes a threat' to their interests? (Like becoming a spokesman against this sort of thing or whatever the bureaucrats wantto do next year).
1. I am not in favour of widespread, unaccountable surveillance of UK citizens.
2. During my time we disrupted a number of exceptionally serious terrorist operations.  are public knowledge and there are a few others that are not open source at this time.
3. Neither I, nor any of my colleagues, were instructed to keep any files on individuals to be used as political leverage or "for dirt" at a later stage.
That is really all I can add. I am not in favour of how far the needle has swung but but anyone not involved in the Intelligence Community is just simply fumbling around in the dark trying to say what does and what does not happen.
The threat from Qutbism Islamic Fundamentalism (Wahhabi/Salafist inspired terrorism) is real and intelligence organisations work constantly to prevent attacks.
If the threat warrants the level of perceived intrusion...I don't know. That is difficult to judge. Each citizens attitude to risk is different.
The HN crowd are technologically-savvy, critical thinkers but our law enforcement and intelligence agencies also have a mandate to protect the elderly, the young and the incapacitated. Do you think my grandmother gives a fuck about your outrage at having your email read?
All she cares about is that we don't return to the time of consistent bombing on the streets that plagued the troubles.
In short; it's not all about you, your vote is worth exactly one other vote.
Don't you think Tempora constitutes widespread, unaccountable surveillance? Also why the UK citizens qualifier?
During my time we disrupted a number of exceptionally serious terrorist operations.  are public knowledge and there are a few others that are not open source at this time.
Most people would applaud you for that work and support some level of targeted spying, overseen by the judiciary, that doesn't mean spies should have carte-blanche to spy with impunity on everyone. Judicial scrutiny would make life more difficult when surveilling terrorists, but we have a limited justice system because it is fair and moral, not because it is maximally efficient.
Neither I, nor any of my colleagues, were instructed to keep any files on individuals to be used as political leverage or "for dirt" at a later stage.
If information is kept on everyone, you wouldn't need to be. The information is stored, ready to be used at any point in the future, and your boss doesn't need you to access it. The concept of keeping files seems a bit quaint in an age when massive datacentres are built to store our data, and every communication, no matter how mundane, is being logged for future use.
I would also note that British intelligence and police have on multiple occasions spied on individuals for use as political and economic leverage, and given Tempora, they wouldn't even need to spy on individuals specifically, so your assertion here rings a little hollow.
It's not all about us or some perceived intrusion, it's about power and the very real threat to a democratic and free and open society that universal surveillance and unaccountable spy agencies pose. Also interesting that you bring up the IRA and the attacks of the 90s - that violence wasn't settled by surveillance and repression, but by compromise and self-rule.
anyone not involved in the Intelligence Community is just simply fumbling around in the dark trying to say what does and what does not happen because the government is keeping the curious people in the dark and that is exactly what and why we are fighting against.
And how the hell am I supposed to know what I'm voting for?
This is the problem. There has been no discussion. There is no mandate from the public at large, it's all secret programs, secret laws and secret trials.
It's sick, and it's not democratic.
Can you explain how a secret law could ever exist?
It's an easy concept.
If you don't think we have secret laws then that's a debate we can have, but please don't pretend not to understand the idea. We have secret courts. We have people unable to know the charges or evidence against them. We have press gags on reporting what some court cases are about (let alone the evidence or the defendents' identities), we have press gags on even reporting that some cases exist! We have security services operating beyond any democratic legal mandate based on political 'guidance'. These effectively make up a secret and hidden system of law.
You obviously need to read more Kafka.
"During my time we disrupted a number of exceptionally
serious terrorist operations."
It seems like the current policy is to reclassify many types of illegal activities as being in the same category as aggression by nation states even when only a handful of individuals domestically are involved, and that this reclassification is done for the purpose of sidestepping civil liberties protections.
Is it more real than the threat from a government forcing disabled people into suicide? Or retooling 'reform' on the economy with zero-hours contracts, depressed wages, and asset inflation?
If anyone was looking to protect the elderly, the young, and the incapacitated, do you really think they'd hire GCHQ, Group 4, Capita, and the rest?
Oh - and we know the spooks keep personal files. This has been going on for decades. Anyone to the left of Enoch Powell was fair game - including at least one former Prime Minister.
Are you telling us this has all stopped, because Internet, and because (we're told) you never saw it personally, so it doesn't happen?
This should raise some interesting questions about the methods used considering all of that communication is going over TLS.
Even without concerns over government survallence, it is probably a good idea to check this occasionally.
It's probably the case that GCHQ simply doesn't collect "all" communications, and can't do much about cert-pinned TLS to Google Mail. (You know, since they got caught fiber tapping Google's UK data centers.)
I suspect nowadays they're finding it much harder, but in these documents they're being asked to explain their pre-existing policies which were developed when TLS and internal encryption were much less widely used.
- Perhaps he should quit.
(from p.41) "Despite the fact that some UK to UK communications may be intercepted under section 8(4) warrants and that common uses of the internet by persons in the British Islands, such as a Google search, a Facebook post, or a "tweet" on Twitter, may entail the making of "external communications" for the purposes of Chapter I of RIPA, the section 8(4) regime as a whole is designed so as not to authorise the selection for examination of communications of this nature, except in the tightly constrained circumstances set out in section 16 of RIPA."
The article is focusing on the fact that the tweet is an external communication and neglecting to mention that there are still additional restrictions on collecting external communications. What Charles Farr is saying in that document is a far cry from the article's wording: "By defining the use of ‘platforms’ such as Facebook, Twitter and Google as ‘external communications’, British residents are being deprived of the essential safeguards that would otherwise be applied to their communications - simply because they are using services that are based outside the UK."
(After skimming through RIPA, though, I will concede that UK laws can be very obtuse. Section 16 gave me a headache - but that's an entirely different issue than the external communication argument)
This is another reason to force companies to hold local datacenters in major countries...or, if they prefer, put everything under end-to-end encryption, so it doesn't matter where they hold it.
Only these 2 options should be given to the companies, otherwise no "foreigner" (in relation to where the data is kept) can trust them with their data. They decide which is less costly, but I'm hoping they choose the latter.
You know, we have been watching, for more than a year now, story after story telling us that the Five Eyes intercept, filter and store a range of communications between allegedly criminals, mere suspects and whole populations.
A tiny portion information is then used to "fight crime", while the rest sits there, waiting to be used for the economic and political interest of those nations, and to stop dissent and social movements -- even it the information is not used, the mere fact that somebody is watching works damn well to bring fear and distrust to potential unrest.
How are we meant to hold our elected representatives accountable when the goings on of these secret courts are not even open to them? How can this possibly be a democracy if we don't have the slightest say in what our executive does in our name?
So no, we don't live in a democracy anymore. Long live congress and God bless America.
There are other things that a court can use when deciding the outcome of some argument, perhaps the text of a contract or a set of rules that govern national security proceedings. In the same sense that the rules under which an employment or arbitration tribunal/panel operate under, these are not 'laws'. You cannot be prosecuted for breaking them, and so on.
So, while there are these extra rules that govern national security matters, and courts can decide on matters relating to these rules, with the entire thing being secret, which seems right and proper since they govern classified (or secret) matters.
> The Islamic Terrorist threat is made up
> The Government is a homogenous entity that cannot be trusted. It is definitely not a disparate group of people and organisations trying to make an effective and functioning society. It is sinister
> Intelligence services watch your children naked. Seriously - this is disturbingly dark. In nealty 10 years of service neither I or anyone I ever met in my employment ever saw a child naked. Honestly; that comment hints at real psychological problems.
> Government oversight of communications travelling along copper wires is the same as pre-WW2 Nazi Germany
> Assertions we live in a police state etc etc. Which is hilarious because I have been to actual police states and very few people assert online they live in a police state. You know, on account of that not being wise in an actual police state.
I could go on but this is beyond absurd.
Privacy concerns? Legitimate.
Anything else? Hollywood-isation of actual intelligence work. 99% of it is seriously boring and no one gives a fuck what porn you watch. Bit busy trying to stop actual people getting killed.