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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Every breath you take, every step you make, they'll be watching you.

This is something that I saw about a week ago and which got me wound up enough to want to start blogging in the first place, though enough other things have happened since that I've only just got round to it. The Grauniad and Telegraph both report on the Interception of Communication Commissioner Sir Paul Kennedy's comments that ISPs and phone companies had data requistioned by various UK authorities on over half a million occasions last year, and that the process should be made easier (his report here in PDF). Easier? Christ! As if it's not worrying enough that the UK has an Interception of Communication Commissioner he wants more access to everyone's inbox more often. The Home Office is making sure it happens with plans to force phone companies and ISPs to keep details for two years. This is being introduced by means of a Statutory Instrument, thereby cutting MPs and Parliamentary debate out of the equation, confirming an EU directive. Surprise surfuckingprise, it's the UK's real government again, although it seems that the EU want data retained for between six and twenty four months and typically the UK's Westminster government is going for the full parcel. On reading this I had another one of those "thank fuck I left the UK" moments. I generally have at least one a week.

It's not much of a surprise either to find our old friend RIPA rearing it's bastard ugly head again. I don't usually credit the Grauniad with much apart from giving me a bloody good laugh at George Monbiot's and Polly Toynbee's stuff, but it was one of the first places I read about RIPA back when it was still the RIP Bill and they were slamming it back then. It certainly has become the snooper's charter that everyone was worrying about. Just a few reminders:

  • Poole Council used RIPA to monitor a family trying to get their kid into their preferred school as the council suspected the family might be pulling a fast one over the catchment area (which they weren't) - H/T Nannyknowsbest.
  • Gosport Council used RIPA to investigate, and I wish this was made up, dog shit - Nannyknowsbest again.
  • Durham used RIPA to look into dodgy trader issues such as counterfeit goods - The Register (who mentioned some more local council shit fetishism in the same article).

    This is legislation sold at least partly on its use in combating terrorism, as shown by its initial use being restricted to the security services and so on. Only a few years on, and much as those worried about RIPA predicted, it's been expanded to several hundred bodies including all the fucking local councils gobshites who want to stick their noses into your bedroom and rummage through your rubbish bins and read your text messages and emails. Why? Well you wouldn't want someone getting away with atrocities like claiming the single person's council tax discount would you?

    Free country my arse. Bastards.
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