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Coalition FAIL On Privacy: Snooping Is Go (Updated)

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.

When Gordon Brown hauled his fat arse out of 10 Downing Street there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  We knew the country’s finances were in a mess.  We knew there needed to be some pretty hard decisions to be taken and that some of the cuts would hurt.  Such is the legacy of the last Labour “government”.

The Conservative Party promised that it would “reverse the surveillance state” (PDF file).  The Liberal Democrats have been good on civil liberties for a while now.  So it came as very unpleasant news that the Coalition government has revived the control freakery that is the Interception Modernisation Programme.

Far from reversing the suveillance state the Coalition government is embracing it with a New Labour-like fervour.

The government has broken a clear and fundamental promise to the electorate.

So which was it, Messrs Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and Grieve?  A mistake?  An omission?  Something missed from a draft?  A little white lie?  Bullshit?  Or a fat [censored] LIE?

Who fell for the spooks’ lies?  Who thought it a good idea to follow in the footsteps of Heydrich, Honecker and Jacqui Smith?

The Coalition government has allied itself with the disgraced and now (thankfully) terminated New Labour control freakery.  In doing so it has destroyed any credibility it had to claiming to govern for the good of the people.

If you’re looking for a VPN provider (and I strongly suggest you do) then try Ivacy out.  Any other suggestions for VPN providers and positive experiences of them welcome.

As ever, discussion at NoDPI is worth following.

To those who say the Coalition consulted people, they may have done so on the cuts.  Not the IMP.  It’s not the cuts I have a problem with: it’s the embrace of the Stasi way of doing things.

In 2010 the Surveillance State is alive, kicking and being encouraged by a government that promised to reverse it.

Update:

In her excellent blog (if it’s not on your reading list it should be), Zoe O’Connell writes about the technical feasibility of the IMP as originally intended by the Labour “government”.  It’s interesting stuff and shows how much actual awareness of what is and is not possible there is in the Home Office.

So the questions that need to be asked are those above and which of the spooks spun what appears to be something like a load of bollocks which gained government approval?

That the Coalition government swallowed it and seem to believe in some kind of all-knowing all seeing trash heap (Fraggle Rock reference for the unaware) surveillance is frightening.  This remains a broken promise.

Whether the full spec of ConDem IMP will come to light I do not know.  But I strongly believe that privacy of communications is a fundamental right of all citizens.

Whatever the colour and name of IMP, it contradicts that belief and must be opposed.

Published inbad government ideasethicsgovernmentInternetlack of Clueprivacysurveillance state