Re: Can someone explain ...
"Looking at ‘today’ this seems a much better situation than that left by the previous government. Suggesting that we do in fact live in a democratic society and tomorrow will take care of itself, surely ?"
I can't deny that it looks better superficially. Exactly how good the oversight will be is another matter. We don't just want an oversight body, but an oversight body that does it's job well and honestly and that's pretty unlikely. Do we live in a democracy? There are only three political parties with any real chance of getting anywhere; maybe four if you include UKIP. So, whilst we might call ourselves a democracy, I don't really believe in it, as there is nobody I want to vote for and I don't have the option of 'none of the above'. The country is run by people who have been shown to be corrupt, self-serving, greedy and generally of low moral stock. So, the UK is a bit like a company. In theory the shareholders can vote down things at the AGM (and other times maybe), but in reality it never really happens. So, if you really think your vote counts, I'm afraid you're pretty delusional.
"No I don’t mind them knowing that I went to see my mistress. I wouldn’t have been alone in having a mistress, and they would not have had any particular reason to examine the situation any further. The records of me going to visit her would have simply aged out of the system.
The same would also apply to the details of phone calls, emails and texts I sent to my mistress. Do bear in mind that this is traffic information, and it is entirely possible that she could have just been a female friend."
You will do when someone decides to use that information against you!! Give me £10k, or we tell your wife. Do this or we tell your wife etc.etc. Look back through history and no matter what purpose information has been collected for, it has ended up being used for nefarious purposes way removed from its original intent. If it were only used for the stated intent, that might not be so bad, but we all know about scope creep, both officially and unofficially sanctioned.
"A ‘dragnet’ implemented on communications traffic data. Data which would only be accessed on the basis of some other suspicion for both resourcing (i.e. doing much more is costly) and legislative (to examine contents would require further authorisation) reasons. It just doesn’t seem to worry me like it does you."
On the basis of some other suspicion can easily become 'just because I want to'. That's the job of the oversight and if you look back over time, you'll see just how good oversight normally is!! pretty damn bad. Look at all the quangos out there that are supposed to be exercising control and oversight over various areas and are actually doing nothing and being poodles? I assume you'll never complain about the size of your energy bill again as OFGEM (oversight and control) must be doing a splendid job!! Ditto for almost every other area.
"Indeed. Yet the mass populous complain bitterly when the police and/or security services don’t have or react to this information. I’m not saying that you are in a minority of one but you do perhaps have to respect the will of the masses."
A commonly held misconception. Generally speaking, the police and security services already had the information, they simply failed to put it all together. 7/7 is a good example of this. They already had information on several of those involved, yet didn't connect the dots. This sort of monitoring wouldn't have provided any more. Personally, I accept that no matter what happens, the police and security services can't possibly stop everything. I do accept that not everyone believes that and a reasonable number think perfection is possible. Take the murder of Lee Rigby. The people involved were already known.
As a society, we have to accept that unpleasant incidents will sometimes occur and perfect security isn't possible. The police and security services can no more stop every terrorist attack than they can stop every mugging or theft etc. We simply have to accept this and have a realistic outlook on what is possible. I remember tens of thousands of people walking through mainline London stations with me whilst the IRA bombing campaigns were going on. If you happen to get hit, that's just bad luck. We can do something to try and stop it, but perfection will never be achieved.