Thursday, 12 November 2015

Play nice or "they" could make life difficult for you

I have now had this from a couple of people, and my wife is also concerned.

Basically, discussing ways to avoid mass surveillance, for example, making separate companies, and winding one up if it gets a retention order, or moving DNS servers outside the UK, etc.

These would all be legal means to take action for good moral reasons. Indeed, even if not good moral reasons, they would be legal actions which I should not be afraid to take.

In any civilised country nobody should be afraid of taking legal steps to achieve their own objectives.

Whilst I do not personally think they would make life difficult for me, or even that they could in any meaningful way (we play by the rules and don't have any skeletons in the closet), I am not the sort of person who would give in to such fears anyway. I was bullied at school, and that gives you a philosophy of standing up to bullies and for doing what is right.

But this actually made me think a bit - and this is one of the issues with the proposed bill. We have many laws now where there are things that might be technically illegal but are not enforced. Steps that make everyone a criminal, but nobody sees that as something that matters. Have I ever cycled on a pavement that is not a cycle path? Have I ever accessed an extremist web site and could be accused of being involved with terrorists as a result? Have I ever accessed a site that provides copyright infringement of some sort?

Now, with more and more things like this, you just need to add the mass surveillance, and bingo - you can intimidate anyone for any reason. Using your browsing history to find something which could be used to make a case against you under some obscure law that nobody considers serious, and using that to silence you when you say or do something else which is legal.

Mass surveillance is that key step so that you can enforce "thought police" properly and intimidate anyone you don't like.

I hate to go all Godwin's law on you, but is this not exactly the sort of police state that ended up with Nazi Germany? Are we on that slippery slope, really? It is that time of year when we are meant to remember these things - so let's remember and not go any further down this road please.


  1. If no-one stands up to be counted, those who are counting will think no-one cares, or worse, that everyone agrees with their horrible actions.

    This week the PM himself had accidently revealed he doesn't have a clue about the cuts he has signed off, so what hope is there if ordinary people can't be bothered either?

    Well done. You have my support. And MI5 (who are actually pretty much inept) can add me to their secret list as many times as they like.

  2. Please. Being bullied at school gave *you* a philosophy of standing up to bullies and for doing what is right, and that's highly praiseworthy. It doesn't do that to everyone! It gave *me* an, er, can't call it a philosophy, an emotional drive to avoid conflict at almost any cost. Standing up to bullies? Hell no. I flee, and let them rage against other people, or the landscape, or whatever else is around them. I know that's not an optimal thing to do and would be disastrous if everyone did it, but I do it anyway.

  3. I'd prefer not to have to change ISPs if you went out of business, of course: not a lot of IPv6 out there!

    That said, I think the way to deal with this initially is via the consultation process. Roland got good traction last time and RIPA 2000 is a great deal less unpleasant that it might have been. It needs us to be singing from the same sheet, I think, as to what we can compromise on and what are red lines.

  4. I'm with you on this Adrian too. Far too many people baulk at saying no to the authorities when they really should be. Fear is a very difficult emotion to overcome for many but when you think about it what is there to really fear in saying no to this bill?

    I'd rather fear the consequences of that than live in an environment, country, world where the authorities dictate and control everything I do or say.

    It's not about taking to the streets and smashing up monuments or setting fire to police vehicles as some imbeciles do, no, it's about saying to the politicians and similar that this is WRONG and they shouldn't be doing it just because they think they can. They need to listen to the industry and the people of the UK who oppose this as much as those who ignorantly or apathetically support it.

    Would you be happy if I came and sat in your home uninvited, watching you eat, sleep or worse as you went about your personal life, business? No, you certainly wouldn't so in that case you should be telling your MP that you do NOT agree with this bill and snooping on your private lives.

    Don't support or let this bill pass through into law without a fight.