David Cameron capitulates to terror, proposes Britain's USA Patriot Act

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There are some things Britain shouldn’t be importing from the US.


I agree that it is horribly misguided. But “an excuse to terroise Britons into allowing him” (terrorise?). So Cameron is being blamed for having people allow him to do something? Doesn’t this deny Briton’s responsibility? I am still trying to cope with how this works there, in the US, and other places. How responsible is one person when masses of people demand their own oppression? AAIIIEEEE!!!

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I think the dubious part is that he may be offering this as a solution in absolute bad faith, knowing that 1. it won’t work and 2. that’s not really what they want the bill passed for or what they’re going to use it for. A good analogy might be someone offering crystal therapy to treat cancer. Or maybe you could develop a more involved metaphor from the exploitative, paternalistic relationship between cult leader and followers, in that Britons are not just victims but enablers.


"This pattern of ill-conceived pledges followed by impractical
legislation looks ominously as though it will be repeated in energy
and education. That suggests the government is either scientifically
illiterate or believes it can get its way by assuming its citizens
are. Perhaps it can. Its ideological stances on terrorism and drugs
may win wide support even if they don’t make sense.


Only about twenty percent of us are like that. Unfortunately, that’s all it takes to get a workable majority under the UK system… (assuming that the other ten percent that you need are doing it for gain, which is usually the case.)


Yes, Cameron is using the terrorist attacks in Paris to further the ‘snooper’s charter’, but I can’t help wondering how I would feel about it if it was someone that I loved who was killed in the attacks. Somehow political analysis tends to go out the window when you’re grief-stricken and afraid. Would the victim’s families want to further this charter? Who do we listen to? Those who are educated, well-informed and well-read? Yes. Absolutely. But I can’t help wondering what those voices that have been silenced by crushing grief would have to say about this issue. And should we be listening to them when they can finally speak?

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Oh yeah, I should say it’s pretty unfair to compare the citizens of Britain to cultists, I more wanted to say that the parliament might compare to a cult leader. David Cameron as a much less charismatic Charles Manson, sort of thing.

I’d even go so far as to say that believing your government is telling you the truth and only wants what’s best for you is almost admirable, in a way.

@doctorow (taking your reply as essentially “never attribute to malice what stupidity can explain”) No doubt the cynicism is almost entirely buried by the stupid, but it’s still there. What governments do with unaccountable surveillance is always the same two things: controlling environmentalists, 99 percenters and other threats to established power, and political and economic espionage. At all times the government maintains two separate narratives and dialogues, the internal and the external.

Though, once again, several of the people involved were already known to security services, and they still couldn’t stop them. So of course more surveillance of everyone is going to fix this.


Still haven’t found the needle, what we need is a bigger haystack.


I’m from the UK btw. Got to say though I was expecting this – was thinking that the conservatives would take this oppertunity to pass through at least one piece of loony-tunes legislation. Now just watch it go straight through with labour doing nothing but hand-waving it through and no opposition at all in the house of lords.

Isn’t it intresting too that while cameron tells the rest of us we should still have cuts and how our lives have to get worse he can “magically” find money to have even more spies? What’s that – you found a few million down the back of the sofa?

The last thing we need is more spies and spying. As someone has already said - “Still haven’t found the needle, what we need is a bigger haystack”. Quite right. Want to find that needle? We need a few thousand more bales of hay. That’ll work. x.x

As someone living in the UK I’m wondering if this legislation goes through does that mean I really need to start using Tor or tails? Will I have to do what I’m thinking one day I might have to do - namely one day not allow the whole internet and just block individual websites but instead to the opposite - block the entire internet in total and just let those few websites through? If it’s just hand-waved through just what do people over here in the UK do? How do you even start to make a change?

The government needs to wait and discuss and take its time. Not just run along and make “on-the-hoof” legislation. It’ll only end in tears.


Sure. It’s basically how “terrorism” works, that’s the whole point of it. But one might suppose that when it is obvious that one is being manipulated with high stakes, that some critical thinking is called for. The more risk there seems to be, the more proper risk assessment might help. But what I have been seeing in action is practically the opposite.


It worked so well for the USA…



Keep digging - there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere!

I have a question. Do terrorists actually use strong crypto? And if so, when the government offers them a broken, backdoored version, will they be quick to upgrade?


Wait just a second: I thought we were reading a story on the UK, and not on the GOP?

Certainly a fair point given what happened. But I think the counterpoint (if one was to be amenable to discourse–the wounds are still fresh) is to talk about the voices that will be silenced through future government action against people who may or may not have committed a crime other than being dark skinned, or having a name that some would consider “Islamic”. See also America’s experience with the Patriot Act in concert with Snowden’s lack of impact on the state security apparatus’ ability to infiltrate extremist groups:

...our analysts have investigated the question of whether open source information posted on top jihadi social networking platforms would tend to indicate that the Snowden revelations have indeed had a measurable impact on the logistical subterfuge techniques of terrorist organizations – principally, Al-Qaida. Upon completing their research, our analysts have concluded that, in fact, there is very little open source information available via jihadi online social media that would indicate that Snowden’s leaks served as the impetus for the development of more secure digital communications and/or encryption by Al-Qaida.
Emphasis is mine, and the source:

Of course David Cameron is worried about Islamic terrorists. They don’t even eat pork, do you think they allow sex with it? He must preserve his way or life at any cost.


Allegedly yes, but the original report has been pulled.

My guess though is, yeah, the probably did; it’s not like encrypted communications are exactly hard to come by. For example, whenever you text your grandma on iOS, guess what! It’s encrypted!


Edit: WAIT A MINUTE! What is your grandmother trying to hide?!?!?


As always, refer to Schneier for security: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2014/08/the_security_of_9.html

Probably helps to close your eyes for a second and think about what a jihadi warlord might know about cryptography. I imagine they are comically paranoid about the idea of open source software that anyone could read. Hence, it seems like they’re trying to make use of their own in house cryptographic implementations, developed out of sight with no possibility for a thorough audit. As Schneier says, surely if anyone at the NSA is doing their job at all then it’s totally broken and comprehensively monitored.

Well, I wouldn’t underestimate the possible savvy of some leaders, but mostly I wouldn’t expect the CEO of a terrorist organization to know anything more than the CEO of any other major company. Probably there are some people working for them who know what they ought to be doing but can’t get anyone to listen to them and go home feeling dejected, thinking what morons they work for.


If the CEO of Megacorp, Inc has his email account hacked, the worst he gets is embarrasment. If the CEO of a terrorist organization gets his emails hacked he gets a visit from elite soldiers in stealth helicopters. In the former case, we continue to get incompetent CEOs of multinational companies, and in the latter, the incompetent warlords get killed off, leaving the competent ones.