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“yes they are watching you” — increasing notice taken of big brother britain

[This article is based on a recent article at the MagnaCartaPlus blog]

Increasingly the mainstream media are taking notice of the steady erosion of privacy that’s occurring in Britain, some of the latest examples are:

  • Iain Hollingshead, writing in the Telegraph:

    “It’s not just the paranoid who are nervous. The sanguine figure of Parliament’s Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, yesterday attacked the Government’s planned £224 million children’s register, which will contain the details of every child in Britain, saying it will not only devalue parents but “shatter” family privacy. The volume of personal information held on children has already reached unprecedented levels and is “set to increase dramatically”.

    “Meanwhile, motorists now face the threat of being fingerprinted at the roadside. Yesterday 10 police forces across England and Wales started using handheld gadgets to check speeding motorists against a fingerprint database of 6.5 million crime suspects.

    “If the scheme, which will be voluntary, becomes compulsory, the day may not be too far away when laws could be introduced that would mean criminal penalties for drivers who refuse to let their fingerprints be checked. That is, of course, assuming you haven’t already been hauled in for failing to produce your ID card on demand or supplying a sample to the police DNA database. I jest. Or do I?”

If you allow this socialist government to stay in power, you will eventually be stopped on the street and fingerprinted.

    “Earlier this month a report published by the human rights group Privacy International gave Britain a similar privacy ranking to Russia and China, placing us at the top of a European surveillance league. The fears voiced by the Information Commissioner that we have “sleepwalked into a surveillance society” seem to be confirmed.”

The full article is well worth reading for a primer as to just how much information is gathered about us during our daily lives. The Privacy International rankings referred to can be found here. More info on this report here.

  • Henry Porter writing in the Observer:

    “The most shocking part of Britain’s frantic rush towards a fully fledged surveillance society is not so much the threat to personal liberty, although that is important; it is the lack of security in the systems that are confidently held up to be the solution to the problems of 21st-century crime and terrorism.

    “While each of us is required to give more and more information about ourselves to the government’s various centralised databases, and submit to increasing surveillance in our daily lives, almost no one seems to consider the risk to us if these systems are breached.

    “For some time now, I have been warning about the menace that these systems may come to represent in the hands of future governments, the nature of which we cannot know. But having spent the last few months making a film, Suspect Nation, with the director Neil Ferguson - about the growth of surveillance since 9/11 - I realise that the threat exists in the present. Both of us were astonished at the gaps in security that we found and the insouciance of government.

    Suspect Nation was shown on Channel More4 twice recently and can be seen on YouTube. It is well worth the hour’s viewing time.

This is not about identification, it is about generating a police state. It is about control, the end game and end result of every socialist government. If you are not paranoid you damned well ought to be.

Do not be confused or distracted by pretences that this is about identification.

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/civil-liberties2006.php#big_brother_britain_251106





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living in a transparent society

I think people are going to have to learn to live in a pretty transparent society. I think humans will adjust, and be forced to adjust, to that. I think a seriously ‘private life’ is on the way out. There are many ways humans will strive bypass this trend, but increasingly I think the age of hiding in caves is over.

The best answer to politicians who stick their noses into your affairs is for you to stick your nose into their affairs. That is, if politicans want our affairs to be transparent, then their public and private affairs should also be open to scrutiny.

I further believe that culture/law is going to have to mature to a forceful application of “no blame, no excuse”. The fossil media are a grave problem here in their drive to emotionalise everything; while politicans and dorks also try to exploit this emotionalising.

incorrect, tendentious and simplistic rhetoric

Putting a case reasonably is met by incorrect, tendentious and simplistic rhetoric from politicans and dorks. This incorrect, tendentious and simplistic rhetoric tends to distract from the real arguments, as those using it intend - for they have nothing else on offer.

Those putting the better case tend to be the more intelligent than those using the incorrect, tendentious and simplistic rhetoric. This has the evolutional result that those putting the better case learn to be better at using incorrect, tendentious and simplistic rhetoric. Thus, they tend still to prevail against the idiots who have nothing else to offer other that: incorrect, tendentious and simplistic rhetoric.

Therefore the results usually come out OK in the long run.

growth of individual power

Society tends to progress by technology. The power available to individuals is growing at a tremendous rate. I do not think future society will be able to tolerate Missis Sawkins brewing anthrax in her garage. I think this growth of individual power is going to drive a transparent society.

I watch the ID debate in the UK with close attention and much interest for reasons of this sort. (See, for instance, the news blog at magnacartaplus.org.)

If society is to be free within this changing context, extreme force will have to be applied to politicians to make them grant a full freedom of information legislation environment.

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/civil-liberties2006.php#transparent_society_260606

on the growth of freedom by civil action Five GoldenYak (tm) award

This item has moved and is now incorporated in the briefing document, people power and the power of civil disobedience.

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/civil-liberties2006.php#civil_action_100506

michael portillo on the ongoing destruction of uk democracy

“Blair now sees that the unwelcome by-product of the appointed Lords is that it allows in experienced people of independent mind. Being life peers they are not reliant on Labour for re-selection. An elected Lords will be different.

“It will not attract those scientists, High Court judges and academics who have stood up for civil liberties and repeatedly rejected the government’s populist and authoritarian bills brought forward in the name of fighting terrorism. No retired field marshal will step forward at the polls, and so the government will in future be spared the embarrassment of valiant men who have commanded in battle attacking its policy in Iraq.

“In elections to the Lords we can expect candidates every bit as craven and ambitious as those who offer themselves for the Commons (as I did). The party selection committees will vet them as best they can to ensure that they are unimaginative conformists. Before crucial divisions the government whips will threaten the elected peers with trouble in their constituencies if they fail to bow the knee. Government defeats in the Lords will become as rare as they are in the Commons. Just think, if Blair can secure the double whammy of a Lords elected from party lists, he will really hit the jackpot.”

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/civil-liberties2006.php#portillo_190406

an interesting if poorly written item - wendell holmes on freedom of speech

“The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done," Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote for the Court. "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

“Justice Holmes's less famous words from Schenck: "When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.”

From page 2
“Apparently, it hasn't occurred to the media poo-bahs that the prohibition against likenesses of Mohammed should apply only to Muslims, not to the rest of us. (As Dennis Prager noted, "It's like Jews rioting when someone else eats pork.") The cartoons should've been printed and broadcast as widely as the bruised face of Cheney's hunting partner when he got out of the hospital. That would've resolved the matter overnight, by giving cover to every news outlet and reasserting the primacy of free expression in a free society.”

related material
cartoon rage and cringing - a round-up
france does the right thing - perhaps they do have regrets!

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/civil-liberties2006.php#wendall_holmes_070306

on the livingston outrage/farce

[Ken Livingstone, the socialist mayor of London, commonly known as Red Ken, had been suspended from his position as mayor by a government quango, for not clearly apologising for a remark he made to a reporter, likening him to a concentration camp guard. A high court injunction has now prevented the suspension order being imposed.]

William Rees Mogg:
“The Prime Minister knows what the issue is. He is against due process as such. He has written a most extraordinary attack on the whole concept in yesterday's Observer. The article is so incautious that he must have written it himself.

“ "In theory," Tony Blair writes, "traditional court processes and attitudes to civil liberties could work. But the modern world is different from the world for which these court processes were designed." This view that due process is obsolete explains the Prime Minister's conduct; it explains the connection between extradition without safeguards, detention without trial, Asbos without criminal offences, subjective and discretionary judgments, police powers to arrest, and increasing ministerial powers. They are all characteristic of Blair legislation; they all avoid due process of law.”

marker at abelard.org

And here is the public B-liar :
“There is a charge, crafted by parts of the right wing and now taken up by parts of the left, that New Labour is authoritarian, in particular, that I am. We are intent on savaging British liberties, locking up those who dissent and we abhor parliamentary or other accountability.”

As if, Tony...

“In theory, traditional court processes and attitudes to civil liberties could work. But the modern world is different from the world for which these court processes were designed.

“It is a world of vast migration, most of it beneficial but with dangerous threats. We have unparalleled prosperity, but also the break-up of traditional community and family ties and the emergence of behaviour that was rare 50 years ago.”

And I extract this paragraph of bleating muddle from the middle of this item:

“If we fail to tackle ASB [anti-social behaviour] because the court system is inadequate, other people's liberties suffer. If we don't take head-on organised criminals or terrorists, others are harmed.[...]”

still waiting to see Blair ordering the arrest of those who advocate chopping off heads.

“[...] The question is not one of individual liberty vs the state but of which approach best guarantees most liberty for the largest number of people.”

Ah yes, there speaks the lying collectivist. Individual liberty is irrelevant, only the collective is real. Give me your freedoms and I will protect you - the siren song of every wannabee dictator.

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/civil-liberties2006.php#livingstone_020306

britain is a free country? jailed for (4) months, guess why

And why the favouritism?
“Mr Gough was arrested nine times; Ms Roberts five.”

marker at abelard.org

“Before they dressed, there was a little welcome party of locals waiting at John O'Groats with cameras and mobile phones to record the end of the 874-mile naked walk. Bobbie, a man in his 70s from the village of Halkirk, near Thurso, had driven down especially. "It's not him I've come to see, it's the girlfriend; I'm a bachelor so I've not seen as much as a married man," he said unabashed. "It's a bit of fun. There's not much else to brighten the winter here.”

Allah knows what the jihadis would do with them if they had a chance, the jihadis cannot even cope with a few cartoons.

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/civil-liberties2006.php#walking_220206

on the increasingly surreal case of the UK government vs. collett and griffin

What you see here is just the tip of the iceberg, part of the ongoing results of the steady destruction of the rule of law in the United Kingdom and its replacement by arbitrary and increasingly politicised ‘law’.

This corruption, of which I have continually warned, has now been underway in the UK for over ten years. The following mess is nothing much to do with the publicity of this case. It is inherent in the breaking structure that remains of UK ‘law’. What can be seen here in high profile is going on under-the-counter week by week in Britain.

The rule of law is being substituted by prejudice, emotionalism and rule by tabloid newspapers - this is Tony Bliar’s notion of law.

This sort of mess is inevitable when a country leaves the path of rule of law under a variety of excuses such as ‘the criminals are getting let off in court’, or ‘terrorism’.

“The problem for the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] - and the government - is that the jury in such cases will be dealing not with matters of fact, but matters of opinion. Indeed, the recorder at Leeds crown court instructed the jury members to put from their minds any question as to whether Griffin was factually right. One of the comments that got the BNP leader into trouble was his warning, delivered 18 months ago, that Britain would one day soon suffer a terrorist attack from home-grown British Muslims. Being prosecuted for fairly accurately predicting the future also seems, to my mind, a bit steep. If the bombs hadn't gone off on July 7, would Griffin have been more likely to be found guilty?

“The charges are too ephemeral, too dependent upon the mindset and political disposition of the juror, and upon what is happening outside of the courtroom, on the streets.......

“As part of the operation that netted Nick Griffin, the police swooped on a West Yorkshire BNP activist, Paul collett, who, having been alerted to their imminent arrival, switched on a tape recorder. "At the end of the day this whole thing should be . . . well, it's very political. It's not coming from senior police. It's coming from much higher than that," oneofficer tells collett, shamefacedly, as they rifle through his stuff.”

Why do I regard this as surreal? Consider just some of the points raised in this excellent article, partially quoted here. (There are other issues not fully addressed in the article or in this item at abelard.org. The breakdown of law is a very wide-ranging and complex matter. In the UK, it is a road to hell often paved with good intentions, the sort of road so often attractive to those of mediocre education and wisdom.)

Freedom of information?

“I'm not sure how many police officers constitute a "team" and West Yorkshire police are disinclined to tell me.”

Equal before the law?

“[...] Last year the Home Office told me that I could probably get away with calling Islam a "wicked, vicious faith" in a nice column in The Sunday Times, but Nick Griffin probably couldn't....Person-specific crimes: it will never catch on.”

Clarity of law?

“The problem for the CPS - and the government - is that the jury in such cases will be dealing not with matters of fact, but matters of opinion.”

The facts are irrelevant -

“Indeed, the recorder at Leeds crown court instructed the jury members to put from their minds any question as to whether Griffin was factually right.”

The removal of double jeopardy restriction?
The replacement of jury verdict by majority verdict.
If at first you do not succeed, try, try and try again.

“The CPS has said that it wishes both cases to be retried, [...]”

related material
magnacartaplus - to advance civil liberties

the web address for the article above is
https://www.abelard.org/news/civil-liberties2006.php#no_law_050206
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