Spy scandal - anyone bothered by the US government sweeping through *everything* we do online..?

(232 Posts)
edam Mon 10-Jun-13 22:17:49

Seems Uncle Sam can just hoover up data from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Youtube and the rest. US govt is busy reassuring Americans this 'only' applies to foreigners. Like us.

One boffin interviewed on Channel Four news said they may look for keywords like 'Iran' - so if you've ever commented on a thread about Iran, people working for that nice Mr Obama may have been watching...

Even though its just come officially, its hardly surprising we no longer live in a world where privacy actually means something, its all an illusion to make us think we have privacy. What is worrying is why noone is questioning Cameron about how much he knew about the USA snooping on us - I mean this surely breaks every International law going - why is he not standing up and saying this is wrong to snoop on UK citizens.....

I also loved the 'it's not US citizens we are monitoring' line. Oh, that's OK then.

However, one of the things with monitoring is that the more you do, the less you achieve. If they look at every thread with Iran on it, yes IRAN, they will spend a stupid amount of time looking at people like me and less on actual terrorists and politicos. Eventually, you would need every person watching every other person. There aren't enough person hours.

Mimishimi Tue 11-Jun-13 04:51:52

I'm confused as to what exactly Snowden was supposed to have revealed? Mass surveillance of citizens and foreigners by the U.S has been known about for some time. They are definitely monitoring US citizens too. The same ilk that provided secret funding to the likes of Hitler and tinpot dictators throughout the America's are pissed off that a) no one respects them for their ill gotten gains b) the lowly masses have not fueled their empire dreams by breeding and providing the cannon fodder and c) people are now, and have been for some time, been asking very serious questions about the level of criminality involved in certain recent and past events designed by the well-educated descendants of thugs to provoke the 'cattle' into war.

mathanxiety Tue 11-Jun-13 05:01:42

Not bothered at all.
Far preferable to what life would be like with morality police equipped with sticks smacking women on the streets or men with beards shooting 14 year old girls for having the temerity to go to school.

Plus, everything you say online on Gmail is monitored by Google anyway, for commercial purposes. Probably other sites too. You do not have privacy when you go online.

scaevola Tue 11-Jun-13 06:36:08

What did you think spy agencies do?

Why did you think UK would be exempt from that scrutiny?

Why did you think anything you ever did online was private, unless you use strong encryption?

When people call for the authorities to "do more" to identify and prevent terrorism plots, including monitoring individuals and then identifying their associates,, how do you think they do it?

NicholasTeakozy Tue 11-Jun-13 08:59:36

Since I read that the US government has increased requests to Google and other search engines that they hand over details of peoples' online life I've changed my habits. I only check Gmail twice a day for about five minutes each time. I use Startpage as my search engine, it doesn't record your IP address so has no details to pass on. It uses HTTPS by default so your searches are encrypted. They're also bringing out a secure email service later this year which I'll sign up to.

SirChenjin Tue 11-Jun-13 09:01:34

Nope, can't get bothered about it.

inbloomin Tue 11-Jun-13 09:20:34

The charge isn't just that the US is spying on people via Google et al., but that the British security services are also secretly using this US system to spy on people in the UK, bypassing UK law. Given that Parliament recently rejected an attempt to give the security services access to email/social networking data (the "Snooper's Charter") on the basis that it was was too far-reaching, this is a pretty serious allegation.

I realise that the security services may sometimes need access to such information when investigating terrorism etc., but there need to be legal safeguards in place to make sure that these powers aren't abused.

@mathanxiety
Far preferable to what life would be like with morality police equipped with sticks smacking women on the streets or men with beards shooting 14 year old girls for having the temerity to go to school.
What you're saying is that you'd rather live in a police state than under the taliban. When did these become the only two options??

You don't give up all rights to privacy when you sign up with Gmail or Facebook.

Mimishimi Tue 11-Jun-13 10:15:10

"Far preferable to what life would be like with morality police equipped with sticks smacking women on the streets or men with beards shooting 14 year old girls for having the temerity to go to school."

Hmmm. Except a lot of Muslims who have come to my country don't want to live with that either which is why a lot of them left. That's sort of like saying you'd rather live with the threat of Nazi surveillance than live in an orthodox Jewish community where you have to wear a wig and boys are pulled out of regular school to attend a Yeshiva and their poor wives have to support them. There was zero to nil chance of that happening to ordinary non-Jewish Germans.

niceguy2 Tue 11-Jun-13 10:18:51

Pfft, if the US govt really want to spy on my facebook messages they're welcome to it. If the MI5 want to keep tabs on my overdraft, they're also welcome to it. Actually they can ask me. I'll happily tell them. Save them making a request to the US to spy on my account.

sillymillyb Tue 11-Jun-13 10:28:55

I was reading about this last night and am genuinely confused about why I should be bothered. I mean, I don't like idea of people spying as such, but equally, I don't know what they will get from looking at my

Panzee Tue 11-Jun-13 10:34:09

I seen Spooks. I thought it was normal. And it doesn't bother me.

50shadesofvomit Tue 11-Jun-13 10:45:02

Im not surprised but it makes me wonder if I should be recording what I say or do online because if I was tried on the basis of something I allegedly said online I couldn't prove otherwise. I've been wondering whether I should switch to a browser where my IP address is anonymous.

inbloomin Tue 11-Jun-13 12:09:22

What you do on Facebook can reveal more about you than you might expect, cf. "Facebook ?likes? can reveal users? politics, sexual orientation, IQ"

@Panzee
I seen Spooks. I thought it was normal.
I prefer The Wire, where the police actually have to ask a judge for permission (and show him some evidence of wrongdoing) before listening in on somebody's phone calls....

niceguy2 Tue 11-Jun-13 12:28:46

The police will still have to.

But we're talking about the SIS and NSA. Two totally different outfits and with a completely different remit to the police.

Both are charged with defending our national security, other spies, militaries and nowadays terrorists.

I guess the bottom line comes down to if we trust our intelligence agencies to us their powers wisely and for the greater good. Right now I think most people either don't care enough or trust that they will. If they abuse that power then they will soon hear about it.

scaevola Tue 11-Jun-13 12:35:24

I would hope that our Allies would share intelligence and leads with us. If the US monitoring revealed something of concern about an individual in UK, should we refuse to let them tell us about it? Or, if seen and agreed it is a concern, should we be telling them to let us have anything they pick up about the person, or refuse to accept any more information about them?

Xenia Tue 11-Jun-13 13:22:46

Every few months the data protection people find some policeman or other person accessing very confidential databases for nefarious purposes. So it is not really a question of trusting those in authority - many of them are not to be trusted. Many of us would rather have more terrorism risk and less surveillance.

HabbaDabbaDoo Tue 11-Jun-13 13:26:29

I don't want DP or anybody I know in RL to know what's in my emails, phone calls etc. But if the NSA wants to know what I think of my MIL then they are welcome to eavesdrop.

scaevola Tue 11-Jun-13 13:28:57

If it's police, security/intelligence services, or a whole bundle of other permitted agencies, they have to have a RIPA warrant in UK. Yes, they access information, of course they do. And if terrorists, child porn/abuse peddlers or other major criminals are using the Internet, then h'll yes I want them investigated and stopped.

I doubt our public bodies are well enough funded right now to be pursing anything other than the most serious leads. And I guess they have to examine the lot to know what might be serious.

I can just imagine the outcry if someone blew up another bus in London, and a US whistleblower came out and said 'but we passed you a lead showing the perpetrator was plotting an atrocity a didn't you even read it?'

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 11-Jun-13 13:29:10

I think the point isn't the spying as such, but all these governments deliberately circumventing the laws of their country.

It is illegal for the UK government to monitor all this stuff for UK citizens without a v good reason. So we'll get the good old' US of A to monitor our citizens and pass the data onto us.

It is illegal for the US to monitor its citizens in this way. But hey, we'all get our buddies in the UK to do the monitoring instead.

It's all a nice little club of governments getting together to dodge the privacy laws of their countries.

This is an issue.

ParsingFancy Tue 11-Jun-13 13:41:01

"they have to have a RIPA warrant in UK"

That's the point, isn't it? The allegation is UK intelligence services may have been circumventing the warrant system by getting pre-processed data from the US.

And it's not clear they would be able to get a warrant for that if they tried.

It's one thing targetting individuals about whom there exists a reasonable suspicion yadda yadda; completely another to process everyone's data in order to generate "suspicious individuals."

edam Tue 11-Jun-13 13:55:30

Nicolas, thanks for link to startpage, I'll look into that.

Xenia's right, blind faith in 'the authorities' is a. clearly misplaced and b. ignores the fact that 'the authorities' are people, some of them nosy/malicious/tempted to commit fraud.

scaevola and itsallgoing to be are also right that this is a huge deal - the security services in the US and UK have been revealed as flouting the law on a massive scale.

People who shrug their shoulders - do you not care about democracy? Are you happy to live in a police state?

Surveillance of suspected terrorists is permissible and desirable and is subject to proper judicial oversight in the UK. Only it turns out the spooks have been merrily ignoring that and spying on everyone, illegally and without discriminating between suspect and innocent person.

If the state deliberately, knowingly and secretly flouts the law, how does that make the state 'better' than the sort of criminals they claim they are after?

scaevola Tue 11-Jun-13 13:58:39

Are UK public authorities tasking the US capability, or receiving UK related information that US have surfaced as part of their investigations?

It's not terribly clear from reports so far whether it is one or the other, or both.

TeamEdward Tue 11-Jun-13 14:01:07

I'm not bothered. I only use the internet to read Harry Potter slash fic and order DH's king-size condoms.
IRAN IRAN IRAN IRAN

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now