Feeds

Reid fires starting gun in spook toys arms race

Civil society called up

Application security programs and practises

The UK Home Secretary has called on the country to back the surveillance industry at the start of a civil security arms race.

Speaking to a surveillance industry conference today, John Reid described how British society must change in order to protect itself from those peoples left embittered in the wake of the cold war.

He started by redefining the values of modern, liberal democracy for the 21st Century war. The ideal of liberty remained, but transparency and trust had given way to qualified, or "guarded openness".

He reiterated the Blairite idea of a battle of ideas, but said that on our overpopulated planet the battle was being given added intensity by its resources. So we had to battle with our values, he said, "in defiance of the terrorist menace".

We had to "speed the execution of delivery" of the surveillance devices produced by the security industry, Reid said.

"It is vital that our enterprises sustain the delivery of innovation at a pace that outstrips our adversaries," he said.

To sustain this would require more public services to be delivered by the private sector, he said. In the context of security, this meant surveillance and a society wrapped in such a cloak would have to change its rules, he said.

"This involves nothing less than together renewing the social contract," Reid said.

"The whole community must be engaged in the struggle," he added later.

To tell citizens what they should fight for, he drew a contrast between the society of failed states, in which everyone has to muck in to make the most basic services work, and the society of modern western states, in which people's needs are provided by the private sector.

This was reason enough to dismiss the famous warning given by US President Dwight David Eisenhower in his parting address in 1961, that the wealth of our economies had become so dependent on the war industry that we should watch that the war profiteers did not gain undue influence over civil policy.

"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes," outgoing president said, coining this economic dependence the military-industrial complex.

Rather than take Eisenhower's lesson and apply it to the emerging civil surveillance industry (a phenomenon coined the security-industrial complex by Statewatch since military industry was behind most of the new civil surveillance technologies), the current Home Secretary said civil society can learn from the defence industry.

"Competitiveness of markets makes Eisenhower's fears less relevant today," he said.

"In the wake of the cold war," he said, the threat was complex and "ultimate victory" could only be achieved if we all joined together.

Reid stretched the idea of the "enabling state", a euphemism for the private provision of public services, to encompass civil surveillance.

"This will mean the public, private and voluntary sectors partnering and embracing competitiveness as never before," he said.

"Liberty, tolerance and guarded openness are not luxuries but vital to the conduct of a struggle that will be long, wide and deep," he added.®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.