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Secret UK Plan To Appoint "Pirate Finder General" 332

mouthbeef writes "A source very close to the UK Labour government just called me to leak the fact that Secretary of State Lord Mandelson is trying to sneak a revision into the Digital Economy Bill that would give him and his successors the power to create future copyright law without debate. Mandelson goes on to explain that he wants this so he can create private copyright militias with investigatory and enforcement powers, and so he can create new copyright punishments as he sees fit (e.g., jail time, three strikes)."
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Secret UK Plan To Appoint "Pirate Finder General"

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  • New internet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cellurl ( 906920 ) * <speedup@wikispeed[ ]org ['ia.' in gap]> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:22PM (#30157988) Homepage Journal
    We need a new Internet. Any ideas?
    • Re:New internet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) <capsplendid@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:28PM (#30158092) Homepage Journal
      No, you need new politicians. Which, in the UK's case, means you're due for another round of governance by the Tories. So you're basically fucked.
      • You need more (Score:5, Insightful)

        by elucido ( 870205 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:35PM (#30158244)

        But you need more than new politicians. You need "your" politicians. You need more influence, and it will only change when people who profit from peer to peer are financing campaigns and getting people elected. It will only change when the political atmosphere changes. The old timer curmudgeons rule the political arena and until you put new minds not just new faces into these positions it will not change. Keep in mind that bribery/quid pro quo is how things get done and corruption is how things work.

        • Re:You need more (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) <capsplendid@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:44PM (#30158400) Homepage Journal
          Yeah, well, we did that in 1997 and elected Labour. Right after that, Blair turned the party hard right, cut the Tories' balls off, and the rest is history. If the Lib Dems had ever been able to get their shit together, we might have had a chance, but now, we are just like the US, with two different flavours of corporatist parties. It's over.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Farmer Tim ( 530755 )

            Aye, England's finest politician [] is sorely missed.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by gedrin ( 1423917 )
            It's been over for you for a long time. You live in a rapidly nationalizing, disarmed, surveilence society. The world needs the UK and her historic spirit of resolve. It makes me sad to think that it's gone. I hope I'm wrong.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by dave420 ( 699308 )
              The UK always supported nationalisation, until Maggie Thatcher that is. Even then she didn't privatise everything. Disarmed? Hardly - just handguns (shotguns and rifles are still available). Surveillance? Most cameras are owned by private people for private purposes, not by the state. I hear where you're coming from, but you seem to be sorely misinformed.
          • Re:You need more (Score:4, Insightful)

            by pbhj ( 607776 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:20PM (#30159132) Homepage Journal

            Yeah, well, we did that in 1997 and elected Labour.

            That's the problem right there, we didn't elect Labour but "New Labour" which is like labour but more Conservative so as to be sure the Tories didn't get in again.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by twostix ( 1277166 )

              What extraordinary cognitive dissonance.

              How can the party that has expanded the size of government to a size never before seen in the entire western world which employs one in four people in the workforce, has allowed unfettered immigration in an open and cynical attempt to change the culture, waged open class warfare against the middle and upper class family AND created the biggest welfare state in the western world possibly be called "conservative".

              Nu Labour are authoritarian LEFT. When they got in they

        • Re:You need more (Score:5, Informative)

          by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:04PM (#30158816)
          You need a law like we have in Canada that says only individual citizens can contribute, up to a set maximum per year, to political campaigns. No companies, organizations, unions or groups of any kind are allowed to contribute anything. So companies cannot overtly buy politicians.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Hatta ( 162192 )

            Meanwhile, here in the US the Supreme Court is about to rule that restrictions on corporate contributions are a violation of free speech. How it is that corporations have free speech rights, and how money is considered speech, I don't know.

      • by nomadic ( 141991 )
        No, you need new politicians. Which, in the UK's case, means you're due for another round of governance by the Tories. So you're basically fucked.

        But...but...the UK has more than two major political parties. Doesn't that mean they have a utopia? Because that's what everyone here likes to say the US' problem is.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by pilgrim23 ( 716938 )
        It seems some look back to the simple days of Oliver Cromwell...
      • No, you need new politicians. Which, in the UK's case, means you're due for another round of governance by the Tories. So you're basically fucked.

        The problem with that is, if the UK is anything like the US, a new batch of politicians isn't going to be any better than the old batch.

        Sure, each party is going to have its own pet ideological projects... They'll push for some kind of reform or regulation, or less of those, or whatever. But, ultimately, politicians really don't seem to be terribly interested in what the average citizen has to say. They just wind up doing whatever their lobbyists and corporate interests tell them to.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Andy_R ( 114137 )

        Yes, we do need new politicians, that's why I'm standing for parliament as a Pirate Party candidate.

        I'm well aware that I don't have the slightest chance of being elected, but I believe that the Pirate Party can demonstrate to the next government, and to the newly elected members of parliament that are replacing those standing down after the expenses scandal, that a significant portion of the voting public cares about Mandelson's plans.

        If you're in the UK and want to do something positive about this story,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jaysyn ( 203771 )

      The UK needs a successful non-religious Guy Fawkes.

    • Re:New internet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:47PM (#30158478) Journal
      People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
      • by bth ( 635955 )
        kheldan - is it ok if we are afraid of some of the people in our government? and if they are afraid of some of us? I am sure we can satisfy that statement easily.
    • Certainly. I plan to launch a series of 25 geosynchronous satellites providing broadband internet access to the entire world. It will be independent from any government's control or oversight. I'm going to call it the Archangel Network. ...What?
  • Another great idea signed by UK's gov
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:35PM (#30158252)

      Considering the proud history of the British navy, it would make sense of them to appoint a person in charge of finding pirates on the high seas. I don't see how this is relevant to Slashdot, though. Nor do I see why they should keep such a role secret. Keeping our oceans save is a noble job.

      If pirates and piracy is measurably affecting ocean travel and commerce, someone should get on doing something about it. If not, then this ocean pirate hunter idea seems kind of pointless.

      I'm sure they have reliable data from the people who use the oceans which affirm that ocean piracy is a big issue.

      • Re:Great Idea (Score:5, Informative)

        by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:08PM (#30158908) Journal

        Considering the proud history of the British navy, it would make sense of them to appoint a person in charge of finding pirates on the high seas.

        FWIW, a lot of the proud history of the British navy is due to their support for pirates. Privateers were a sizable portion of the British navy that sunk the Spanish Armada (of course, a timely storm helped a lot with that one). They were also a very important tool in the economic war with Spain that QE I was waging. I read a very good biography of Drake that goes into detail... suffice it to say the Crown fully supported piracy, as long as it wasn't targeted at British vessels. So much so that QE I entertained Drake as a suitor to ensure his support of Her.

        There's some kind of analogy here... if the high seas, as a chief method of commerce of the time, can be equated to the internet, as a chief method of commerce in our time... then perhaps Brtain should consider sponsoring these pirates instead, and riding their coattails to a new era of economic dominance? And maybe Dark Lord Mandy should consider dating one of the pirates?

        OK, it's a bad analogy. But I haven't seen Bad Analogy Guy in a while, so I'm doing my best to fill in.

  • by AmigaHeretic ( 991368 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:29PM (#30158112) Journal
    Oh, not those kind of Pirates.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alinabi ( 464689 )
      That was exactly my reaction. I thought they were dispatching an actual general to Somalia. But I guess oil-tank-jacking is not as big a problem as counterfeit Jonas brothers CDs.
    • Well, they do wear poofy shirts.
  • They have over 5 million camera's with face recognition following their every move... Seriously, they just don't care. (And this is coming from a Dutchman where there are even more phonetaps and as of 2012 mandatory GPS in every car)
    • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) * on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:36PM (#30158262)

      face recognition following their every move...

      We don't have face recognition in public CCTV systems, I don't know where you pulled that one from. I agree we have massive surveillance problems here in the UK, but we don't need to make things up to make it sound worse. It's bad enough already

    • How do you guys handle the GPS thing?
      I mean I really can't see a way of making a system that could tell the difference between driving through a tunnel/parking inside and wrapping a tin foil bag around the antennae.

  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:30PM (#30158140) Journal
    Okay, this comes from BoingBoing so it may be nonsense, but what does the government think they're doing appointing Sith Lord Mandleson? He's an out-of-control power-crazed sociopath and should never have been allowed back into government.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:36PM (#30158264) Journal

      ...what does the government think they're doing appointing Sith Lord Mandleson?

      Has it ever occurred to you that they might know exactly what they're doing?

      • by Bai jie ( 653604 )
        Who was it that once said "Everything is proceeding according to my design."?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Gendo Ikari? No, wait, it was David Xanatos. On second thought, it was Light Yagami. Then again, it might have been Ozymandius. There's always the possibility that it was Hari Seldon. And, of course, *everything* is a Nemesis plot. But when you get right down to it, the Count of Monte Cristo did it first.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tsm_sf ( 545316 )
      this comes from BoingBoing so it may be nonsense

      Please to explain their lack of credibility.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:15PM (#30159032)

      [Mandelson is] an out-of-control power-crazed sociopath and should never have been allowed back into government.

      We didn't allow him back in. In fact, he resigned twice already under dubious circumstances. Then he got appointed to Europe, and now he's been appointed to a very senior position in Parliament after being appointed to the House of Lords. Note that the term "appointed" here implies that the people never got a vote, he was put into those positions by the Prime Minister and his chums. Oh, and the Prime Minister was appointed as Tony Blair's successor, in direction contradiction of a Labour Party manifesto promise to voters at the last general election, which they won with such a huge majority because of funny electoral math and not popular support (having actually lost the popular vote in England to the Conservatives, in fact).

      Basically, these guys don't even have a shadow of a mandate for what they're doing in the first place, but since they're already a lame duck administration they seem to feel they have little to lose by wading in with the most illiberal, draconian legislation they can shove through in the final parliamentary session before the general election. Thus we get resistance to court rulings on cleaning up the DNA database, a roll-out of trials for an expensive ID card scheme that both the major opposition parties in England have long since pledged to scrap, and now this.

      My personal favourite from this week's Queen's Speech was the bill to make it a legal requirement to half the budget deficit within four years, which would conveniently mean that having destroyed our economy themselves, they could then pass a poison pill to their successors when they inevitably lose the next general election. Presumably they will then claim in four years that whoever won the election has broken the law by being unable to do the impossible, and pretend that in some alternate reality Labour would somehow have been able to fix the problems they were unable to prevent in the first place.

      The various extreme anti-copyright-infringement policies flying around at the moment sound like much the same thing: having mostly ignored or actively gone against the recommendations of their own Gowers Review when it comes to IP laws, they are now setting up back channel ways to suck up to big business while they still can, knowing that if they tried to push these things through Parliament properly they would face stiff opposition (not to mention probably losing even more votes, since post-Gowers they pretty much know that people overwhelmingly oppose things like copyright term extension).

      As a final note, the Open Rights Group [] are pretty dumb if they think invoking the recent XBox cut-offs supports the case against this. I haven't seen a single report that suggests there were people cut off by Microsoft inappropriately (i.e., not after breaking the rules), the cut-off only affected their use of the XBox and not unrelated Internet services, and even the BBC carried an article based on one such person, who admitted freely that he was ripping off games illegally because it saved him money, which is exactly what the cut-off was intended to obstruct.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:31PM (#30158164) Homepage

    But this is exactly up Darth Mandelson's alley. He truly and passionately believes in the utter dominance of the State over the individual. Of course, he plans to be a most benign dictator.

    For those not in the know, Lord Mandelson is the de facto ruler of the United Kingdom, and one of the chief architects of the European super state under the (also "benign") dictatorship of the unelected, unaccountable European Council of Ministers.

    He is the #1 threat to individual rights and freedoms in the UK and possibly in the whole of Europe. Think Palpatine, only with fruitier ties.

    • Lets accept that politicians are bribed robots programmed by moneyed masters.

      The reason the RIAA/MPAA copyright cartel is making the rules in this instance is because they won over the moneyed masters who control the politicians. If you support limited copyright rather than unlimited then you are in the minority of the moneyed masters because in most cases unlimited copyright just like some of the scams on wallstreet is free money. The owner of the copyright doesn't have to work for it.

      I'm not against copyr

    • by Tim C ( 15259 )

      He is the #1 threat to individual rights and freedoms in the UK

      And that's with some pretty damn stiff competition for the title from Jack "Boots" Straw and Blunkett, too. I'd tip my hat to him, if I wore one, and didn't despise pretty-much everything he stands for.

      • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:09PM (#30158914) Homepage

        Straw and Blunkett were amateur blunderers. They made the mistake of going through the motions of doing consultations and producing detailed legislative plans, which really hampered them.

        Mandelson has spotted that instead of bothering with this tiresome "laws" nonsense, he can just churn out two or three absolutely bonkers dictats per week. The sheer volume of administrative evil makes it hard to oppose him; by the time you've mounted a defence to any of his plots, he's busy announcing the next one.

  • by elucido ( 870205 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:32PM (#30158176)

    This is the same sort of moves that were made during prohibitions and during the war on drugs. They do not care about the consequences to the economy or about the UK citizen. He only cares about the people he really works for and thats the copyright cartel. This Mandelson works for the RIAA/MPAA. He is their man, not yours. If you want this to change then your man will have to be in that position.

  • Undemocratic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:33PM (#30158204)
    "What that means is that an unelected official would have the power to do anything without Parliamentary oversight or debate, provided it was done in the name of protecting copyright"

    Which means that it's undemocratic. If nobody can control this unelected official, what's to stop them from abusing their position? In my opinion, that's a bit too much power to be given to any individual.

    Would the (supposedly democratic) government be so kind to please start representing the people again already?
    • Doesn't the UK have a house of Lords? Wasn't the house of Lords unelected officials?

      Fill m in on UK politics if I'm wrong but this seems to be how they always operate.

      • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:15PM (#30159034)

        Yes, but at times the House of Lords is the only thing standing between the House of Commons (the elected one) and some truly asinine, knee-jerk legislation.

        By being unelected and essentially in the job for life, they don't have to worry about pandering to the populist cause of the moment and can (theoretically) take a more level-headed view on things.

        Why do you think NuLabour has spent so much time and effort slowly chipping away at the Lords? They're tired of being forced to introduce less batshit insane laws...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mbone ( 558574 )

      Except for sometimes in military affairs, it is an iron law that secrecy in Government is intended to cover up malfeasance. Like the ACTA [], if it's secret it's bad.

  • sneaking .... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NoYob ( 1630681 )
    When a politician sneaks anything into law, I have to wonder what nefarious reasons he could have for doing it.

    Why does it have to be sneaked in?
    Is there something that is undemocratic about it?
    What is being hidden from debate?

    This is as bad as I've ever seen, folks. It's a declaration of war by the entertainment industry and their captured regulators against the principles of free speech, privacy, freedom of assembly, the presumption of innocence, and competition.

    I see. The entertainment industry is calling the shots.

    For Queen, Country and the Entertainment Industry.

  • you know (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:35PM (#30158248) Homepage Journal

    the law versus technological progress is a pretty heavily loaded contest

    please study your history on the outcome of these contests

    a lot of supposedly smart, but hopelessly old (not necessarily chronologically, just in terms of anyone set in their thinking) people just do NOT understand the full implications of the internet

    again, for anyone who's missed it, even though hearing it for the 1,000th time isn't probably going to finally open your eyes:

    the internet has effectively replaced pre-internet distribution models. copyright law consists of gentleman's agreements between major publishers from that era. you cannot extend those gentleman's agreements to random anonymous teenagers the world over. rather, random anonymous teenagers the world over will compel you to rewrite fundamental copyright law, simply because its completely unenforceable in a new technological reality

    were you listening? do you get it yet? do you understand?


    well then onward with the fucking copyright secret police then brave soldier. whatever. fucking retarded. i guess we just need to wait for certain closed minds to just fucking die already like the ossified dinosaurs they are then. stubborn ignorant blind obstacles to progress

    ten thousand lawyers, government paper pushers, and enforcement goons


    ten million media hungry, technologically savvy, and most importantly, POOR teenagers

    figure it out

    you lose, you fucking morons

    • Well, look at how many hundreds of years, wars and world wars it took for the printing press to trump governments and it still doesn't do that in most of the non-western world. The only technology that usually always wins is guns, and that is why we have a 2nd amendment.

      • it helped destroyed the feudal code and the social stratification that came with that

        "The only technology that usually always wins is guns, and that is why we have a 2nd amendment."

        i don't know where this fantasy cam from that yahoos in the backwoods are somehow protecting us from fascism. if anything, if our democracy is destroyed by fascism, it will be yahoos in the backwoods with guns who are the shock troops of that fascism

        just study what these rabid teabaggers think about the need to "protect" the "rea

    • Re:you know (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:50PM (#30158536)
      You are wrong about the purpose/origin of copyright law. Copyright law was written to protect against someone else profiting from "stealing" your creative work. It was not designed to keep me from copying your stuff for my own use. Until the advent of computers it to some degree it had that effect. The cost of producing copies was high enough that, for most people, it was more cost efficient (counting both time and money) to buy a copy from the copyright holder (although with the advent of home recording devices that began to change).
      As the cost of copying dropped with modern technology, many companies that based their business on distributing copyrighted material wanted to use the reduced cost of producing copies to increase their profit, intending to use copyright law to prevent people from using the now affordable methods to produce copies for their own personal use from obtaining copies.
      • and, much like early earnest well-meaning idealistic communists would probably recoil in horror at what communism really meant: authoritarian terror, those who originally intended copyright law as a way to protect authors would recoil in horror that the legal framework is nothing more than a tool of DISTRIBUTORS to line their pockets by taxing our culture

        if you think copyright law is about protecting creators, then thanks for the laugh

  • So confused (Score:4, Funny)

    by jschen ( 1249578 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:36PM (#30158272)
    I thought piracy was the key to stopping global warming. Why are they trying to speed up global warming?
  • How do you SNEAK something into a law? Doesn't it have to go through a ton of revisions and get voted on and all that jazz?

    If the system is set up in such a way that people can put in new constraints without anyone noticing it, I'd say thats pretty broken.

  • by QuoteMstr ( 55051 ) <> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:41PM (#30158350)

    You know your government is truly in the gutter when an American begins to criticize its brazen corruption and abject stupidity. How the hell are you guys still stuck with Mandelson?

  • A Tad Biased (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:42PM (#30158372) Journal

    Secretary of State Peter Mandelson is planning to introduce changes to the Digital Economy Bill now under debate in Parliament.

    So that's what you consider secret? I mean, it sounds bad but I probably wouldn't flip out until it's actually introduced and added to the bill. I guess I'm not an expert on UK law ... by saying "planning to introduce" do you mean it's already law? If not, I would expect parliament to be highly suspect of the introduction of something designed to give the Secretary of State such power ... when it's introduced by the Secretary of State.

    This is as bad as I've ever seen, folks.

    So, it's worse than ACTA [] (which affects the entire world)?

    It's a declaration of war by the entertainment industry and their captured regulators against the principles of free speech, privacy, freedom of assembly, the presumption of innocence, and competition.

    Are you aware what "declaration of war" and "captured" mean? How about swapping that out with "threat of control" and "purchased"? I mean, if it's a declaration of war then the populace should just capture their parliament as prisoners of war, right?

    This proposal creates the office of Pirate-Finder General, with unlimited power to appoint militias who are above the law, who can pry into every corner of your life, who can disconnect you from your family, job, education and government, who can fine you or put you in jail.

    That's it. You had a really informative post going there but that last part is a level of fear mongering I haven't seen since the United States invaded Iraq.

    I heavily suspect you are being played as an unwitting rube by the party opposite of those planning to introduce this. If you had kept your post informative I'd have gobbled it up but at this point I'm dubious that another propaganda tool isn't at work somewhere along this channel.

  • What the subject says...

  • Lame Duck Government (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:59PM (#30158722)

    The UK just had the Queen's speech, which was widely regarded as full of things that will never come to pass, as this government most likely has only a few months to live. Even the Queen [] seemed dubious.

    Can someone who is actually plugged into UK politics tell us the likelihood that this would be passed by the current lame-duck government ?

    • by Tim C ( 15259 )

      this government most likely has only a few months to live

      Most likely? It's coming to the end of its term, and legally must call a general election by (iirc) July 2010.

    • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:00PM (#30159900)

      You are starting from a false assumption; that the election will result in a change of government. Don't get me wrong, the Tories are certain to win - but there will be no real change in government.

      Consider that The Sun, owned by News International, has publicly changed its allegiance from Labour to Tory, indicating that the Tories are now in Murdoch's pocket; given that we know well the views News International have about the Internet, do you not think the next government will continue the same anti-freedom policies and abuse the laws that Mandelson is proposing?

  • No consequences. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damburger ( 981828 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:00PM (#30158748)

    Politicians are offered incentives to fuck over human beings, but face no consequences for doing so. Now, I'm not normally one to consider people as pure incentive-following machines - but politicians aren't people in the strictest sense. They are psychopaths.

    Look at Tony Blair. He lied to start an illegal war which killed probably hundreds of thousands of people. He left office when he chose to, and is now living comfortably, despite what he did. Why wouldn't a British politician simply do as they will? They know they are fucking untouchable.

    I'm trying to think of sane and enlightened ways the people can deal with this situation, but the only thing running through my mind is sic semper tyrannis. They need, somehow, to fear the consequences of their actions.

  • The Pirate Smeller Pursuivant?

  • Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:39PM (#30159478)

    I think it's great that the UK is going to dedicate a whole branch of government to fight something as important as piracy off the coast of Somalia...

          Oh wait, what?

  • Guy Fawkes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Houndofhell ( 1480889 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:42PM (#30159520)

    That's the thing the politicans don't understand.

    We celebrate Bonfire night not because he failed to blow up parliament but because he had the idea.

    We're all just waiting for the next guy to come along and pull it off

  • by internewt ( 640704 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:49PM (#30161972) Journal

    The way this government brings in unpleasant legislation follows certain patterns, and I would bet that this plan by Vold^WMandelson is going to fit the model.

    What they do is come up with what the goals they want to achieve in private. They know what they come up with, no matter how "good" or "bad", it will come under attack from groups with vested interests and political opposition, and what they want will inevitably get scaled back.

    So they come up with their plan, and come up with a version 3 times worse than they want. They leak the extra bad idea to the press (or to a blog this time), and the press and internet go nuts in reaction to the plan. But the politicians can hide behind the fact it was leaked and deny that is their plan at all.

    The vitriol generated tells them which parts of the plan will not fly, and which they can deal with with some spin. They announce their revised plan (now at 2x what they want), roll things back a bit (to 1 times) as a token lip service to democracy, and then go on to implement what they wanted in the first place.

    We've seen it before, and we'll see it again: this system works for getting unpopular legislation on the books.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.