Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

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Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Mambrino » Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:36 am UTC

The Guardian: 'Extreme surveillance' becomes UK law with barely a whimper

Wat this is scary stuff.

Some highlights from the Guardian article:
A bill giving the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world has passed into law with barely a whimper, meeting only token resistance over the past 12 months from inside parliament and barely any from outside.

The Investigatory Powers Act, passed on Thursday, legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.

The security agencies and police began the year braced for at least some opposition, rehearsing arguments for the debate. In the end, faced with public apathy and an opposition in disarray, the government did not have to make a single substantial concession to the privacy lobby.

...

The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Strasburger, one of the leading voices against the investigatory powers bill, said: “We do have to worry about a UK Donald Trump. If we do end up with one, and that is not impossible, we have created the tools for repression. If Labour had backed us up, we could have made the bill better. We have ended up with a bad bill because they were all over the place.

“The real Donald Trump has access to all the data that the British spooks are gathering and we should be worried about that.”


The Independent: Investigatory Powers Bill: ‘Snoopers Charter 2’ to pass into law, giving Government sweeping spying powers

The bill will force internet companies to store their users’ browsing data for a year, and will allow the government to force phone makers to hack into people’s handsets.

The House of Lords has passed the Investigatory Powers Bill, putting the huge spying powers on their way to becoming law within weeks. The bill – which forces internet companies to keep records on their users for up to a year, and allows the Government to force companies to hack into or break things they’ve sold so they can be spied on – has been fought against by privacy campaigners and technology companies including Apple and Twitter.

But the Government has worked to continue to pass the bill, despite objections from those companies that the legislation is not possible to enforce and would make customers unsafe. The House of Lords’s agreement to the text now means that it just awaits Royal Assent, at which point it will become law.


That's ... horrifying? On the other hand, I guess the UK is the first one to made this into law; I'd wager a beer that other nations of any significance and ability just do it illegally.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Mutex » Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:13 pm UTC

The apathy was a mixture of resignation at the fact they're going to get this bill through eventually and could just keep pushing it through; knowing they're going to do this anyway whether it's legal or not; and and a genuine lack of concern among much of the population about this sort of thing. Most people are more concerned about terrorism than the more abstract idea of their privacy being eroded.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby elasto » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:32 pm UTC

The UK government has definitely taken an authoritarian lurch to the right:

Web users in the UK will be banned from accessing websites portraying a range of nonconventional sexual acts, under a little discussed clause to a government bill currently going through parliament.

The proposal, part of the digital economy bill, would force internet service providers to block sites hosting content that would not be certified for commercial DVD sale by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

In order to comply with the censorship rules, many mainstream adult websites would have to render whole sections inaccessible to UK audiences. That is despite the acts shown being legal for consenting over-16s to perform and for adults in almost all other liberal countries to film, distribute and watch.

Free speech campaigners labelled the move a “prurient” invasion into people’s sexual lives. “It should not be the business of government to regulate what kinds of consensual adult sex can be viewed by adults,” said Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship.


link

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Zohar » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:34 pm UTC

I mean, if it passes, but that's pretty terrible. Could be worse - could be a "no objectionable content" sort of thing, that would mean a blanket ban on lots of vague stuff (usually stuff related to LGBTQ rights...).
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby elasto » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:48 pm UTC

Remember: This was the party that not so long ago opposed id cards on principle.

With no credible political opposition in parliament to moderate it, the Tory party is forced to pander to the extremists within.

What depressing times we live in.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Angua » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:08 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Remember: This was the party that not so long ago opposed id cards on principle.

With no credible political opposition in parliament to moderate it, the Tory party is forced to pander to the extremists within.

What depressing times we live in.

I mean, if you're going to need a passport for treatment in the NHS then looks like it is ID cards for all.

The passport thing doesn't make the most sense anyway, as residency is more important than citizenship but I feel this hasn't really been thought through.
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby HES » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:56 pm UTC

The bill will force internet companies to store their users’ browsing data for a year

A bit pointless if everyone starts using TOR
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Mutex » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:20 pm UTC

The question is what they'll do to people using Tor if not everyone starts using it.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby cphite » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:38 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:The question is what they'll do to people using Tor if not everyone starts using it.


I'm sure that whatever it is, those people deserve it. The government has your best interests in mind; they know what is best.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby freezeblade » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:05 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Mutex wrote:The question is what they'll do to people using Tor if not everyone starts using it.


I'm sure that whatever it is, those people deserve it. The government has your best interests in mind; they know what is best.

Double plus good, cphite! Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby BeerBottle » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:58 pm UTC

Angua wrote:I mean, if you're going to need a passport for treatment in the NHS then looks like it is ID cards for all.

The passport thing doesn't make the most sense anyway, as residency is more important than citizenship but I feel this hasn't really been thought through.

The passport thing makes total sense, not in terms of actually saving money for the NHS - the most optimistic estimates place the savings at £200m on a total budget of £115 billion. However, if for example, you are a Health Secretary who would really like to charge EVERYONE to use the NHS, but the problem is you need a mechanism to make people pay up front, before treatment. Well, this is exactly what we now have, under the cover of clamping down on freeloading foreigners. Of course in a year or two it will be easy to roll the charges out to everyone.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Angua » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:13 pm UTC

BeerBottle wrote:
Angua wrote:I mean, if you're going to need a passport for treatment in the NHS then looks like it is ID cards for all.

The passport thing doesn't make the most sense anyway, as residency is more important than citizenship but I feel this hasn't really been thought through.

The passport thing makes total sense, not in terms of actually saving money for the NHS - the most optimistic estimates place the savings at £200m on a total budget of £115 billion. However, if for example, you are a Health Secretary who would really like to charge EVERYONE to use the NHS, but the problem is you need a mechanism to make people pay up front, before treatment. Well, this is exactly what we now have, under the cover of clamping down on freeloading foreigners. Of course in a year or two it will be easy to roll the charges out to everyone.


The problem is, a lot of people who are 'freeloading' are people with British passports who don't qualify because they don't have the residency requirements.
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:49 am UTC

And for those without passports, despite eligibility..? I let mine lapse (no imminent plans to go to a foreign country, Scotland excepted), as I've got a driver's licence, but there are people without those (assuming that's a fall-back option, given I'm sure it doesn't encode nationality, never mind NHS entitlement), and may not even have a bank card, etc...

The last couple of times I went to A&E, as 'walking wounded' of minor but significant magnitudes each time, they brought up my medical records just by verbally confirming my stated1 identity... That is obviously not exactly without the ability to spoof (most easily with a willing donor of residency information of not too dissimilar medical status) but I can only imagine the uproar if matching photoId needs bringing along to at least the walk-in part of the Casualty department. The best I can normally muster is a debit-card, without sufficient foreknowledge that maybe I shall trip on a dodgy flagstone or something during either shopping trip or a week at the seaside, and perhaps having to contrive an ambulance ride to fast-track past these enhanced checks whilst feigning unconsciousness due to a sprained ankle would not help the NHS (and related) budget. (If they try to pick up my details on the way out, I surely could just wait until I'm strapped up enough then sprint out. Albeit asymmetrically.)

For inherently long-term and expensive interactions, such as for cancer or retroviral treatments, I can imagine a more rigorous demand for proof that the given mailing address truly matches that which the ostensibly true (with allowances for tricky social cases) but with a suitable stooge willing to accept remunetation for the official flack that comes back.


And think of the additional administration costs involved to target the fraud that will be created by this measure.


1 I have a memorable National Insurance number (including the letters), which helps. (I can also state my driver's licence alphanumeric and my Youth Hostels Association membership#..... But they rarely ask me for either of those, strangely.)

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Angua » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:30 am UTC

Yeah, exactly, this pretty much discriminates against the poor who are more likely not to have passports (it's less common in the UK than in the states), and it's a pretty expensive document to have if you're not going to be using it for anything other than ID for healthcare. Also, having a foreign passport doesn't mean you're ineligible as a lot of it boils down to residency status rather than citizenship.

This is just pure xenophobia. At a public health seminar I went to they stated that the 'eligibility teams' often cost more to the NHS than they actually recover, but were wanted by the Home Office because it gives a good excuse to check people haven't overstayed their visas or whatnot. It's all about cracking down on immigration rather than reclaiming money.
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Liri » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:39 am UTC

Angua wrote:Yeah, exactly, this pretty much discriminates against the poor who are more likely not to have passports (it's less common in the UK than in the states), and it's a pretty expensive document to have if you're not going to be using it for anything other than ID for healthcare.

76% of UKians have passports, while only 46% of USians.
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:29 am UTC

Liri wrote:
Angua wrote:Yeah, exactly, this pretty much discriminates against the poor who are more likely not to have passports (it's less common in the UK than in the states), and it's a pretty expensive document to have if you're not going to be using it for anything other than ID for healthcare.

76% of UKians have passports, while only 46% of USians.

"It's less common to not have a passport in the UK than in the states" is how I think that was intended, if you were intent upon countering rather than building upon the statemment. But I could be wrong about either assumption. ;)

Either way, a good quarter of citizens (in a country without too many existing compulsions for snap Id production in everyday life) is a groundswell of opposition. They've resisted it with (supposed) anti-terrorism legislation. It would be genuinely ironic if valid attempts to sneak an unpopular but (hypothetically) necessary anti-terror measure get fulfilled only by a backhanded 'healthcare' issue sneaking through the requisite societal change upon entirely fallacious grounds.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Angua » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:41 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Liri wrote:
Angua wrote:Yeah, exactly, this pretty much discriminates against the poor who are more likely not to have passports (it's less common in the UK than in the states), and it's a pretty expensive document to have if you're not going to be using it for anything other than ID for healthcare.

76% of UKians have passports, while only 46% of USians.

"It's less common to not have a passport in the UK than in the states" is how I think that was intended, if you were intent upon countering rather than building upon the statemment. But I could be wrong about either assumption. ;)

You were right in how I meant it.

Maybe the brightside of this legislation will be free passports for all?
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Liri » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:02 pm UTC

I'll fess up, I read it the opposite way.

To add: my girlfriend doesn't have a driver's license but does have a passport and uses that as her ID when buying alcohol, etc.. It makes me really nervous. Mine is buried in a lockbox buried in a closet.
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Zamfir » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:42 pm UTC

Why?

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Liri » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:56 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Why?

Why what?
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Mutex » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:23 pm UTC

Why does it make you nervous she uses it? Because she might lose it?

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Liri » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:29 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Why does it make you nervous she uses it? Because she might lose it?

Yeah. Maybe it's a cultural difference between the US and Europe.
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Mutex » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:38 pm UTC

Unless you're leaving the country in the next 10 weeks the biggest loss is it costs about £70 to replace (thanks to biometric stuff), annoying but not something to be terrified of. Less inconvenient than losing your wallet by a long way, or your phone.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby elasto » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:50 pm UTC

Having someone's passport makes it a whole lot easier to commit id theft.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:04 pm UTC

I don't even like carting my photoId counterpart to my driving licence about, on the few occasions I have had to. Once I discovered that I'd lost my debit card out of the same pocket that I still had my equally-sized licence card, because I hadn't zipped it up properly.

The troubling irony is that I'd only had the licence there because I had previously left the debit-card in a shop's self-service till and the store had demanded I go and get a photoId to confirm that I was the legitimate owner of the card to reclaim it from them, the next day when I realised what I had obviously done... Having now actually lost the card, I needed the licence as further proof so as to be able to withdraw money at the bank counter whilst waiting for the replacement to arrive in the post... So a bullet dodged, there...

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:40 pm UTC

US passports are bloody expensive. Plus, they don't fit in a wallet. I've used one as ID, but generally speaking, it's pretty inconvenient as compared to a driver's license, which is the de facto standard ID for everything.

Military ID is also pretty universally valid, but it's one of those things where a few places are at least initially confused by it.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby HES » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:42 pm UTC

I guess it's largely due to looking underage, but I always carry my driving license. I wouldn't want to cart around my passport, but that's mainly because it doesn't fit in a wallet.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby SlyReaper » Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:56 pm UTC

Welp. A VPN provider just got itself another customer thanks to this law. Who wants to take bets on how long it'll be before it's illegal to use VPNs?
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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby elasto » Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:20 pm UTC

VPNs are too important to business to outlaw. Even China doesn't go so far as to ban their use outright.

Personally I recommend ExpressVPN: They allow torrenting and keep no logs.

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Re: Investigatory Powers Act passes in UK, legalizes 'extreme surveillance'

Postby SlyReaper » Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:32 pm UTC

That's the one I'm using.
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