Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


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Tuesday 24 February 2009

Surveillance (Again) & Civil Liberties

Yes, we are back once again to the "Big Brother" stuff I am afraid; well after all, you didn't expect that THEY would forget about it I hope?
We begin with criticism from a high quarter of British Government policy. This story was reported last week by the BBC, and most interestingly for a certain type of conspiracy-theorist includes some quotations from Dame Stella Rimington who was head of Britain's internal intelligence service, MI5 from 1992 - 1996. Dame Stella accuses the British Government of exploitnig the fear of terrorism in order to restrict civil liberties; she is quoted also as saying:

"It would be better that the government recognised that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, precisely one of the objects of terrorism - that we live in fear and under a police state."

Good for Dame Stella I say, based on these quotes, obviously a decent Briton in the best traditions of Englishness!

The article goes on to report a study carried out by the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ) and includes the following:

Former Irish president Mary Robinson, the president of the ICJ said: "Seven years after 9/11 it is time to take stock and to repeal abusive laws and policies enacted in recent years.

Next reported in The Register today we have the story that the "authorities" are becoming increasingly concerned about the privacy accorded to the criminal classes by such service providers as Skype, whose system of encryption prevents the "Blue Meanies" listening-in to communications. Something called Eurojust (obviously another over-staffed, over-paid and superfluous "Euro committee" of which, of course I am deeply suspicious) is apparently working on the issue. The following comes from the pîece:

Following a meeting with the authorities in Milan, Eurojust Italian rep. Carmen Manfredda said: "The possibility of intercepting internet telephony will be an essential tool in the fight against international organised crime within Europe and beyond. Our aim is not to stop users from taking advantage of internet telephony, but to prevent criminals from using Skype and other systems to plan and organise their unlawful actions."
"Eurojust will make all possible efforts to coordinate and assist in the cooperation between Member States," she added. ®

So in other words, the plan is presumably at vast cost, to establish another enormous organisation staffed by overpaid parasites whose job will be to record everything we say. I have of course, already reported the British Government's plans in this regard, here.
"Our aim is not to stop users from taking advantage of internet telephony" Well she would say that wouldn't she?

In summary, my usual complaint: Too much government, too many busybodies, far too much expense. The EU would be better off in these straitened times, investigating the staggering waste and corruption that prevails in its organisation - remember, at OUR expense.

Until the next time.

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