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UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws 147

Posted by timothy
from the back-in-line-citizen dept.
beaker_72 (1845996) writes The Guardian reports that the UK government has unveiled plans to introduce emergency surveillance laws into the UK parliament at the beginning of next week. These are aimed at reinforcing the powers of security services in the UK to force service providers to retain records of their customers phone calls and emails. The laws, which have been introduced after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that existing laws invaded individual privacy, will receive cross-party support and so will not be subjected to scrutiny or challenged in Parliament before entering the statute books. But as Tom Watson (Labour backbench MP and one of few dissenting voices) has pointed out, the ECJ ruling was six weeks ago, so why has the government waited until now to railroad something through. Unless of course they don't want it scrutinised too closely.
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UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

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  • "It's just metadata" (Score:4, Informative)

    by PigleT (28894) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @10:26AM (#47424021) Homepage

    The BBC news is reporting [bbc.co.uk] that apparently it's not as bad as it could be because it's not storing the content of phone-calls made, just who was called and when.

    Anyone who wants to know just how powerful mere "metadata" actually is should go read http://kieranhealy.org/blog/ar... [kieranhealy.org] .

  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @11:17AM (#47424407)

    I'm torn because whilst things like this sicken me (as a British citizen) I think it's still sensationalist nonsense to claim Britain isn't a free country, god only knows we still don't have quite the limits on free speech of France and Germany. As Western countries go we're still pretty free, and Western countries are still generally freer than most, so it seems a silly stretch to claim Britain isn't a free country. Most things used when citing Britain as not free are FUD made up by people who love to bash Britain, or like a bit of conspiracy theory or reason to bitch and moan in general, for example, claims about CCTV counts that include static traffic cameras that only take photos of people actually speeding - i.e. breaking the law and don't have a capability for constant monitoring, or only log a text response when a particular number plate is detected. Do I like them? no, but it's hardly the constantly filmed bullshit the paranoid conspiracy theorists claim it is. Similarly there's a lot of FUD about RIPA's password clause by people who haven't read the law which explicitly states that police have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone has a key before they can be prosecuted for not handing it over (if you don't believe me Google it - section 53.3 makes the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt that a suspect actually holds the key explicit in law) which is in contradiction to the nonsense about how you can arbitrarily convicted with that as the excuse - you can't, it's never happened, everyone prosecuted to date has been like the plonker in yesterday's news story who incriminated themselves for the simple reason they were actually dickheads.

    But this? this is genuinely fucking embarrassing. This is a genuine what the flying fuck are you thinking politicians? This is a genuine there is something very broken with our country. It's not that we're not still free, we really are, anyone who claims otherwise is full of shit, the problem is that there's a slippery slope that we might slide down to become not free, and that's the real worry. Sometimes slippery slope arguments don't occur making them a fallacy, but sometimes they do, and I'm not willing to accept that risk when the claimed benefit just does not exist - 7/7 still happened, the Boston bombings still happened - blanket data sweeping does not work, terrorist attacks are still occuring as (in)frequently as they always have even with the NSA and GCHQ's absolutely massive dragnet.

    The worst part is they're saying this is a temporary power that'll be reviewed in 2016 when Labour will almost certainly be in power. The Milliband/Brown/Balls strain of Labour is the most dictatorial leadership we've seen in decades given that they were the "brains" behind the ID card database, they wanted the IMP, they wanted a nationwide DNA database of everyone. I see little hope for this doing anything other than getting worse in the coming years.

    Which is a shame, because things had largely gotten better in the last 4 years on this particular front - the Digital Economy Act whilst not destroyed has at least been gutted, the national ID database had been scrapped, the ability of many authorities such as local councils to spy had been massively curbed, CCTV had been scaled back. Still a hell of a long way to go, but definitely civil liberties had improved in the last 4 years, especially compared to the massive downward spiral under Brown. Unfortunately it seems the ConDems decided they'd fuck up the only thing they haven't fucked up right in their last 9 months. Why? What the fuck is wrong with them? We nearly did it. We nearly made it a full parliamentary term without dictatorship syndrome kicking in, alas, here it is.

  • by dryeo (100693) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @11:26AM (#47424465)

    Perhaps San Marino? They were even free to vote i a Communist government and vote them out. Been a republic since 301 as well.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

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