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Reasons to be cheerful

This Guardian article contains a handy summary of some of the powers in the new anti-terrorism act which is expected to pass into law before Xmas. A typical understatement from Liberty says "Too many of these proposals risk falling short of the highest British standards of justice."

No shit! Internment without trial and the evidence against you read in camera so neither you nor your lawyer know what it is - God on a stick, what will they think of next!

So much of what David Blunkett says fails to understand even what a civil liberty might be, so I despair of him ever having a clue. He thinks, for instance, that "Because we are talking only about a handful of people, we are not threatening the civil liberties of this country, but we are ensuring those handful don't threaten those civil liberties". So how many randomly arrested people would be a threat? And why?

OK, I know you all agree with me on this, so I won't continue to labour the point, but I wish that our respected civil liberties organisations would have the guts to show even half as much outrage as I feel.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
djm4
14th Nov, 2001 05:11 (UTC)
Mind you, it was almost worth it for the Yes Minister moment on Radio 5 live on Monday where the government spokesperson was explaining that yes, they were probably going to declare a state of emergency, but that they were only doing it to get round EU law, so we shouldn't all panic about it.

And I don't see that any of it is going to stop central London being nuked by a 'suitcase bomb' in the next couple of years, the fear of which is almost inclining me to the 'sod right and wrong, what's going to work?' view.
ajva
14th Nov, 2001 05:42 (UTC)
clarification
And I don't see that any of it is going to stop central London being nuked by a 'suitcase bomb' in the next couple of years, the fear of which is almost inclining me to the 'sod right and wrong, what's going to work?' view.

I'll just point out that I am in favour of civil liberties over small danger of death. Despite what you may feel, this is not inconsistent with my support for the war against the Taleban, if you think about it.

djm4
14th Nov, 2001 05:50 (UTC)
Re: clarification
It's not always about you.
adjectivemarcus
14th Nov, 2001 06:00 (UTC)
Re: clarification
Although you do have, I seem to recall, a very heavy suitcase.
djm4
14th Nov, 2001 07:08 (UTC)
Re: clarification
I do. But Uranium and Plutonium are very light elements really, honest. Bit like Helium - have to keep 'em in balloons to stop 'em floating away.
ajva
14th Nov, 2001 07:14 (UTC)
deadpan
It's not always about you (-r suitcase)
djm4
14th Nov, 2001 07:23 (UTC)
Re: deadpan
It's so much easier to be witty when you have a straight man to bounce off, isn't it?
adjectivemarcus
14th Nov, 2001 07:33 (UTC)
Re: deadpan
That's certainly why I keep slipping James the fivers. Otherwise he'd leave, he hates you all.
bootpunk
14th Nov, 2001 09:30 (UTC)
Re: deadpan
Who is this "straight" man you speak of? [casts eye 'round here]
adjectivemarcus
14th Nov, 2001 07:35 (UTC)
Re: deadpan
Indeed not - I certainly haven't toted David's suitcase halfway across London. :o)
adjectivemarcus
14th Nov, 2001 06:12 (UTC)
And some of it is ridiculous, I mean:
Requires internet service providers to retain data of internet and email traffic, such as itemised billing - but not content - for 12 months for use by police in serious crime investigations.
Eh? Data of net traffic but not content? So, how many sites were visited, but not what ones? How many emails were sent, but not what's in them? How the hell could that help any investigation?
MPs bypass Anti-terrorist measures agreed by EU ministers to become law in Britain without need for legislation in British parliament.
And yet we're also opting out of the Human Rights stuff. Hope they don't include any 'safeguards' in the EU Anti-Terror stuff, eh?
Incitement to religious hatred Penalty of up to seven years for using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up hatred against a group of people because of their religious belief (or lack of religious belief)".
I know of (at the very least) one person who has threatened me with "an eternity of pain" (their words) for being an atheist. ;o)

As laid out these are daft. Consequently they can probably only be used if twisted for an individual's aims. Bad bad news.
djm4
14th Nov, 2001 07:14 (UTC)
"Eh? Data of net traffic but not content?"

I suspect that is simply the toe in the door. In six month's time, David Blunkett will point out that the measure introduced in this bill isn't very useful, and amend it to allow reading of content 'to close a silly loophole that's letting terrorists escape'.

I'll be very happy to be proven too cynical on that one.
adjectivemarcus
14th Nov, 2001 07:40 (UTC)
And then it will become impossible to keep up. What ISP could keep copies of emails sent for that period?
akicif
14th Nov, 2001 07:47 (UTC)
I'm prepared to bet that "data" includes the address of the website (rendering it unnecessary to store "content") and the addressee of any email (ie the same info that mobile phone companies store aleady).

What's the betting it'll soon be a criminal offence to own and operate a mobile phone without some form of connected identity?

And if it's not, there's damn' all point in tracking net stuff (if they're doing it for the reasons they say they are).

And while I'd be very surprised if most people reading this hadn't already seen something similar, here's a useful thing from today's Register...
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )