Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:59 pm Post subject: BIG BROTHER 1984 IS WORKING HERE AND YOU GO ALONG WITH IT
|Promises betrayed, and this stealthy slide into Big Brother Britain
By James Slack
PUBLISHED: 22:37, 2 April 2012 | UPDATED: 07:36, 3 April 2012
Labour governments had a truly chilling disregard for this country’s ancient, hard-won freedoms.
The DNA of more than a million innocent people was stored on a vast official database. Town Halls were given James Bond-style powers to spy on people suspected of putting their rubbish bins out on the wrong day. Plans were drawn up to hold terror suspects without charge for 90 days.
Indeed, it was the desire to reduce the intrusive, liberty sapping powers amassed by the State which helped drive voters into the arms of the Lib Dems and the Conservatives — after both parties railed passionately in Opposition against the worst excesses of what must surely have been the most authoritarian Labour government in history.
High hopes: Both coalition parties were vocal in their opposition to Labour's assault in civil liberties
As a result, hopes were extremely high when, in 2010, the two parties were forced into government together, and included in their Coalition agreement a promise to ‘implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties . . . and roll back state intrusion.’
To many, these words now ring unforgivably hollow.
True, the Coalition took swift action to scrap the planned ID cards database — posing for countless idiot-opportunities along the way.
They also curbed the use of the police’s draconian power to stop and search people without any reasonable grounds for suspicion.
But, in far too many other areas of grave importance, the injustice continues.
Our brutal, lop-sided extradition laws remain unreformed. Gary McKinnon, the computer hacker who Nick Clegg personally pledged to save, has not been freed from the mental torture of extradition proceedings brought by the U.S. The State’s power to march into people’s homes has not been properly checked.
Indeed, in some respects Coalition ministers are making matters worse.
The Mail has been campaigning against their Kafka-esque proposals for secret justice that would allow some civil cases and — terrifyingly — inquests into police shootings and military deaths to be held in secret.
Now ministers are disinterring plans, first put forward by Labour, to give public bodies sweeping new powers to snoop on the phone calls, emails, texts and website activity of everyone in the UK.
Under new plans, GCHQ (pictured) would be able to track the communications of everyone in the UK
Internet firms will be required to store the details of your every internet click of a mouse or visit to Facebook or eBay.
Police, the security services and GCHQ will then be able to trawl through details of who you were speaking to or dealing with, to check for any evidence of wrongdoing.
They will not be able to see the actual content but — if they are satisfied you may be acting suspiciously — can seek a warrant from ministers to do so.
The enormous scale of this spying operation is unprecedented in Britain and will involve the collection of millions of pieces of personal information. The internet visits alone will allow the authorities to build a picture of who they think you are, without you ever knowing.
Inevitably, this raises many, many disturbing questions – not just over the huge cost, estimated at £200 million a year, of asking internet companies to log this data.
What happens when information is wrongly logged — linking an innocent man to, say, a terrorist?
More...David Davis attacks plans to monitor online messages as 'an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people'
JACK DOYLE: The Big Brother state row is the latest example of the disastrous mishandling of issues by the Coalition
In documents seen by this newspaper, the Office of the Information Commissioner says: ‘Intelligence can be used to put people on no-fly lists, limit incomes or for asset grabs by Government agencies.’
It’s not an exaggeration to say lives could be wrecked.
There must also be serious concerns about what the internet companies, having been paid by the State to store this goldmine of information, will choose to do with it. Won’t they be tempted to exploit it themselves or, worse, sell the information to the highest bidder?
The Government will promise there will be safeguards, and stiff penalties for misuse — but if, inevitably, the law is broken, the consequences for an individual could be devastating.
Ministers say there are good reasons for the proposals, which extend the scope of the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (which made provisions for covert surveillance and access to communications records by public bodies).
Currently, the authorities can access when and where a phone call was made or text message or email sent.
But they argue that the world is a less safe place and that technology has moved on — with terrorists and other criminals now using the internet phone service Skype to hatch their plots. They also use social networking sites to exchange information.
It is vital, ministers say, that the law is brought up to date if we do not wish to find ourselves one step behind our enemies, who do not care one jot about civil liberties.
But, while many will see the validity in these arguments, the fact remains that — in Opposition — both the Lib Dems and Conservatives could see all too clearly the perils of mass State surveillance of our internet use.
Criticism: Chris Huhne (left) and Chris Grayling (right)
When Labour first suggested the idea, LibDem spokesman Chris Huhne said: ‘It is not that easy to separate the bare details of a call from its content. What if a top business person is ringing Alcoholics Anonymous or a politician’s partner is arranging to hire a fool video? There has to be a careful balance between investigative powers and the right to privacy.’
Then Tory shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘The big problem is that the Government has built a culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime. Too many parts of government have too many powers to snoop on innocent people and that’s really got to change.’
And now? The LibDems and Tories seems to think it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. This is despite the fact that, even before the new interception programme is introduced, we are already one of the spied upon nations on the planet, with three million snooping operations carried out under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in the last decade.
More from James Slack... It costs £15 to find a bogus student. But still the authorities can't be bothered 27/03/12 George Osborne will rue the day he trained his greedy eyes on the nation's pies 22/03/12 Coalition is crippling struggling businesses with bureaucracy 21/03/12 Red Tape UK: How the Coalition is choking our businesses 20/03/12 Yet another disaster for Mr Clarke's Ministry of Justice 19/03/12 Let the train take the strain? You must be joking 08/03/12 Police are trying to to turn the BBC and ITN into yet another arm of the Surveillance State 06/03/12 Why using private firms could help the Police get more bobbies on the beat 05/03/12 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE To most people, however, it’s the Coalition’s rank hypocrisy which will be considered most deplorable. All politicians, once they achieve office, and come under the influence of the Whitehall machine, are captured to some extent. But this is a Coalition government in which both sides were supposed to wish to roll-back the Orwellian powers of the Surveillance State.
Yet here we stand, two years later, staring down the barrel of two very alarming proposals to monitor our use of the internet, and separately, introduce secret courts.
The Coalition’s secret justice green paper would allow inquests involving matters of national security — such as the police gunning a man down in the street or his car — to be held in secret if the details could prove embarrassing to the State.
It will, therefore, be possible for someone to die in so-called ‘civilised’ Britain without anyone — not least relatives —knowing how and why.
Equally shameful is the way nothing has yet been done to reform the unbalanced UK/U.S. Extradition Treaty — despite both the Lib Dems and the Tories promising to act.
The failure by Nick Clegg, in particular, to end the mental torture of Gary McKinnon shows in a single sorry episode why the word of politicians cannot be trusted.
All Coalition governments, by their nature, are forced into shoddy compromises and doing things one side or the other doesn’t particularly like.
But civil liberties seemed the one subject, apart from reducing the public spending deficit, upon which the current pantomime horse administration could agree.
That makes the betrayal even worse.
Our old friend the Eu is responsible for this, the Data Retention Directive 2006, don't be fooled, dave is a committed european.
This is part of the present system's attempt, under the cloak of the fake "three main parties" "democracy", to create a slave-state in the UK, dominated by big business. No or low pay, benefits, pensions, housing, healthcare etc. This is more specifically part of the attempt to repress dissent, as we see that a few carefully-chosen targets have been imprisoned even for making silly protests or comments on twitter, facebook etc. We are living through an attempt to enslave us all to finance-capitalism and this illegitimate government (regime) has to be brought low and chopped before that happens.
WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES LAW REBELLION BECOMES YOUR DUTY