SAY NO TO A SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY!
The Coalition government (with the FULL support of the ‘Liberal’ Democrats) is seeking to monitor ALL the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation they soon hope to introduce. They say it is to fight crime and terrorism yet they can already obtain all of this information against specific individuals by applying for a warrant. Even assuming the authorities are not already collecting information ‘illegally’?, we guess the police don’t like the inconvenience of having to substantiate their snooping to a magistrate and the paperwork that no doubt must be (rightly) produced to convince them of its need?
One might be sceptical of even the present procedure, after all does a magistrate have the knowledge or inclination to resist? However, if the information is misused there will at least be an audit trail. Under the present proposals it will be much harder to track down the ‘guilty parties’. Will it be abused? Of course it will, for example, by individual police officers or civil servants or government organisations who wish to make a political or personal point against certain individuals or groups. That apart, we also know that the easier it is to collect information the greater the desire and inclination to do so. With more information ‘floating around’ the more likely it will be hacked/lost/sold. Given the furore of these plans, Nick Clegg has focused on a smaller (but important) aspect of the alleged legislation, namely the use of ‘secret’ courts to review intelligence information in civil cases i.e. the defence would not be allowed to be aware of the information let alone challenge it. Nick Clegg doesn’t oppose the process, just that Judges rather than Ministers must take that decision. We agree with him but he neither opposes the courts nor highlights the fact that all this is being suggested because the US say they may refuse to share intelligence if it is not kept totally secret.
The legislation overall is effectively the same as the Tories and Lib-Dems opposed when out of Government. They said at the time it was a part of a growing ‘culture of surveillance’. What has changed? Perhaps being in government they comfort themselves that it won’t be used against them? Whilst we might expect the Conservatives to roll over (with honourable exceptions such as David Davies MP) but for the Liberal Democrats to do so is unforgivable. Do you trust their assurances of rigorous protections? ………………………………………………… No we don’t either!
TELL NICK CLEGG!
As liberals and liberty lovers we will resolutely oppose this pernicious bill. Please sign the new petition created by our Steering Committee aimed at Nick Clegg at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/say-no-to-the-surveillance-society.html
Date: April 4, 2012