Twitter is lively with reports that Nick Clegg has confirmed the Snoopers’ Charter will not be in the Queen’s Speech. Furthermore Clegg himself has blocked the Communications Data Bill.
Big Brother Watch carries a report here.
Today’s Times carries a very interesting front page with the same headline as this post’s title.
Liberal Democrat Stephen Tall’s blog has an analysis of the article and names three of the nine cybersecurity experts who have reportedly challenged the Coalition “government” to drop this cock eyed and illiberal scheme.
VFPJ has been against any kind of state monitoring of the internet since the Labour “government” first mooted the idea. In 2009 I politely told the APCOMMS committee that Parliament is clueless in dealing with technical issues and should seek the advice of a committee of independent experts. Given that they have not, I would dearly like to know the names and qualifications of those who have told the “government” that this monitoring scheme is a technically feasible and good idea.
Let’s see who the control freaks really are. Let’s put their ideas out to peer analysis.
Update: Big Brother Watch has a report including the text of the letter sent to David Cameron. You will see one of the points made is strikingly similar to those made in the campaign against Phorm.
I’ve done a lot of clearing up other peoples’ mess in my life and career. Most of these messes were the result of people ignoring my advice, things going pear shaped (as I had said they would) and then being asked if I would remedy the now fouled up situation. I’m sure those of you who are or have worked as techies for any length of time know the sort of people I mean.
When things really went titsup I was often asked to not only help clean up the mess but do so in a way that ensured the titsup situation would never happen again. Those responsible for things going titsup in the first place would wail their innocence and protest that things should be done differently but never actually front up with a positive suggestion in the face of my action plan.
So it is that I have some empathy for the Coalition government as it looks to clear up the mess that Labour left behind it. Under the Labour government, the UK state had ballooned into a seedy, control freak sumo wrestler who got his kicks from sticking his nose into every part of peoples’ lives, failing to protect the people they are supposed to serve from deliberate illegal acts and attempting to spread fear and misinformation about groups like photographers.
The Digital Economy Bill has been passed. Again the House Of Commons has shown its ignorance of technical issues and that it is far too easy for vested interests to buy influence. Quite frankly right now I feel sick and ashamed of the political system in the UK. What Hansie Cronje like deals were struck in Commons back rooms to get this Bill passed?
See some of the reactions via the Twitter hashtag #DEBill and a search on Digital Economy Bill. There are a lot of very annoyed, cynical and probably very disillusioned internet users & techies out there now, and all of them know more about internet and technical issues than their MPs. Remember what I wrote last year?
Of course the 20,000 people who wrote to their MPs don’t matter. The need for the media industry to protect its dying business model comes way ahead of the wishes of MPs’ constituents. Doesn’t it Peter Mandelson? Doesn’t it Lord Vested Interest Clement-Jones? Doesn’t it Lord Howard of Rising? Doesn’t it Sion Simon? Doesn’t it John Horam?
This question should be asked of every MP who voted for the Bill and every MP who didn’t bother to turn up at the House of Commons for the vote. Only 47 MPs voted against the Bill. Those 47 people respect democracy, the need to make laws based on impartial evidence rather than lobbying and obeying the wishes of their constituents. The rest of the House of Commons lacks any kind of honour at all.
To these people I ask one simple question: What do you stand for?
Surely an MP’s role is to serve their constituents, not act as stooges for an industry unwilling to evolve with the times?