Feeds

Home Sec in anti-terror plan to control entire web

'I will remove illegal material from internet'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

In the UK, much of the net backbone is actually controlled by just one company, British Telecom. Asked today if the company had been approached by government specifically in its role as an infrastructure provider - rather than a consumer ISP - a spokesman confirmed: "We have had discussions with the Home Office... no measures have been taken."

Many British ISPs do no more than resell BT's wholesale products, and even those offering local-loop-unbundled services are typically dependent on BT for other parts of their networks. If you want to start censoring the UK segment of the internet, BT is the company to talk to.

The company added that any new action "would need to be underpinned by appropriate legislation... sites would need to be monitored by law enforcement or an independent body. It is not our job to police the internet".

It remains very hard to see what the government can really do to prevent the dissemination of bomb-making instructions, propaganda, and such like. BT and the ISPs could block overseas websites, but almost certainly not as fast as they could be put up. Interesting stuff tends to be mirrored very fast, too; and it isn't hard to use relays such as Tor to effectively browse from a point overseas.

No machinery under the UK government's control needs to see anything other than a stream of encrypted traffic in order for a user located in Britain to merrily enter hardcore terrorist chatrooms, download bomb-making instructions, coordinate operations and all the rest.

Of course, real-world terrorists seldom exhibit even the very basic technical competence necessary to do this - or even bother to do a google search on "fuel-air explosion", for God's sake.

So, we've basically got two ways this could go.

One, the Brown cabinet are just grandstanding to technically ignorant voters. They won't do anything, safe in the knowledge that those voters will never realise this.

Or, two, the government actually plans to build a Chinese-style Great Firewall of Blighty which will prevent anyone looking at anything which says "jihadi" or "bomb" or "TATP" (whoops) etc. You'll probably be able to get round it if you know what you're doing, but it will be at the cost of slow, intermittent connections and possible, lengthy terror-powers detention without charge.

Let's hope they're just bullshitting. ®

Bootnote

*The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that: "Most [dirty bombs] would not release enough radiation to kill people or cause severe illness... However, depending on the scenario, a [dirty bomb] explosion could create fear and panic. Making prompt, accurate information available to the public could prevent the panic sought by terrorists."

Or, alternatively, you could tell people that the fact of a fool having dirty-bomb plans on his computer means he is a danger to us all.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.