Do you mind the Government playing Big Brother?
In the last few weeks there has been growing criticism over plans to expand the Government’s powers to monitor the emails, texts and website visits of every person in the UK without requiring a warrant which would be current protocol
The Home Office argued that the measure was “vital” to combat terrorism and organised crime and stressed a warrant would be needed in order to access the content of the communications they were monitoring.
The main criticism is in two areas firstly the invasion of privacy and secondly the hypocracy of the current government
With regards to privacy in real terms they can see who we are communicating with but not what we are saying without a warrant and they can look at what we are looking at online. Is this such a big deal? Surely the only reason you wouldn’t want this is if you did have something to hide?
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet doesn’t agree with my passive view! He believes these laws would be dangerous and lead to a “destruction of human rights”
In an interview with the Guardian Sir Tim said
It means there will be information around which could be stolen, which can be acquired through corrupt officials or corrupt operators and used, for example, to blackmail people in Government or people in the military. We open ourselves out, if we store this information, to it being abused.
Surely if such corrupt people really wanted to blackmail Government or military officials they would find a way to do it anyway – lets face it reporters found a way to hack phones and email accounts for journalistic advantage for the News of the World for years without access through official channels! Surely if we are using this to fight terrorism we shouldn’t assume the people with access to this information wouldn’t automatically use it in a damaging way?
However on the second point of criticism around the hypocracy of the current Government I am less passive! A previous attempt to introduce a similar law was abandoned by the former Labour government in 2006 due to fierce opposition from the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats as well as civil liberties groups. This does make you feel that opposition to such an idea in 2006 was due to point scoring rather than real representation of what they believed to be a breach of human rights. Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti warned that it would undermine the coalition’s commitment to human rights if it went ahead with the plan.
Ultimately, the decision as to whether to proceed will be made by parliament, lets hope they will look at all the advantages and disadvantages and make a decision based on what is best for the Country and not in order to win a popularity contest!