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AIBU to wonder if this is true?

35 replies

Classroomblues · 04/08/2015 19:12

My friend was telling me (so not sure if it's true or she's heard from someone else) that if you use certain buzz words in an email, you could have the police knocking at your door and/or searching your house. Shock
I knew that emails weren't private but didn't realise such a system of alerting the authorities was in place.

From what she said, I think it's mainly linked to threads of possible terrorism but not totally sure.

I am glad this isn't common knowledge as I'm sure there would be some teens who would do this deliberately just for fun! Hmm

OP posts:

HoneyDragon · 04/08/2015 19:15


So I've got to stop threatening to manufacture pipe bombs to send to Boden for all their Johnnie nonsensical ravings in my inbox?


LiviaDrusillaAugusta · 04/08/2015 19:15

I think it's an urban myth - I remember someone at work saying about it and then googling 'bomb Bush' just to prove a point!

That was a few years ago though - don't know if it's true now or not.


HedgehogAtHome · 04/08/2015 19:40

Aren't they banning whatsapp because it's encrypted?

Given we can now hold a trial in secret and the trial nor the outcome can be banned from being reported on it doesn't seem unfeasable.

I dare say they have people that they watch and if they used certain phrases it would flag but maybe not Joe Public.


ZingDramaQueenOfSheeba · 04/08/2015 20:38

watch Person Of Interest on Netflix
it's all true, we are being watched



FarFromAnyRoad · 04/08/2015 20:41


QuiteLikely5 · 04/08/2015 20:45

I do believe that secret services can have access to any data they want. Whether that's triggered by certain words or not who knows?!

Also I think it's a sensible idea that that sort of info isn't made public anyway


Happy36 · 04/08/2015 20:47

Think it´s an urban myth with an element of truth.


travellinglighter · 04/08/2015 20:48

There is some speculation that GCHQ/CIA are/have developed software packages to collect and scan meta data for key words. Bomb, jihad, assassination etc. It’s almost definitely true that they are trying to do it, have they succeeded?? Don’t know. I wouldn’t worry about it too much though. If you do use a trigger word, all it will do is flag up that the word has been used and the e-mail should be read to establish if it’s of interest. If you are constantly using trigger words then it’s likely that you may be investigated. Bear in mind though, the presence of those words in a private communication doesn’t mean they are allowed to read that communication. I’m sure some legal MNer will reassure you that a warrant is still required to tap private e-mails and phone calls.


chickenfuckingpox · 04/08/2015 20:48

apparently if you say certain words on your phone they tap in and automatically record your conversation Wink

not sure how true it is could be an urban myth but imagine if its true?


ZingDramaQueenOfSheeba · 04/08/2015 20:49

certain library books get "flagged", especially if taken out in combination with some others, within a certain time period.
that's nothing new.

I wouldn't be surprised if some words or combination of them might get flagged and stored away. who knows


paxtecum · 04/08/2015 20:52

In the 80s using certain words in a phone conversation would trigger clicking on the line for some of us who were members of anti nuclear groups.

Our children used to have great fun, ringing each other just to say key words.


TiggyD · 04/08/2015 20:54

EVERYBODY should bear in mind when TRYing TO KILL time on the internet that 'they' are looking for THE words not punctuation or anything. You're getting KRANKIE So stop it.


Prole · 04/08/2015 23:16

It is true and called the ECHELON system. It looks for keywords in all kinds of communication. I'd imagine a jokey reference to bombs or ricin might pique their attention but you'd need to giving them something a bit more substantial for a visit.

Hilariously it was always denied until the EU had to vote for further funding thus revealing it.


HedgehogAtHome · 05/08/2015 15:51

Awesomely interesting link Prole, thank you!


BertrandRussell · 05/08/2015 15:54


SchwarzwalderKirschtorte · 05/08/2015 15:55

And those who have windows 10... The one with the keystroke loggers as default... Confused


LurkingHusband · 05/08/2015 15:59

Well, the premise is certainly true ... if you have time for a good read, try here.

In itself, it's all a bit woo. It's when you aggregate the data from all over the place, you start to see pictures. So random emails about bombs aren't going to get a 4am kick. However, if a person of interest is picked up with some suspicious communications and there's other information on them via their movements, who they are talking to, what they are buying etc etc, then you might be straying into one of these fabled terrorist "plots" that are apparently foiled daily.

Anyone who believes they are not being watched by the authorities, or are capable of being watched by the authorities should PM me. I have a bridge for sale.


LazyLouLou · 05/08/2015 16:00

T'is true.

Way back in the late 80s/early 90s we used to have a certain renegade's name in our email signature, just to give them something to do. David Shayler was an MI5 whistle blower and his name was widely promoted as a way of testing the listeners. GCHQs listening post listens for both foreign and domestic traffic, it always has.

I was never sure why it surprised some people until I remembered, I was brought up during the Cold War and Nuclear Clock, so it seemed normal to me Smile


CloserToFiftyThanTwenty · 05/08/2015 16:04

Interception of communications requires a warrant signed by a secretary of state. So no, GCHQ don't just suddenly start listening to your phone call because you have said the word "bomb"


CloserToFiftyThanTwenty · 05/08/2015 16:06

And police wanting to search your house would also need a warrant signed by a magistrate (unless you consented), and they wouldn't pass the threshold for that just because you wrote "bomb" etc in an email or two


LurkingHusband · 05/08/2015 16:16

Interception of communications requires a warrant signed by a secretary of state

how quaint. What's the weather like in 1950 ?


LadyFlumpalot · 05/08/2015 16:31

A good few years ago I had a boyfriend in the army. I used to stay over in the barracks all the time when I really wasn't supposed to.

One morning there was a knock on the door and a rather angry man with a green beret ordered my boyfriend out for a "word".

He came back in and said to me "I thought you worked for company A? I've just been told you work for company B?"

The scary thing is that although I did work for Company A I had daily dealings with Company B. The only thing the camp had to identify me was my car number plate. Using just that they had managed to dig up enough dirt on me to find out what my rota of jobs was at work!

Since then I've been a firm believer that the mythical "they" know an awful lot about everyone!


HarrietSchulenberg · 05/08/2015 16:44

paxtecum, I used to have great fun dropping keywords into phone conversations to hear the clicks! "Bomb" juxtaposed with "queen" always brought the desired result, especially when done from a public call box Grin.


CloserToFiftyThanTwenty · 05/08/2015 22:12

RIPA (the legislation covering intercept) was passed in 2000, not 1950 Hmm

More details on the legal framework here, but if you want to believe we are all being watched all the time - or every time we say "bomb" feel free to adjust your tinfoil hat accordingly...


NewFlipFlops · 05/08/2015 23:35

The clicky noises were real enough so I am inclined to believe in a key words programme for emails.

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