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Wednesday 4 November 2015

Snoopers Charter - The Reality

Those watching The Andy Marr Show (tm) on Sunday will have been able to observe the Daily Mail’s Glenda Emeritus Amanda Platell airily telling that she had no problem with the security services snooping on anything and everything she did. For her this was not a problem. As long as this meant she would be “kept safe”, she was clearly happy to go along with whatever measures Theresa May and her pals dreamed up.
Thus the problem: for this issue above all others, we need to be offered the facts for once, instead of the endless conflation of calculated spin, PR, and scare stories, which nowadays means more of those Scary Muslims (tm). And the facts show a reality which should worry all those concerned about surveillance overreach. The first act of deception by the Government is to pretend they have “climbed down”. They haven’t.
This spin has been obediently churned over by the Murdoch Times: “Judges get right to veto anti-terror operations … Ministers face overrule in privacy climbdown”. The Telegraph has another angle: “Prison for officials who abuse snooping powers”. We should therefore feel better about the spooks. What is not told is that rather more of that snooping will be legal, above-board, and beyond judicial reproach under proposed new laws.
It has been, as ever, down to the deeply subversive Guardian to hint at what Ms May has in store for us all: “May’s bill to reveal every website you visit”. Every site. Without any kind of warrant. Without a judge being asked first. Without anyone going to prison for abusing their powers. And you, the punter, don’t get a further say. That is what the right-wing press are spinning for. And then there is the further erosion of your privacy.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has unspun this, starting with spinword du jour, “Metadata”. He puts it plainly: “Journos: if officials say they aren't capturing your web history, push back. ‘Metadata’ reveals every site you hit … ‘Metadata’ means records about your private activities and associations. It's an activity dossier. The novelty is in the lack of warrants [my emphasis] … Are your readers having trouble understanding the term ‘metadata’? Replace it with ‘activity records’. That's what they are”.
It gets worse, when the matter of encryption is raised. Snowden’s warning, “I warned UK govt sought to ban strong encryption, despite public denials” is shown to be more than prescient. Tech firms and service providers would be forced to be able to provide an unencrypted version of communications if demanded via a warrant. The all-too-gullible Telegraph has told “The move follows concerns that a growing number of encryption services are now completely inaccessible apart from to the users themselves”.
That is, of course, the point of encryption! As an industry blog Snowden quotes explains, there is no climbdown, no compromise. It concludes “Mandating breakable encryption is the same thing as banning encryption”. GCHQ and the other spooks are clearly still sore that they couldn’t break the encryption of the drives they seized from David Miranda.

Don’t believe the spin, the reassurances, and the crude gullibility of clueless pundits. See for yourselves what the proposed law really means. Don’t let the spooks and their cheerleaders get away with yet another slice of authoritarian overreach.


Andy McDonald said...

Sadly, the journos won't see it that way, because they'll convince themselves and their audience that this cannot possibly apply to People Like Them. That this will only be brought to bear on Other People. Even after so many examples of People Like Them being the ones on the receiving end.

Anonymous said...

The spooks "argument" is so puerile and stupid its laughable.

If innocent people have nothing to fear, then the spooks won't mind us knowing what THEY are "innocently" up to. But they do, the paranoid meffs.

If you want a typical example, check out Waller in front of the Intelligence Select Committee. Firstly, he refused to turn up, then got threatened with a subpoena. Secondly, when he DID show up he behaved so arrogantly Vaz had to warn him he would be in contempt if he continued to so behave.

The fact is, rare honourable exceptions apart, spooks are not only the biggest threat to what's left of our democracy they are also a murderous gang of fascist lunatics - whether they're the Vauxhall Cross Gang or the Langley Mafia or any of the European variants. They should all be herded into a field and told to spook the fuck out of each other until there's only one left standing - then he/she should be confined to Broadmoor for the rest of his/her life. It's the only way democracy will survive.

Ceebs said...

You have to wonder if the members of the press seeing this as a good thing. and aren't thinking that all they'll need is a slightly iffy copper (and they've never had trouble finding one of those in the past) or a skilled PI blagger who can convince your ISP they are a Policeman, and they will then have access to any targets web history.

You would have a real problem convincing me that the tabloids would not see this as a problem, but more as a Black arts opportunity.

pete c said...

Unfortunately, too many of the grub street scribes have no appreciation for - or even knowledge of - basic history.

Perhaps they should google names like Duncan Campbell, and subjects like the Free Press movement from back in the 60s/70s.

We've definitely been here before.