UK to become the new China?

Mikey 10 comments
UK to become the new China? is reporting that in an effort to combat terrorism, the UK have plans to create a database that stores every phone call, email and web page visited by a UK citizen in the past 12 months.

Privacy violations aside for a moment, I'm sure the good citizens of the UK would like to know what guarantee they have that their information won't be abused, changed or f*cked up by some low level moron potentially fingering the wrong person.

It does however highlight the dumb-arse approach to a problem that many countries want to adopt, not thinking for a moment that if the terrorists know everything they do in the UK is being monitored, they will simply do something that anyone with half a brain would do - use a communication method that doesn't leave footprints on your ISP - like Gmail. Or use Skype for vocal communication. Or use encryption.

What this database will help do though, is catch terrorists dumb enough to use POP email and other traditional methods of communication. I think it's a safe bet they're a bit smarter than that because you know - they are trying to avoid detection.

So it begs the question: I would like to think the Government does have the IQ matching that of something on the same level as a paving brick, and surely they know these rudimentary facts, so what is the real agenda?

Forcing your fellow countrymen to give up basic civil liberties is not the answer. If a government thinks that's a solution, they aren't trying hard enough.

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Thursday 22nd May 2008 | 09:36 AM

It's a typical knee-jerk reactions from 60+ year old politicians who don't even know how to spell 'Internet' but want some control over it right now, dammit!

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 22nd May 2008 | 09:42 AM

I've always believed these types of government approaches have very, very little, if anything, to do w/ "terrorist threats." These approaches will, however, cause people to think long and hard before they do things they know are wrong. On the other hand, those with ideas on everything from ways to save energy at little to no cost, to who knows what all, risk having their ideas stolen from them and possibly buried right next to the electric car, etc.

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Thursday 22nd May 2008 | 07:15 PM

Its all meaningless now, in a time when people are trying to get themselves filmed and on TV and "Big Brother" isn't something to be afraid of- its something to either mock or aspire to.

On the plus side, the sheer volume of information makes it hard for anyone to find you.

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Gina Squitieri

Thursday 22nd May 2008 | 09:25 PM

Skype's security issues (from Wikipedia):

Security concerns

A third party paper analyzing the security and methodology of Skype was presented at Black Hat Europe 2006.[12] It analyzed Skype and made these observations:

* Skype keeps chatting on the network, even when idle (even for non-supernodes. May be used for NAT traversal)
* Assumes a 'blind trust' of anything else speaking Skype
* Ability to build a parallel Skype network
* Lack of privacy (Skype has the keys to decrypt calls or sessions)
* 'Heap overflow' in Skype
* Skype makes it hard to enforce a (corporate) security policy
* No way to know if there is or will be a 'backdoor'
* Skype has been found to access BIOS data[13] to identify individual computers and provide DRM protection for plug-ins.[14][15]
* There is no assurance that Skype calls are not being intercepted.


* Skype is owned by eBay, whose privacy policy is perhaps the least protective of customers of any large corporation. eBay claims it goes above and beyond what it is required to do by law, seeking out and giving police all the information it stores about users excluding some financial data, for which they require a subpoena.[16]

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Friday 23rd May 2008 | 05:12 AM

maybe we should all go back to living in caves

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Friday 23rd May 2008 | 05:55 AM response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. "Skype was presented at Black Hat Europe 2006"


Looking more recently....

"Skype is encrypted end-to-end because it uses the public Internet to transport your voice calls and text messages and sometimes these calls are routed through other peers. Skype encryption ensures that no other party can eavesdrop on your call or read your instant messages."

"the voice and chat bit-streams have very strong encryption which Skype claims fully protects against unauthorised eavesdropping."

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Gina Squitieri

Friday 23rd May 2008 | 12:16 PM response to this comment by Jonno. And they say I'm gullible.

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Friday 23rd May 2008 | 12:21 PM response to this comment by Gina Squitieri. If it wasn't so secure, it wouldn't be the preferred business communications tool that it is. Strong encryption is the reason Skype has been so widely adopted.

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Gina Squitieri

Friday 23rd May 2008 | 12:48 PM

Really! Wow! If I didn't know better, I'd think I was reading an infomercial blog! :D
(Pssssttt.......Jonno! It is also the preferred mistress communication tool, too! Just ask a girl's boyfriend who's keeping her a secret from his wife. And, no, I'm not the mistress, in case you're thinking of going there.)

"Myth No. 5: Skype is encrypted, so I can't archive IM messages

This one's not really a myth. Skype sessions are encrypted, so yes, you can't capture or archive Skype communications. The same is true of many IM applications, though, so it's not less secure than other IM programs that can use encryption.


So far, Skype hasn't suffered from the ills that bedevil most of the IM applications regarding viruses and worms. But it's most likely only a matter of time before a vulnerability is discovered and exploited. Any application that allows file transfers, IM or voice that can't be monitored, archived or recorded, has some level of risk.

However, Skype's architecture is more difficult to crack than other IM applications open to the Internet, and so it's the safest of those, but there are non-Internet applications like Jabber that are even safer for internal-only IM communication. But if asked if Skype is safer than MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, AIM or ICQ, the answer is "yes" for now."

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Friday 23rd May 2008 | 01:12 PM

ah governments!!!!

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