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More Plans For UK Internet Snooping Bill Revealed In Queen's Speech 114

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hidden-in-a-footnote dept.
TheGift73 writes "By far the most controversial bill discussed in the Queen's speech today has to be the 'Draft Communications Bill' which '...will allow the police and intelligence agencies to collect data on communications, like texts and emails, flexible to changes in technology, such as the Internet. This will apply UK wide.' The Queen's Speech has set out the government's legislative plans for the next year." El Reg has the skinny on the CCDP related parts. From their article: "It's unclear if those 'strict safeguards' mean that a warrant, for example, would be needed before spooks could access such data. The rough proposal appeared to only fuzzily indicate that such protection for British citizens would be provided, however."
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More Plans For UK Internet Snooping Bill Revealed In Queen's Speech

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  • Cameras (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:22AM (#39941077)

    I though they had enough cameras to see everything everyone sends or reads anyway?

  • by Covalent (1001277) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:23AM (#39941083)
    Near the end of the speech the queen also was heard to say "We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They don't understand the internet, they shouldn't be making decisions about it. Can't we retire this queen, and get a new one?

    • Re:Damn elderly. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Necroloth (1512791) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:29AM (#39941157)
      The Queen is given the speech to read... she is merely stating the objectives of the current party (or coallition in this case). Got nothing to do with her net abilities or knowledge.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        So you are saying that ther speach of Her Majesty starts like this:

        "We are supposed to read this bullshit speach of My government tonight because We are not realy the Queen, We are government Bitch. In exchange for enslaving you even more, the government says I can keep a big chunk of the taxes of my subjects so I can buy this lovely blue hat I have seen on eBay, because that is only thing The Royal Head is good for..."

        I am not British so i do not pretend to understand your fascination with royal family (to

        • It seems they're doing a good job if you're hearing about them ;) The Royals are a great source of revenue to the country and bring more in through tourism etc than we spend on them.
    • by JosKarith (757063)
      Sure, which one do you think will do better, Camilla or Kate?
      • Re:Damn elderly. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 1s44c (552956) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:23AM (#39941813)

        Sure, which one do you think will do better, Camilla or Kate?

        How about electing a leader? The whole concept of kings and queens is a throwback to genetic memory, these people are no better at leading the country then the people who empty the bins in the street would be.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Sure, which one do you think will do better, Camilla or Kate?

          How about electing a leader? The whole concept of kings and queens is a throwback to genetic memory, these people are no better at leading the country then the people who empty the bins in the street would be.

          The UK already elects a leader - The Prime Minister (who runs the country). Head of State in the UK (the Queen, currently) is a mostly ceremonial role (minimal power that could be taken away by Parliament at any time) unlike the USA where the President has actual power.

          • Re:Damn elderly. (Score:5, Informative)

            by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @12:21PM (#39942691) Homepage

            The UK already elects a leader

            No we don't. We elect MPs, not the leader.

            The PM is chosen by the conservative party as they created a majority by forming a coalition - only 32% of the nation using the FPTP system elected the conservatives in to government.

            This would make some of the most corrupt governments in the world happy to have such unfair systems. UK still uses it.

            • by Smauler (915644)

              only 32% of the nation using the FPTP system elected the conservatives in to government.

              Hrm... don't know if you noticed or not, but the Conservatives weren't elected into government. They also got 36% of the vote.

              The 2005 election was more warped. Labour got 35% of the vote, and 55% of the seats. Nearly two third of the voters did not want Labour, and they formed a majority government.

              If anyone's confused by this, it's essentially what happens when you have more than two parties and lots of places wit

        • The UK is a backwards country when it comes to politics. No elected leader for the House of Commons, and we use First Past the Post (FPTP) to elect our Members of Parliament. Our second chamber, the House of Lords is no elected at all, but reform was included in the Queen's speech to have elected peers using Sing Transferable Vote (STV).

          The House of Commons using FPTP and Lords STV is ridiculous. One chamber elected by the most worst and unfair voting system, the other by a fair proportional representation.

          • by mSparks43 (757109)

            The Queen has no powers when it comes to government.

            Bullshit.
            Not only does she appoint and fire all the cabinet ministers (including the PM, whom she meets every wednesday at 6pm), there is also that little thing called:
            Royal Prerogative
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Prerogative_in_the_United_Kingdom [wikipedia.org]

            • In theory the Queen can use the Royal Prerogative but she doesn't really do so, RP is devolved to her ministers. On paper she waves RP, but actually she just goes along with the elected Parliament's decisions. Looking at your link, the last time it was used by royalty to refuse to enact a bill was 308 years ago.

              No comment on royalism vs republicanism, just to point out that the hereditary head of states here don't tend to explicitly do politics these days (say, the last 100 years or so).

            • I think all of that is technically true, but in any case, it is irrelevant. If Her Majesty ever exercised a power to overrule the elected government, we would probably be a republic a decade years later.

              And that's a lady who gets a pass on the whole democracy thing in popular opinion because of her 60 years of service as a fine ceremonial figurehead for our country. The following generations of the royal family have not earned such public affection, and if Prince Charles becomes king, there is bound to be a

        • With posts like these it makes me wonder how we lived without internet back in the 1800s.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      They don't understand the internet, they shouldn't be making decisions about it. Can't we retire this queen, and get a new one?

      For French values of 'retire'.

  • Jolly good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MRe_nl (306212) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:28AM (#39941137)

    It's always nice to see a Royal Monarch, decked in the spoils of war, complain about organized crime.
    As above, so below.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LizardKing (5245)
      You do know that she has no part in the writing of the speech or on its content? Her role is purely a ceremonial one.
      • Re:Jolly good. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:39AM (#39941261) Homepage

        Well...

        She has a weekly audience with the prime minister, and it's not known what's said behind those closed doors.

        So, if you want to believe she keeps her role separate from politics, then there's no evidence to contradict that view.
        But also, if you want to believe she takes a keen interest, and nudges the government to do what she wants, there's no evidence to contradict that either.

        It is true that if a government gave her a speech she really didn't agree with, she'd be obliged by convention to read it -- or spark a constitutional crisis.

        This will all become more interesting when Charles becomes king, since he's much more forthcoming about his own political views.

        • by Tx (96709)

          "This will all become more interesting when Charles becomes king, since he's much more forthcoming about his own political views."

          If and when Charles becomes king, I become a republican. I suspect I'm not alone.

          • Could be worse. Be thankful there are two monarchs-to-be keeping Harry away from the throne.
            • He wears Nazi uniforms, sounds like he has character.

            • You have a problem with a man who has literally fought for his country, who uses his public profile to raise support for charities, who does a lot of work to help those with disadvantages in life, and who continues to serve in the armed forces today, all because he was young once and made his dumb mistakes in the glare of the paparazzi's cameras?

          • by slim (1652)

            Sounds like you're already a republican. The whole principle of monarchy is that the succession is decided by birth.

            • by Trepidity (597)

              While true, there's a marked rise and fall in support for republicanism depending on how intelligent or stupid the monarch and likely monarch appear to be. For example, pretty much the only reason that Spain still has a king while Greece doesn't, is that the Spanish king won a lot of public approval by shepherding the transition away from Francoism, so was kept, while the Greek king hedged his bets and did nothing useful during the military dictatorship there, so got axed (though fortunately for him, not, a

      • I think his point is that it's silly to have a ceremonial role, where the "ceremony" undermines or mocks the non-ceremonial part.

        Imagine US Congress passing some new pro-civil rights legislation, and at a purely ceremonial press event, the new law were announced by a guy wearing a Gestapo uniform or KKK robe.

      • You do know it's written on Sheep Hide AKA Velum and so it takes about 3 days for the damn ink to dry
      • Except for the 500 million dollars net worth, plus 100 million per year, the military being commanded by royalty and nobility, the tax exemptions, the slight difference between slapping the Queen and being slapped by the Queen, and a hundred things more, her role is purely ceremonial.

  • El Reg link (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sara Chan (138144) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:33AM (#39941197)
    The link in TFS to El Reg is missing. It should be http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/09/queen_speech_ccdp/ [theregister.co.uk]
    • Ah, The Register; IT's equivalent of The Sun.

      It's nice having a UK IT news source. I just wished they stuck to IT more often.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:42AM (#39941297) Homepage
    on all your email. In particular, don't use this list of addresses [wired.co.uk]. OK?
  • Any decent criminal would use TOR or similar service, and the only data the ISP will be able to provide will be an encrypted bitstream, which will be difficult to decrypt.

    So, since they're not interested in finding the criminals, why do they feel the need to spy on law abiding citizens?

    • by PReDiToR (687141) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:06AM (#39941555) Homepage Journal
      Because it is never about law enforcement.
      If the .GOV wanted to stop crime they would have been spending money on the police force instead of dropping coppers like hot potatoes left right and centre.
      Burgled? Here's an incident number for the insurance claim. Go away and stop trying to make us work. We don't have the resources to follow this up.
      Assulted? Try to match one of these well dressed, smiling prettily, gentle looking men in these pictures to the snarling, pissed up lout that bottled you in the pub two weeks ago without being able to see the CCTV of the incident. Go away and stop trying to make us work. We don't have the resources to follow this up.
      Your car was TWOC'd? Here's an incident number for the insurance claim. Go away and stop trying to make us work. We don't have the resources to follow this up.

      Oh they put a few quid into "terrorism" but only because that in itself creates an air of terror in the public. Justifying more money being diverted to scanners, cyber squads and legislation like this which benefits a few well dressed guys with big computer dreams who know that selling IT to people who don't get it, especially in the .GOV is a licence to print money.
      See NHS, schools, waste disposal, speed calming, CCTV, missile defence and a multitude of other election claims for more evidence.

      Screw you Westminster; you take our tax with promises of making everyone's life better, then give it to your friends. Blue, Yellow or Red, you're all lying thieves.
    • Heeeey, you forgot about the non-decent criminals. This is basically nothing else but a selective breeding of criminality. Any criminal, who organises their crime without the proper privacy tools, would be arrested. And perhaps it would be somewhat good if they could go a bit further. They could just randomly arrest citizens if they don't use proper privacy tools.
    • by Mithent (2515236)
      I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of criminals weren't very technologically savvy, to be fair. Not that that should mean the authorities have the right to intercept communications without good reason.
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      You severely overestimate the skills of most criminals. It's just not like the movies, where a slick team of dudes headed by George Clooney hacks into high tech security systems and routes their phone traffic through several anon VoIP proxies with 256 bit encryption.

      Not to say that the legislation is not annoying and overreaching, but most criminals are not smart enough to elude a competent and well-funded police force using current laws and technology - but that last part is the real problem here. As has b

  • ....anything about tech.

    • by pjt33 (739471)
      She's forgotten more than I ever knew about repairing combustion engines.
  • Parasites (Score:2, Funny)

    by doston (2372830)
    What the British people see in their monarchy, I'll never know. I do know that until Britains stop shelling out $60 million (about 40 million Pounds) per year tax dollars to keep up the properties and lifestyle of these royal idiots http://www.royal.gov.uk/TheRoyalHousehold/Royalfinances/Sourcesoffunding/Overview.aspx [royal.gov.uk] , they have no right making fun of the US's fascination with celebrity. At least we don't directly pay ours with tax dollars and our celebrities pay taxes. If the Queen's just a "figure hea
    • by Eggbloke (1698408)
      How do you go about removing the monarchy at this point? Most of our governance system would need changing. A lot of people dislike the monarchy but there has never been a choice to not have it. There is also the fact (and I hate this arguement) that the monarchy charactorises Britain, I have even heard arguements that they bring in revenue through tourism but I have not seen much evidence for this.

      The monarchy has at least been stripped of almost all power. The Queen isn't really even a figurehead, just
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        "how do you go about removing monarchy???"
        "the monarchy is just a tradition"

        well fuck, sounds like you could just cut the flow of money and leave them off to live whatever wealth they already accumulated, paying taxes on their profits from whatever business they turn their cash into.

        doesn't effect tourism much, imho either. the place would be a tourist attraction anyhow, because of the history.
        and if the monarchs had to actually work for that tourism money they might bring more of it to britain.

        but this art

        • by doston (2372830)

          "how do you go about removing monarchy???" "the monarchy is just a tradition"

          well fuck, sounds like you could just cut the flow of money and leave them off to live whatever wealth they already accumulated, paying taxes on their profits from whatever business they turn their cash into.

          doesn't effect tourism much, imho either. the place would be a tourist attraction anyhow, because of the history. and if the monarchs had to actually work for that tourism money they might bring more of it to britain.

          but this article doesn't really reveal anything anyways nor does the speech - "queen gives a scheduled speech written by government that goes blablablabla" would have been an apt title, free speech meaning nothing in the context. if she had written her own speech where she would have sworn to uphold secrecy of correspondence, then THAT would be real news, now she is just throwing that away and saying she'll uphold free speech laws which are inequal about who can say who fucked who - literally.

          With a half billion dollars, if she can't pay for her lifestyle herself, she should sell some properties. http://www.therichest.org/celebnetworth/politician/royal/queen-elizabeth-net-worth/ [therichest.org]

      • How do you go about removing the monarchy at this point?

        With the least constitutional change necessary? Probably by going with the German model - just exchange the Queen by a President elected by popular assembly, with the same constitutional functions the Queen has at the moment. Much cheaper, gets elected.

        • by Eggbloke (1698408)
          The Queen doesn't have constitutional functions. The British political system is slightly retarded.
          Officially the Queen is the executive, she signs into law bills passed by parliament but she doesn't actually have any say. Parliament has all the power.
          If a president was to be elected then they would surely have a large amount of legitmacy and so should have some power? This would require a major change in parliament; the house of lords would probably have to go as it would be hard for them to claim legi
      • by xaxa (988988)

        Republic: http://republic.org.uk/ [republic.org.uk] campaign for that.

        I might be a member, I can't remember. I went to their protest during the wedding last year, anyway, and they seem to be getting more press and attention because of the jubilee (and the ever-encroaching threat of King Charles III).

        Your statement about tourism has been answered, but also remember the *huge* income from the "Crown Estate" -- land that "belongs" to the royal family, and from which they are allowed to keep all the income. The Duchy of Cornwa

        • by pjt33 (739471)

          Your statement about tourism has been answered, but also remember the *huge* income from the "Crown Estate" -- land that "belongs" to the royal family, and from which they are allowed to keep all the income.

          That's not true. The profit from the Crown Estate goes to the Treasury and part of it (about 4%, going by the figures on Wikipedia) is returned as the Civil List. Of course, that's all about to change because of the Sovereign Grant Act 2011 [legislation.gov.uk].

    • Re:Parasites (Score:5, Insightful)

      by progician (2451300) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:10AM (#39941625) Homepage
      To be completely precise, British people are fascinated by celebrities as much as Americans. One of this celebrity happens to be the queen and co. And, as an interesting note, the royal family happens to be celebrity in many countries, including the USA. There's no "us and them" here.
    • by Mithent (2515236)
      The counter-argument would be that less than £1/year/person is a small price to pay for the international relations and tourism benefits they and their properties bring. That, I suppose, is up for debate.
      • by slim (1652)

        It is, indeed, up for debate: the pressure group Republic refutes the claim. http://www.republic.org.uk/What%20we%20want/Win%20the%20argument/index.php [republic.org.uk]

        A comedian (probably either Mark Steel or Jeremy Hardy I reckon) counters the 'good for tourism' argument by picturing a foreign tourist in Paris, admiring the view from the Eiffel Tower -- "It's a nice view, but I can only feel it would be improved by there being an unelected head of state".

    • by AntmanGX (927781)

      And I bet they bring in at least ten times that due to tourism [reuters.com] (not that I entirely trust those figures, but the point still stands).

      Don't get me wrong, I don't care at all for the royals, but to say they are a waste of money is miles off the mark.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      The question is whether they bring in more than $60 million in tourism - certainly a debatable topic and hard to pin down an exact figure.

      If you think Britney could replace what the Queen does (in respect to the public engagements, state events, foreign visits and diplomatic stuff etc) even 20% as well as she does it (and has been doing so for 50 years now) then you don't give her enough credit. I say this from the standpoint of knowing that it's not the most difficult job in the world and that she's extrem

      • by xaxa (988988)

        Why does it have to be about the money?

        If it costs us *more* I'd still rather have an elected head of state.

        No doubt a dictatorship would also be cheaper to run. None of those expensive elections...

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          We do have an elected head of state - the Prime Minister. Well, to be accurate, we have an elected ruling party since each political party chooses its own leader.

          The monarch is an entirely ceremonial position.

    • Re:Parasites (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stevencbrown (238995) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:51PM (#39946857) Homepage Journal

      I'm British, and I personally fully support the Queen's role in this country. Leaving aside the tax dollars to support them (which I would reckon is probably offset by tourist spend on people coming to see the royal sights), her role is invaluable. Even though she doesn't have direct powers, providing that stability and consistency is, for me, a necessary role when dealing with the lizard like politicians that we have.

      I dread to think how silly the forming coalition bun fight from a couple of years ago would have been - the media were in hysterics about a coalition, who it should be - having someone who has seen loads of prime ministers and governments come and go at the heart of the process is very useful.

      Our alternative would be an directly elected head of state. The thought of a President Blair (which he tried his best to be) swanning around is nauseating - give me a figurehead like the Queen any day of the week.

  • Free speech? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:56AM (#39941421) Journal

    Ironically a couple of sentences earlier in The Queen's Speech, she read the sentence that "The government will protect freedom of speech." How can you do that when you're spying on people, and wanting to know what they say at all times? Never accept the line they are pushing that, oh, we'll only log the from, to and date/time headers. They will store the entire email, storage is dirt cheap and cost is irrelevant when you can rely on the taxpayer to throw unlimited money at pet projects.

    Earlier today politicians said that tired out line "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." I didn't hear them say that when they were using the courts to stop their crooked expenses claims from becoming public knowledge.

    The facts are simple, the state is VERY afraid of the free exchange of ideas, and are doing whatever it takes to stop people from doing something like kicking corrupt politicians out of office, or holding corrupt companies to account.

    • Re:Free speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:03AM (#39941519) Journal

      Ironically a couple of sentences earlier in The Queen's Speech, she read the sentence that "The government will protect freedom of speech."

      This phrase shows just how backwards monarchy is. Free speech is not something the government protects. Free speech is something that protects you from the government. If the government can decide which speech to protect, you don't really have free speech at all.

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        Well, you can't blame the monarchy - she does not write the speech, it is provided to her by the government and she simply reads it out.

        It's also worth noting that the UK has no written Bill of Rights/Constitution, although this hasn't seemed to be an impediment over the past thousand years or so. I know many Americans are amazed that the UK hasn't collapsed in a giant fireball due to the lack of such a written document.

        I think it's (the US Constitution) one of the most important pieces of paper (well, seve

        • Actually, England *does* have a Bill of Rights [legislation.gov.uk], written in 1688 and mostly still in force. Unfortunately, the only free speech that protects is the Freedome of Speech of MPs, which is increasingly being abused for political gain.

          England also does have a written constitution; unfortunately, it's scattered across hundreds of Acts of Parliament, and Court judgments. There are advantages and disadvantages to not having a codified, supreme constitution; for starters, we don't have people wandering around with as

          • by xaxa (988988)

            The UK also has the Human Rights Act (the UK act), which codifies the ECHR into law -- "British"* law, enforced by a British court. I think it's an excellent set of rights, but unfortunately, the Daily Mail doesn't like it.

            * English & Welsh, whatever

      • by Dripdry (1062282)

        Hell, it isn't even free. They charge an awful lot in "protection money" for that service.

      • This phrase shows just how backwards monarchy is. Free speech is not something the government protects. Free speech is something that protects you from the government. If the government can decide which speech to protect, you don't really have free speech at all.

        Well, in a sense the government does protect free speech, in that it's the power of the state (police, courts, prisons etc.) which stops someone who didn't like what I said from threatening / assaulting / murdering me. Without that, the only people with free speech would be the strongest.

      • by pjt33 (739471)

        Free speech is not something the government protects. Free speech is something that protects you from the government. If the government can decide which speech to protect, you don't really have free speech at all.

        In that case, name a country which has both a government and free speech. Under the American theory of government, at least, fundamental rights are protected by the branch of government known as the judiciary.

    • by AntmanGX (927781)

      Earlier today politicians said that tired out line "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

      Even more ironic when you take in to account that the government are trying to prevent the details of the overhaul of the NHS from being published [bbc.co.uk].
      Nothing to hide, eh? Talk about double standards.

  • When put to our expert panel of vendors^H^H^H^H^H^H^H advisors they said.. "Oink Oink.. scoffle scofffle..snort.. TERRORISTS!.. psst! got a lovely non-exec possition put aside for after the next election.."
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Funnily enough, the terrorism scare tactic doesn't really work so well here.

      After the July 7 bombings in London people were out the next day at the bus stop looking at their watches and tutting and muttering that the bus was late while they dragged the exploded carcass of the last one away on a truck.

      While the threat of "zomg terrorism" has been used to justify a lot of questionable policy, it's not the magic grease that makes it slide through unopposed.

      • This is Britain. We survived the Blitz. We will not be scared by some wannabe-terrorist with a few bodged-together bombs.
      • We're also desensitised to middle-east terrorists, we have had to live with some from Ireland for many years.

        Terrorism happens, we're human, someone will always have a grudge. We just need to get on with our lives.

  • More like Daft Communications Bill.

  • If Rupert Murdoch says its OK, its OK.

  • by Kijori (897770) <{ward.jake} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:59AM (#39942371)

    Is this really "by far the most controversial bill" discussed in the Queen's Speech?

    This is a controversial matter; it's also an important one. But the Queen's speech also discussed the reform of the House of Lords - a fundamental constitutional change which has led to a schism in the government. And it didn't suggest any change to the austerity program or welfare system, despite there being a lot of popular pressure to move away from austerity-only to focus on economic growth. Both of those questions are more controversial than the outlined surveillance bill.

    I know that this is an important matter, and particularly important to people on Slashdot, but let's not lose perspective: this was not (unless I missed it) even discussed by Ed Miliband (the leader of the opposition party) when he criticised the legislative agenda. It's not the most controversial, or indeed important, measure announced.

  • encrypt, encrypt and encrypt.

  • Did they film a sequel or something?

  • The Draft Communications Bill '...will allow the police and intelligence agencies to collect data on communications, like texts and emails...'

    It's high time for the police and intelligence to keep up the pace with journalists!

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