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back to article UK minister: 'There must be a limit to what the gov knows about its people'

Any new British privacy law will have to protect citizens' privacy from the government as much as from the media. That's according to UK Justice Minister Tom McNally, who was speaking on Data Protection Day at an event organised by the Information Commissioner's Office. McNally discussed the new defamation and privacy …

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Anonymous Coward

Law Flaw

"...I always say to my colleagues - if you know the piece of legislation that can correctly govern the internet, let me know about it..."

Presumably that's why they let the MPAA, RIAA, FBI, etc [and by extension USA] take care of that side of things for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Law Flaw

Just checking the calendar. Is it already April the 1st?

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Thumb Down

Re: Law Flaw

MPAA, RIAA, FBI etc. are all US organizations. I don't see how these can be conflated with statements about Data protection in the UK?

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Re: Law Flaw

hahahaha... for sure!!! its a rule that no government will ever let pass. yet all the people want to know exactly what government is doing and even create conspiracy theories. but when it comes to government, they should not inquire about what people are doing at all times.

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Anonymous Coward

"We have to be able to use these tools in a way that makes for regular conversation, and..."

Couldn't even be bothered to translate that into English I see. No doubt his boss at the RIAA/NSA will be drafting his legislation for him as well as his press announcements. Splendid.

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"'THERE MUST BE A LIMIT etc"

If you believe that, I know a room over a shop with no telescreen.

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Anonymous Coward

Can we have a law so Google has a limit to what they know about you too?

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Anonymous Coward

Can we have a law so Google has a limit to what they know about you too?

There is. But from what I can see you will only see any of that implemented in Europe, and only when the regulator isn't angling for a new job already (as happened with Facebook in Ireland).

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there is no limit

on what people will freely tell FB about themselves.

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Misread title

Did anyone else misrtead that as

"'There must be a limit to what the god knows about the people."

Dear Dog, don't worry there's a lot of people down here that don't have a clue either.

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Labour's surveillance state

It's alive and well, thank you very much. Here is a list, from the Conservative's own site, of the many things the tories have completely failed to do since they said they would back in 2009 www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2009/09/Jones_calls_for_end_to_surveillance_state.aspx

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Unhappy

Re: Labour's surveillance state

I'd agree that there's nothing to choose between them. But it's interesting to note the posessive in McNally's words "the government knows about its people"...

What an arrogant ***t. I don't belong to him and his stinking government of inept, dishonest clowns (or to the opposition comprised of even more inept, dishonest clowns who want to be in government). In fact, if there's any posessives to be used, he's supposed to by my representative, doing what I want, rather than indulging himself at the Westminster Hosppice for the Terminally Narcisstic.

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Anonymous Coward

Hypocracy at its best

And who is the one pimping, SOPA, ACTA and all other serveillance methods, mostly behing closed doors?

I bet he has also been wined and dined somewhere on Med by RIAA and MPAA execs.

Wonder what he was fed.

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FAIL

[I]n a free society there should be a limit to what the government knows about its people.

The government doesn't own the people. The people own the government. Amazing how quickly that is forgotten once you're sitting on those green benches.

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Gimp

The government doesn't own the people. The people own the government.

Quoted for Truth.

Which is why we have the TV brainwashing of no talent shows and soaps that impart no information whatsoever and c list celebrities who'll do disgusting things for the edification of drooling idiots and the media don't show how Iceland got their shit together and jailed the bankers or how the 'evil terrorists' probably just want a fridge freezer and 40 inch TV like the west.

The majority forgot how to think and allowed the governments / corporations to take over.

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Anonymous Coward

"The government doesn't own the people. The people own the government."

Sunday's BBC Radio4 "Westminster Hour" had two MPs being interviewed about the same-sex marriage "free" vote. Jacob Rees-Mogg (MP for North East Somerset ) started off by saying that he had already told his local association that he was going to vote against the change - no matter what they or his constituents thought.

His exact phrase was "[...] in this sort of matter I take my whip from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church [...]".

BBC iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01qdrg3

Interview starts 18m20s quote at 19m02s

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Silver badge

Sickening

So, he has admitted that not only does he not represent his constituents, as he is elected to do, he also takes instruction from a foreign power (the Vatican). Given that Dear Old Liz is the head of the Church in this country, isn't that tantamount to treason? Also, given that religious dogma is complete bollocks (I prefer my beliefs based on facts, not on censored versions of mistranslated and carefully selected historical texts based on hearsay), isn't it also nonsense.

Either way, what an arse.

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Sorry folks

The monarch owns the government. Think HMG .

And we elect an MP who is a representative, not a delegate. So we don't own her or him.

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Headmaster

And I don't own "my employer".

What was your point exactly?

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"There must be a limit"

=> 'We don't know what it is, so we're doing our damndest to find out what it is by sucking more and more information until something breaks.'

Actually, that's a bit cynical - the minister seems to be talking sense. But a sensible minister can't be allowed to stay in his post for long - so I believe reality will be the opposite of what he is saying.

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Big Brother

Re: "There must be a limit"

I was going to say:

'There must be a limit to what the gov knows about its people'

"... and we intend to find it."

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Spare me from politicians

There has to be a limit - what when they know everything down to how many sheets of loo roll you use?

If they think like that how about undoing some of the crippling legislation that forces 3rd parties to collect all the data they could ever possibly want on everyone of us?

While we are on the subject - do they (and other sites such as twitter) really think that criminals give real information? Of course they don't.

It is like the estate agent on Saturday when I was wanting to go and look at a house - 'we have to have your name, address and phone number first' ... why? 'Staff protection'.... how is it protecting them ...' we have information to give to the police'.... oh, and if I am planning on abducting one of you I am really, honestly going to give my real name, real address... and of course the mobile wouldn't be a pay as you go sim for a tenner...

All of these things - websites, estate agents, government legislation ... only affect the law abiding, they make no - none - squat - difference to criminals.

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Re: Spare me from politicians

Staff protection?

Its so they can send you houses that they hope to sell to you...

and if you refuse, then they will refuse to do business with you...

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Re: Spare me from politicians

It is so they can put you on their mailing list and spam you with rubbish for decades

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Anonymous Coward

What is this free society they are talking about?

It certainly is NOT the society I am living in... I want to live where I trust the police to protect my rights, but instead I feel they are more likely to tread on my rights....

Government is racist, sexist & corrupt... Why would I expect them to ever care about my data?

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Meh

Slightly less than the usual control freak government minister

You know the type.

"The people must be protected and the only way for that to happen is for us to know everything about them."

Lets see what he can actually do

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Anonymous Coward

"In a free society there should be a limit to what the government knows about its people"

Someone should point out to him that it's not the 'government's people' it's the 'people's government'.

Until our 'professional' politicians learn that there's absolutely no hope of them 'limiting' anything they do.

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Anonymous Coward

People should not be afraid of their Government...

... Governments should be afraid of their people.

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FAIL

Re: People should not be afraid of their Government...

Paranoid bull.

Fear is no basis for a healthy relationship. If governments are afraid of their people, they will plot against them.

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...[I]n a free society there should be a limit to what the government knows about its people....

Several people have pointed out what they see as the reversed ownership implied by this statement.

Alas, they are wrong. We are, indeed, now 'owned' by the government. At the beginning of the last century you could still stand up to a government - sayings like 'An Englishman's home is his castle' were still supported by the courts.

Not so by 2000....

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"At the beginning of the last century you could still stand up to a government"

Great times indeed, unless you were a woman, or Irish, or poor, or a subject of Her Majesty's colonial administration.

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Headmaster

...Great times indeed, unless you were a woman, or Irish, or poor, or a subject of Her Majesty's colonial administration....

Well, we are, of course, only talking about 'freedom' rather than total quality of life. And this was only ever claimed to be true of an 'Englishman' - so we only need to address your 'poor' statement. The date of 1900 is a bit general, and I suspect things were better still in 1800, as this quote from a Prime Minister of the time indicates:

"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter."

William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham, also known as Pitt the Elder - 1763

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A typical fear-living individual, told to be scared (this time, of the government) but not truly keeping his eye on the target.

Why are you worried about the government? Because that is exactly what you've been told to do...by the corporations that TRULY own you. You've given your entire life to VisaMastercard, AmericanExpress, Barclays, RBS, HSBC, JPMorganChase, Citi, Bank of America, Google (*especially* Google), Doubleclick, Facebook, Twitter, eBay Inc. / PayPal...

they know just about everything you do. Millions of you even use your credit cards to buy your LUNCH, even giving the massive banking industry your eating preferences (where and when)! Google collects more information on your everyday, common interests than the government [currently] EVER will - but, here you are. Worrying about the government. While the corporations sift through your personal data to make billions and then USE those billions to lobby said government to pass laws that benefit...THEMSELVES.

A nice, tidy circle of interests. But let's focus on the government, because Big Business is our friend. Right?

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Anonymous Coward

"but the King of England cannot enter."

If the King really wants a look-see inside your cottage, he can do what they've been doing in America for decades. He can send in a SWAT team wearing ski masks and carrying assault weapons. They'll splinter your front door, turn all your stuff upside-down looking for a crack lab or kiddie porn. If they don't find anything they remove their boots from the back of your and your wife's neck and say: "Isn't this this 171 Blythe Spirit Muse? Bloody wrong address. Sorry."

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Unhappy

Re: "but the King of England cannot enter."

...He can send in a SWAT team wearing ski masks and carrying assault weapons....

Nowadays, yes. But, interestingly, not in the 1800s.

Funny, that. They were MUCH more interested in ethics, honour and the proper way to behave then. Doesn't mean that everybody behaved properly all the time, of course. But it meant that you could stand up in Parliament and say 'This is not an honourable course of action!", and people would listen to you, as opposed to laughing, which is what they would do today.

Possibly it's because religion played a bigger part in everyday life then? I have a theory that, when communications and transport capability was much worse, you tended to live your life in proximity to the same people all the time. And in that situation, your reputation becomes very important - people won't work with you if you don't keep your word.

Nowadays you can stab everybody in the back and just bugger off to another company half-way around the world when it's getting too hot for you. Or, for a politician, do a Blair and take a tasty job in the EU or somewhere...

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Anonymous Coward

"What is the cause that the former days were better than these? " (*)

"Nowadays, yes. But, interestingly, not in the 1800s.... They were MUCH more interested in ethics, honour and the proper way to behave then."_____Dodgy Geezer

The dissatisfaction with the present compared to the past has been observed for thousands of years.

"Possibly it's because religion played a bigger part in everyday life then?"

Probably not. Maybe this.

"Victorian morality is a distillation of the moral views of people living at the time of Queen Victoria's reign (1837–1901) and of the moral climate of the United Kingdom throughout the 19th century in general, which contrasted greatly with the morality of the previous Georgian period. Victorian morality can describe any set of values that espouse sexual restraint, low tolerance of crime and a strict social code of conduct (Matt Bryant to a tee). Due to the prominence of the British Empire, many of these values were spread across the world. (snip) "Victorian values were developed in all facets of Victorian living. The morality and values of the Victorians can be classed under Religion, Morality, Elitism, Industrialism and Improvement. These values take root in Victorian morality, creating an overall change in the British Empire."

If by religion you mean putting on clean clothes once a week and doing, saying and singing the same things that scores of other coreligionists are. Or that you know where God was born, what his plan for the Universe is, and where He lives (not the fashionable side of Belgrave Square), you're better off starting your own religion. I did.

Remember, Dodgy Geezer, you're never too old for a religious experience. Although you probably should avoid one that involves several broken bones.

(*) Ecclesiastes

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Anonymous Coward

> [I]n a free society there should be a limit to what the government knows about its people.

Quit right. Note that this doesn't work the other way around; there should be no limit to what the people know about their government.

The cynical part of me does wonder if McNally's reference to the "people" here actually translates to "MPs who get caught doing embarrassing stuff".

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"if you know the piece of legislation that can correctly govern the internet, let me know about it"

The internet should not be governed.

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Facepalm

"if you know the piece of legislation that can correctly govern the internet, let me know about it"

The internet should not be governed.

Then that is how to do it correctly.

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Anonymous Coward

Our elected leaders all sucking on the teat, drinking dilute Ayn Rand infused KoolAid from the US elite who've done such a great job of running the Home of the Brave!

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WTF?

'There must be a limit to what the gov knows about its people'

So how does this pontificating minister reconcile his stated aims with the Crazy Crone MAY and her desire to stick GCHQ's nose into to very form of communication in the UK? Silent Circle and other technologies have essentially rendered The Crones plan mute - anyone can have total privacy and she better believe that any Arab ne'er do wells will surely employ the technology.

Then that bunch of reprobates hiding behind the acronym ACPO. They are the ones who set policy rather than the series of lazy minsters who really don't give a damn. Cameron promised to destroy the national ID database which, allegedly, he has done but in it's place ACPO has initiated the ANR (Automatic Number Recognition) so they can record the movements of number plates associated with the innocent and the criminal alike. I read the number is 20-million a day at the moment and destined to ramp up much higher.

The public is slowly becoming aware just how deep Mad May is in their pants. Most of the UK population is totally innocent of security breaches yet she will have access to almost all conversations without even the nod of a judge.

If the UK is such a stand up country, how come it permits the USA to have military bass on it's territories and even Menwith Hills Satellite Spy Station? The USA doesn't allow anyone to have standalone military bases on it's territory.

The question is: Why is the UK electorate so accepting of all this crap? It is time to grab each and every MP and demand that this nonsense ceases, now.

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Unhappy

Re: 'There must be a limit to what the gov knows about its people'

quote: "The question is: Why is the UK electorate so accepting of all this crap? It is time to grab each and every MP and demand that this nonsense ceases, now."

The correct answer there is: we aren't. However, demanding it from your MP is tantamount to banging your head against the wall; see the quote further up where one specifically stated he would be voting against same-sex marriages, regardless of what his constituency wanted.

Does that sound like someone who has the interests of their constituency first and foremost in their mind, as is implied when they run for office in the first place? It doesn't to me...

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About "it's" people?

It should be the government who belongs to the people, not the other way around.

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