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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 santax ( 1541065 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:29PM (#30158116)
    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)
  • 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?
  • sneaking .... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NoYob ( 1630681 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:33PM (#30158210)
    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.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsm_sf ( 545316 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:52PM (#30158592) Journal
    this comes from BoingBoing so it may be nonsense

    Please to explain their lack of credibility.
  • Re:New internet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:54PM (#30158632) Homepage


  • 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 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.

  • Re:New internet (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @01:19PM (#30159106) Journal

    Or the liberals, depending on what laws they wanna muck around with, hiding from direct election.

    You can try to create a constitution, but even putting non-delegation as front-and-center as it's possible to get will not save you from weasel re-interpretations by the power hungry:

    Article I

    Section 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

    Let the weaseling commence! "But having regulatory bodies allows Congress to hide from the direct effects of unpopular regulations!" and the ever-popular "But there's no way you can expect Congress to vote on that many laws!", ignoring the associated corollary that The People, who will be the ones to go to jail, are somehow expected to know and behave according to that many laws.

    It burns your ears because it's true.

  • 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 apmonte ( 1235058 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:10PM (#30160106)

    Actually, I'd say it was surprisingly effective at Waco. 50 men held off 100's of trained law enforcement officers for 51 days. The initial raid by 75 ATF agents was repelled, killing 4 and wounding 16 agents. The defenders had 6 killed and 3 wounded. Sure, all the branch davidians died in the end, but the results are still impressive for such a small group of people. (no matter which side you side with) []

  • Re:Not for long (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @02:28PM (#30160446)
    Actually they wanted to restrict stuff even further. They wanted to get rid of the government campaign subsidy. You know the one that gives each party $7 per vote they got in the last election. Unfortunately the other parties did not like this because it would mean the they would have to rely on their supporters for money, so it got dropped. You would have thought that their supporters would have been quite willing to step up to the plate and donate.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:23PM (#30161466)

    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.

  • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) * on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:07PM (#30162252)

    (leave the operation out, face recognition and mandrake will get you more results)

    Ok, the only facts (amongst lots of paranoid rants) I can find from those search terms is that there was a trial of facial recognition software called mandrake back in 1998. No mention of it since This suggests to me that it was a failure (biometric tech 11 yeas ago wasn't brilliant) so it was dropped. Indeed, the company that supposedly sells it: TSSI [] has no mention of it on their UK website (you'd think they'd want to sell it; after all most CCTV cameras are in private hands).
    Indeed I can only find an Australian company [] selling it there, not in the UK.
    Again, no need for the paranoia, we've got it bad enough without making things up.

  • Re:New internet (Score:2, Interesting)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:03PM (#30163320) Journal

    Your ignorance of UK politics is amazing..

    If he's not from the UK it's really not so amazing. Why should he care? (Except in so far as it sets a precedent for other countries to follow when the UK passes a draconian law)

    Me? I'm not from the UK and I think the way you've been going you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble by siimply surrendering to Hitler during WWII. Did I just Godwin myself? Oh well Godwin's asinine "law" is another thing I don't give a monkey's testicle about.

  • Re:Great Idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:41PM (#30164130) Journal
    I'm not describing Letters of Marque. The fallacy of Wikipedia is exposed yet again :)

    LoMs did not exist when Drake roamed the Atlantic, the North Sea, and the Channel.

    I know your wikipedia link cites Drake as a famous recipient, but he was dead long before the first British LoM was issued in 1707. He had a different, stronger support from the Crown than a LoM. From time to time, QE I authorized and funded him to go on piracy expeditions, the returns of which were split with the Crown to some degree. Eventually, he became wealthy enough that it worked another way... he was a funder of the British navy, because QE I demanded that merchants and other ship owners such as Drake fund their own defense (she was poor, by our notions of Crown Royalty -- although schemes like this ended up making her rich).

    And back to the meat of the issue, the analogy --

    State condoned piracy in this case seems to be largely done by the large corporations misusing copyright, DCMA and ACTA. So the pirate's victims seem to be the general populace which means the government is trying to use proxies to wage war against it's constituents.

    I think that's backwards. The pirates, in the modern case, are the **AA member companies. They are getting laws and regulations enacted (like LoMs) that allow them to seize the assets of others based upon nominal ownership of IP.

    That's the great marketing success of the **AAs -- they've managed to rebrand the victims as pirates, while they (as corporate entities, like in the famous Monty Python sketch) are the real pirates.

  • Re:New internet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @07:40PM (#30165944) Homepage Journal

    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, we need memberships and donations to help fund the £500 per seat deposit needed to get our place on the ballot papers, and if you feel strongly enough to put yourself forward as a Pirate Candidate we are about to start our candidate selection process, so now is the time to get involved.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972