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To object to excessive government surveillance?

(53 Posts)
DontHaveAUsername Fri 23-Oct-15 11:10:06

With everything that that Edward Snowden has revealed such as security services spying on their partners and abusing their abilities, spying on peoples communications when there is no probable cause to suspect them of any crime, around intimate photos couples send to each other't it unreasonable for them to be spying on us en masse?

Terrorism is a threat to the country but it shouldn't be used as an excuse to violate the privacy of innocent people, especially when it's never helped prevent terrorism. Even if it did, would surrendering our privacy completely be worth it? Give up our rights so that terrorists can't take them away seems a bit pointless. Has anyone altered how they do things now, I use the TOR browser a lot and PGP to encrypt emails.

wasonthelist Fri 23-Oct-15 11:28:28

YANBU - We are breeding a nation (possibly planet) of folk who don't seem to value freedom as well.

GordonBleedinBennett Fri 23-Oct-15 11:32:31

YANBU. We're pretty much sleepwalking into total surveillance.

"Terror threat", whilst obviously real, is hugely manipulated in order to make it acceptable to spy on and control people.

You're being a bit U to link to the Daily Mail though grin. There must be a better link for it...

Bullshitbingo Fri 23-Oct-15 11:34:58

'They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty not safety'.

Bullshitbingo Fri 23-Oct-15 11:41:51


mimishimmi Fri 23-Oct-15 11:43:03

They're creeps ... and always have been hmm

GordonBleedinBennett Fri 23-Oct-15 11:55:50

Surveillance of this type (which is already in use, as we know) essentially gives people "at the top" - most of whose identities we will never even be able to know - near complete control over the rest of the people. Taking away the power of free communication from ordinary people keeps the majority of people basically subservient. Indefinitely. It makes it almost impossible to ever bring about radical changes, as the power of mass dissent is prevented. The possible consequences are truly horrific. However, if we don't support it, more "terrorist atrocities" will be manipulated until there is adequate support.

DontHaveAUsername Fri 23-Oct-15 12:12:22

Have any of you changed your habits online after the leak to make yourself more private?

GordonBleedinBennett Fri 23-Oct-15 12:20:26

No. But I probably should.
Are you working for MI5? hmm grin

meditrina Fri 23-Oct-15 12:36:47

If there are areas which are always off-limits, then that is where images of child abuse will migrate to.

I think law enforcement does need the capabilities to make sure crimes an be detected and criminals criminals can be caught.

What is needed controls on those capabilities, and fro people to have have faith in those controls. And generally that the police (and the specialist agencies) act in the agreed public interest. You can never rule out the possibility that there may be rogue staff in any of those, who will abuse their positions, but there needs to be adequate confidence that that would be rare aberration, not lax approach.

Remember, this sort of hacking already exists. It's in the hands of the bad guys. If you are worried that having your devices hacked could harm you, then you might need to rethink how you use them and who can get at what information. Much like any Talk Talk customer will be doing today.

DontHaveAUsername Fri 23-Oct-15 15:14:46

Meditrana I share the concern about child abuse however I don't think law enforcement should have the ability. We need some degree of privacy from the state and it's inevitable some will use it for bad but that doesn't justify banning it.

You said about proper controls on those powers, but there is a hard limit in what is actually possible with some of the measures they propose. They said they wanted backdoors in encryption so that the police could read encrypted messages between suspects in a crime. Sounds fair but the issue is that you can secure a backdoor so that only police can use it. My concern would be twofold if I was using backdoored crypto: would the authorities, if they felt like it, decrypt and read my messages without having grounds and secondly what if a nefarious hacker or fraudster uses the backdoor to read my messages, some of which may contain sensitive information that could be used in assuming my ID in fraud.

I decided to start using PGP for my emails and apparently the geeks reckon it's secure for a good while yet. Quantum computing may shatter that though but that's a while away.

TheFuzz Fri 23-Oct-15 16:23:46

If you've nothing to hide what's the issue?

dodobookends Fri 23-Oct-15 16:35:55

Exactly Fuzz. It is a physical impossibility for the security services to spy on everyone all the time anyway. There aren't enough of them for one thing. I don't object to this sort of surveillance. If it means that they can keep an eye on crooks, nutters, terrorists, paedophiles and the like, and put a stop to their activities, that's fine by me.

DoctorTwo Fri 23-Oct-15 17:25:35

The 'if you've got nowt to hide you've nowt to fear' attitude really puzzles me. I'm no criminal, but there are things I'd like to keep private, ta very much. Another thing that irks is that they often get onto your system via zero day exploits, leaving you vulnerable to other attacks.

The US govt is trying to force hardware and software manufacturers/developers to install backdoors into their systems, again reducing our security.

AuntieStella Fri 23-Oct-15 17:31:09

"We need some degree of privacy from the state and it's inevitable some will use it for bad but that doesn't justify banning it."

If there were any guaranteed privacy, that would be transformative of the availability of images of child sex abuse. And not for the better.

wasonthelist Fri 23-Oct-15 17:35:29

I have lots to hide. Not illegal stuff, but stuff that is feck all to do with the government or anyone else, thanks.

FlumptyDumpty Fri 23-Oct-15 18:05:28

YANBU. The " if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear" attitude is extremely naive.

DontHaveAUsername Fri 23-Oct-15 18:32:22

I don't think that any means of communication should be banned or monitored just because criminals like paedophile might use it for that purpose. Because you have to have some hard limits as to what violations of privacy are an acceptable price to pay to fight crime. Otherwise you end up with mandatory cameras in every home because paedophile might communicate safe inside a house where people can't hear them.

DontHaveAUsername Fri 23-Oct-15 18:35:41

OK it should say you can NOT secure a backdoor so that only police can use it. A very small spelling error but one of huge significance. Just noticed that

TrojanWhore Fri 23-Oct-15 18:48:52

There is already provision to bug premises. Not everywhere, all the time; but anywhere anytime.

So that's the past and present, not the future.

Why should people have greater privacy online than they currently have in their homes?

DontHaveAUsername Fri 23-Oct-15 18:58:29

Its nor possible to encrypt your home whereas it is in the digital world possible to encrypt your communications to the extent that law enforcement cannot decrypt them. However you can be jailed for not providing a password. This is as it should be, a fair balance between privacy and law enforcement.

PoundingTheStreets Fri 23-Oct-15 20:22:50

I can see both sides of this.

I think the fear about risque photos between consenting couples, embarrassing photos/messages etc is irrelevant. Given the funding and staffing levels of anything government funded - state security included - operatives will actually be far too busy looking for material relating to terrorism to give a shit about someone's banal facebook post or the fact they're having an affair with their colleague. The fear that the government will just be 'nosy' is a non-existent fear I think.

However, the ability of governments to stamp out dissent before it gains momentum via online communication channels is a very unsettling implication.

Ultimately, it's a very complex ethical dilemma. Which approach offers the greatest good and the least harm?

DontHaveAUsername Fri 23-Oct-15 20:38:05

Well said streets I agree it's all about a balance. I feel though that in recent years we've swung to far away from the privacy side of the scale, all being justified because someome says the words terrorist or paedophile. We shouldn't automatically ban or monitor or restrict anything that gives criminals the secrecy they need, we need to recognize that law enforcement can't unreasonably infringe on the rights of the public even if it is to prevent terrorism or solve a crime.

meditrina Fri 23-Oct-15 20:51:11

The current proposals aren't about banning or restricting the public from their activities. It's about ensuring that when there is a need to monitor, there is a capability that means monitoring can happen.

To echo a post above, it's like having lock pickers and listening devices for the old fashioned bugging of houses. It's incredibly intrusive, and sparingly used (because there's never enough resources to blanket monitor) and controlled by warrants or other senior politico sign-off.

The balance comes in whether you think the police etc are acting within the law, or are above the law. And whether governments (of all hues) are just turning a blind eye.

DontHaveAUsername Fri 23-Oct-15 21:21:26

"The current proposals aren't about banning or restricting the public from their activities. It's about ensuring that when there is a need to monitor, there is a capability that means monitoring can happen."

The proposals for backdoors in encryption are exactly that. You wouldn't be allowed to use any encryption the government didn't have a backdoor to, which would restrict the public from being able to use secure crypto. And remember that things like online banking and ebay only exist because we have encryption we can rely on to protect our details.

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