Tuesday, 25 November 2014

FaceBook is not an ISP

Again, journalists and the government, not understanding the basics.

Me, trying to add some sanity [youtube]
These are the people making the laws, and they cannot tell the difference. They want to compel a foreign company, one that works under some sensible freedom of speech and privacy laws, to comply with our "big brother" requests, and then they wrap it all up saying "ISPs must do something" and even consider UK laws on the matter.

In some ways it is good that it came out as being FaceBook, as, for some time, FaceBook use https to ensure all posts and access to FaceBook are encrypted.

This means that no UK ISP could read your FaceBook posts by snooping on the connection, and no law could compel them to perform that impossible action either. No changes in UK law or changes to UK ISPs would have revealed what had been posted to FaceBook in this case.

Please, politicians, get this through your thick heads!

Confusing Google, FaceBook, and ISPs, is one of the big problems.

P.S. A huge call out for Julian Huppert as one of the few MPs that "get it". If only I lived in Cambridge... Anyone there needs to vote for him as he has some clue - regardless of what party he is with. Vote for the person!


  1. Alas I live about half a mile too far out of Cambridge, and am in the South East Cambridgeshire constituency represented by Jim Paice aka "Farmer Jim" who appears to have no clue about anything other than being re-elected to a safe Tory seat.

    I have friends who know Julian Huppert and who help him occasionally with advice on some topics. So that's another plus for Huppert, he actually listens to other people about things when they know more about a topic than he does. I'd vote for him, irrespective of party, if I were in his constituency.

    I think Huppert may still be the only scientist sitting in the House of Commons, he's a biochemist with a PhD.

  2. Having watched the YouTube video, I got the feeling the newsreader really had no clue what you were talking about given the questions she kept asking. Well done for trying though, and you were very patient with her

    So why does the BBC get you in rather than some spokesperson from BT or Virgin which would seem a much more obvious choice?

    1. Ha! I am that good :-) but actually they did quite well as the news that it was FaceBook came out just minutes before I was on and I was able to address that point immediately.

    2. The latter question is easy to answer; RevK is easy to get hold of at short notice, slightly controversial, and not afraid to speak his mind.

      He thus makes good news television, and (unlike a BT or VM spokesman) can be grabbed for TV the moment something Internetty is newsworthy, not 6 hours later when BT or VM have come up with their formal corporate position that the spokesman can't be moved from.

  3. I'm so glad that there is someone willing to say this, and that the BBC let you have chance to do so on national TV!

    Still, I have a feeling it will all be for naught, and we will soon have national monitoring of everything, and a national firewall worse than china.

  4. Just had a thought on this, although I suppose nobody else will still be reading, and I'm likely preaching to the choir...

    Let's say Facebook agree to what the UK government is suggesting. Facebook start logging all chat data, and sifting through it by hand, employing most of the US population.

    You can't say that they only report UK crimes to the UK authorities, so this has to be worldwide.

    If I talk to someone in China on facebook, and he agrees with me when I criticise the Chinese government, does he vanish in the night?

    If I flirt with a girl in Saudi Arabia, does this get reported to their religious police and she get 50 lashes?

    If a gay man in Russia, speaks to a friend via facebook and admits he is gay, does this get reported to the authorities?

    1. Indeed, some of this has already been raised - why only UK? why only terrorism? It would have to be all laws and all countries to make any sense.