back to article A vintage year for snoopers and big state-ists

If 2016 proved anything, it proved the existence of the law of unintended consequences making this a miserable year for lovers of liberty and privacy. A vote by the British electorate to secede from the European Union in June led to former Home Secretary Theresa May becoming Prime Minister — to the fright of many who had …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know it is the holidays but...


    but by February it was clear customers who'd signed up to Oracle cloud not be renewing their agreements with further hires shunted at the renewals team.

    I think there is a 'would' missing somewhere

    And 'releaseing' rather than 'releasing'?

    Perhaps a little too much 70% was consumed yesterday?

    Back on topic.

    The Trump revolution seemed to be based on anti-globalisation. Something has to step into the void filled when the big companies get shoved aside. What is it? Governments naturally. As the Republicans are very opposed to big government I don't see Trump getting anywhere fast. The GOP is even more in the pocket of big business than the DNC, just different businesses. The appointment to his cabinet tell you which businesses he owes big and really big favours to. Big Oil especially.

    IMHO Trumps legacy will be another 1% on Global Warming if he does even half what he promised.

    At least then he won't have to go for spray tans every time he makes a public appearance.

    But will he ever pay any Taxes? Nah.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: I know it is the holidays but...

      "... when the big companies get shoved aside."

      Good one. Maybe not exactly ROFL, but made me chuckle.

  2. nematoad Silver badge

    "2017 is shaping up to be an interesting year."

    And, as everyone knows, that a paraphrase of an old Chinese curse. "May you live in interesting times."

    Interesting maybe, but to my mind a bloody awful time to have to live through.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > "Voters in the US elected a reality television star as their next president, either because of or despite his promises to build a national database tracking Muslims."

    Again with the lies, Alex? We know you hate Trump, but can't you at least stay inside reality when you smear him?

    1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      So what exactly isn't true? He was a reality TV star and at least part of his popularity was due to his promise to ban new Muslims from entering the country and to track the ones already here. The election was close enough that even if the population that swung to him due to xenophobia was tiny, it would've been enough to get him in office.

      So pray tell, what exactly is the lie?

    2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      @Big John

      You seriously need to change your source of news.

      That Trump was a reality star is axiomatic --> The Apprentice.

      And he did advocate a Muslim database register, among other systems.

      <"I would certainly implement that. [Database system] Absolutely," Trump said in Newton, Iowa, in between campaign town halls.>

      So its you that's telling lies, or you are just plain ignorant. Quit the lame defenses, already.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oky, you guys got me. I didn't want to admit Trump was a TV star, but I can't get nothing past you sharpsters, can I? ;-/

        As for the lie that Trump ever called for national Muslim citizen database, you don't really want to go there because that was a fabrication of the hostile drive-by press. Trump was talking about the southern border and not Muslims at that moment, but hey, who cares if it provides a chance to lie about him? Didn't work tho. Too many people know the actual facts behind that particular smear. But not you two, apparently.

        1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

          I'm willing to concede half a point on the Muslim database and admit that journalists might have led him into saying those things, but he still said it and agreed with it, even if he didn't really understand what it was he was saying. Trumps biggest problem is that he's unable to keep his big mouth shut and say nothing when silence would be his best option. He's our first twitter president, which is part of his big problem unless his handlers can get him to leave off the twittering. I tend to agree with PolitiFact when they conclude that

          "Trump’s exchange with Stephanopoulos seems to be the clearest explanation of his position. No, he would not rule out a database on all Muslims. But for now, he wants a database for refugees."

          The first rumblings of discontent are starting to appear with his white supremacist pals threatening rebellion if he ditches them after all he has said. I'm rather enjoying his presidency so far and he hasn't even been installed yet. Awesome!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > "...but he still said it and agreed with it, even if he didn't really understand what it was he was saying."

            GW, do YOU understand just what you are saying here? You are stating that a conversation where a party can be construed to be saying one thing while actually intending to say something else entirely is nevertheless to be held guilty of saying that construed thing? Don't you realize how intellectually dishonest that is? How are you able to defend it?

          2. eldakka Silver badge

            "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.."

  4. Joe Werner Silver badge

    “solutions” (hopefully that word will die next year)

    Yup. Ze Germans had the phrase "Endlösung"... so this does really sound suspicious. To be honest: it also sounds well within what we expect. Hmpf.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: “solutions” (hopefully that word will die next year)


      There fixed it for you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: “solutions” (hopefully that word will die next year)

        Liberal leftists change other peoples words to suit their agenda. Or 1984 with a regexp twist.

  5. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    IBM and the Muslim DB

    Seems pretty apropos that IBM would get involved in building a database tracking the religious affiliation of an entire country. After all, they were quite successful in doing that in the 1930s...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: IBM and the Muslim DB

      I hope they got paid in advance and they probably didn't get much in the way of follow-up contracts from the new management

    2. Yugguy

      Re: IBM and the Muslim DB

      "IBM and the Muslim DB"

      That is one shit name for a band.

  6. SeanC4S

    Yeh, it seems like 2017 is going to be eventful and dangerous.

  7. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge


    I'm sick of seeing Trump's smug face, can we replace it with an image of a plastic turd? A real turd has uses, compost or if you are a chimp as a missile. A plastic turd has only one use and that is as a joke.

    Trump seems to have gathered around him the biggest collection of arseholes available, the future looks bleak.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ugh!

      You would have been far more sick of Queen Hillary's triumphant cackling. Or maybe not. You could be into that sort of thing.

    2. TAJW

      Re: Ugh!

      So don't look at him....or, if you are living in the U.S., please feel free to move to Cuba, Germany, Syria, Iran or some other place where the government has similar beliefs to yours.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The biggest technology companies who offer database “solutions” (hopefully that word will die next year) to enterprise clients were all quick to dismiss that they would in any manner contribute towards the MuslimDB.

    Sorry but money talks and they'll be falling over themselves for that juicy contract and whilst I haven't purchased an enterprise database solution I assume it's unlikely that you either show the supplier the data or confirm what you are using it for. I'm also pretty certain that the information is already stored anyway by a certain 3 letter agency and if it isn't it's doomed to fail because how do you force people to declare their religion?

    As for May and the snooping I am appalled, shocked and disgusted that we have even got to this point, it should have been taken round back and shot the moment they tried to resurrect it. There's a few ways it's going to go, it gets reversed via the courts, news stories start to trickle through and people realise what they didn't sign up for and it gets reversed as policy by a future government, we end up in a police state where you can't criticise it anyway. Interestingly the future government option is something I think people should consider as there are policies that are universal between the parties so it would take a new party to counter them, it's why UKIP exist in the first place and why we had a referendum because if we didn't all the people who voted out would have voted UKIP and then we would all be screwed but on the bright side it would be formal attire at the theatre (sarcasm of course in relation to their humorous manifesto, the party of the people my arse)

    I hope 2017 brings back common sense but I'm not holding out for it.

  9. Just An Engineer

    " CEO Ginni Rometty, meanwhile, wrote to the President-elect explaining how she, for one, welcomes the US’s new orange overlord, and reminding him how as the chief of a large technology company she could be helpful in rounding up others to make America great again."

    Now this was nearly "laugh out loud funny", since this company has done all to can to make America the land of the H1Bs and outsourced native workers.

    Since the overall US head count is down about 70 percent over the last 10 years, but world wide headcount has remained pretty steady, I would guess they can certainly "MAGA", in the image of the Orange Man.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To be fair, it's merely an overture to Trump, not a request from him.

      To be even fairer, imagine you are Trump, staring down the barrel of the Presidency. You are pledged to clean up all this Liberalism sloshing around after eight years of experimental government. What do you do first? The EPA? Taxes? Foreign Policy? All that new regulation Obama dumped on the country at the last moment of his tenure? Well, it sure ain't gonna be H1B's, I can guarantee that. One can hope tho that later on Trump will be impressionable to arguments about retaining American jobs, unlike the current administration.

  10. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    In other news

    The four horsemen were seen riding into the distance, complaining that they'd been made redundant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In other news

      Well then, if you are inside the US you had better escape while you can, right? The rest of us won't miss your kind of self-hate very much.

  11. Sean Kennedy

    You know what the real challenge was? Reading the article.

    Are the editors off this weekend? The author has worse grammar than I do, which is shameful.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Once upon a time there was an idea about "innocent until proved guilty".

    No more. Now everyone is guilty. GCHQ (the modern STASI) is collecting everything they can lay their hands on on the assumption that 60 million UK citizens are all GUILTY.

    It's a pity that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has just made the activities of GCHQ illegal.

    If you are not engaging in or planning "serious crime", then GCHQ needs to stop monitoring your affairs, according to the ECJ. I'll believe that when I see proof that the STASI is being downsized!! For example, Philip Hammond might be about to announce that the 1.9 billion pound increase in the GCHQ budget has now been cancelled. Some hope.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: GCHQ == STASI

      I suspect you're too young, of the wrong nationality, and lacking in scholarly study of history to really know what horrible bastards the STASI really were. Count yourself very lucky indeed to not be living somewhere anything like the former GDR.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: GCHQ == STASI

        @bazza I suspect that you're too young, of the wrong nationality, and lacking in <your jibe about skill here> to really know how surreptitiously fascist bastards take over. You are very lucky indeed not to be living in Russia in the 1920's or Germany in the 1930's or East Germany in the 1950's......or maybe Britain in the 2010's????

    2. Dave 15

      Re: GCHQ == STASI

      Of course, if they dont monitor how can they be sure you are not planning a serious crime.

      The problem is two fold.

      First that our government is elected by a stupid electorate easily scared into ticking the required box by use of flawed media (BBC et al) but feels that to exert proper control it needs to know everything that everyone does in order to kill off all those not doing what it wants us to

      Second that the courts are part of the establishment that is threatened by freedom so wont stop the governments object of cutting back freedom at every turn. After all none of them want a rebellion here.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All this talk about massive government information gathering on its citizens has avoided any discussion on how many crimes have been solved and how many terrorist attacks have been avoided. To my knowledge, in the US at least, maybe one terrorist attack has been avoided. Governments pushing for this information gathering without telling the people about the so called results of these efforts leaves me to the conclusion that this Orwellian effort to gather all the information about the citizens is really being carried out because the the government does not trust its citizens and to stamp out dissidence. Trump's efforts in setting up a Muslim registry could be at start. The final product is that a registry will be set up for all religions, and indeed, all citizens. Just my opinion

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Parliament produces an annual report on surveillance activities, and the court case results and transcripts are openly available. Go read!

      But yes, Trump's Muslim registry is an abhorrent idea.

  14. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Big Brother


    This image of Big Sister by Julian Simmonds in the Telegraph reminded me of

    ...Big Brother

  15. Fat_Tony


    "How fitting that, if the IPA is to be fundamentally reformed, it will be done by the decree of a British court."

    Shirley that's EU courts rather than UK (and the link goes to a story about EU courts)? Or am I missing something

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typo?


      That was funny back in the 70's.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I wade in?

    As a godless atheist that will apparently burn in $NASTY_PLACE id like to point out that some of us unaffiliated with a weekly story time and/or $CULT aren't interested in tracking muslims.

    I personally think ALL religious nut jobs (i.e. those that don't practice peacefully or preach some kind of hatred to some form of lifestyle / belief should be tracked and flushed out.

    I am tolerant of religion, if you believe in $DEITY I honestly don't care, as it can help people in life to bring them meaning and purpose. However, those whackos going full tilt with placards and protests hating $SEXUAL_PERSUASION, $RACE, $RELIGION etc, I have no time for them.

    Lets build an angry dome in the desert for them to rant in and make them pay for it and lets find the gayest, most islamic and oddly westernised people to build it.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The UK has quite rightly earned its place as one of the enemies of the Internet.

    And I look forward to seeing it drop even further down the freedom index in 2017.

  18. bazza Silver badge

    From the article:

    "Her position is ironic considering her first act in government, way back in 2010, to repeal Labour's Identity Cards Act 2006. May claimed the Act would not “keep us safe without intruding on civil liberties” and continuing that while “some data storage is essential,” in her explanation to Parliament, “these events do not point in the direction of a massive expansion of the surveillance state, which ID cards would necessarily involve.”

    The ID card scheme's planned use of biometrics was mathematically flawed. It was never going to be able to deliver what was wanted because the biometric ID part of that was going to be insufficiently reliable. One might therefore argue that binning the scheme was actually a well measured move on May's part, as nothing good was going for come from having all that data on file, all that equipment in place, etc.

    "David Davis, currently Brexit secretary, so disliked the PM's last attempt at a Snoopers' Charter that he with others took the country to the EU's highest court. The resulting judgment seems to put much of the UK's new data retention regime to challenge."

    Ah yes, David Davis, the man who resigned from the then shadow cabinet in protest at something that the then Labour government was doing. Can't remember what it was all about, but the lasting impression his protest made was "idiot": it's a Shadow Cabinet politician's job to criticise government where necessary, something you cannot do if you quit. A hollow gesture at best, and at the very least it was poor judgment.

    Anyway, the true irony is that whilst many may look upon Europe as a means to moderate whatever 'excesses' one might perceive to be built into the IPA, some (e.g. France) and probably many other European governments are planning or implementing similar laws.

    The wave of attacks on various blameless and/or beneficient European countries (what's Belgium ever done to annoy anyone? Chocolate?) has finally woken them up. We're all at risk from such attacks, and a policy of non-involvement in the world's trouble spots and a laissez-faire attitude to what's happening in communities in your own capital city is not good armour against them.

    The EU and ECJ may witter on about open borders and human rights, but European politicians now realise that there's elections to be lost through inaction and failure to prevent repeat attacks. Everyone remembers that the ruling party in Spain lost the next general election immediately after the Madrid train bombings. There's nothing like the prospect of losing their job to make politicians engage in hard realpolitiks.

    Anyway, my point about Britons seeking redress in the ECJ about what they perceive to be the excess of the IPA is that if any government tells the ECJ to back off it might not be the UK government that ends up doing that.

    What would be truly excessive is not having laws (or having very weak laws) about what the state can and cannot do in the area of domestic security, and then making it up on the spot or doing things with no legal top cover in response to the popular backlash against a government hitherto inattentive to such matters. For example, France is still officially in a state of emergency. Who knows what they're doing under that cover. And last time I was there (Nov) there's still troops on the streets of Brussels. This is far from "normal".

    An interesting listen on such topics is the Reith lectures given by Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5.

    All things considered I'd far rather have open laws on domestic surveillance and security than opaque states of emergency, or no laws at all. Whether or not they're effective laws or not time will tell.

  19. HAL-9000


    Who exactly from the alt-right (nazis) will hold Trump accountable for broken promises? My only hope is the various nutjobs who hollered and wailed at the rallies don't take action into their own hands once Trump starts making U-turns.

  20. livefree

    Blame it on the previous prez (BYKT)

    Don't blame the MuslimDB on the Orange one. There was already one in place, but since the Black one and his administration was using it, it must have been OK. See for details.

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