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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:31PM (#30158158)
    UK elections due May. Gives ~70 days of parliamentary time left before this 'government' and all its legislative programme is gone.
  • 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.

  • 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

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:56PM (#30158684)

    Is ensuring he has a new Mercedes S600 every year, a decent yacht, a few homes, unlimited access to private jets, and access to the best schools for his children.

  • 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: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.

  • 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 [openrightsgroup.org] 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 Dusty101 ( 765661 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:18PM (#30159092)

    Yup. For those Slashdotters lacking some of the background on Mandelson's suddenly-developed interest in copyright law:

    http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article6797844.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

    (Not that I'm a Times reader or anything, but this story covers the background as well as many others).

  • Re:You need more (Score:3, Informative)

    by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:27PM (#30160428)
    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.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:54PM (#30160964)
    If the government wants to oppress the people to the point where they'd fight back, the armed forces would get involved. Either the armed forces will be on the side of the government, in which case the people are fucked regardless of how many guns they have, or they're on the side of the people, in which case the peoples' guns are not needed. They might split down the middle, but then the guns in private ownership will be like a fly trying to take sides in a fight between two bull elephants. Guns in private hands don't do anything but make people targets. No overweight accountant on his roof with a rifle is going to cause problems for an apache attack helicopter, or a tank, or even a humvee with some soldiers in it. I'm sure guns make people feel safer, but they won't help. Explosives, on the other hand, would make a difference. And anyone anywhere can make those. IEDs are what cause issues for people forcefully oppressing a populace, not shooters. It's easy to identify someone with a gun, kill them, and remove the gun from circulation. It's impossible to stop people from making explosives. I know it's tempting to think that as soon as the balloon goes up, everyone will scarper into the forest and go all John Rambo, but that's a dream. In reality the crack-down would be brutal, and those with guns who made a stand would die very quickly, very violently, while causing very little collateral damage to the oppressors. The sensible folks will keep their heads down, appear to cooperate, but in secret create, distribute, and use explosives against well-chosen targets.
  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:05PM (#30161150) Journal

    > all the branch davidians died in the end

    Like I said.

    If the goal is to win "points" as tough guys, home-made militia can get a song written about them.
    If the goal is to overthrow a fascist ruling class this fails.

  • Re:You need more (Score:3, Informative)

    by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @10:24PM (#30167414)
    Under the Act, a third party may spend a total of $150,000* on election advertising. It cannot spend more than $3,000* on advertising to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a given electoral district – for example, by naming one or more candidates, showing their likenesses, identifying them by their respective political affiliations, or taking a position on an issue with which one or more candidates are particularly associated.

Loose bits sink chips.