Tuesday, 1 March 2016

BBC on the Snooper's Charter

The BBC has disappointed everyone but governments, security services and criminals - foreign and domestic - with its coverage of the Snooper's Charter.  Its party line seems to be that the measures will be difficult or impossible to implement. They will, but that's not the biggest problem.  The biggest problems are almost dismissed by the BBC as things that only 'campaigners' need to worry about.  I mean, look at this:
Ministers say the new powers, to be published later, are needed to fight terrorism, but internet firms have questioned their practicality - and civil liberties campaigners say it clears the way for mass surveillance of UK citizens.
The ands and buts betray a party line, I think.  The 'but' is that internet firms might find it difficult to enforce (and fuck them, right?) and the 'and' suggests that privacy and liberty campaigners' concerns are marginal to the debate.  Remember what we're talking about here; the paragraph should read:
Ministers say the new powers, to be published later, are needed to fight terrorism, but it is perfectly clear that they aren't needed and won't be effective.
I've seen this kind of language all over the BBC's coverage.  I doubt it's accidental. Look at this, for example:
The Home Office was forced to revise the draft bill after concerns it did not do enough to protect privacy and was too vague. The revised version is expected to reflect these concerns.
No it isn't. I don't know of anyone who expects that.  It's expected that small compromises will be made which won't change the privacy, security and safety implications of the original bill. It's expected that terrorists won't be slowed down much, if at all, by these measures.

The BBC goes on:
Ministers want the new bill to become law by the end of the year, citing the urgent demands of national security and crime prevention.
Not really. They tend to cite the urgent demands of getting the bill through before the sunset clause on the previous bill expires in December.
A warrant from the home secretary will be required for officers to access the content of emails - and a new Investigatory Powers Commission would be able to veto such requests.
So the government will decide whether or not the government can do what it likes with our data and a government agency will be set up to police it?  I....might just see a slight flaw in this reasoning.
Powers to hack into computers and smart phones - so called "equipment interference" - will be extended to include "threat to life" situations - to save someone who is at risk, or to locate a missing child or vulnerable person.
OK, so who do they hack in order to solve a crime? Will we know about the hacks? Will we know whether they helped solve the crime?  Of course not. Will 'threat to life' include any activity someone obviously not impartial decides it will?  Of course it fucking will.

On backdoor shenanigans:
The Home Office says the new legislation will address concerns expressed by Apple and other tech giants about encryption, which protects messages from being hacked.
The tech giants feared being forced to fit "backdoors" to their devices or make other changes to encryption that would compromise their customers' security.
Officials said the revised version of the Investigatory Powers Bill would put beyond doubt that companies can only be asked to remove encryption that they themselves have applied, and only where it is "practicable" for them to do so.
Almost as though "practicable" is something those companies could decide. It isn't, it will surely demand broken encryption and back doors while pretending it doesn't. They can't

The bill is horrific. The BBC isn't supposed to be a government mouthpiece, but that's exactly the way it's acting. Nobody has ever explained why these measures would stop terrorism or how we'd know if they did or didn't. Come on, BBC, you're not fooled either so stop pretending you are.

No comments:

Post a Comment