[Update at end of post]
The Government’s attempt to legitimise keeping track of personal communications, including emails, has provoked opposition from across the political spectrum, much of it from Young Dave’s backbenchers and their Lib Dem Coalition partners. Such proposals as have been made may well have to be significantly watered down to stand any chance of passing into law.
Del Boy fails to enthuse George Monbiot
So what has provoked this move? As ever, for someone who is “always right”, James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole has the answer. Yes, Del Boy has got the culprits bang to rights, and by the happiest of coincidences those culprits happen to be the rotten Brussels “Eurocrats” against which he and his fellow libertarians have railed for so long.
How has Del Boy reached his conclusion? Simples. He has read the EU Referendum blog, authored principally by his pal Richard North, occasional sidekick to Christopher Booker, a pundit of like mind and deeply venerated by Delingpole. North has found something called the EU Internal Security Strategy – you can read it HERE ([.pdf]) – and concluded this it is this wot done it.
North’s piece, quoted at length by Del Boy, is a superb exercise in paranoia: it tells of using a former Gestapo building in den Haag, of “a vast monitoring facility”, and of course expansion and more of that rotten bureaucracy. There is only one problem with this: it’s total and utter crap. I can be sure of my conclusion from this paragraph in the EU Internal Security Strategy document:
“The Internal Security Strategy in Action, and the tools and actions for implementing it must be based on common values including the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights as laid down in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Solidarity must characterise our approach to crisis management. Our counter terrorism policies should be proportionate to the scale of the challenges and focus on preventing future attacks. Where efficient law enforcement in the EU is facilitated through information exchange, we must also protect the privacy of individuals and their fundamental right to protection of personal data” [my emphases].
Moreover, Europol, the agency under which the Cyber Crime Centre – as set out in the EU Internal Security Strategy – has no executive powers, but rather is a support service for law enforcement authorities of individual EU member states. This, too, puts the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights at its core ([pdf], Page 2, penultimate paragraph).
If only Delingpole, the celebrated “Interpreter of interpretations”, had bothered to do a few minutes’ research, he could have found this out with ease. But instead, he believes what he wants to believe, and therefore promotes the rantings of the paranoid fringe to the status of fact. Wrong again. No change there, then.
[UPDATE 8 April 1050 hours: talking of Christopher Booker, the Great Man has - predictably - picked up on this story in his Sunday Telegraph column, and equally predictably has produced the kind of elementary gaffe that shoots apart his credibility.
After rambling on about a number of cyber crime initiatives, Booker tells that "Brussels is setting up a European Cybercrime [sic] Centre ... initially this is to be part of Europol, at its headquarters in The Hague (formerly occupied by the Gestapo).