Green light for spooks' net snoop plan
Imagine our surprise
The coalition government has approved a multibillion-pound plan by the intelligence agencies to store details of every online conversation.
The reemerging Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) means internet providers will be forced to install interception equipment in their networks to capture details of who contacts whom, when, where and how via services such as Facebook, Skype, webmail, and online games.
Under the most likely scenario, Deep Packet Inspection technology will be configured by GCHQ to grab such data from passing traffic and store it in vast silos run by communications providers. The same technology will also allow for the content of communications to be intercepted, although this requires a warrant from the Home Secretary.
After the election the coalition said it would "end the storage of internet and e-mail records without good reason". But the Strategic Defence and Security Review shows ministers now believe the massive surveillance programme is necessary.
"We will introduce a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications within the appropriate legal framework," the Strategic Defence and Security Review says.
"This programme is required to keep up with changing technology and to maintain capabilities that are vital to the work these agencies do to protect the public."
"We will legislate to put in place the necessary regulations and safeguards to ensure that our response to this technology challenge is compatible with the government’s approach to information storage and civil liberties."
The language endorsing IMP, which was initially estimated to cost £2bn over 10 years, has not changed since the Labour government publicly backed away from it before the election.
The intelligence agencies have always insisted that blanket storage of communications data is required to maintain their capability to investigate crime and terrorism.
Despite the coalition's initial statements about IMP, politicians were never likely to scrap it. But you knew that already. ®
Gosh! You mean ...
.. to say that the current government are just as much a bunch of liberty eroding, statist, authoritarian super cocks as the last one ?
Well fuck me, who would have thought ?
Where will it end?
Normally I post everything I say online under my own name, I'm not ashamed of my opinions. On this occasion, given the subject matter, I'm taking the very rare step of posting anonymously...
I can't express how angry I am.
If you photograph something in the street you're at risk of being arrested, searched and harassed despite having broken no laws. Nobody will be punished for doing this to you.
You've done nothing wrong, but the government lets the police follow your car with ANPR cameras, keeping the data for 2 years.
If you exercise your rights to lawful protest, the police will identify and track you. Later they will use those selfsame ANPR cameras to dispatch chase vehicles to stop and search you, with no lawful basis. Nobody will be punished for doing this to you.
You've done nothing wrong, but the government wants to know who you email.
You've done nothing wrong, but the government wants to know what you read online.
You've done nothing wrong, but the government want to know what you buy online.
You've done nothing wrong, but the government want to know who you telephone.
All of the above are clearly against the law of this country; there is no reasonable basis for claiming that they meet the necessity or proportionality tests of our human rights laws. Human rights laws that were specifically created as a response to what we saw happen in the second world war.
I recall Tony Blair, speaking about the BAE bribery case, saying that we needed to "Balance the rule of law against National Security". I cannot imagine how you can "balance the rule of law" against anything.
My father was wounded, risked this life and watched his mates die in the second world war so that I could live in a free society. Were he still alive I'm sure that what this bunch of utter crooks and scoundrels are doing to British society would look to him a lot like what he was fighting against.
If one 'enjoys' the kind of attention that goes with being a criminal, if one is harassed and punished like a criminal what incentive does one have to behave? If one is a permanent suspect what is the impetus to behave innocently? If the state treats your rights with contempt what message does it send about how you should treat other's rights?
Government after government has chipped away at the rights of individuals and we've reached the point where this has to stop and the tide must be turned. Make no mistake, I think this is the issue for our age. Forget deficits, forget global warming (for a while, it's not like they'll make any actual progress on fixing it soon), If we permit this utter contempt for the rights of individuals to continue we'll be living in a fully fledged police state within five years.
The year before last I was discussing this with David Carnigie, a member of the House of Lords, now sadly deceased. He feared that if good people don't find a lawful, peaceful way to stem the tide, and do so soon, there was a genuine risk that we'd see the issue resolved violently. I fact, his answer when I asked him what would happen if we couldn't reverse the trend was two words "Civil war". I thought then he was overstating the case, now I fear he might be right.
Meantime what few real terrorists and serious crooks there are will just send each other letter and postcards.
Police state it is then.
It's a shame, I had doped that this lot were slightly less cuntish than the last ones but, alas, it would seem now.