Berners-Lee: Net snoop law tosses human rights into the shredder
Web grandfather slams UK.gov's online surveillance plan
Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned the Tory-led Coalition not to push through a bill to legislate plans to massively increase surveillance of the internet.
In an interview with the Guardian, the world wide web inventor and "open data" advisor to the government urged the Home Office to drop the proposed law, which Theresa May unveiled in July last year.
As The Register has previously noted, such a plan to help security services in the UK monitor difficult-to-tap technology such as peer-to-peer communications has been in the running for some time.
The previous Labour government was forced to shelve its plans to bring in the so-called Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) until after the 2010 General Election.
The Home Secretary effectively rebranded IMP to the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) last year.
Only now are the likes of Berner-Lee starting to criticise such a plan, which is expected to be unveiled in the Queen's Speech next month.
CCDP has been described by the Home Office as an essential way of tackling perceived threats from rapidly evolving encryption and other technologies which have increasingly made it difficult even for government agencies to intercept voice and text mobile communications.
May has gone one step further than that by telling The Sun that such an interwebs snoop law would snare paedophiles and terrorists.
Berners-Lee told the Graun that he was concerned that such legislation could prove to be a "destruction of human rights".
He warned that such data from internet monitoring, if it fell into the wrong hands, could be devastating for an individual's privacy. Apparently, the plans are keeping him awake at night.
The Greatest Living Briton opined:
The idea that we should routinely record information about people is obviously very dangerous. It means that there will be information around which could be stolen, which can be acquired through corrupt officials or corrupt operators, and [could be] used, for example, to blackmail people in the government or people in the military. We open ourselves out, if we store this information, to it being abused.
Berners-Lee urged the government to consider creating a "very strong independent body" to oversee any such net-snooping law. He added that the bill, in its current form, needed to be "stopped".
He said: "One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don't ... There are no programs that I can run on my computer which allow me to use all the data in each of the social networking systems that I use plus all the data in my calendar plus in my running map site, plus the data in my little fitness gadget and so on to really provide an excellent support to me." ®
> then what are you going to do?
You pass vague laws which criminalise everyone and promise that they will only be enforced against people who are really, really naughty.
The government is a bit too obsessed with pedophiles and terrorists. It doth protest too much.
My vote goes to the party which says that the terrorist threat is real but so small it isn't worth spending much money on it.
You allow the crimes.
Just as we don't track everyone's movements in case they steal things or murder people in the real-world, so we don't need to on the internet.
The crimes may be horrific, but the actual damage is relatively small. Compare 9/11 to car accident deaths, "normal" gun crime or the number of abortions (some people still think abortions are wrong).
Permanent surveillance alters the relationship between citizen and state. The state becomes overbearing and tries to own the citizen while the citizen becomes sneaky and devious. It's ugly.
all it will do is spur 256 bit encryption and beyond, by default, everywhere, regardless of the content.
so ultimately, they are catalysing the one thing that threatens their ability to catch the criminals in the first place as righteous privacy loving people find, develop and switch to encrypted methods by default for everything, including browsing websites.
then what are you going to do? decrypt everything???? I think it might have been better the way it was before....then at least you have a hope of catching the criminals...