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IT News Thread, UK Outlines Plan For Internet Black Boxes in Other News; In what sounds like a dystopian sci-fi plot, the Home Office has made public plans to outfit the country's Internet ...
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    Geoff's Avatar
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    UK Outlines Plan For Internet Black Boxes

    In what sounds like a dystopian sci-fi plot, the Home Office has made public plans to outfit the country's Internet with upstream data recorders to log pretty much everything that passes through. 'Under Government plans to monitor internet traffic, raw data would be collected and stored by the black boxes before being transferred to a giant central database'. The vision was outlined at a meeting between officials from the Home Office and Internet Service Providers earlier this week.
    Last edited by Geoff; 7th November 2008 at 11:00 AM.

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    MrPstv's Avatar
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    Not suprised!!!

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    what size database is that going to end up with? I doubt that even the government has that much computer capacity

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    It is actually feasible to crunch through all the data being sent over our portion of the net?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    No it's not. Bruce Schneier points out, data mining of this sort is inherently flawed.

    Schneier on Security: Terrorists, Data Mining, and the Base Rate Fallacy

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Can't say I'm surprised - it was quite a few years ago now that the US Government launched Echelon, which did much the same thing. Plus, the Govt have been tracking phone calls for decades, so how is this different? Big Brother has been watching for some time already.

    The system running it must be quite something though! I'm assuming it won't store everything for long (if at all), but just content-scan it, only keeping traffic which raises whatever security flags.

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    contink's Avatar
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    LOL... well if it's anything like the genius Customs & Excise raid that took place on a private client of mine we shouldn't have too much to worry about.

    They went in, told him not to use his computer again and then proceeded to print off documents from his computer as evidence of some potential illegal activity or some such. They came prepared to backup the data onto disk with...

    .. wait for it..

    a box of floppies.



    I still cry with despair/laughter when I think of that abortive "raid"...

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    Deja vu: 'black boxes" popped up quite a bit in early RIPA discussion, but it concerned intercepting specific Bad Guys.

    This report is essentially a not very good take on a predictable implementation detail of the proposed 'central communications database' that has been out in the open for a while now e.g. featured on that Panorama "Orwellian" proggie a few weeks ago.

    A key point is the legal meaning of "communications data" which is the stuff they want to keep. That's already defined via RIPA but not very well so you can expect that to change in this round - whether it turns out better and where the line between comms data and content ends up is anyones guess, but right now comms data is about who you sent a mail to, which web-sites you browsed etc. and it is feasible to store that.

    Early days but I haven't seen any evidence that they want content scanning, although thanks to Phorm and the like there must be a few control freaks asking "If it's plausible for ads, then why can't we have it for law enforcement?".

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I can see the use of off shore servers, SSH tunnels and proxy servers becoming a booming industry with this sort of thing happening.

    Regarding computer related raids - it all depends on the region and the expertise they happen to have within that area. He was lucky they didn't just take the computer entirely - which is what most raids come to.

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