Risk
5/31/2013
01:32 PM
50%
50%

Google, Facebook Told U.K.: We Won't Be Snoops

Major U.S. tech firms including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Yahoo! had rejected now-canned U.K. plan to make them archive user traffic, says newspaper.

The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
(click image for larger view)
The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
The debate over how best to equip the British police security services to stop more terrorist atrocities like the Woolwich slaying of a soldier last week has taken yet another turn -- with U.S. Web giants including Google revealed as saying they don't want any part in a possible revival of a "snooper's charter."

The term is shorthand for Britain's hobbled Data Communications Bill which supporters say would have helped law enforcement monitor email, Web and SMS traffic and perhaps cracked extremist chatter and online plotting leading to the attack.

The American-based companies told Britain in April that they agreed with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's halting of the bill's progress through Parliament. According to a letter apparently written to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and leaked to the British press, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter all warned the British government they were unwilling to store data on U.K. users of their services for up to 12 months, as the draft legislation would have required of them.

[ What tops companies' security concerns? Read U.K. Public Sector's Top Security Worries. ]

They had instead pushed for a new bilateral agreement between the U.K. and U.S Internet firms that would have sped up the process of sharing user information to track terrorism, if needed. The companies also seem to have balked at the possible cost to them of maintaining such big databases, estimated to be as much as £1.8 billion ($2.7 billion).

"We do not want there to be any doubt about the strength of our concerns in respect of the idea that the U.K. government would seek to impose an order on a company in respect of services which are offered by service providers outside [the country]," said the private message, now in the hands of The Guardian. It goes on to say that, as the Internet is still a "relatively young technology" that is a great economic and social force, "there are risks in legislating too early in this fast-moving area that can be as significant as the risks of legislating too late."

The implication is that the U.K., which the document says has "rightly positioned itself as a leading digital nation," risks harming this status if it passed the bill.

The issue of how best to prevent attacks like the Woolrich incident is not settled yet. A Home Office statement issued earlier this week said that Her Majesty's Government is "continuing to look at ways of addressing this issue with communication service providers" and that "this may involve legislation."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Janice, I think I've got a message from the code father!
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.