back to article UK Supreme Court waves through indiscriminate police surveillance

A Supreme Court decision handed down on Wednesday has given carte blanche to police forces to retain personal data they have collected for virtually any purpose and hold it as long as they like – even when the people targeted are not violent and have committed no crime. The case, R (on the application of Catt) (AP) (Respondent …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Govt are idiots

    Cue another showdown between Westminster and Brussels in the coming months...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK Govt are idiots

      Unfortunately they really don't care - they'll just ignore them like last time.

      President Dave has spoken.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: UK Govt are idiots

        So they are willingly telling the EU with open arms to go ahead and fine us?

        Great re-election stunt right there... Oh wait.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: UK Govt are idiots

      ECJ is in Luxembourg and the ECHR in Strasbourg but your basic point stands.

      This will go to the ECHR and the UK will lose. Unfortunately, the ECHR doesn't have many ways of sanctioning viz. several outstanding judgements that the UK has yet to enforce.

    3. Halfmad

      Re: UK Govt are idiots

      Just think of it as another handy backup of all your personal data. If that USB drive fails you can just ring the police and ask what password you were using on the BHS website

    4. The First Dave

      Re: UK Govt are idiots

      To be accurate, this has nothing (directly) to do with the Government. The police are basically not accountable to Gov., and the Courts are officially not accountable either. Technically, the Gov should, and should already have, written legislation that prevented this, but plod would just have ignored it anyway.

    5. john devoy

      Re: UK Govt are idiots

      Not so stupid, I have little doubt they will have exempted themselves from this.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone wondering about the giggles from the Kremlin wall, should stop doing so

    Anyone walking past the Kremlin Wall and thinking that they have hallucinations from hearing giggles, do not need to visit a shrink. The giggles you are hearing are Iron Felix, Suslov, Brezhnev and many other "dignitaries" laughing their arse off.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Anyone wondering about the giggles from the Kremlin wall, should stop doing so

      Meanwhile, national "newspapers" getting their information from SACEUR's shrill press releases and neocon suggestions are having a 24/7-hatewank about the permanent-imminent dangers of P.U.T.I.N.

      I laugh.

      We have arrived at Blairville, make no mistake.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

    What would the Stasi do?

    Vote Totalitarianism - vote Tory/Labour.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

      The tragedy is that our miserable, dishonest, thick, self-obsessed politicians have finally won out over the judiciary. I have every confidence in Lord Sumption and his colleagues in interpreting the law even handedly - for decades, if not centuries, disputes the world over were settled in the courts of England because of the quality of the judges and the process. But now, lighweight scum like Blair and Cameron, and their vile acolytes have worked out that if you pass a bad law, it will be enforced.

      A pox on Parliament, and all the leeches, thieves and fuckwits that sit within it. And the Lords (as "reformed" by Blair) are even worse, a bunch of jumped up placemen.

      But I'd agree, that any vote for the Conservative, Liberal or Labour parties is a wasted vote.

      1. Jim 59

        Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

        ...our miserable, dishonest, thick, self-obsessed politicians... scum... vile... pox on Parliament... leeches, thieves and fuckwits... any vote for the Conservative, Liberal or Labour parties is a wasted vote.

        I know there is a lot of sixth-form anarchy around at present. And indeed we are very annoyed by Westminster's seemingly endless stream of petty corruption. But instead of crying into Russell Brand's latest book, pay some attention to this kind of thing:

        "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill

        And to Winnie's wisdom I would add one more thing: PARK LIFE!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

      What would the Stasi do?

      Vote Totalitarianism - vote Tory/Labour/UKIP

      FTFY.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

        I'm pretty sure the stazi would not be too happy about that remark.

        1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

          Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

          Because of course they had no vote. We do God help us.... (As an atheist I hope y'all see this in its proper context)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

        well, they know very well that if you don't vote for Tory/Labour/UKIP - no big deal. Somebody else will. And those somebody elses require less subtle means to manipulate.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vote Totalitarianism - vote Tory/Labour/UKIP

        Oddly enough UKIP are not one of the Totalitarianism parties, I was quite shocked....

        1. Graham Marsden

          @AC - Re: Vote Totalitarianism - vote Tory/Labour/UKIP

          > Oddly enough UKIP are not one of the Totalitarianism parties, I was quite shocked....

          You are also quite wrong. To quote from UKIP's own page:

          – UKIP will withdraw from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.

          – We will repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new British Bill of Rights. The interests of law-abiding citizens & victims will always take precedence over those of criminals.

          If you look at the sort of things proposed for a "British Bill of Rights", what they are really about is *reducing* people's Rights by effectively saying that only the people we *like* will be entitled to have their Rights protected and others will lose protections. In other words, "Some are more equal than others"!

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Graham Marsden
              WTF?

              @AC - Re: @Graham Marsden - Vote Totalitarianism - vote Tory/Labour/UKIP

              > So you're in favour over having a British bill of rights that can be suspended at any time by the government of the day when it feels necessary? no thanks.

              Err, WTF are you talking about??

              No, I am *NOT* in favour of that, but that is what both the Tories *AND* UKIP want as I pointed out!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @AC - @Graham Marsden - Vote Totalitarianism - vote Tory/Labour/UKIP

                I didn't notice that you were quoting someone else, I thought you was saying that straight.

                My apologies.

    3. RobHib

      @A.C. -- Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

      This raises some interesting points. If government goes feral and continues to slide into totalitarianism, at what point is the citizenry entitled to act and take matters into its own hands?

      Questions arise such as was the English Civil War, the French Revolution and the American War of Independence reasonable actions or not. And in whose eyes and at what times would such action be deemed reasonable (e.g.: by the standards of those living before the action, afterward and those of today)?

      Do today's governments of France, UK and US consider these past actions legitimate, especially when they're hell-bent on quashing any action from today's citizens or ensuring the matter never arises (and especially given that their distant predecessors engaged in such 'terrorist' actions, and the fact that these governments are in power today actually hinges on those past actions)?

      Once, whether morally right or not, it was determined by the victor. However, in modern times, as we've seen from many recent conflicts, such action is often not considered legitimate by the international community. And for that matter, at what point would the international community of today consider such action legitimate?

      Hypothetical questions they may well now be, but in the future as or when things continue to progressively deteriorate, they may not.

      BTW, I can't help notice that the police state must be actually having an effect, the large number of Anonymous Cowards posting here seems to attest to this.

      1. lucki bstard

        Re: @A.C. -- As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

        'And in whose eyes and at what times would such action be deemed reasonable ' - Normally by the winners, however this is often tempered and 're-interpreted' approx 30 years after the event and then further re-interpreted for a political end at any time after that.

        A good rule of thumb is always to watch the primary school 'history' lessons and they'll give you a good understanding of what is the official history of a particular period is in the country you are in.

        1. RobHib

          @lucki bstard - Re: @A.C. -- As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

          Right, nothing like a simple distillation for an eight-year-old to explain everything.

          Come to think of it, that's pretty much on the same level as the public discourse on such matters these days, methinks. ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        at what point is the citizenry entitled to act?

        You are entitled to remain silent. Everything you say can, and may be used against you in a court of law. Inciting to large-scale violence is tantamount to terrorism.

        Hell, I might be locked up just for saying this, if they wanted an excuse...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: at what point is the citizenry entitled to act?

          "You are entitled to remain silent. Everything you say can, and may be used against you in a court of law. Inciting to large-scale violence is tantamount to terrorism."

          Right to silence isn't what it used to be, they can imply guilt from it these days, no evidence needed, well not enough to convict but it adds up.

      3. LucreLout Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: @A.C. -- As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

        If government goes feral and continues to slide into totalitarianism, at what point is the citizenry entitled to act and take matters into its own hands?

        It doesn't matter, because whatever that point is, whenever we reach it, the populace at large will be unable to enforce their will because those in power have all the guns and nobody to whom they can cede power.

        Before anyone jumps up and down about the NRA, I REALLY do NOT want the general population of the UK to have access to and be allowed to carry firearms. Half the population have a below average IQ.

        What we need is electoral reform such that in any general election, if fewer than half the population entitled to vote exercise that right, then another election must be held, regardless of result. The first time we get a busted election, the political parties will have to ask the people "Why do you vote for none of us?" and the first party to listen to the answer and propose credible change will win power. Rather than at present, the least unpopular group of parties holding sway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @A.C. -- As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

          This is no longer a world where wars are won with guns. Guns just buy time for other methods to be allowed to work.

          Information exchange and manipulation is faster than warfare, and cheaper.

          The revolution may not be televised, but it will certainly be all over the Internet.

        2. RobHib

          @lucreLout -- Re: @A.C. -- As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

          "It doesn't matter, because whatever that point is, whenever we reach it, the populace at large will be unable to enforce their will because those in power have all the guns and nobody to whom they can cede power."

          There are, of course, solutions but I'm not going to discuss them any further, as it's against the law to do so in my country. Now, we don't want to be up on charges of subversion, sedition and perhaps even treason, do we?

          The fact I'm prepared not to discuss the matter says a great deal in itself.

          As I've said in a previous post, arguing a philosophical concept along these lines is one thing, even suggesting it is another matter altogether. As I said then the French Revolution and The Reign of Terror (la Terreur) was truly terrible and not something I'd ever contemplate. Thus, for me and I'd imagine most of us, that violent action at that level is ruled out entirely.

          This leaves us in a very big quandary: the fact that as The State is becoming ever more powerful, especially with its recent enactment of many draconian laws ultimately aimed at its own self-protection, which deliberately target citizens (and others) who may want to do it harm or even change its regime, it means that beyond a certain point we essentially end up with no way to effectively object or protect our own freedoms. Like the action of a diode, we're then on a one-way slide into total subservience. When we reach that point, we're effectively in a totalitarian state.

          I've no reasonable solution for this. To my mind, the fact that this discussion is occurring at all means that there is something seriously wrong with our governance.

        3. Greg J Preece

          Re: @A.C. -- As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

          I know this is a serious topic, but the pedant in me will not let this lie. You used a boffin icon!

          Half the population have a below average IQ.

          Median!

      4. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: @A.C. -- As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

        If you'd like a history lesson in what happens when revolutions fail in the UK, and why they do so, have a browse for something called the "Chartist Movement" of the 19th Century. I doubt it would be far different from that...

        ...unfortunately.

    4. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

      > What would the Stasi do?

      > Vote Totalitarianism - vote Tory/Labour.

      Now, you forgot lib dems aka "the followers", and the worst two, BNP & UKIP.

      BTW, in the responses you received, I am surprised to read Brits defending Brussels, it is so rare.

      Note that in France, we are already a few miles further down totalitarian way ... over here, police can "detain and interrogate" you for 24 hours on no grounds at all - they do not even have to come up with an excuse. If they wanna keep you for 76 hours, all they have to do is come up with some "terrorist threat" - whatever that means - and ask their magistrate mate.

      You are always required to carry id which I never do unless I am going to drive a car or travel abroad.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

        @Hans 1 detention without charge is possible for up to 28 days in the UK thanks to "anti-terrorist" legislation: https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/countering-terrorism/extended-pre-charge-detention

    5. MrXavia

      Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

      But who can we vote for?

      Lib Dems?

      UKIP?

      Green?

      I think any party would be better than Tory/Labour

  4. Bloodbeastterror

    Marching blindly into 1984...

    ..with the connivance of judges who are failing in their job of protecting us.

    I hope that the European Court take a firmer stance.

    I'm not accusing our judges of deliberate bias; I believe only that they're human and subject to the same deliberately-whipped-up political climate of fear in which *any* criticism of the police or authority is seen as tacit approval of terrorism.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Marching blindly into 1984...

      "I hope that the European Court take a firmer stance."

      Hoping that in the meantime, the public at large (aka retards) haven't voted for the stasi UKIP party.

      otherwise we'd be in real trouble.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Marching blindly into 1984...

        Stasi?

        We're already way beyond that.

        Make way for the New Law of Suspects

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Its value can only be judged in hindsight, as subsequent analysis for particular purposes discloses a relevant pattern.

    Carte blanche. I despair....

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Indeed, everyone is always guilty of something.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The reason was that “there have been no ongoing concerns regarding risk and there are no reports of any further incidents”."

    That's like their "Insufficient evidence was found to bring a charge" - when it was really "NO evidence was found to support the allegation".

    I'm not sure who is becoming the most paranoid - the public or the establishment. Whichever - it is a corrosive poison in our society.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never a Penny Farthing around when you need one!

    Someone is determined to turn Britain into 'The Village'......and succeeding!

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Never a Penny Farthing around when you need one!

      Be seeing you.

    2. Havin_it
      Joke

      Re: Never a Penny Farthing around when you need one!

      >Someone is determined to turn Britain into 'The Village'......and succeeding!

      You mean taking their children off into the woods, bringing them up in pre-industrial seclusion and preventing them from leaving and learning the truth of the greater world with fabricated threats of lurking monsters?

      Hmm... sounds about right actually...

  8. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    vote green?

    1. Sarah Balfour

      You mean the Veganist Party

      I was a member of the Greens, until I learnt that not being a vacuous Veganist meant your viewpoint on ANYTHING wasn't respected. The Green Party is nothing more than a bunch of vociferous, vacuous, veganists, and I'm 100% ANTI VEGANIST. It seems many join to stand for lower tier government (council level), simply to achieve their objective of promoting the dangerously unhealthy diet and lifestyle Veganism is.

      My conscience won't allow it. They can ALL do one as far as I'm concerned now; when the NHS has made them all fat and sick perhaps they might come to realise I was right.

      Anarchism is the only way to go, folks!

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: You mean the Veganist Party

        "Green" = "vegan"...? FFS get a grip.

        1. Alpha Tony

          Re: You mean the Veganist Party

          '"Green" = "vegan"...? FFS get a grip.'

          Despite her confrontational tone, I would say she has a point. She said that she used to be a supporter of the Greens, but found that as a carnivore she was marginalised within the movement, which seems entirely possible to me. I am also broadly supportive of environmental issues, but I am an unapologetic meat eater (to paraphrase the NRA : 'I'll give you my bacon when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!') and it seems that a lot of environmentalists consider these things incompatible. They seem to lose interest in hearing your views on renewable energy after you order the veal.

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: You mean the Veganist Party

            >They seem to lose interest in hearing your views on renewable energy after you order the veal.

            Like in every political movement, you have extremists ... such is life. I made my views quite clear, and made it to chariman of the comm's board at a regional level (region as in French) - all being a carnivore, Z3-driving, smoking Brit ... in France. I left when they decided it was a good idea to side with the Parti Socialiste for the presidential elections ... all to get a dozen parliamentary seats (the parliament has ~570 seats) - they lost over 50% of their active followers on that silly decision.

            Now the greens in France are below 5% (presidential elections), as they were in 2002 and 1.5 in 2007 ... they managed 16% in European elections in 2009 down to 8% in 2014.

            Yes, I still vote for them, even though I disprove the party's strategy. Yes, there are quite a few extremists in there, but not the majority ... no, I have no problem with that.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: You mean the Veganist Party

        >The Green Party is nothing more than a bunch of vociferous, vacuous, veganists, and I'm 100% ANTI VEGANIST.

        How can you be against veganism ? Now, I am not even vegetarian, I love meat too much ;-), however, I do not care what people choose or not to eat ... Yes, it means that I will have to adapt to them when they come over to my place for a meal, but that is no different to my Jewish or Muslim friends ... or my mate who is allergic to anything that has come close to penicillin (sea food, mushrooms) and chicken, even organic chicken as his body thinks chicken is always full of that.

        I do expect vegans/vegetarians/Jews/Muslims/Whatever to accept my decision as much as I accept theirs and make that PERFECTLY clear. I have been with the greens and you do see vegans, vegetarians, pot smokers etc ... but I have never met one who would impose his eating habits/drug taking habits on me or judge me on my life style. Of course, they do not like my BMW Z3 that much, lol, but unlike most of them I do not drive to work... public transportation in my area is piss-poor - e.g. a trained marathon runner is quicker than the train service and even bus (during rush hour).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > vote green?

      Nah, let us have a proper Monarchy. If nothing else it'd be cheaper.

      1. MrXavia
        Holmes

        re:Nah, let us have a proper Monarchy. If nothing else it'd be cheaper.

        Hell yes!

        I think Prince William would do a way better job at ruling that any of the elected PM's we've had in a long time...

        1. Ejit
          Black Helicopters

          Re: re:Nah, let us have a proper Monarchy. If nothing else it'd be cheaper.

          "A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society...than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived."

          1. Alpha Tony

            Re: re:Nah, let us have a proper Monarchy. If nothing else it'd be cheaper.

            @Ejit

            Ah, Thomas Paine - The original SJW!

            One wonders what he would make of the modern US that he is partially credited with creating, with it's huge income inequality, corporate sponsored politics and global empire.

            1. Ejit

              Re: re:Nah, let us have a proper Monarchy. If nothing else it'd be cheaper.

              Indeed. I suspect that Tom would not be comfortable with much of the "developed" world at present, but he always aimed higher than most men could see. It is past time for the current crop of politicians to revisit The Rights of Man.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re:Nah, let us have a proper Monarchy. If nothing else it'd be cheaper.

          Not sure you've understood how this monarchy thing works. You don't get to choose him, you get his big eared twat of a dad.

          Still, putting someone with no experience in charge who never voiced any political opinions publicly, with no possibility of removing him until he dies and his kid gets the job.... I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

          1. lucki bstard

            Re: re:Nah, let us have a proper Monarchy. If nothing else it'd be cheaper.

            ' I mean, what could possibly go wrong?' - Or how could it be worse?

          2. Havin_it
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: re:Nah, let us have a proper Monarchy. If nothing else it'd be cheaper.

            >...who never voiced any political opinions publicly...

            Er, are we talking about the same Prince Charles here? Can't pick up a bloody paper without seeing him pontificating about something or other.

            [Any grammarians can feel free to pick me up on whether "pontificating" is appropriate usage, wrt someone who's just about as unaccountable as the actual Pontiff himself. I think I actually prefer the current silly-hat-wearer, at least he seems call on somewhat greater situational awareness before opening his trap!]

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge

    It's lost it's rationality....

    Let's be honest, in all probability, the 5-eyes have a copy of those police records. In various places, information sharing is as common as drinking water. So the police delete the file. Is it really deleted or does a copy exist elsewhere?

    From a monetary side, I'm surprised that the governments just don't come out and allow the file sharing so that the cost of the data centers can be reduced. Yes, the Stasi own our data and us but right now, it's apparently duplicated by every agency that exists. If you're going to spy on me and "keep an eye on me" then dammit, do it right and centrally locate all the data or don't do it all. What I see in the States is that if you get pulled over for traffic violation, the cops in most jurisdictions (read as departments with the budge) have access to the departments in every place I've ever lived. So why duplicate the expense?

    I'm in total disagreement with the centralization and watching everyone, but if it's going to be done, then save some my tax dollars for something useful.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: It's lost it's rationality....

      It's not really a question of whether some secret agency has the name of a 91 year old anti-Iraq war protester on a database.

      It's whether the police are allowed to give somebody an unofficial "police record" for attending a politcal meeting, and then use that as further evidence that he is a "person known to the police" when it comes to getting a warrant later, or using knowing him to get a warrant on somebody else because they are associated with a person with a police record.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: It's lost it's rationality....

        Years ago back in the MLK and anti-war protests, the police and the FBI gathered faces, names, and everything they could at any protest meeting/march. And they shared it. Given the tech at the time, it was inefficient. The point is, they are gathering it and using it. They are releasing it to "appropriate" (whatever the hell that is) partners.

        Anecdote... I was attending college after my tenure in Vietnam. One day, there was a protest about the war and they usual rabble rousers were blocking entrances. Myself and 3 other vets marched past them and entered the building. 20 years later, I had some business with the local constabulary (nothing illegal but inquiry into some things going on in the neighborhood at the time. The cop ran a check on me and made a comment about "I guess you gave up protesting?".....

        So yeah.. they gather and share. We're all being watched and have been watched for a long time. It's just the tech that is getting better.

        We need a cynic icon which I would have used for my previous post.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: cost of the data centers can be reduced.

      This is information retrieval not information dispersal.

  10. johnnymotel

    or this version?

    Once again, I read another article that simply reinforces my almost total cynicism and disbelief in our government, politicians and law upholders.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cue

    <deleted for reasons of self preservation>

    Just saying.

    Technically celebrating Bonfire Night is "glorifying terrorism" under the new laws, Orwell was right.

    AC, because he remembers what they did to Fawkes and his co-conspirators, these days they would probably been locked up in Gitmo and waterboarded instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cue

      Don't like the supreme court decision as much as the next man, but this comment is a bit off...

      "Technically celebrating Bonfire Night is "glorifying terrorism" under the new laws, "

      Not really, Guy Fawkes night is celebrating the killing of the "terrorists" by burning effigies of them (or one in particular) - it is not pro Guy Fawkes but anti Guy Fawkes. Just ask a catholic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cue

        > it is not pro Guy Fawkes but anti Guy Fawkes.

        Well you would say that, wouldn't you?

      2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: Cue

        So why are masks of the current Prime Minister so popular for Guys?

  12. Aslan

    It's Over for Democracy

    Looks like it's over for democracy with this ruling, both in Britain and America. Freedom of speech requires privacy and freedom of association to properly enjoy the fruits of as one cannot trust the police to always get things right or not to abuse their position. @Multiple Anonymous Cowards, you realize don't you, that you just submitted this comment over unencrypted HTTP meaning the government hoovering up all your communications, who's to say whether that's the USA or Britain today can associate you with your comment, so you may as well make it under your usual name. So who wants to take some bets on how long the farce of voting will be kept in place, and further when the revolution will come?

    I'd bet 40 years and never. I don't think the populace is up to it.

    1. Conundrum1885

      Re: It's Over for Democracy

      There was I concerned that selling used drives on Greedbay might get me Gitmo'd.

      Evidently not, lots of people sell used computers with all their downloaded pr0n/warez/etc still on them as a "value added bonus" .

      I did find out that a certain TLA reads this forum, got a phone call at 7am one morning to discuss some random comment or other and reassure me that "no it wasn't illegal to work on ZPE/etc" .. but of course thats what they *want* you to think.

      Never did find out who 0wn3d my routers though, still have them here if someone wants to forensically analyze them to see why someone would find my research so interesting.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: It's Over for Democracy

      "you just submitted this comment over unencrypted HTTP"

      yep, and El Reg have never provided a satisfactory reason for never providing https:// --- looks deliberate to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's Over for Democracy

        I'm not El Reg, but...

        > El Reg have never provided a satisfactory reason for never providing https://

        ...how does "false sense of security" sound to you?

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: It's Over for Democracy

          Stating the bloody obvious here. Posting as an anonymous coward here does not make the comment truly anonymous. All it does is make it so other readers cannot see who who posted it.

          In order to post a comment, any comment, you have to be logged in. Even if you click the "Post anonymously" box, the comment is still recorded against your ID. Just look in your "My Posts". So anybody in El. Reg. can tie any comment to the email address registered against the account.

          Anybody who really thinks that they are anonymous just by clicking the box is deluding themselves, as I'm sure everyone here knows.

          1. Steven Roper

            @Peter Gathercole re: posting as AC

            Actually, there is a good reason for posting AC.

            The police may or may not read El Reg, but you can bet a lot of IT bosses do - and most of us here work in IT. Given that you can easily lose your job for stepping even an inch out of line these days, you have to confront the very real possibility that one of your workmates or bosses might be reading your comments here. Especially since said workmate or boss only has to click your name above your comment and they can read everything you've ever posted. Even if you're using a pseudonym, there's a good chance someone at your workplace can figure it out or might recognise it from somewhere.

            So if you want to post something controversial without risking your job, you'd do it as AC, not to evade the police, but to evade your pointy-haired boss from telling you that "those opinions don't reflect the attitude of our company" and using it as an excuse to give you your marching orders.

            Of course in my case I'm a partner in the company I work for, and I promote free and honest expression in our workplace, so this doesn't affect me or our people so much, but for many here it would be a very real danger.

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Re: @Steven

              I know this. That's why I know that AC comments appear on "My Posts". What you don't know is how many of my comments are posted under my name, and how many are anonymous!

              As there is no HTTPS offering, you or any other boss (or your network specialists running the firewall(s)) could examine any postings made from inside your company (or even on the "Dirty" wireless network that you offer to your employees) without any difficulty at all. So it's not even protecting people from their bosses!

              What I was trying to say is that in terms of anonymity to the security services or the Register staff, the AC box has no meaning.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's Over for Democracy

            > All it does is make it so other readers cannot see who who posted it.

            Bravo for the realisation, please claim your Nobel at the exit. Now why do you think some of us post AC?

        2. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: It's Over for Democracy

          "...how does "false sense of security" sound to you?"

          I know what one is, but

          1) El Reg have never said that's their reason --- they've never given any good reason. It can't be cash: the commentards would buy them a decent cert and some more capable webservers if they created a fund.

          2) If your benchmark for security is "impenetrable", apart from some esoteric quantum techniques you're probably out of luck. Any determined criminal can get into my house, but do I count locking my door as a 'false sense of security'?

      2. DreadPirateRobot

        Re: It's Over for Democracy

        Perhaps El Reg have not implemented HTTPS knowing that they would likely be a target for it being tampered with by TLAs. TLAs need to monitor those who are potential terrorists and as most El Reg commentards have a grasp of computers, security etc we are all on a lot of lists. It is therefore reasonable to assume HTTPS is not used so that we do not ever fall into a trap of thinking our communications are secured.

        TL;DR : It would be unsecure anyway so they are being cheap and the absence of it acts as a reminder.

    3. Sarah Balfour

      Re: It's Over for Democracy

      Erm, last I checked democracies don't tend to have unelected heads of state. This is still an aristocracy. You want democracy, become a republican and start campaigning to get the cunts kicked out!

      "Vive La Révolution! Vive La République! Liberté! Égalité! Fraternité!'

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: It's Over for Democracy

        Like the chaps who kicked out George III to produce a nation founded on freedom and equality.

        Anybody know how that worked out ?

        1. browntomatoes

          Re: It's Over for Democracy

          To be a pedant... it was really Lord North and his democratically elected government they kicked out and not George III. Lord North was a courtesy title and he was actually elected to the House of Commons as MP for Banbury... though pre-Reform Acts you could debate how "democratically" that was of course.

          The issue as they saw it wasn't that the government they were revolting against wasn't democratically elected, it was that they weren't allowed to vote in British Parliamentary elections as colonists - that is, it was *someone else's* democratically elected government.

  13. durandal

    Notwithstanding the author's clear bee in his bonnet (come on, El Reg, at least try for a whisker of impartiality), he misses the point entirely about the 'Protection from Harassment' letters.

    In order for an individual to be convicted of a harassment offence, they need to pursue a course of conduct that they know or ought to know is unwanted. When you've got an ongoing issue between two parties, the police will issue a letter on behalf of the victim that basically says that any further contact is unwanted, and removing any doubt on that matter.

    The letter isn't an order, and in of itself binds no one to anything. If you're going to ignore it, however, you're going to be hard pushed to defend further contact in the face of it; noting that it's issued on behalf of the victim, and it's the victim who gets to define 'unwanted'.

    In order for the letter to be written, you've got to have an allegation of harassment in the first place. That results in a crime report, and that's going to remain on record as part of the Home Office counting rules. The fact that the letter has been written needs to be recorded, and the letter is going to be filed, what with it being evidence in a criminal matter.

    Records are generally kept for seven years because that's the cut off for civil litigation - just imagine the issues if an officer is obliged to destroy his notes that describe an arrest of someone subsequently cleared or not proceeded against, where force was used and the subject wished to launch a civil claim.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Limitations Act

      I see what you are saying here, and I have had similar issues regarding civil claims. The limitations act (I think) is one where such limitations/durations are defined, and in order to protect against them (and be able to defend against civil claims) we have to retain records for that period - even if the records are of no 'incident' - just because they still may constitute evidence in such a civil claim.

      Having said that, it is slightly off topic - the supreme court decision is f***ing scary. The data being talked about here is not information that would need to be retained to be useful in civil actions - it is being saved "just in case it might be useful in the future" - completely at odds with DPA.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You dont have to accept the letter

      Often the POH letter is seen as an easy disposal approach, or, if like me you happen to be on the shit list with the plod a way of trying to exert some control and some fear.

      You can quite freely tell the plod to do one if they turn up with a POH letter, they then have two options, to actually investigate or to walk away, its the key reason they try to get you to sign the letter of acceptance that accompanies it.

      If you have done the alleged harassing there is little point contesting it, however, if its the usual shoddy attempt to clear some paperwork and you are up for the fight tell them to investigate it and take the POH letter and stick it somewhere more appropriate.

    3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      On behalf of the victim

      When you've got an ongoing issue between two parties, the police will issue a letter on behalf of the victim that basically says that any further contact is unwanted, and removing any doubt on that matter.

      Yeah, we call that a restraining order here and it is issued by a judge. First, I should mention that I am not familiar with the details of the law on that side of the world, but I have some questions concerning this. If the police are making statements on behalf of someone, does the person making the accusation have to sign off on it or can the police simply intervene without anything more than an undocumented statement? Second, saying the police are doing something on behalf of the victim implies there is a crime. That does not sound quite right as there has been no trial. Yes, you can have an accusation, but that means you have an accuser at that point which is not equivalent to victim. How is this actually dealt with? Finally, at what point does the other side get to issue a statement? In most disputes, both sides have a chance to make a statement which goes into the record. Is that not the case here? Do I understand correctly that in at least some cases what is being done is that the police are issuing the letters without the consent of the people they are ostensibly meant to protect in order to plant evidence that can be used against their targets during any suit filed against them at any time? Nice.

    4. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      @durandal: "<...> the police will issue a letter on behalf of the victim that basically says that any further contact is unwanted, and removing any doubt on that matter."

      Can they do this to telemarketers?

    5. Hollerith 1

      What does 'unwanted' mean?

      If I go over to the neighbours and ask politely for the tenth time if they can turn their music down, because they keep me and the rest of the street up all night every night, and the neighbours decide that my requests are unwanted and irritating and - hey - harassment, will I get a Protection from Harassment letter? Will I then be 'known to the police' because I complained about noise? Apparently I will.

      This is where the preemptive cringe begins -- staying silent, not acting, not protesting, not drawing attention to oneself, for fear that attention will ultimately be harmful to having your own life.

  14. getHandle

    I sense funny handshakes...

    Wish someone would approach me!

    1. David Pollard
      Joke

      Re: I sense funny handshakes...

      Be careful with what you wish for!

  15. Naughtyhorse

    Not really newsworthy

    Had a friend who about 30 years ago became a school governor in a very right thinking part of the country, and in passing one of the other governors, a police officer, made a causal enquiry as to whether my friend was still a member of the communist party.. a party he had left some 20 years before.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Not really newsworthy

      While keeping that data is a reality in britain, querying it without due cause is an automatic sacking for gross misconduct in public office.

      One of the reasons Britain is in such a dire privacy state despite the fact that the police and HMRC databases can be described as omnishambles is exactly this - that record access is not enforced (neither administratively, nor technically).

      If you compare that to the average Shengen country, there in theory even the lowly registrar has access to the database. However he cannot access records outside the scope of his day to day duties and trying to do so will raise an automatic alert accompanied by a visit from the applicable police department. One of the reasons why SI3 is still in the works is exactly this - for the next revision the Germans have tightened up the reqs on that even further so nobody can implement them at present (without many man-centuries of extensive development). It is also the reason why Britain can never be in Shengen as the culture of "do not stick your nose where it does not belong" is not something you will find amidst the powers that be who have access to your data and RIPA entitlement to snoop.

      Your friend should have pressed the point and filed a complaint with the IPC there and then. One swallow spring does not make, but we still have to try.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sponsored: SQL-on-Hadoop without compromise

    The irony

  17. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "justification was that he sometimes attended protests with “Smash EDO”, a violent group."

    So, a retired guy with time on his hands (as lots of retired people have) shows up at a demonstration (which is his right, regardless of what others might think of the cause in question) and the cops place it in his record because someone else at the demonstration has previously used or is using violence.

    Guilt by extremely loose association, anyone?? How far away from how many violent folks do you have to be at a demonstration to not get recorded? If the demonstration has hundreds or thousands of people, and a couple people who have used violence/property destruction show up, does the whole demonstration get a black mark in their "permanent record"? Does the government have to prove that people with a history of violence were there, or can they just say "We're sure we saw some violent folks" and start flagging peaceful demonstrators? And where is this data on associations being used? Does it show up at all when decisions are being made about government approvals/benefits/employment?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "justification was that he sometimes attended protests with “Smash EDO”, a violent group."

      It's called intimidation. The aim is to get everyone into "the database" for future "processing".

      Presumably someone of working age would then be shafted for the rest of their life when applying for a new job - "computer say no".

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "justification was that he sometimes attended protests with “Smash EDO”, a violent group."

      So if the Queen showed up at an event in parliament and there were some elected MPs present who were on, for example, the Army Council of a Northern Irish purely cultural organisation - she would go on a list ?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jurisdiction?

    Is this England and Wales only, or is it UK-wide?

    Holyrood has previously set tighter laws on the retention of DNA samples.

  19. BitDr

    It saddens me..

    The "leaders" today should be ashamed of themselves. It saddens me to think of all of the young me who died fighting a war against the worst example of a socialist police state in thew 1940's. Watching historical footage of the celebration of VE day those happy people had no idea their sacrifice ane the ultimate sacrifice of their loved ones was only to delay the onset of that which they fought against.

    Eternal vigilance must be maintained against those who peddle safety in lieu of liberty, it is and always will be the price of freedom.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It saddens me..

      The leaders today aren't fighting for freedom, they're fighting for control.

      And in their eyes, the ends justify the means.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: It saddens me.. @BitDr

      Upvoted, even though the Nazis were no more "socialist" than the current Labour party in the UK, or the Democratic party in the USA, are today.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My prediction? Pain.....

    "A Ms T was alleged to have made a homophobic comment about her neighbour. Police arrived, took statements and issued her with a “prevention of harassment” (PoH) letter."

    If she's related to who I think she's related to, I pity the fool who gave her that letter.....

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "those few remaining sane people in the UK."

    I am going to say that the vast majority of people in the UK remain sane. That is in spite of the tyranny of a small bunch uberwankers getting themselves in positions of power and making life miserable for everyone else.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I'm not accusing our judges of deliberate bias; I believe only that they're human and subject to the same deliberately-whipped-up political climate of fear in which *any* criticism of the police or authority is seen as tacit approval of terrorism."

    Welcome to the people's republic of communist China England.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Welcome to the people's republic of communist China Great Britain.

      Anon, WTF does this have to do with Communism? Or China, for that matter?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It was a joke, I see you are lacking a sense of humour here.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > It was a joke, I see you are lacking a sense of humour here.

          You do understand that a joke is supposed to be funny, right?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Humorless AC

            "You do understand that a joke is supposed to be funny, right?"

            Nope, a joke doesn't have to be funny, if it's sarcasm which you'd never understand anyway...

            What I was saying was that the UK is heading to a point where we are almost indecipherable from the Chinese, but do go on ranting, it further proves what I said earlier about you.

            @veti

            "but is (foolishly) disassociating the sentiment from Basil Fawlty."

            Not sure what Basil has to do with this really, someone taking my post out of context?

      2. veti Silver badge

        > Anon, WTF does this have to do with Communism? Or China, for that matter?

        Or being a republic or "people's republic"? Nothing, obviously. I assume the first AC is saying "this is exactly the sort of thing we used to sneer at the commies for, who won the bloody (cold) war anyway?", but is (foolishly) disassociating the sentiment from Basil Fawlty.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lazy policing

    It makes you wonder what you'd have to do to create a police force that actually served the public interest, or indeed whether it is possible to do so at all. We've gone from a police force that got results by beating the crap out of people they 'knew' were villains and fitting them up, to a modern force that does policing by PR, maintaining public visibility by ostentatiously investigating anything that gets mentioned in the press, however trivial, while keeping its stats up to snuff with casual no contest fit-ups pulled via shenanigans like PoHs and any other novelty instruments the political types chuck them as a spin off to 'eye catching' policies.

    While all that's going on they'll be studiously ignoring any actual crime that might happen to the rest of us like burglary, assault etc - unless the Daily Fail gets a bee in its bonnet, in which case they'll be shown doing a bit of visible policing somewhere nicely reassuring like Surbiton.

    I'd love to live somewhere that the public and their private lives and activities weren't simply seen by the police as raw material to be turned into good stats and PR to justify their own existence, but clearly Britain is now too much of a political basket case for something like common sense to muddy the waters. A dose of "European spring" is probably the only solution, and long overdue at that.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After all....

    ....you're all potentially guilty of something.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Therein lies the problem

    Seize a random computer and you *will* high% of the time find something incriminating *somewhere* in the system that can be used as evidence.

    I've run into this before, found what seemed to be a "blank" drive with just an XP install in a dead laptop and upon trying to use it on an old junker discovered something really nasty on it.

    Sent on its merry way in a Jiffy bag to Ze Plod with no return address, but a copy of the original Windows key and as much information about the originating machine as I could find.

    A lot of high profile CP/EP/etc cases have been started because some unlucky IT tech found something nasty on a PC being repaired, even things as innocent as a dead phone being sent back under warranty have resulted in an investigation and subsequent convictions.

    Some phone/laptop/etc manufacturers now routinely shred the media of devices sent back under warranty if the fault isn't repairable because they can't risk liability if the next owner of the refurbished device happens to run recovery software and finds something incriminating.

    Some just zerofill them and there is actually a special tool available that plugs into the USB connector and nukes the entire Flash chip from orbit down to wiping out the firmware leaving just a basic bootloader.

    The problem now is that the vast majority of scumbags use bootable images of their system and store everything in RAM to avoid writing data to the drive.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It has been going on for a long time...

    I left the UK about 35 years ago and have lived in mainland Europe ever since. Just before I left the UK I was a member of the CND (or whatever it was called at that time). I was never arrested and have never had any interaction with the police at all during my whole life.

    Just recently whlist driving a non registered UK car in the UK, I was stopped for an "insurance check" and noticed that on the computer my original UK address was still present along with a number of entries, presumably relating to each time I attended a CND meeting.

    So this isn't new. It is just becoming more discussed.

  27. corestore

    Congratulation!

    "Police arrived, took statements and issued her with a “prevention of harassment” (PoH) letter. This is a piece of paper, for which the police have no legal authority to create or enforce, which can be used in court as evidence that a “course of conduct of harassment” took place. PoH letters can be issued before any serious investigation has taken place."

    Now you know what sex workers have been subjected to for *decades*.

    Google 'prostitute's caution'.

    It's like a normal caution, it appears on CRB checks, and it will generally have a severely negative impact on employment prospects.

    Except, unlike a normal caution, there's no law whatsoever authorising or defining it, the police have just thought it up and implemented it on their own. Unlike a normal caution, it requires no evidence whatsoever, and you don't have to have broken any laws to get one; mere suspicion is sufficient. Unlike a normal caution, you don't have to admit guilt or accept it; the police simply impose it on the woman. And unlike a normal caution, there's no possible appeal because, legally, it doesn't exist!

    Orwell and Kafka must be spinning this morning...

  28. Andy Davies

    ASSumption

    Please tell me it's Lord Alfred Stephen Sumption!

  29. Schultz

    But data collection is sooo valuable ...

    ... as in Monthy Pythons 'Stop the Film': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1pcEpSaboo

  30. Adam Inistrator

    facts?

    "This is a piece of paper, <snip>, which can be used in court as evidence that a “course of conduct of harassment” took place."

    This needs some backing up I think.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What - me worry?

    I don't see what all the fuss is about - my life is so deadly dull that I pity any poor copper who's tasked with gathering or investigating information on me!

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: What - me worry?

      Until they decide your dullness is a cover for something else. Are you aware of the difficulties of proving that you haven't done something?

  32. yossarianuk

    Nothing to hide

    Nothing to hide, they said.

  33. imanidiot Silver badge

    “Most intelligence is necessarily acquired in the first instance indiscriminately,” wrote the judge. “Its value can only be judged in hindsight, as subsequent analysis for particular purposes discloses a relevant pattern."

    Aka: We need the evidence so we can make anyone a criminal in hindsight. If it suits us.

  34. Mike Smith

    IANAL but...

    "destroying records central to a court case in order to cut proceedings short"

    Anyone other than the plod doing that would find themselves in serious trouble. Doesn't the deliberate destruction of evidence count as contempt of court?

  35. David Pollard

    What's the appropriate response to a vexatious PoH?

    Judging by the responses here it would be useful to readers to know what the best response would be were one to be served with a PoH. Does one write to the Chief Constable and collate the obfuscatory replies that this is likely to generate, in order to be able to demonstrate a measure of vindictiveness/incompetence etc. should the document ever be used? Or does one lodge a complaint with the IPCC?

    Might we have a comment from the experts at Liberty and similar organisations please?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the appropriate response to a vexatious PoH?

      I'm not familiar with those letters, but the procedure to follow with police is not to talk to them, not to accept anything from them, never sign anything from them. This is not as easy as it may seem--remember they deal with people all the time and have a full bag of tricks up their sleeve. They will lie to you through their teeth. Be polite but firm.

      There are countries where you can trust police, but the UK is most definitely not one of them.

  36. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    Judicial Whitewash !

    As the sole dissenter, Lord Toulson will soon be appearing on Police databases country wide, the others are probably already present and Police have had a quiet word !

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Judicial Whitewash !

      It worries me that Lady Hale has been turned to the Dark Side. Since she did not go the standard judicial route (being an academic appointed to the bench), she used to have a refreshingly different view of things from the other judges. Five years ago, I feel sure she would have been with Lord Toulson. Now, she is just another Establishment apologist. Really sad.

  37. Alistair Silver badge

    truer now than ever.....

    "...... and now the criminals in their coats and their ties are free to sip martinis and watch the sun rise"

  38. PaulR79

    What?

    "That fear translates into the real world as destroying records central to a court case"

    Isn't that just ever so slightly illegal? Destroying evidence in any case is a crime but since they can go "it's what she wanted" that makes it ok? No. How has this not been given massive press cove... oh right, press do as they're told of course.

  39. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Hmmm? Maybe?

    Maybe a better approach is to take action on wasting police time and the cost of making non-intrusive monitoring of people who had not committed any crime nor were they likely to?

    Inefficient management of a public resource (police personnel, police time and that ain't cheap, equipment, ...) might mean that those responsible for ordering inappropriate non-intrusive monitoring might have their career paths (and pensions?) cut short?

    EDIT

    ps: I don't think any reasoned approach will work as the individuals have the power, have the authority and are motived to abuse them anyway?

  40. JaitcH
    WTF?

    The Privacy Invasion Disease is spreading to lawyers

    My Mother died 12 years ago and a large firm of lawyers was wanting to contact me. I have a bank a account in the UK.

    Amongst the data they wanted was:

    - Current address and contact details, including e-mail addresses to contact you on and telephone numbers. (AFTER they contacted me)

    - Your wife's full name and details of any children you may have, including names and dates of birth. (To collect money from a Will?)

    - Details of your current occupation and your work and movements over the last seven years. (To collect money from a Will?)

    - Details of truck/lorry accidents and copies of any hospital records relating to your accidents. (To collect money from a Will?).

    - Details of transactions on your bank account with the XXXXXX bank for the last three months. (To collect money from a Will?)

    - A recent photograph of you with some kind of evidence within it of the fact that the photograph has recently been taken (such as a recent newspaper) (And the lawyer can't even buy a Vietnamese newspaper in London to compare it with)

    I thought it was the wrong form letter - but no, the lawyer came back with The information is to satisfy the identity processes we use to comply with the Anti- Money Laundering Regulations (This is money from one UK bank to another UK bank)

    This security theatre is going too far!

    P.S. The lawyers name is withheld to protect her stupidity!

  41. Someone Else Silver badge
    WTF?

    I'm from outtatown, but I have to ask...

    ...is this Lord Sumption's first name, by any chance, Antonin?

  42. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Easy targets?

    Maybe it is just that easy targets willing to cooperate and comply are worth pursuing because a few hours can get results?

  43. john devoy

    Does this apply to politicians as well, or are they exempt?

  44. cortland

    Were my brother still living, he, born the UK while our father was stationed there, would turn in his UK passport and advise others to stay away, which is a real shame. If HM government wish to make Britain as popular as Russia, they seem on the right path.

    I note that we in the US seem fair to catching up with the USSR as well.

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