Tech companies face criminal charges if they notify users of UK government spying

By midian182
Dec 30, 2015
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  1. Last week, it was reported that Yahoo had become the latest company that promised to alert users who it suspected were being spied on by state-sponsored actors. Twitter, Facebook and Google had previously assured their users that they would also warn them of any potential government spying. The UK, it seems, isn’t happy about this, and is pushing through a bill that will see the bosses of any company that warns its members that British agencies are monitoring them face up to two years in prison.

    Specifically, UK ministers want to make it a criminal offence for tech firms to warn users of requests for access to their communication data made by security organizations such as MI5, MI6 and GCHQ (the Government Communications Headquarters).

    A June report by David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, revealed that Twitter’s policy requires it to notify its users of requests to access their data “unless persuaded not to do so, typically by a court order.” But a note to the bill would make this illegal.

    The note says it “will ensure that a communication service provider does not notify the subject of an investigation that a request has been made for their data unless expressly permitted to do so.”

    The controversial Investigatory Powers Bill, nicknamed the snooper’s charter, was unveiled by home secretary Theresa May in November. Part of the proposed legislation would require tech firms to store users’ data for up to twelve months, including a record of every internet site visited, and allow government agencies unfettered access to the data. While the bill is being put forward as a deterrent against terrorism, online monitoring at this level has been banned in the US, Canada, and every other European nation.

    The bill could also allow the UK government to demand that companies weaken the encryption on messaging services such as WhatsApp and iMessage to enable agencies to evesdrop on conversations, a proposal that Apple is strongly against. “We believe it would be wrong to weaken security for hundreds of millions of law-abiding customers so that it will also be weaker for the very few who pose a threat,” Apple said. “In this rapidly evolving cyber-threat environment, companies should remain free to implement strong encryption to protect customers.”

    Permalink to story.

  2. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 615   +143

    Gotta beat down the terrorists
  3. umbala

    umbala TS Addict Posts: 160   +132

    Every time the UK government doesn't get their way the terrorists win!
  4. rbunge

    rbunge TS Rookie

    So counter it by blocking UK from accessing your website so you don't break their law.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,936

    Tech companies must stick to their guns. You can't throw every tech company head into the slammer for crimes they're didn't commit.
    These are just scare & bully tactics by UK government and probably won't come to pass.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
    trgz, Evernessince and Reehahs like this.
  6. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,079   +330

    Lmao and my aunt wonders why I refuse to move there.

    Who seriously votes for this crap in the UK?
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    It's not just UK. We have the same type of BS here in the US.
    Evernessince likes this.
  8. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Guru Posts: 371   +78

    It's the government trying to push through more privacy infringing policies off the back of recent terrorist related events.
    RickH likes this.
  9. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,079   +330

    Yes US has had its recent issues with snowden and the NSA and stuff similar.

    I live in Canada btw.

    The article says this is UK only.

    "While the bill is being put forward as a deterrent against terrorism, online monitoring at this level has been banned in the US, Canada, and every other European nation."
  10. Scran

    Scran TS Rookie

    CISA was signed into law december 18th by sneaking it into a completely unrelated bill. The US is kinda ahead on this sorta thing
  11. globalkeith

    globalkeith TS Rookie

    Nobody in the UK actually "voted" for this crap. That's the problem here.
    trgz, Razgriz, dms96960 and 1 other person like this.
  12. Mickky

    Mickky TS Rookie

    If your not breaking the law you don't have anything to worry about.
    dms96960 and Craven Cowherd like this.
  13. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 792   +216

    So when can I tell the government to install the cameras in your house? You're cool with that right? I mean you have nothing to hide, right? It's in the name of safety.
  14. SadTech

    SadTech TS Rookie

    Hitler said the same thing.... that is the most dangerous thing you can say. Please realize what you said is scary and never say it again.
    thelatestmodel, Sphynx and Lionvibez like this.
  15. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 250   +84

    This reminds me of the scene in the TV miniseries "Merli" with Sam Niell as Merlin. He and everyone turn their back on Maab, proving that she really didn't have any power. She faded away because she drew her power from using fear on everyone around her. So if the people of the UK would just tell the government their to stick it and turn their backs, there is nothing they could do. Unless they want to start a civil war of course. I wish their was more "civil disobedience" in the world, including here in the U.S. When are people going to step up and say enough is enough????
  16. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,079   +330

    They never will.

    1st problem is the average person is technically illiterate.
    2nd problem there is more of them than us technically minded people.
    3rd problem most people would rather just follow than try to actually lead.
    4th problem people are fricken lazy
    5th problem most people care more about sports then what rights they have or are giving away.
    6th Ignorance is bliss
    lripplinger likes this.
  17. ringbark

    ringbark TS Rookie

    We also need to arrange for all bank statements and medical appointments to be sent to their house on postcards. After all, it's not illegal to have a bank account or to visit a doctor.
  18. Craven Cowherd

    Craven Cowherd TS Rookie

    Hitler also drank water. Does that mean I should stop drinking water so I do not become Hitler? Hitler was also a noted anti-smoker - he hated tobacco in all forms. Does that mean that everybody who doesn't smoke is just like Hitler? Silly arguments but I think they prove my point that comparing the OP to Hitler is an exercise fraught with peril.

    I see no "danger" at all in what the OP said. Don't break the law and you've nothing to worry about.
    dms96960 likes this.
  19. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    If our forefathers had thought that way, there would have never been any civil wars fought, and we wouldn't have any freedom to enjoy today. The freedom we enjoy today, comes from people who didn't believe the words you just spoke. Persecution is rule by fear. It is fear because people are persecuted regardless whether they break any laws. You may currently live in comfort, but if you don't keep your eyes open to potential persecution, that is exactly where you are headed. Say "NO" before it gets bad.
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,456   +1,759

    Then run, run, quickly now, join your fellow nerds in the warmth and togetherness of, "the cloud". Maybe you can all stream "1984". Then you'll all know what it's like to bask in the warm glow and compassion of, "totalitarian governmental oversight". And may God have mercy on your souls....(y).

    Methinks that soon you'd be chanting a different mantra. Something on the order of, "if you're not breaking the law you have nothing to fear. The trouble is, I can't think of anything which isn't illegal"...:confused:
    Evernessince likes this.
  21. Jessyca

    Jessyca TS Rookie

    During the new events that happen I think governments they take this decisions to protect their people and for their safety.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,456   +1,759

    The British government just allowed "mixed tapes", and burning the MP3's you buy online to CD, to become illegal. Is that something you think they did for your protection? Do you feel safer now? :oops:
    yRaz, Evernessince and cliffordcooley like this.
  23. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,098   +523

    Probably no one, just like in the USA. It's a well known fact that 99% of politicians know nothing of how computers work.
    RickH likes this.
  24. 1madmouse

    1madmouse TS Rookie

    It really doesn't matter what the politicians know or who votes as they don't count for anything. Most of Us law is decided without the peoples knowledge anyway. May as well be parliament, they do as they want and the people are just sheep to do the work.
  25. RickH

    RickH TS Rookie

    What if !!! The U.K. government passed laws that made everyone a law breaker ??
    Would you still be happy to say " If you are not breaking the law you have nothing to worry about"
    No other democratic country has this law !!
    cliffordcooley likes this.

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