Online safety or snooper's charter?

The UK looks to be set to enact the “Online Safety Bill” in the near future - this has the potential (or more likely the certainty) of being a technological disaster which will have the Internet treat the UK as a fault and route around us - it should be a concern for those of us who still live in the UK - not least because it will be (like B****t) a massively harming own-goal which is supported by both main parties.

Oh, and don’t think you’ll be safe in France because it affects not only UK companies but anybody overseas with UK clients/users.

There’s also the fact that the French government also want widespread snooping powers (albeit with a slightly different excuse).

WhatsApp has basically said it will pull out of the UK if forced to comply, it’s not the only large service provider to threaten the same.

Read the following and weep.

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I’m with Meredith Whittaker on this…

You can’t build a backdoor that will only be used by the good guys.


Some kind of bill was inevitable. Tech companies weren’t really taking online safety and security seriously - it’s always somebody else’s fault/problem, and that’s sometimes true - so governments were always going to step in and add a bunch of things from their wishlist too.

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We don’t know how to build really, 100%, can-never-be-hacked-ever systems with the present state of the art1. We can build systems that are “secure enough” for practical problems - security is always a trade off between the value of what might be lost vs the likelihood of attack, the resources of the attacker and the cost of the security.

For something like a database of backdoor keys the value to a hacker is off the scale, the likelihood of an attack virtually 100%, the chances that the attacker will be *very* well resourced almost a certainty (think hostile government levels of resources) and the cost of security enormously high - and even then history tells us that the probability of theft of the data approaches unity.

I’d argue that encryption with a backdoor isn’t encryption at all, I don’t think I’m alone in that view.

It’s a terrible idea.

1] Not even a switched off, locked in a safe in a basement, never connected to the Internet computer is totally safe - it’s not much use either.


A friend of mine used to be fond of saying “there are no technical solutions to social problems” and he’s right. You can’t stop under age kids getting access to porn/alcohol/cigarettes/drugs/<insert example of your choice> in the real world (and there is plenty of legislation trying). What on Earth maks you think that you can do it online?

The problem is that it is much more likely to cause collateral damage if you try to do it online.


Facial recognition was used at the British Grand Prix, ostensibly to target Stop Oil.
However it was admitted that certain other categories of people of interest to the police could also be picked up.
Big Brother is watching you.


And has been for some time, especially if you are Chinese.


Not in Trivy so far.

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I don’t entirely disagree.

For a variety of reasons, we have carefully built a system that is uninterested in discriminating between good and bad users, and have given those with bad intent some very powerful tools that they are happy to exploit. I’m not sure it’s good enough to create a world of possibilities and make money from it without having what might be considered reasonable checks and balances. Yet at the same time I see how essential an uncontrolled internet is with an oppressive government.

How can we help the ordinary people, but not the terrorists and kiddie-fiddlers?

That you know of. :wink:

Autun has signs entering the city warning of video surveillance.

oh please billy butcher,stop; frightening us. As if AI were not bad enough, we have to go thorough this. I think this does not affect most of us

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: some days I’d be grateful for a “facial recognition” thingy… there are far too many people whose names I can’t recall… :anguished: and I feel a right twit when they obviously know me… :anguished: :rofl: :rofl:


Wrong, sadly.


Why do you say wrong as if I’m an idiot

I don’t say wrong because I think you are an idiot, but I do think you are wrong if you think this sort of thing isn’t going to affect “most of us” because it will  affect “most of us” as it’s not just the UK government that is going down this particular rabbit hole…


Sadly an uncharacteristically sloppy interview by CH4.

There are two issues here, one is regulating so called big tech (which is really big advertising) and privacy. They are not the same thing, but the Government is conflating them. To regulate big tech (good thing) we need to destroy your privacy (very bad thing).

Meredith Whittaker is and has been for some time a hero in my opinion.

I despise Facebook, Google, Twitter, TicTok, etc. Their business models are based on the exploitation of their users, either for commercial, political or other ends. They are shyster companies run by shysters (or worse).

The child abuse argument is being exploited in a despicable way. It’s something everybody obviously wants to curtail but breaking end to end encryption will do little or nothing to stop it, but it will maximise surveillance opportunities. To argue that if one defends privacy one is “pro” child abuse is straight from the if you criticize Israel, you are antisemitic playbook (if you see what I mean).

To argue that “the regulators” will protect privacy as the “regulated” water industry drowns the UK in raw sewage and teeters on the brink of bankruptcy due to excessive borrowing to pay dividends is beyond laughable. The regulators can’t keep poo off the beaches but they’ll stop MI5 knowing what you had for breakfast. Give me a break.


You should be frightened and it effects all of us.


I’ve a pair of Ray Bans with little cameras onboard, great for recording when out in the Morgan. It’s not a very large technological leap for them to to talk to my iCloud Photos album, which has face recognition, and whisper in my ear who I’m looking at :slightly_smiling_face:

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yes, that’s fine… if you’ve taken photos of these people…
I’m not in the habit of “snapping” everyone I’m introduced to… :wink:

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I like the idea of @John_Scully ‘s spectacle cam. :sunglasses:

All it would need is a blue-tooth connection to mobile phone and access to an open and freely available facial recognition databank. Expect law enforcement to have these first. @Stella’s meet and greet may be solved soon. :grin:

I wouldn’t be surprised if China already has.:slightly_frowning_face: