Sunday, May 25, 2008

Breakthrough or broken

I am happy to note that Dizzy has a piece in The Times, which is very lovely.
The Government is planning to introduce a giant database that will hold the details of every phone call we have made, every e-mail we have sent and every webpage we have visited in the past 12 months. This is needed to fight crime and terrorism, the Government claims.

The Orwellian nature of this proposal cannot be overstated. However, there is one saving grace for people who fear for their civil liberties. The probability of the project ever seeing the light of day is close to zero. This proposal - like so many grandiose government IT schemes before it - is technologically unfeasible.

It's rather a pity that I should have come across it via Unity's comprehensive fisking of the piece at Ministry of Truth.
Dizzy’s article is, not to put too fine a point a on it, an embarrassment from start to finish; and I say that not just as a political blogger but as an inveterate techie who’s worked, in the past, as a system administrator for a multinational corporation.

It could, conceivably, have been a good, informative piece on the proposed Communications Data Bill, which Gordon Brown announced last week as part of the government’s draft legislative programme for 2008/9, and perhaps it would have been had Dizzy managed to do even the most basic research into the background to the bill. But, as often seems to be the case with Dale and his little coterie of party hack bloggers, concepts like doing research and backing up your arguments with evidence are of little consequence when there’s a seeming opportunity to get in a cheap shot at the government. As a result, Dizzy’s big break turn out to amount to nothing more than a by the numbers exercise in overblown rhetoric, tendentious speculation and cod science fiction which describes an ‘Orwellian’ database system that exists only his own febrile and increasingly erratic imagination.


The central contention that Unity puts forward is that the database, that Dizzy dismisses as "a pipedream", is far from being too complicated to implement.

Your humble Devil would, of course, never describe himself as sys admin or even a techie, and Unity may well be right that this project is, essentially, nowhere near as complicated as Dizzy makes out.

However, I'll still go with Dizzy's contention that this government would still bugger it up...


chris said...

whether or not it might work doesn't change the fact that we should even try.

JuliaM said...

Good to see Time 'Mad as a Badger That's been to Mad Acadamy' Ireland pops up on that Unity thread to claim he doesn't have a clue what anyone's talking about but he's glad to have the opportunity to take a whiny swipe at a blogger he doesn't like.

Like the great British bank holiday weather, nothing changes... :)

Hooligans Toolbox said...

What a waste of time it will be. Even if the useless turds managed to get a system in place that recorded every email sent, web site visited, phone call made etc you could still evade having any meaningful data captured.

This is a bit tecky but let me explain. When a pc connects to a server through a VPN (Virtual Private Network Connection) all the data transferred between the two is encrypted. The ISP has no idea what data is being transmitted through the connection it only knows there is a connection between the 2 computers.(Multiple pc's can connect to the same VPN server simultaneously) Businesses use this frequently to allow home workers access to their networks as it is totally secure to prying eyes. You would be able to use a VOIP phone through the VPN connection and any other network based service. Even some mobile phones support VPNs. My point is - people that need to communicate securely will still be able to.

Just some other points

If an email is sent through a companies own mail server that is located on site to another employee in the company the email never physically leaves the building so how can it be captured? Same with the phones.

What if you contact someone in a different branch in a different county and that is routed through the internal network? How are they going to read the data as it will be encrypted as it travels between the sites!

What would happen with Hotmail emails? Would hotmail have to hand over all the details of every "Suspected UK" based account? Again if you send an email from one hotmail account to another it never leaves hotmails network so how could their ISP capture that data? They would just have to capture all the Web traffic going in and out of their network.

What happens if you make a video call on messenger and use fucking sign language to communicate are they going to record all video as well. I might fire up the web cam and broadcast a few hours of my chocolate star fish so MI5 have a "satellite feed" to mull over which cave complex in Afghanistan that Osma is holed up in.

And what in the sweet name of fuck are they going to do with the spam? If they don’t capture it, you can just send every email subject line "VI+AGrA" and that will be sure to end up in the bin.

Does it not make more sense to capture data from the people you suspect? Actually stupid questions the cunts suspect everyone!

Why do they even mention ideas like this? How did the conversation go?

Brown: "Those dirty little ignorant bastards not voting for the glorious nu labour. Ill fucking learn them in the school of Broon. We need a new game plan something radical and full of nu labour thinking. Something that no other government has even tried before, you know make us stand the fuck out from the crowd."

Junior: "I've got it boss lets record all the information about everyone, that way we can send round za boys to royally roger the living shite out of them if they are not going to vote for you and then take everything they own under the proceeds of crime act"

Brown:"Das ist za uber plan - Make it so number 1"

It really does seem like a science fiction story except we now have - the fucking embodiment of Hitler, Stalin, Franco and Mussolini with just the most fascists and communist traits from each refined into a barbed monster rubber cock that is trying to fuck every and each one of us …… in the ear - creating the script.

“Rule Britannia!
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.”

Yep some fucking chance of that!

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