back to article UK is not a surveillance society, MPs claim

The Home Affairs Committee has called on the government to follow a "minimum data, held for the minumum time" approach to British citizens' personal information in its long-awaited report into surveillance. The Committee has decided, after a year long investigation, that the UK is not becoming a surveillance society but warns …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "not a surveillance society" My Arse!

    if they believe that now, god knows when it will stop,

    CCTV everywhere, Emails can be read, Web use stored etc, Calls are recorded and kept, im beginning to wish i could find something to encrypt my email that wasnt such a pita to implement, not because im a terrorist with a pop bottle or rucksack, but because before email and my increasing reliance on it, i previously had abit more privacy than i do right now.

    admittedly not everyone likes there privacy (e.g. the ones that join every data collecting site going) but im one of the ones that do like their privacy.

    but it seems that the DPA was a waste of time and nobody has any kind of privacy in any shape way or form. :(

  2. Slaine
    Black Helicopters

    Never Believe Anything Until It Is Officially Denied

    <quote>minimum data, held for the minumum time</quote> by definition is ZERO data held for Zero time. Ironically that is exactly what we will get. Not one piece of data is likely to be deleted immediately.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never believe the official denial either

    As per usual, it says one thing then does something totally opposite.

    We need a revolution in the UK, sooner rather than later.

  4. s. pam
    Pirate

    CCTV is a joke

    The chavs in our local high-street just make sure to perform their crime right after the cameras have pointed the other way, or where they don't work.

    Carp system with carp results, glad that the local council has now put anti-climb paint on the CCTV masts as well.

    Guess that's so we have no place to hide!

  5. Shabble

    Definition of Surveillance Society

    Surveillance is the act of monitoring someone's behaviour for the purpose of catching them in the act of carrying out an illegal activity. A Surveillance Society is the situation where the population as a whole is monitored to catch people in the act of committing a criminal offence. A non-Surveillance Society is one where a citizen is only monitored when there is good reason to believe that the specific individual has actually committed a detected crime.

    Examples of a Surveillance Society would be:

    1) ISPs indiscriminately monitoring data for illegal file sharing or for illegal images or prohibited books.

    2) Universities monitoring the books its students read.

    3) Cameras observing public spaces when no crime is being investigated.

    4) Searching citizens (or scanning their clothing/bags) in a way that cannot be avoided by the citizen (eg at the entrance to a school building - pupils cannot skip school to avoid being scanned).

    There are also some indirect signals that you are living in a Surveillance Society:

    1) Citizens asked to report suspicious activities (as opposed to reporting criminal acts) to the police.

    2) Organisations (eg Mosques) asked to monitor the behaviour of the people who use their services.

    3) A presumption of potential guilt even for those who are not under investigation for any crime, such as police databases of DNA records of people who are not currently under investigation for a crime.

    4) Recording of private activities eg if the State records internet use and electronic communications of citizens who are not under investigation for a criminal offense.

    Argue over the value of these surveillance activities, but it is simply incorrect to claim that we do not live in a Surveillance Society. This is just another example of impotent MPs pandering to the Government in the hope of moderating New Labour's authoritarian behaviour without p*ssing off Gordon Brown.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    But?

    I have no concerns about state sponsored data retention as a concept.

    I do have serious concerns about the way such data are managed and the numpties making use of it (comments relate to the UK)

  7. JCL
    Coat

    Well...

    ... they clearly haven't been over here recently, what with the price of oil making flights from Cloud Cuckoo Land more expensive.

  8. Chris G Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Window dressing.

    What ever the committee or any one else says, if it is possible for the government to obtain and keep information about you it will. Every body from the day they are born to the day they pass beyond the ken of Govuk are numbered, observed and recorded. Your medical record when you are born is just the beginning of your life's surveillance, the number is connected to a file in the CRO computer at Scotland yard, anything not related to your criminal record is in an annex to your file which is accessed by an additional number tagged on the end of your CRO number. In the annex is information on every aspect of your life that comes before any kind of Govuk scrutiny, your school records and reports including attitude and any political leanings in school or college,your national insurance number, what you may have voted and in some cases what you actually did vote for, anything known about colleagues and/or friends with iffy backgrounds etc etc. The above I was told in the Seventies by a friend who worked in some of the darker corridors of Scotland Yard, I suppose it's possible that he was having me on but I believed him at the time and I still do, if I remember correctly all this was begun either during or just before the first world war. At the same time he said that fingerprint records which were supposed to be destroyed in the case of those taken for purposes of elimination or aquittals and not guilty verdicts actually were but not before they were copied and placed somewhere else. Remember we have a general election coming up and the politicos like us to think they're warm and cuddly and concerned about our freedoms. Just make sure the window dressing reflects the realities of the product you eventually buy, otherwise don't buy it.

  9. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    Replacing the RIPA...

    > the Government is expected to introduce legislation to replace RIPA in the next session of Parliament.

    Well, of course. Because it's not enough that any jumped up nosey parker Council can (ab)use the RIPA to conduct surveillance on pretty much anyone for any reason, we need to get rid of any safeguards left and make sure that *everyone* with a bit of power can monitor what people are doing.

    Hopefully the British Public should have enough sense to replace this power-mad, control-freak Government at the next election.

  10. ShaggyDoggy

    Hahaha

    Not a surveillance society - what we get is pictures all over the internet of some guy mooning in a Beamer, whose driver of course was not doing a traffic offence at the time. But the system still took his picture, and it got published. Was that a case of "appropriate, brief, and for the purpose" ?

    .

  11. Mark

    not a surveillance society?

    Well, they would say that wouldn't they.

    £50 says phorm gets a shoo-in the in the "son of RIPA".

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just goes to prove

    That politicians are on a completely different planet to the rest of us.

    Reg can we have a big brother picture added to the post comments icons ?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "See what Jackie Smith and Gordon Brown decide"...

    .. that about right as those two are the furtherest from their feet on the floor and least likely to listen to the electorate... on anything, especially when they have sort advice, its normally only only so that they can say they know better.

    I think with the 300 odd cameras a day they say catch you in London as the average joe, i think it about time i went to some other country to appear on their CCTV, ...less.

  14. Steve Woods
    Paris Hilton

    In other news

    Father Christmas exists and unicorns graze in the wooded glades of this fair land.

    Paris, 'cos she's got more brains than your average elected member.

  15. Peter Gold badge

    Obvious conclusion..

    Of course he would say that the UK is not a surveillance society.

    What else do you say in front of a camera?

  16. Martin Gregorie Silver badge
    Flame

    Replace RIPA indeed

    What a colossal waste of space the Blair cabinets were. Them thinking they have to replace RIPA already, despite its built-in instant modification clauses, shows the total lack of thought that went into writing it in the first place.

    Its typical of most of the Bliar Governments' legislation.

  17. Michael Brennen
    Unhappy

    Minimum time.......

    Minimum time will likely be something like 10 years if its anything like the govs 'just in case' approach. CCTV is everywhere these days, the operators who are less than skilled and try and flag up things they see do help sometimes, but the use of it is reactive ie after you've been mugged or stabbed.... and not proactively as it should be.

  18. Outcast
    Thumb Down

    P.O

    Might be the saviour of the Post Office !!

    Snail Mail to the rescue !

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    CCTV

    A mate of mine works on CCTV near where I live.

    He can follow me out of my house a mile across

    town and pretty much tell me what I order when I walk

    into a restaurant.

    Not a surveillance society though.

    Mines the one under the six camera's.

  20. Mark
    Unhappy

    Of course it isn't

    Because you can't find out what home you, as a taxpayer, are buying for your MP's. You can't find out what tax payer money the MP's are paying. And if you follow a Deputy PM into their london residence and note that they are doing so and spending a night with a woman not their wife, the MP's will tell you it is none of your business and the Deputy PM should be allowed to have a private life away from all this surveillance.

    It's just for non-MP's it's a surveillance society...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't matter

    The outcome of the report seems to suggest that "yes, we are amassing huge stores of information and draconian powers but we're not actually doing anything with it - erm ... yet". As ever, its just word play.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Heh?

    1984 calling?

    I wonder how deep inside your arse you need to have your head to be so immune to all information from outside world? Or how much "support" you need to receive from interested parties.

    IMHO, politicians shouldn't be able to start their careers until they're at least 50. That will cut on those "career politicians" who have no clue about anything, no real life experience and would take any bribe^H^H^H election support. That would also cut on amount of politics going on, so they would be able to concentrate on thinking how to solve country problems not theirs only.

    Sorry for the rant, sometimes I just cannot hold it...

    Time to leave UK.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "not a surveillance society" My Arse!

    Agree with AC on this one. Shows how out of touch they've become!

  24. Aaron
    Paris Hilton

    They didn't know ...

    ... that they were being watched when they said this.

    Paris, coz she didnt know she was being filmed either ...

  25. Mike Richards

    Pretty damning stuff from a Labour-dominated committee

    It's worth pointing out that this is incendiary coming from the oleaginous Keith Vaz whose loyalty to New Labour makes the people in Hitler's bunker look a little half-hearted.

    'The committee said it was concerned about the HMP Woodhill case - where conversations between an MP and his constituent were recorded in breach of the Wilson doctrine.'

    Surveillance of the proles is okay, watching MPs - oooh now that would be naughty!

    Nice to see the suitably Orwellian-sounding Ministry of Justice has already said the report is wrong, but if we could all speak a little more clearly that would be very helpful.

  26. Seán

    Lying criminal bastards

    All you're seeing is the backwash. They've been spying so long and hard for their septic masters they just can't help but bring their work home with them. Echelon works so well it'd be a shame not to apply it in blighty as well as outside.

  27. Taskis
    Black Helicopters

    UK - "Endemic Surveillance Society"

    I went to Privacy International to get some ideas about what might make a surveillance society, and what did I find? Britain's ranking as an "endemic surveillance society". Now I'm not suggesting that particular source is necessarily unbiased, but it does make one wonder.

    Let's see. It's said that we've got something approaching half of all the CCTV cameras in the *world* in this country. This little tiny country. And yes, I know: that statement needs a [citation needed] tag. But whatever the actual figure, it's got to be said it'd be pretty difficult to chuck a brick anywhere in the UK without ending up charged with damaging someone's camera.

    (Oh, but you try being a photographer indulging a usually harmless hobby and watch how quickly the obediently terrified public will shop you for being a paedophile or a terrorist...)

    ID cards. 'Biometrics'. Increasing snooping power rationalised by the 'War on Terror'. An Information Commissioner in the pocket of big business, and unwilling to rock the boat. Widely ignored Data Protection laws. Communications interception on the authorisation of politicians, not judiciary. Vehicle tracking under the guise of proposed schemes to reduce carbon emissions (ah, The Environment: another great tool for spreading fear amongst the population). A Human Rights Act also widely ignored except when it's of immediate benefit to lawyers.

    Truth is, this is - supposedly - the Information Age. And while I admit to increasingly Luddite tendencies where information technology is concerned, I do accept that that means privacy is an even harder thing to ensure. But maybe that's why it's more important than ever to protect it. Some people seem happy to accept that they can no longer expect privacy - I'm not one of those people. I understand that I can't expect *absolute* privacy - but I expect my privacy to be violated only where it's *absolutely necessary and of immediate and obvious benefit to society*. It's no argument at all to pretend that mass monitoring of everyone is justified on the grounds that a tiny few might have dissident or terroristic leanings. The potential benefit is insignificant next to the massively high price.

    I am, for the moment, at least, one of those lucky people who doesn't really have anything to hide. But who knows when They might decide otherwise? After all, if they say I've got incriminating material, then their inevitable failure to find it will only prove how adept I am at hiding it - right? And therefore I must be a terrorist - right? After all, that's the policy we used in Iraq, isn't it? We couldn't find the WMDs, so that meant they'd been well concealed or taken away to some stash somewhere. The idea they weren't there in the first place? Inconceivable. (And if I keep posting comments like this, well, someone's going to take a dislike to me sooner or later - no doubt I'm already on some list somewhere.)

    Let's face facts. Everything I do is monitored almost everywhere I go, either by an unaccountable and controlling Government or equally unaccountable commercial interests. It might be possible to live 'off the radar', but it's not made easy, and most people won't have the strength of will or the sheer paranoia required to make a good job of it. I'm working on both. Even so, the point is that if this is *not* a surveillance society, then it's terrifying to imagine what might be.

    The only real question is, are the people drawing this conclusion astonishingly ignorant, and don't realise what's going on? Or are they astonishingly dishonest, and imagine that if they lie big enough, we'll all buy in?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    and in other news...

    ... water is not wet.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surveillance Society by Diktats

    Does each change increase or decrease surveillance? Can you think of any change that hasn't resulted in more surveillance, for reduced reason with fewer checks and balances?

    I can't, every change in the law is to reduce individuals freedom and elevate the role of the enforcement officer as judge and jury. It's all agreed between ACPO and Jacqui Smith at the home office, minus the ordinary terrorist in the street. Surveillance by diktat. They do realize that when it comes to laws, a police chiefs opinion is equal to one vote from an ordinary terrorist? No more no less.

    Examples, You had 250000+ RIPA data requests. These were not done with a court order, hence they were not independently assessed. So why are they kept secret? Why is the information the police want so unimportant that they don't need to get a court order, yet so important that its disclosure needs to be kept secret from Joe terrorist?

    CCTV to capture terrorists.... now used to enforce parking charges and track cars, and to monitor demonstrators (e.g. terrorist John Catt's car was arrested and tracked under the terrorism act, because his car was parked near an demonstration against EDO's for supplying Israel with weapons, an officer flagged the registration and he was tracked and locked up under the terrorism act as a result). Last time I looked protesting wasn't terrorism and this was an abuse of the terrorism act and ANPR, yet there doesn't seem to be a mechanism to protect innocent terrorists from guilty police.

    Now the Home Office (Jacqui Smith again) demanding the right to take DNA swabs from any terrorist stopped for any offence, even speeding, playing their stereo too loud (audio terrorism) etc. What do you bet that the plastic police will get that power too? Can't have open bin lid terrorism in the UK!

    ANPR, why is the location of car registration plates not associated with crime recorded? Why is it available realtime without a warrant? Even to the USA as we found out recently, presumably the ANPR data and associated DVLA data is passed too. Why? Who decided their duty to the USA outranked their duty to the UK voter/terrorist?

    Mobile Phones, why did Blair demand the EU record every innocent terrorists location (by recording their phones location), every innocent persons call record, who they call and when, every innocent persons email trail, who they email and when, etc.? The excuse was terrorism, but you can't claim 350 million people are terrorists? Why was this not put through parliament first if he was in the right?

    It's like the psychopathic are in charge. The guys on the street are ALL labelled terrorists, you can't protest without the police using anti-terror powers to suppress it, your daily lives are subjetced to surveillance because you are assumed to be a terrorist. ACPO demands more powers and the politicians are afraid to say no for fear of ACPO officers will turn on them.

    About the only place you can safetly protest is as AC on the internet. Now the psychos are seeping out of their cracks and demanding surveillance powers for innocent people on the internet.... to prevent terrorists from protesting presumably.

  30. Badg3r
    Stop

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?

    Seriously are they in the same country as us?

  31. OffBeatMammal
    Stop

    Delusional

    I returned to Blighty in Feb this year after being away for about 6 years. From Heathrow onwards I was under obvious camera coverage until I was far past Reading on the M4.

    Security cameras (both private and public), speed cameras, average speed cameras, safety cameras, road marshals (or whatever they're called) with their cameras ... and that's just what was obvious.

    I felt I was in a communist state or some giant prison island, not the country I grew up in and had, until then, viewed as a haven of privacy and freedom.

    It says a lot when I feel less under the thumb of an oppressive regime living in the US than I do the country of my birth.

    If I trusted the information to be used wisely, and not just as an excuse for various forms of revenue gathering to fund politicians jaunts around the world or extensive home remodeling I'd be less critical, but we all know it's to enable road users to be milked of every penny and criminalised simply because it's easier, and data about our movements to be fed into some great law enforcement scheme and maybe sold to advertisers to decide where to put billboards to appeal to a significant driver demographic who'll buy Duff beer...

    It's another symptom of the Britain I don't want to bring my family back to.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Spare a moment?

    Maybe it's time to think about three para's and a fourth injured one?

    And in a free and open society perhaps news reports could convey the salaries of those that paid an ultimate price. Then the same report could possibly list the top ten public servants, MPs, SMPs, WMPs Euro-MPs, ... expenses claims just to add an aspect of relativism to the reports?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not a surveillance society?

    Anyone notice if the MPs' lips were moving when they said that?

  34. Scott

    Privacy

    As i've said before the only private place is locked in your bathroom cause i don't think ever Gordon wants to hear the recordings from that....Yet!!!

    The final nail will be when there using the 42 days without charge on people in no way related to terror plots, locked up for a month and a half without charge, welcome to the freedom of the west...

  35. George Johnson
    Boffin

    Too late 1984, started in 56 BC!

    Oh Jebus on a Bike, we are and have always been, since a well known Frenchman call William stepped onto this "septic" isle way back in 1066, the Doomsday book anyone? Nothing more than a primitive database of names and property, to be honest I suspect the Romans did too under the name of Taxes, but not many records left of that time.

    Right through to the paranoia of the post World-War II era, mistrust of big Joe and potential for uprisings from disgruntled peoples of Europe. Rationing still continued after WW2, not due to shortages but a little test of monitoring who was still left and what they were up to. The Cold War came along and the rise of McCarthyism, governments realising that technology is getting cheaper and people have electronic communication at their disposal, just need to simply tap into that to gather data on them. The Internet, let the plebs play on it for a bit, get to trust it, then we'll nail it down.

    I too have heard that we have the highest number of CCTV cams per capita of anywhere else in the world, we are an island, we didn't want to be friends with the nice people living next door, the ones with the funny accents and weird ways, no we decided to set up a little province across the road(pond). Then after a bad party the new owners trashed our new des-res over there and changed the locks, they then saw we had been getting grief off our old neighbours, they helped us out and like some old infirm biddy, in return we signed the deeds on our house over to the dodgy owners over the road!

    Too late now, fight all you like, but the only answer I can see now is to learn a nice European language, plenty to choose from, go live with the neighbours!

  36. Neil

    they get away with it too easily

    I get annoyed with the journalists in situations like these for not pressing the point enough. I think it was Andrew Marr asking the question yesterday and he should have followed up with something like: 'What is your definition of a surveillence society then, that you think ours doesn't fit that definition?'

  37. Rukario
    Coat

    Not a surveillance society

    Obviously, the word "not" is used in its loosest possible sense.

    Mine's the one off the X-ray conveyor belt on a one-way ticket out of here.

  38. teacake

    @Taskis

    Well said.

  39. Dan
    Go

    @Shabble

    Nice definition, where's it from?

  40. Juan
    Joke

    I have never seen a CCTV camera

    These MP's must have gotten their Politician "talk while bybasing the brain" training from the same place the former Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (Remember him?) got his...

  41. Mark

    @George Johnson

    "we didn't want to be friends with the nice people living next door, the ones with the funny accents and weird ways"

    As a welshman (and therefore the ORIGINAL english, thank you very much!), you WERE the people living next door with the funny accents (anglo-saxon) and weird ways (monotheism).

  42. Mark

    oleaginous

    Hah! Hands up people who know what that word means.

    I've only ever seen it used once.

  43. Spleen

    Quote

    Which dictator was it that said "We live in a democracy, the only element missing is the expression of the popular will"? Tried Googling but couldn't find the source. Obviously Britain's MPs were taking notes.

  44. Michael
    Unhappy

    minimum data, held for the minumum time

    I think what they mean is that the only copy of the data was on the two CDs.

  45. Steve

    Ironic surveillance street sign...

    Appropriate, and in case you missed it:

    http://wuntvor.mirror.waffleimages.com/files/44/44cb4b91287cfcd8111d471867502a3cac861ab0.jpg

    (linked from Blues News a few days ago)

  46. Red Bren
    Pirate

    RIPA II

    "The Government is expected to introduce legislation to replace RIPA in the next session of Parliament."

    This will be called DIPA - the Deregulation of Investigatory Powers Act. All that pesky red tape that hinders big business and the government from spying on us will be scrapped. Purely to keep us economically competive and safe from terror, you understand...

  47. Tim

    Phorm...

    talking of privacy, check out the latest on them

    http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/06/isp-spying-made.html

    Perhaps, Mr Moderator, you could run a story on this & include the text of the Wikileaks report, as my BT internet connection doesn't seem to be able to download it, oddly....

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Not many cameras on the Alberta plains or in the Rockies.

    Getting my coat, packing my bags & glad that I applied 3 years ago to leave not so merry olde England.

  49. Lloyd
    Alien

    Ahhh but

    if we were a surveillance society the surely the police would actually be able to solve crimes as they'd all be on tape? Or is it all shot on Betamax? As for that joke of an ID card plan, the only people it'll help will be identity fraudsters.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Only thing under surveillance...

    ...this summer is gorgeous girls in their "nothing left to the imagination" outfits.

    That's all what CCTV operators look out for during summer to test the CCTV's zoom function.

  51. Nomen Publicus
    Black Helicopters

    Not paying attention

    I doubt we can get MPs to pay attention until one of them is caught on CCTV entering a brothel and the video is posted on YouTube...

  52. Bernie Cavanagh
    Unhappy

    I've had enough of these pillocks

    I'm off, house on the market and leaving the sinking ship. Might come back when these silly buggers remove their collective heads from up their collective anal passages.

    I'm still staggered by just how much more intrusive the government has become since Blair took over and I'm more scared of this shower than any possible terrorist threat quite frankly.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Evaluate and Discard

    On CCTV use the committee asked the Home Office to carry out more research to show whether or not its use has any impact on reducing crime. It called for a debate before any expansion of the national DNA database and primary legislation to regulate its use.

    How about an 'independent' review of both of these ?? could then update this with it's evaluated usefulness over longer timescales. What's the betting that it's ROI wouldn't hold up to scrutiny well..

  54. Gwyn Kemp-Philp
    Black Helicopters

    E-Bay sale

    All I can say is, if we are not a surveillance society then some people have mislaid an awful lot of camera's. Will there be a E-Bayfest of liberated camera's any time soon?

    I could almost live with the CCTV if it resulted in a massive townturn in crime. IF I could walk the streets at any time day or night confident that I am fully protected by constant vigilance THEN I could be persuaded to accept their usefulness. BUT it doesn't! Worse; every time a crime is caught on camera there is the claim that it is not sufficient evidence to convict anyone with.

    That begs the question What use is it then? if you can't catch criminals with it why haven't we abandoned it as an expensive bad idea?

    The only answer I can come up with is that was not the reason why they were put there. So by definition, we are in a surveillance society.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You might laugh if you didn't know they think it's true.

    A reolution is public attitudes towards State and Private scrutiny is called for but, sadly, I don't see it happening. This is a case of "you can fool enough of the people enough of the time". "Reward card rebels" are required.

    At what point will the "level of scrutiny" be sufficient to detetct or deter sufficient crime & anitsocial activity to make the scrutiny acceptable? How scared are you, how scared can they make you and do you vote?

    The point will be reached when those irresponsible and unscrupulous "Civic Leaders & Servants" have created enough fear to cow us.

  56. b
    Unhappy

    UK not a surveillance society

    In other news:

    Up is down.

    War is peace.

    Ignorance is etc

    etc

    etc

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Reality bites....

    Does anyone even bother to ask Brits if they actually want all these cameras watching their every move - and having to pay for the privilege at the same time? At least the US government can claim fifty million+ panicked and ignorant citizens afraid of their own shadows to try to justify its own abuses.

    Fortunately if V for Vendetta is any guide it will only take a half day to destroy all the CCTV's when the people rise up.

    What, that was just a movie made from a comic book? Sad now...

  58. Aron A Aardvark
    Stop

    Your papers please sir

    The UK has rapidly become a paranoid police state. You can safely assume that powers "requested" via various bills merely legalise activities that have been going below the public's radar for years.

    So how does anyone propose we halt and reverse this beast? I don't think checks and balances are sufficient anymore. We need wholesale rollback of technology to stop this in its tracks.

  59. richard tanswell

    Be careful!

    Be careful what you write on here, the government are watching! :)

  60. Phillip Rhodes
    Alert

    Balance, schmalance

    <i>Where should the balance between protecting the public and preserving individual freedom lie?</i>

    There is no "balance," the proper role of government is to protect our rights. You can't violate the rights of an individual because of something that *might* happen. Actual criminals (eg, anyone who has actually violated someone else's rights) shoudl be punished, beyond that, the government needs to stay the bloody hell out of things.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    it all stops when you're pod people

    Ok; just who DOESN'T think that most of the politicos on BOTH sides of the ponk aren't lying, cheating, lower than a snake's arsehole vermin? Oh, wait, I got it finally...it's all to save the children!

    Getting my coat, but the border is locked.

  62. Phillip Rhodes
    Happy

    British Libertarian Party

    Fortunately, you lot have a Libertarian Party now as well. Vote some Libertarians into office, before it's too late:

    http://lpuk.org/

  63. spiny norman

    So, why?

    The interesting question, which El Reg might like to investigate, is why the UK particularly has gone this way. I can see 2 possibilities - 1) a cock-up theory - the government, of whichever party, under constant pressure from the media to "do something about" loads of things they actually can't fix, so new and increasingly broadly framed laws and surveillance, is all they can do. 2) conspiracy theory - with global warming, increasing fuel costs, collapsing financial systems, over-privileged, under-taxed, under-worked mega rich, eventually the middle class are going to have had enough and will actually start some serious dissent, in which case having the mechanism in place to dispose of the activists would be very handy.

    20 years of massive single-party majorities, destruction of trade unions and emasculation of the House of Lords hasn't helped.

  64. kain preacher Silver badge

    @UK is not a surveillance society,

    Right cause they have not rolled out the national ID, taken every ones DNA and chipped every new born,.

    The first two are coming to a person near you. I'm just waiting till the UK puts up the razor wire and land mines

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Children and profiling....

    My wife is a dedicated teacher at a nursery. She, and her colleagues, really want to help the kids improve. However they have to keep a raft of 'observations' on the children, so every day she has to make notes about how a child interacted with another, what words they used when, how they played, what they read and so on. In theory this is so that they can see how the children are developing (or achieving Government targets; did you know that there are now education targets for children who are 1 year old?). I keep telling my wife that, if they every put this information into a database, it would be a perfect tool to build a detailed profile on children from the minute they touched the State education system. Every Child Matters? Every child will be profiled, monitored and tracked for life more like.

  66. Gordon

    Encryption

    You're better off not bothering to Encrypt stuff these days. Anything you can actually get your hands on isn't going to work well enough to keep any Government dept interested out for longer than a few moments.

    But trying to find the emails they're looking for in the torrent of scams, jokes, viral greetings and all the rest of the millions of things than generate email traffic now days is next to impossible!

    Encryption probably just draws attention to the email in question and makes it more (not less) likely to be read.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Somethings gotta change

    Is there any way to stop these useless f**kers without actually killing them ?

    I am actually starting to believe that this slide into an Orwellian nightmare will mean that people will be forced to resort to violence to bring about change.

    I see no hope at all.

  68. Martin Usher

    ...not a survellience society...

    ...and if anyone dares to disagree with us then we know who you are and "we will be in touch".

  69. Roger Heathcote
    Stop

    @Encryption

    >Anything you can actually get your hands on isn't going to work well enough to keep any Government dept interested out for longer than a few moments.

    [citation needed]

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @nazis

    Hey wait I thought we defeated the Nazis. Checks the history books . Thought Britain was a free country. when did the fascist and the communist take over ?? I know I'm yank show I might not know your history the best but please tell me when this happened ??

    I'm starting to think the domino theory was correct. I cant tell which country will fall first but there seems to be a race.

  71. amanfromMars Silver badge

    MP's ..... Government Liabilities rather than Valuable Assets?

    "Be careful what you write on here, the government are watching! :)" ..... By richard tanswell

    Posted Monday 9th June 2008 15:48 GMT

    That is nowhere near good enough in this day and age, richard, for everyone is a watcher, but it would be typical of their Limited Ability.

  72. Name

    "...more detailed plans for how it will make the National Identity Register secure."

    "After recent government data losses it demanded the Home Office show more detailed plans for how it will make the National Identity Register secure."

    Um (and surely this is the final point), how about detailed plans for making it not exist??

    Vote these idiots out.

  73. Maurice Shakeshaft

    Be careful what you wish for...

    All those of you/us who want the NID database and ID Card system stopped/scrapped and who think a change of Government might deliver it - be very careful! This is politicians talking - "of course we'll scrap this disgraceful infringement".

    The ID Card genie is out of the bottle and it has a big bag to put us all in.

    There is far too much money to be made out of "the consumer" - you & me - in so many different "salami slicing" ways that Kenneth Clarke and Gordon Brown's heads would spin at the tax raising opportunity.

    The whole process needs to change and put the burden & cost back were it belongs - with the supplier of goods & services so that only those who use it have to pay for it. If I'm buying an item and the supplier doesn't trust me then the supplier had better find a secure way of satisying themselves as to my bonafides. There is a bit of difference in risk between a loaf of bread and a £150k loan. A one size fits all database is not the answer - but it will be if the Powers That Be have their way. Until it doesn't work, that is, but they bagged us by then, haven't they....

  74. jason Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I just wish they would admit it...

    ....the fact they love the power and the intoxication of knowing exactly what your 'citizens' think.

    Its got nothing to do with terrorism. I dont give a second thought about terrorism. Who cares??? We never worried that much when the IRA were blowing up bits of the UK every month. A couple of days outrage in the tabloids and that was it, back to normal. We largely ignored it. Somebody always has an axe to grind so if it wasnt muslim fundamentalists it would be someone else.

    I dont know anyone thats 'scared' of terrorists. Terrorists have also never taken away any of my rights or freedoms but my Govt has.

    Remember when the 7/7 bombings took place? There was our proud leader and home secretary both stating at the time that "this will NEVER affect our free and democratic way of life! They will never take away our freedom!"

    About two weeks later a whole raft of new restrictive (and pointless) legislation is brought in. Hold on...but you said....?

    Its all part of the big lie. The 'intelligence' (ha) agencies know who most of these people are so just concentrate on them and let the rest of us get on with life.

  75. Rukario
    Black Helicopters

    @Something's gotta change

    "Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."

    Are enough of us becoming conscious?

  76. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Lacking IntelAIgent Imagination . .... Nous Accusons

    "Its all part of the big lie. The 'intelligence' (ha) agencies know who most of these people are so just concentrate on them and let the rest of us get on with life." ... By jason Posted Tuesday 10th June 2008 12:45 GMT

    Is that SIS investigating an Inept and/or Corrupt Government .. for they are Authorising our Woes, are they not? Whose Intelligence are they using? When IT is Wireless Electronic it is always Hackable and OverWriteable. ....... AI Nobel Quantum Field for the Semantic Playground in Perfumed Gardens.

    Is an Internet Program introducing AI Beta Management of Perception with Controls in Media and Communications, a Global Operating Device or a Neurological Tool which can be used as a Real SMART WMD. Would it be Wise 42 BetaTest IT or would it be Certifiable Folly to even Contemplate Action against, rather than for, and with IT?

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not for MPs

    Of course its not a Surveillance society for MPs, only for the public. They can fiddle their expenses without fear of being caught. Any evidence of their fraudulent activity is shredded, like the 1million bits of paper relating to MPs expenses up to 2004, that have just been shredded before coming into public domain. Just after the Sunday Times requested them.

    How convenient. Lying thieving bastards the lot of them.

  78. jason Silver badge
    Alert

    @amanfromMars

    Now if I could have understood a word of what you said I may have been able to comment further........

  79. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Getting the CyberIntelAIgent Act together .....

    "Now if I could have understood a word of what you said I may have been able to comment further........" ... By jason Posted Wednesday 11th June 2008 09:20 GMT

    Crikey, jason, it is pretty plain text speaking. What is there for you not to understand?

    Methinks it is more Belief you are missing, because misunderstanding would be a negative reflection on Intelligence, although you seem to think that it is over-rated in those who would think to call themselves Intelligence ...."Its all part of the big lie. The 'intelligence' (ha) agencies know who most of these people are so just concentrate on them and let the rest of us get on with life." ...... and I wouldn't disagree with that opinion. And such incestuous folly which results in failed Intelligence Services will always allow for New and Beta Source which will either Create a New Service or a New Service cloaked in the Old Service, at least until they get their Heads around the Source Function.

    One would normally expect the premier National Intelligence Provider to deliver the required correct solution so that they may remain relevant to the Service they are supposed to be Providing.

    But that is not always the case, with vested interests so embedded in the Process.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comments on ‘UK is not a surveillance society, MPs claim’

    'Course the UK's not a surveillance society. Ooh, look, there's Elvis walking down the street!

  81. Mr Ropey
    Thumb Down

    Has CCTV prevented crime?

    I have serious doubts, the local chav are still up to no good, its just they disguise themselves better now and as they know where the cameras are they find ways to stay hidden.

    Hass it helped prevent violent crimes in city centres, not froom what I've witnessed, only useful aspect is Pc Plod gets the scene faster and the perpurtrators are easier to identify, well that is if the operators not busy watching the couple having a shag on a bench!

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019