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.
As the UK “government” tries to push forward its surveillance state agenda, Techweek Europe reports that the UK police are the world’s greediest for wanting access to Skype users’ personal data. Here are a couple of snippets from the Techweek report:
In 2012, the UK was the source of 1,268 requests for Skype user information, while the whole of the US made only 1,154 requests, and German police made a paltry 685. The UK was looking for information on 2,720 different users in its requests.
If the Snoopers’ Charter is passed into law then this is just a small part of the kinds of information the police will be looking for on everyone. Remember, in surveillance states everyone is a criminal. It’s just a case of finding the evidence to get them convicted.
More interestingly (or worryingly)
In 50 cases, UK police requests were rejected for not meeting legal requirements.
This shows a disregard for the law and due process by the police themselves. Will those who authorised and submitted the flawed requests be taken to task?
I’m sure we all know the answer to that.
In the meantime, questions still persist about Skype and privacy.
Non-content data, such as SkypeIDs, names, email accounts, billing information and call detail records were handed over. Microsoft did not give figures for how much non-content information was passed on.
Make of that what you will.
Taking a break from housework yesterday I flicked through a few channels and found an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation being shown. The episode shown was “The Drumhead”, a story about a Starfleet admiral who sees everyone as consipirators and spread mistrust and paranoia anywhere and everywhere she goes. Because of her high rank very few people have the influence or authority to challenge her obsessions while many others fall under her spell. The witch hunt is only stopped once it became clear to a superior that she was zealously pursuing the investigation, in the absence of evidence, for personal reasons.
It struck me that there are a few similarities between the issue covered by this episode and the current political climate in the UK and how the Houses of Parliament are dealing with the Digital Economy Bill (link to Twitter search on the topic, some very relevant responses).
It’s already widely known that Sith Lord Mandelson now believes that internet users are all criminal scum who download pirated music, games, films, terrorist device plans and spread evil gossip and misinformation about this control freak government. He believes that the bedrock of British Law, the concept of innocent until proven guilty, should not apply to internet users such as you and me. Merely a whisper of an allegation should be enough to get sanctions taken against people. No trial, so no due legal process before a judge. That is what New Labour stands for.
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Grieve QC MP has announced a list of proposals a future Conservative government would put into place to “reverse the rise of the Surveillance State”.
Sounds good but what are the facts behind the soundbites? More importantly what are the omissions behind the soundbites? What isn’t said is as important as what is. Specifically with reference to the Information Commissioner’s Office, a body which Mr Grieve wants to give more powers to.
Those who have followed the Phorm story will no doubt be aware that the ICO is complicit in allowing Phorm and BT to get away with their secret and illegal tests as any other government department. Perhaps even more so because it is not unreasonable to expect those charged with the guardianship of Data Protection legislation to have a decent understanding of such legislation.
Mr Grieve has failed to understand the Information Commissioner’s Office complicity. Perhaps he doesn’t know about it.