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19,000 Emails Against and 0 In Favor of UK Draft Communications Bill 174

Qedward writes "Open source writer Glyn Moody discusses the Draft Communications Bill (aka Snooper's Charter) in the UK and how the Joint Parliamentary Committee that had been considering the bill received almost 19,000 emails during its consultation period. He notes: 'Out of 19,000 emails received by the Committee on the subject of the proposed Draft Communications Bill, not a single one was in favor of it, or even agreed with its premise. Has there ever been a bill so universally rejected by the public in a consultation? Clearly, it must be thrown out completely.'"
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19,000 Emails Against and 0 In Favor of UK Draft Communications Bill

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  • Unfair comparison (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PieMasters ( 2751119 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:35AM (#41628641)
    People always voice their concern when they're against something but rarely express their opinion if they're for it. This makes it unfair comparison. Just saying..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:39AM (#41628675)

    And that is just one of the excuses we are likely to see when the government ignores the consultation and presses on regardless.

    It goes without saying that all the people who objected are probably terrorists and paedophiles.

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:39AM (#41628679) Homepage

    Ah, yes, the Waitress/Teacher/Street Cleaner Imbalance.

    If you're doing a good job, people generally won't bother to tell you.
    If you're doing a bad one, people will let you know.

    That said, not receiving a SINGLE email for is sign of something - either you didn't do a proper consultation (and those people in favour didn't get the opportunity to reply) or people are vehemently against it. Either way, it means going back to the drawing board rather than pushing through with it.

    That doesn't mean that's what will happen, though.

  • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:41AM (#41628689)

    People always voice their concern when they're against something but rarely express their opinion if they're for it. This makes it unfair comparison. Just saying..

    I don't think that's true. The article says that on assisted death, there were many replies on both sides.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:41AM (#41628697)

    Interesting that the first post is a newly created account posting in this and only this story.

    Just saying..

  • by Coisiche ( 2000870 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:43AM (#41628703)

    When faced by overwhelming public rejection of a Bill has there ever been a modern government that has thrown one out because of that? Clearly they will just change the name and sneak it in with something else. Because what do the public know?

    Government politics is now so completely flawed that it needs to be replaced. I'm with Billy Connolly when he said that "the desire to be an MP [modify as appropriate for your jurisdiction] should automatically prevent you from becoming one."

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:59AM (#41628793) Homepage

    With this bill there really isn't much of a reason to be outwardly in support of it.

    That alone is reason enough to chuck it out!

  • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @06:20AM (#41628893)

    When you are directly quoting someone's writing it is usually considered a professional courtesy not to change the spelling to suit your own preferences.

    He did not say "not a single one was in favor of it", he said "not a single one was in favour of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @06:27AM (#41628911)

    In case you're new here, First post refers to the first post in this story not the first post by the account. The point the parent is making is that this newly created account seemed to have been created solely to reply to this story, and only this story seeing as they didn't then comment elsewhere, even now.

    In the case of manipulation of opinion this is a quintessential sign of an interested party trying to set the tone before people read on, especially given how infrequently people actually read the articles here.

    Hope this helps.

  • by Adambomb ( 118938 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @06:51AM (#41629013) Journal

    Basically all this states is that you have those that are willing to write in against it, and those who are ignorant of it.

    Sorry but at a rate of 19K to 0 the statistical significance is there to derive overwhelming disapproval from the result. Do you honestly believe if the populace was MORE aware of the details of the bill that suddenly there'd be an outpouring of support?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @07:12AM (#41629107)

    If I'm quoting someone who is speaking in Japanese to an English audience, then I will translate the words into English first. I suppose you'd think that's bad form?

  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @07:30AM (#41629173)

    Having read the results of a previous unrelated consulation (on anti-money laundering powers), that unfortunately sounds way too accurate. In that case actually most of the responses were for additional state surveillance and law enforcement powers, largely because it didn't get noticed by any groups like 38 Degrees or ORG so most responders were, eg, regulators, people who run compliance training firms, law enforcement themselves, companies that already paid the huge cost of compliance and wanted competitors to have to pay it too and other organizations that were by and large a part of "the system".

    In that case the consultation was triggered because a survey of "government activities that infringe civil liberties and individual freedom" highlighted the oppressive AML regime. Several years later, the results of the consultation concluded that the laws should be made even more intense! The government did get some dissenting submissions (such as mine). However the response was largely along the lines of, "we recognize the highlighted potential for abuse and you can rest assured we will be proportionate and reasonable in our application of these powers". Which is obviously stupid. The whole point for separation and limitation of government powers is you cannot assume reasonability over the long run! But despite that being pointed out they did not understand or care.

    Consultation processes do seem like little more than an exercise in box ticking, especially when the consultations are often so obscure or (too often) simply canvassing opinions only from people who stand to directly benefit.

  • by Adambomb ( 118938 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @07:49AM (#41629289) Journal

    So given a situation where of those informed and interested in the bill there is a significant amount of opposition, and of the remainder of the population people either don't know or don't care enough to support the bill, does this imply to you that this legislation is representative of the will of the people?

    If this was a case of 19K for and even 1 against I might be able to buy the argument of sampling bias. When not one single person supports it in the consultation it is not only reasonable to infer that the legislation is not desired, but damn near certain.

  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @08:28AM (#41629491)

    It's funny because it's true.

    I think we left "funny" quite a ways back.

    It may qualify as a Greek comedy however, which often ended tragically for the proponents in the play as well.

    Make a decision. You know how this type of domestic government surveillance/secret police crap always ends. History is filled with such. There's not much time left in which anything can really be done politically by the people short of global chaos, death, and destruction before their control infrastructure is complete and it's too late. The window of time remaining for people to affect relatively peaceful change is closing as we speak.

    Or do nothing. You, me, and everybody else will be living out that line from "Us and Them" by Pink Floyd; "'Listen Son,' said the man with the gun, 'there's room for you inside'."


  • by tubs ( 143128 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @08:34AM (#41629535)

    19,000 people? What difference is that going to make? The government of the day ignored at least 750,000 (+/- some) people who appeared in person to protest. []

  • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:04AM (#41631485) Journal
    They change their positions because this issue is part of The Agenda.

    This is something the ruling class has been doing for a long time in England. When an issue is part of The Agenda, something the power elite wants passed that harms the public, the government always pushes for it and the shadow government who is powerless to stop it voices opposition.

    Then the people vote the government out and the shadow government in and they switch positions. Now that the new government is in power they start being for the issue and now that the old government is out of power they can afford to be against it.

    What's the solution?

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:47PM (#41632821) Homepage Journal

    The remarkable thing is that in the U.S., the same thing happens, and we've been blaming it on the two-party system. Apparently, such blatant disregard for voters is not caused by the number of parties, but by the mere existence of parties.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle