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posted by martyb on Monday February 08 2016, @06:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the ISP-is-now-a-recursive-acronym dept.

The home secretary's plan to force internet service providers to store everyone's internet activity is vague and confusing, says a committee of MPs.

Police and security services will be able to see names of sites visited in the past year without a warrant, under the draft Investigatory Powers Bill.

The science and technology Committee says its requirements are confusing, and firms fear a rise in hacking.

The Home Office said it would study the report's findings.

When she announced the draft bill last year, Theresa May stressed that the authorities would not be able to see individual web pages visited, just basic data, such as domain names like or

The information would, of course, only be used for 'official purposes'.

Original Submission

Related Stories

Senator McCain Calls for End-to-End Encryption Ban 74 comments

The Crypto War continues with U.S. Senator from Arizona John McCain calling for a ban on any encryption that can't be decrypted by government request:

McCain called for new legislation that would not regulate a backdoor into technology services, but instead would prevent companies from adopting end-to-end encryption. Companies would have to always keep the key that would decrypt the users' data anytime the government requests it.

This could stifle some innovations, not just in messaging platforms, but also in industries such as healthcare, where new technologies have appeared that would either allow patients to be the only ones that can decrypt their medical records, or it would allow companies to encrypt the data in a way that they could still use the data in aggregate, but they wouldn't be able to look at individual records.

Such systems could ensure that the data is essentially unhackable. This type of technology could prevent many of the large data breaches we've seen over the past two years, where hundreds of millions of people had their information stolen.

Senator McCain dismissed this as a concern, and actually seems to believe that such encryption is harmful to security, not helpful:

"We have to encourage companies and individuals who rely on encryption to recognize that our security is threatened, not encouraged, by technologies that place vital information outside the reach of law enforcement. Developing technologies that aid terrorists like Islamic State is not only harmful to our security, but it is ultimately an unwise business model."

The Senator didn't explain why exactly strong encryption would be an "unwise" business model for companies. So far, strong encryption seems to have worked quite well for companies such as Apple, who have pushed forward on the technology despite calls from FBI's chief, James Comey, to remove that type of encryption from iPhones and iPads.

Senator McCain also warned that we shouldn't allow "safe spaces" for terrorists online. This is a message that has also been mirrored by Comey, as well as the UK's Home Secretary, Theresa May, who has been promoting the Investigatory Powers bill that tries to force companies to "remove encryption" when asked by the government.

California Lawmaker Tries Hand at Banning Encryption
Theresa May's Internet Spy Powers Bill 'Confusing', Say MPs

Original Submission

4/20: Half-Baked Headline 75 comments

takyon writes:

It's that time of the year again. Time to talk about drugs and the war on them because some stoners declared a holiday or something.

A recent article in Harper's Magazine includes the following gem that sums up the modern Drug War's origins. The journalist interviewed John Ehrlichman, one of the Watergate co-conspirators:

At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. "You want to know what this was really all about?" he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

[Oh yes, it continues...]

Theresa May: UK's Next Prime Minister? 28 comments

from the tyrant dept.

UK Home Secretary Theresa May is favored to become the new leader of the Conservatives and the UK's next Prime Minister following a first round of voting, the elimination of Liam Fox, drop out of Stephen Crabb, and the earlier drop out of Boris Johnson:

Home Secretary Theresa May has comfortably won the first round of the contest to become the next Conservative leader and UK prime minister. Mrs May got 165 of the 329 votes cast by Tory MPs. Andrea Leadsom came second with 66 votes. Michael Gove got 48. [...] Further voting will narrow the field to two. The eventual outcome, decided by party members, is due on 9 September. Following the result, frontrunner Mrs May - who campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU - received the backing of Mr Fox, a former defence secretary and Brexit campaigner, and Mr Crabb, the work and pensions secretary, who backed Remain.

[...] Mrs May - who has said she will deliver Brexit if PM - said she was "pleased" with the result and "grateful" to colleagues for their support. She said there was a "big job" ahead to unite the party and the country following the referendum, to "negotiate the best possible deal as we leave the EU" and to "make Britain work for everyone". She added: "I am the only candidate capable of delivering these three things as prime minister, and tonight it is clear that I am also the only one capable of drawing support from the whole of the Conservative Party."

Update: The race to lead the Conservative Party and become the next Prime Minister of the UK is down to two women: Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom:

UK Prime Minister Repeats Calls to Limit Encryption, End Internet "Safe Spaces" 88 comments

Some things in life are very predictable... the Earth continues to orbit around the Sun and Theresa May is trying to crack down on the Internet and ban/break encryption:

In the wake of Saturday's terrorist attack in London, the Prime Minister Theresa May has again called for new laws to regulate the internet, demanding that internet companies do more to stamp out spaces where terrorists can communicate freely. "We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed," she said. "Yet that is precisely what the internet and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide."

Her comments echo those made in March by the home secretary, Amber Rudd. Speaking after the previous terrorist attack in London, Rudd said that end-to-end encryption in apps like WhatsApp is "completely unacceptable" and that there should be "no hiding place for terrorists".

[...] "Theresa May's response is predictable but disappointing," says Paul Bernal at the University of East Anglia, UK. "If you stop 'safe places' for terrorists, you stop safe places for everyone, and we rely on those safe places for a great deal of our lives."

Last month New Scientist called for a greater understanding of technology among politicians. Until that happens, having a reasonable conversation about how best to tackle extremism online will remain out of reach.

End-to-end encryption is completely unacceptable? Now that's what I call an endorsement.


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08 2016, @07:04AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08 2016, @07:04AM (#300467)

    The "official purposes" include (or will include) destroying whistleblowers, journalists, dissidents, and activists, as well as blackmailing politicians. There has never been a government throughout history that could be trusted with such massive amounts of power, but this time is different; just trust the government.

  • (Score: 1) by anubi on Monday February 08 2016, @07:21AM

    by anubi (2828) on Monday February 08 2016, @07:21AM (#300470) Journal

    I believe what we have here is a Tantalus Field []. Used for the same purpose.

    The problem we have here is the situation is AFTER Spock ( populace ) has knowledge of the device.... now, given the Captain might use this device, does anyone trust the captain?

    This just leads to a witch hunt. [].

    I know... two Star Trek reverances ( pun intended ) in the same post. That is one thing I believe Gene Roddenberry was extremely good at - bringing up the human condition and showing it for what it was - all with a science fiction backdrop to keep name-calling to individuals out of the picture.

    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08 2016, @07:30AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08 2016, @07:30AM (#300475)

    We went through this in australia a year or so ago. Our politicians were just as clueless: []

    Advice: sign up to a vpn before your local council knows your porn preferences.

  • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Monday February 08 2016, @07:31AM

    by Whoever (4524) on Monday February 08 2016, @07:31AM (#300476) Journal

    The document appears to ignore any Internet communications that are not http.

    Also, it looks like the government has engaged in lots of handwaving and inadequate consideration of end-to-end encrypted traffic. Either that, or GCHQ isn't concerned about encrypted traffic and will gather the data itself, without the involvement of CSPs (ISPs to the rest of the English-speaking world).

    The only solution proposed to deal with end-to-end encryption that is proposed is hacking, which is unlikely to be useful on a large scale and is likely to be unreliable in producing results. I don't see the need for ISPs to gather this data if they can just hack into someone's computer.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mojo chan on Monday February 08 2016, @08:27AM

    by mojo chan (266) on Monday February 08 2016, @08:27AM (#300492)

    A list of domain names without a warrant is an Orwellian nightmare. Trying to abuse the language to make it seem benign is why we can't trust May further than you can fling her.

    const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08 2016, @10:42AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08 2016, @10:42AM (#300514)

      just basic data, such as domain names like or

      ... or

    • (Score: 1) by purple_cobra on Monday February 08 2016, @06:50PM

      by purple_cobra (1435) on Monday February 08 2016, @06:50PM (#300790)

      May, Osbourne and - may any passing gods have mercy on our souls - Johnson are in a 3-way fight to be the next Chief Tory. They'll all try to undermine each other and May vs Osbourne is a funny one to watch: she proposes sweeping new powers for the state, he says we can't afford them, blah blah blah. The only down side is that we may get the village idiot that is Boris Johnson by default while the other two undermine each other.
      I hear he knows his subject (Roman history, IIRC) relatively well, but is an otherwise useless tool. I can't see us ever having to negotiate with - or fight, for that matter - the ancient Romans, but I've been wrong in the past.

      • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Tuesday February 09 2016, @09:11AM

        by mojo chan (266) on Tuesday February 09 2016, @09:11AM (#301294)

        Basically, no matter what happens we are fucked. Utterly fucked for at least another 4.5 years.

        const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by jimshatt on Monday February 08 2016, @08:57AM

    by jimshatt (978) on Monday February 08 2016, @08:57AM (#300499) Journal
  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Monday February 08 2016, @03:03PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Monday February 08 2016, @03:03PM (#300620)

    if it's vague and confusing then the answer is simple: vote against it.