Tuesday, March 26, 2013

UK Government Internet Snooping

The UK government is seeking widespread powers of internet surveillance, including over companies not based in the UK (such as Facebook and Wikipedia).

From the article:
One of the main sticking points will be how the authorities get information from so-called third party service providers based outside British jurisdiction, such as Google's Gmail, Facebook and Microsoft's Skype.

British-based mobile operators have told Reuters they are happy to cooperate with the government, but they insist that the same rules must apply to the likes of Facebook.

"From a security point of view, you need to be able to have access to the full pool of communication otherwise you're fishing in a sub-set of a sub-set," said Ronan Dunne, the chief executive of O2 UK.

If internet groups based outside Britain do not comply, the Home Office envisages forcing the British Internet Service Providers who carry their services to access the data instead, through a process known as deep-packet inspection.

But, it is not clear if this will be technically possible. Google has said it would not allow another service provider to decrypt its information on its Gmail service, and Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has said he would not cooperate.
"If we find that UK ISPs are mandated to keep track of every web page that someone reads on Wikipedia, I am almost certain ... that we would immediately move to a default of encrypting all the connections to the UK," Wales said.