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UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

Anonymous Coward

Let me get this straight, someone known to the secret services blows himself up in my home town and this scumbag government is trying to use it to get laws through even though they would not have prevented or made any difference to what happened.

That's fucking low by any standard.

Apologies for swearing but that has really wound me up.

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I agree

'Low' may not adequately describe it, subterranean perhaps?

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Bitter irony

Having made public devlarations of suspending election campaigning in the shadow of this tragedy, they actually leverage the very event to further their political agenda.

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@AC

There is another dimension to this, which is the rhetoric or blaming the overseas tech companies and thereby attempting to frame this as big, rich, multinational corporations fighting against the UK. They are trying to instill an 'us-vs-them' mentality, with the absurdity that 'us' is the UK people and the UK government and 'them' is the easily-hated power of 'big tech'.

In fact, the opposite is far closer to the truth - it's the government vs the people with the tech industry, taking a stance that is for the good of people.

Sure, most of these big tech companies are doing it for selfish reasons because they are worried about losing business but that's fine by me - that's how the free market is supposed to look: companies that offer services people want make a profit and prosper while those who don't lose money and fail.

The reason is, really, beside the point - in opposing the government, it's the tech companies taking a stance that protects the people overall and in the long term.

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Anonymous Coward

High Chancellor May.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DAptM9vXsAAoxSu.jpg

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They've wanted to do this for ages, and now they have a combined whammy of "think of the children" *and* "terrorists" in one event, so it's another way to get the wedge a little bit further in.

Spend the money on fixing the social (both local and global) problems that cause such nutjobs to think they are serving a higher purpose in killing random innocent people going about their business - it'll probably be cheaper in the long run, both in terms of cash and casualties.

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Absolutely, but that's harder to do and it doesn't get headlines in the run-up to the election. Much better to make high-profile declarations now, force through bad law over the coming year, and then sweep it all under the carpet in five years' time when someone thinks to ask what it actually achieved.

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Anonymous Coward

we need to vote them out on June 8th to stop all that

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Known to Authorities.

Can't help but agree with the AC at the top of the thread. Our clueless so-called intelligence operatives failed to see even the most obvious of clues:

* Suddenly wearing different clothing, associated with this form of terrorism.

* Chanting prayers loudly in the streets

* Changed social behavior massively

* Trips back and forth to Libya

* and the obscure clue.... he had an ISIS flag on his fucking roof!

If they can't see that, I fail to see how cracking WhatsApp is going to help them.

Why is it that whenever this crap happens we get told "He was known to authorities", but they still need yet more surveillance powers used on the rest of us?

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/salman-abedi-manchester-libya-syria-suicide-bomber-terrorist-attack-middle-east-islamist-a7752761.html

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It is appalling that at this time of distress and unity against evil criminals, the government would use the attack to push a trial balloon about removing the very freedoms British people fight for.

When I was child, younger than the innocent victims here, I used to be very scared of an imminent nuclear attack from the USSR. My parents didn't tell me not to worry, they explained why we had to stand up against the threat: to protect the same freedoms that they had stood up for in WW2. The freedom to walk the streets without having to explain who we were, where we were going or why; the freedom from a police state; the freedom to live our lives as we wished.

Every generation needs to be reminded of what we stand for as a country. We need to shout together that we reject fear and cowardice and stand together to protect our rights, freedoms and way of life.

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@Graham Cobb - can't give you enough upvotes for that. I was trying to explain to someone yesterday why untrammelled access to our communications isnt going to suddenly make things better, and why it's downright bizarre to think that the correct response to those who'd like us to live in a dystopian police state is to turn ourselves into a dystopian police state...

What's needed is for the legal framework to be in place to allow police (and if necessary, medics) to intervene earlier. It's clear that they know who a lot of the folk likely to do this kind of crap are, and clearly they;d love to collar them - so what's stopping them? It must be the legal framework in which they have to opertate. So instead of trotting out plans to abolish privacy, why don't Parliament get the legal framework the police have to operate looked at and adjusted, where necessary, in order to let them intervene earlier?

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Re: Known to Authorities. @Bernard M. Orwell

I agree with most of those, but Trips back and forth to Libya is hardly surprising since his family are Libyan and live there.

Trips to Syria (reportedly), now that's another matter...

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Clearly the problem here is that the security services need much bigger haystacks...

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@Graham Cobb

This. Well said, sir.

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Re: Bitter irony

Having made public devlarations of suspending election campaigning in the shadow of this tragedy, they actually leverage the very event to further their political agenda.

They did that most effectively by raising the terrorist threat level, and noisily bringing troops into the security theatre. Now the world's attention has moved on from the chaos and confusion of the manifesto and rapid U-turns, and onto the tried-and-tested recipe of looking strong and stable in the face of a threat.

In fact the timing of the Manchester incident was extraordinarily lucky for them, just as the non-campaign was looking a bit less of a pushover. One might almost wonder if a hidden hand had sent 007 off on a wild goose chase looking for Russian influence while Inspector Clouseau headed protection at home.

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It's not often that Google and Facebooks commercial interests coincide with the public interest, but this is one of them

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Gimp

"Let me get this straight,

Let me get this straight, someone known to the secret services blows himself up in my home town and this scumbag government is trying to use it to get laws through even though they would not have prevented or made any difference to what happened."

Correct.

Just as the Madrid bombings were used when the UK had the chair of the EU to push through the EU Data Retention Directive, despite Spain (and several other countries) having zero interest in doing so. It has taken years for other countries to dial back this BS.

To the data fetishist cabal within the Home Office any terrorist event is another "opportunity" to tell Parliament how they would have been stopped (despite all evidence to the contrary) with yet more surveillance.

This has FA to do with "keeping people safe."

Mass surveillance is now cheap enough and easy enough (because of how much most people do on line) that (to a certain kind of senior civil "servant") it's just cheaper to do so.

"Give me 6 lines from an honest man, and I'll find something with which to hang him" as the Cardinal put it.

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Happy

Haystacks

Clearly the problem here is that the security services need much bigger haystacks...

I don't think it is about "security". After all, no one has said that anti-encryption laws would have made the slightest difference here - for one thing the investigation has only just started, so no one knows.

I think it is about being able to monitor and control dissent in society. Bombs and terrorists are just a convenient excuse for getting what they want. This is a ratchet, once they get this, they will just demand the next bit of intrusive monitoring on their list.

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Re: Known to Authorities. @Bernard M. Orwell

Trips to see Libya, or trips to see his family. Given the known leanings of his family, I'd have thought either rationale for his travel was equally cause for suspicion.

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Anonymous Coward

"Known to the security services".

Every time.

Every. Fucking. Time.

I was genuinely waiting to see if this would turn out to be the case in this attack and- sure enough- it was.

And yet- as the OP observed- they can, and will, use this as an excuse for a blanket crackdown on civil liberties- just as they've tried following every "known to the security services" attack- despite the fact it wouldn't have helped here.

Every time.

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Facepalm

Irony-o-meter exploded!

Here's the real kicker...

The main BBC headline states that PM is not going to share info with the US because there have been insecure leaks of critcial information to the media!

Holy crap irony-o-meter off the scale!

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"Clearly the problem here is that the security services need much bigger haystacks..."

All the better to hide behind. Obviously they already are collecting so much data that it's only after the event when they have something specific to look for that they suddenly realise they have the data they need. If they have even more data, then they have an even better excuse for not doing anything except in hindsight.

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Big Brother

Someone of particular interest to the secret services since he was born as son of a known Libyan dissident, that had just returned a few weeks ago from a visit to Libya, who was checked out and back in through border control, was allowed to go on and blow himself up. It has a strong smell of MI6 fuck up.

Oh, and back on topic, yep, our politicians will use anything, however low and despicable, to try and push through snooping legislation.

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Re: Irony-o-meter exploded!

Indeed, and only a mere couple of weeks since a major malware outbreak based on leaked vulnerabilities amassed by security agencies showed that said agencies clearly can't be trusted to securely safeguard any back doors that they might demand.

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Re: Known to Authorities.

@Bernard M. Orwell

You forgot - Was mentioned several times to the anonymous tip line too!

Amber Rudd needs to quit the sound bites, she just ends up sounding like a feckin' idiot. As do most politicians the moment they step out of their comfort zone of 5 course meals and floating duck houses.

The UK is about to go it alone from Europe, and the last thing it needs is more companies jumping abroad because of enforced broken encryption schemes.

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Black Helicopters

"Known to the security services" doesn't narrow it down much

We commentards are probably all known to the security services (at least in the sense of "in a security service database"), for posting on a site known not to agree with everything the government says.

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Re: Known to Authorities.

And let's not forget that apparently TWO people he went to university with called a terrorist watchline to report his extremist views and behaviour.

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Re: Haystacks

"I think it is about being able to monitor and control dissent in society. "

Not quite. More like:

I think it is about being able to monitor and control dissent information flow in society.

Namely being able to censor what the great unwashed public get to find out about our elected leaders.

Cos...think of how the expenses scandal unfolded...now think of the children and how we could've protected them from that awful mess if only they hadn't been exposed to the facts...

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Anonymous Coward

Action or just talk?

What are you Brits going to do about it? Here's hoping you vote for the correct party. On other side of the pond cheering you on.

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Re: FailCEO

I think this graphic from the Ministry of Acquired Information is more apposite: https://twitter.com/richard_littler/status/753169513722552320

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Unhappy

"The UK..go it alone from Europe,..last thing it needs is more companies jumping abroad"

True.

But that's what's going to happen because the 52% (of those who bothered to vote) say so.

IRL the UK makes a shedload of its cash from the City of London. You can bet every big banker will be working their political contacts hard to negotiate "special access" to the single European Finance market.

Because if whoever wins on June 8th fails to do so you can bet that sometime between June 2020 and June 2022 there's going to be a shed load of office space going cheap in the E1, WC and EC post code areas.

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Re: Known to Authorities.

How many people are employed in Google and Facebook's shiny new London headquarters, and how many more will be in Apple's new Battersea mothership?

Does Amber Rudd think they're going to roll over for her when both Apple and Google have previously put their finger up to the FBI and to the Chinese Communist Party? If the government tries to force the issue these companies will move abroad taking their well-remunerated stars with them.

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Gurerfn Znl vf Jngpuvat Lbh

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The UK..go it alone from Europe,..last thing it needs is more companies jumping abroad"

Its not just the ?ankers that are angling for special deals. The way things are going I can see Brexit costing the UK somewhere upwards of 1million job as a direct or indirect result. Those most affected = those of working age that voted for it in the first place.

I don't think any politician would be willing to stop the juggernaut now, irrespective of how bad the forecasts for the economy are, but if it does go really bad then Johnson, Farage, Gove and Davis will probably need to go into exile.

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Re: Action or just talk?

There's a correct party?

Why has no one told me about this before? I've spent the last three decades trying to vote for the lesser evil and there was an easier way?

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@Esme "What's needed is for the legal framework to be in place to allow police (and if necessary, medics) to intervene earlier."

The police obviously have enough powers to shoot dead without warning a completely innocent electrician (Jean DeMenezes) who had not behaved even slightly suspiciously, because he was mistaken for a *suspected* terrorist. The person in charge of that operation was promoted. Exactly what additional powers would you like the police to have? Or is a public execution insufficient "intervention" in your eyes?

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Anonymous Coward

"we need to vote them out on June 8th to stop all that"

Didn't the Labour party also support the snoopers charter? Because they are a far worse option on just about every other policy and in utter shambles in general. So I guess you are voting UKIP or LD?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The UK..go it alone from Europe,..last thing it needs is more companies jumping abroad"

"But that's what's going to happen because the 52%"

That's democracy in action. And anyway they won't leave - more likely they will be moving here - as we will be lowering our corporation tax rates to make it very attractive to be based here....

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Anonymous Coward

http://i.imgur.com/PfR5dJR.jpg

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"Didn't the Labour party also support the snoopers charter?"

No, both reds and blues voted against each others version of the snoopers charter because it was the wrong colour even though the wording and spirit were almost identical. Bike Shed Syndrome taken to the extreme.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Known to Authorities.

The other worst hing was that the neighbours not only put up with it all, but failed to report him to the authorities in case they were going to be branded as racists.

Ultimately, banning WhatsApp and other software encryption protocols are going to 2 things ... nothing and fuck all!

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Unhappy

@Graham Cobb - Re: UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election.

"When I was child, younger than the innocent victims here, I used to be very scared of an imminent nuclear attack from the USSR. My parents didn't tell me not to worry, they explained why we had to stand up against the threat: to protect the same freedoms that they had stood up for in WW2."

I can only concur with you completely. I also grew up in that Cold War era and your experience is identical to mine.

I am terribly scared of the continuing march towards authoritarianism by so-called Western democratic governments. A few years ago, the trend was just alarming but now it has become very frightening—and like the frog in the ever-warming water—most of the population seem not to be aware of its implications nor what is ultimately at stake—a fact of which opportunistic governments have taken ruthless advantage.

Moreover, these disingenuous governments have never put forward truly substantive evidence or reasons for their increasingly authoritarian actions—instead they hide truth and facts behind walls of secrecy; nor have they ever engaged in any proper discourse with the public over these issues—the most they can muster is FUD, Fear Uncertainty and Doubt, and opportunistic pronouncements (as here, as a consequence of the terrible Manchester tragedy).

Whilst the present zeitgeist and today's politics are different, the effective undercurrent of what is now happening is not very different to what happened in Germany in 1933 or in the latter Cold War East German Stasi era.

To date, governments have not yet needed to resort to jackboots in the streets as they did in Germany some 80 years ago; instead, they've now adopted more sophisticated PR and psychological tactics to gain control over the citizenry. And if or when these methods fail they then act unilaterally, as they know the citizenry won't react as it's essentially in a state of somnolence and passivity. The widespread use of mass surveillance, ever-increasing online censorship and the moves towards the banning of encryption by governments is essentially not that different to what happened in the Nazi book-burning era—in the end it amounts to the same thing, that of smothering freedoms through intimidation. Seems we've forgotten "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance".

People, even if still allowed, have or are becoming frightened to access various forms of online information for fear of being 'marked' or put on some secret government list about which they've no right of reply or ability to question—these are the very essence of the tactics used by the Abwehr, Gestapo, Stasi and KGB to control the population. As it is, I'm now forever mindful about what I do online and I find myself self-censoring searches that most people would have considered completely innocuous a decade ago.

In this new political climate if trends continue as they have been doing over the past decade, then I would not be surprised to see books that were part of the curriculum at my university, which I once had to study, such as Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and Rousseau's Social Contract, etc. being banned from the internet, as they're now deemed too subversive for citizens to access freely without being monitored by The State.

If we were able bring WWII veterans back to witness what is happening nowadays then they would be utterly appalled to see the very ethics, moral values and freedoms they fought and died for being subverted and just cast aside by unscrupulous and morally corrupt governments for effectively no other reason than for them to gain even more power.

This is a terrible state of affairs.

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Re: Irony-o-meter exploded!

"Indeed, and only a mere couple of weeks since a major malware outbreak based on leaked vulnerabilities amassed by security agencies showed that said agencies clearly can't be trusted to securely safeguard any back doors that they might demand."

Strange isn't it that all this extra surveillance capability hasn't manifested in fewer "WannaCry"-like viruses or the capture of the ratbags behind them.

It would be very informative to see a graph plot of 'results' versus 'degree/amount of mass surveillance' over time/recent years. If such a graph actually exists then I'd reckon it'd be classified Top Secret—as it would show that governments have wasted millions of taxpayers' money to little effect.

Oh, BTW, it seems to me that democratic government would be much more democratic if the nameless government bureaucrats who propose these anti-democratic schemes were actually named (i.e.: by force of law, their name, rank and serial number so to speak had to be attached to all related documents, both secret and public).

These anonymous power-mongers have been getting away with 'democratic murder' for far too long.

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Re: Known to Authorities.

Err, Google have rolled over and given in to China so often, it is a joke; about the only reason they still regularly block them is to control the influx of porn.

Try to do any search on a controversial subject through a Chinese ISP, and your service suddenly fails within a few minutes..

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Re: I agree

Johnny's in the basement, mixing up the medicine

I'm on the pavement, thinkin' bout government ...

... bad bill ... wants to get it paid off ...

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Anonymous Coward

Never let a good crisis go to waste - Politicians.

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Coat

"last three decades trying to vote for the lesser evil"

Now that has an easy answer.

Vote Cthulhu

Why choose the lesser evil?

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Re: "last three decades trying to vote for the lesser evil"

So I'm not the only one to think there are signs of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN beginning.

We should move over to encypted channels to dis - oh bugger

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@Cynic_999 - you obviously follow the news far closer than I do, as you're talking about a case I haven't heard of - and then abusing it to make an egregrious personal attack on me. Now, I don't claim to always make the best reasoned arguments (I'm not by nature a political animal), but I do at least try.

Anyway, let;s have a look at what you've said - so, the police shot an innocent on one occasion (and if there's been one, there may possibly have been others), but have failed to collar a lot of 'known suspects' of terorism on numerous occasions, until after something tragic has happened. So what's YOUR explanation for this? Do you think that the police en masse don't want to nab terrorists before they hurt someone, but are quite OK with going in guns-blazing against innocents?

Or could it be that one the occasion you speak of a small number of police went off the rails and handled a situation badly whilst elsewhere the bulk of the police - human beings like you and I and just as variable as everyone else in society - are doing their damndest to try to tackle terrorism but can't do so as effectively as they'd like because they are bound by due process of law, which they respect?

You tell me which sounds most logical and likely. Not being in the police force myself, I can only speculate logically on the matter, and might, of course, be wrong. If you have actual information on the subject, let's see it and discuss it reasonably - is that OK with you, or do you just get your jollies flaming folk?

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@Cynic_999 - you obviously follow the news far closer than I do, as you're talking about a case I haven't heard of

In 2005 or thereabouts Jean DeMenezes was running late for a train. The UK police thought he was acting suspiciously and shot him dead. I think there was a news article or two about it somewhere at the time. (links unread, from 2 sources with a quick google - might've helped you to do this?)

- and then abusing it to make an egregrious personal attack on me.

That's a bit of a stretch from what "Cynic_999" said don't you think? What in his post do you think even remotely qualifies as an attack let alone and " egregious" one?

Or could it be that one the occasion you speak of a small number of police went off the rails and handled a situation badly

I think the problem most have is not when police make mistakes and handle things badly, it's when they don't follow training, refuse to follow logic, innocent people get killed, and the cops who killed an innocent bystander get promoted for their efforts that pisses people off. Because it was done "in the line of duty" they get protected from prosecution. If someone else accidentally kills someone they go through a manslaughter or murder trial (more common these days), no matter how clearly accidental it was, yet the police cause a death and get protected and promoted.

An innocent person strolling calmly through a railway station gets shot. A person who several people phone police with concerns about their behaviour, who are purchasing materials to make explosives, who are clearly unhinged and making threats against others - they get allowed to do continue on to kill and maim others despite "being known to the authorities" and "under active investigation" and so on.

The police have all the powers they need. They aren't using them to investigate known dangerous people. If you give them more powers they will continue to not use them to investigate known dangerous people, instead will use them (accidentally or otherwise) to harm innocent people.

As Cynic_999 asked - what more powers would you give them?

If you have actual information on the subject, let's see it and discuss it reasonably - is that OK with you, or do you just get your jollies flaming folk?

Again, would love to know what Cynic_999 said that was "flaming"? And no, nothing in my post is intended as an attack on you, in case you were wondering.

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