The United kingdom now has one of Europe's if not the world's worst overt personal privacy laws. All Internet service providers must now as standard log every website visited with a rolling time frame of one year. This is not a system that targets a specific person of interest but the whole UK population.

Summary of new regulations: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38150530

Snoopers Charter: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38130344

Petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/173199

The usual anti privacy arguments are out and about: "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear"



Why "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear" is not a valid argument as shown by Openrightsgroup:

It encourages a complete trust in state powers - that you will never face wrongful suspicion or misuse of powers, for only the guilty are affected by mass surveillance.It encourages people to embrace their own innocence, to look inwards, and not to look at how other people have been treated or targeted. And after all, this is a climate of fear. Being told that nothing to hide means you have nothing to fear is reassuring. We all want nothing to fear.It also introduces the vague threat that just maybe, if you haven’t behaved, you do have something to fear. Not something to challenge, or criticise, but to fear. And so it keeps us in our place....

Examples where it has gone wrong:

Victims of police misconduct. For example, Doreen Lawrence and her family were surveilled in attempts to smear them and undermine their fight for justice.

  • MPs need privacy in particular for their constituency work, which involves meeting with people who share very personal stories and situations, and challenging the actions of the government. For example, recently MPs confidential calls with prison staff were recorded and monitored.
  • Disabled people are often scared of speaking out about mistreatment because they are can be put under direct surveillance by both government bodies, and neighbours, to try and 'catch them out' as 'not really disabled'. Environmental campaigners have for many years been under direct surveillance, particularly women who were deceived into having relationships with police officers.
  • Journalists are frequently at risk of big business and government surveillance tracking their leaks, their stories, their whistleblowers, and their criticism of the government and the police.
  • Whistle-blowers cannot expose wrong-doing, whether by the state or powerful businesses, in a world that always watches, but are meant to have special protections.
  • Lawyers rely on client confidentiality, a principle which is key for a fair trial, and for a working justice system. People of minority sexualities and identities can lose their families or jobs or security when robbed of the control over who they share their identity with.
  • Doctors, hospital workers and their patients expect to have confidentiality when discussing personal health. Encryption advocates and researchers are monitored for what they know in case they discover existing secrets, or new knowledge of security and software, which the government can use.
  • Muslim community face racial profiling and Islamophobia.
  • Women being harassed need the safety of anonymity and privacy, to defend against abuse in their online spaces and aggression like swatting in their homes.Women stalked or tracked by abusive partners, which has become a problem so common that Women's Aid has a clear and prominent guide to hiding your tracks online on its website.

These are all people for whom surveillance turns into real, felt harms. The vulnerability created by an all-watching surveillance state affects everyone who needs their privacy. When they are listed out like this, you can see how so many people fall into one of these categories.

Side Note: A nice link to opt out of mobile and public WiFi location tracking: https://optmeoutoflocation.com/


  1. Metropolitan police force
  2. City of London police force
  3. Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996
  4. Police Service of Scotland
  5. Police Service of Northern Ireland
  6. British Transport Police
  7. Ministry of Defence Police
  8. Royal Navy Police
  9. Royal Military Police
    1. Royal Air Force Police
    2. Security Service
    3. Secret Intelligence Service
    4. GCHQ
    5. Ministry of Defence
    6. Department of Health
    7. Home Office
    8. Ministry of Justice
    9. National Crime Agency
    10. HM Revenue & Customs
    11. Department for Transport
    12. Department for Work and Pensions
    13. NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services
    14. Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service
    15. Competition and Markets Authority
    16. Criminal Cases Review Commission
    17. Department for Communities in Northern Ireland
    18. Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland
    19. Department of Justice in Northern Ireland
    20. Financial Conduct Authority
    21. Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
    22. Food Standards Agency
    23. Food Standards Scotland
    24. Gambling Commission
    25. Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
    26. Health and Safety Executive
    27. Independent Police Complaints Commissioner
    28. Information Commissioner
    29. NHS Business Services Authority
    30. Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust
    31. Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board
    32. Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation
    33. Office of Communications
    34. Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
    35. Police Investigations and Review Commissioner
    36. Scottish Ambulance Service Board
    37. Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
    38. Serious Fraud Office
    39. Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust

There are many technologies out there that you can use to circumvent such logging from VPN, Tor. Each has its own drawback from speed to location issues depending on exit nodes.

VPN: https://www.perfect-privacy.com TOR: https://www.torproject.org/


What data are they actually saving just the URL and TimeStamp or IP plus etc.. ? Is this information acquired from DNS requests?

What access does UK Police currently have to ISP logs, and what information can said logs provide?: According to The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations of 2009, Internet Service Providers (ISP) are required to keep some data for 12 months. This includes which IP address people have been assigned, plus log-in and log-off times; the sender, recipient, date and time of emails; and the caller and recipient of Internet telephone calls.

Out of interest why is DNS not fully encrypted ? I know there is DNSCrypt (https://dnscrypt.org) but seems to be already out of date in that it does not seem to do a good job for privacy. I guess this is due to the needing to keep with the DNS standard.

When a browser requests a website to which it does not know the IP it will query a DNS server for it. At what level is this query made ? For example when I create a Socket in Java using the domain name is it the library that does the DNS request in the background or something that happens at the OS level/lower down ?

The reason I ask is because it seems to me at a high level at least a combination of Block Chain with a layer on top that will allow DNS queries using TLS might offer some degree of privacy and DNS integrity. I guess it may have too large an overhead with the current structure however if distributed with each computer even with the increased overhead would the increase in DNS servers (distributed nodes) not counter the limits ?

In any case would like to hear the overflows opinions ?

closed as too broad by techraf, Steffen Ullrich, schroeder Dec 4 '16 at 9:46

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This questions is too broad. It includes several question in one huge question which you should better ask as separate questions (but please check for existing questions). Also, all the politics and statements and legal details are irrelevant to answer a technical question and thus should be omitted since they just distract from the actual question. – Steffen Ullrich Dec 4 '16 at 7:45
  • @SteffenUllrich yep, the first 80% of the "question" are kind of OP displaying what has happened and implicitng OP's opinion – no matter how much (or little) we share that opinion, I went as far as to flag this as opinion-based question; having "opinions" as the last word in the question itself certainly helped with that. – Marcus Müller Dec 4 '16 at 9:00

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