Great news! The government has released it’s latest ‘snooper’s charter’. And it’s not as bad as the first one was. Instead of giving everyone access to every bit of communication data about everyone in the country, it only gives it to a select few! Aren’t we lucky!
Now, I understand the idea behind it. I understand the need for the government to keep some tabs on people for there to be effective anti-terrorism efforts. What I don’t understand is why NHS Trusts and my local fire authority need to have access to information on what websites I visited in 1997 and to whom I sent a text on a cold winter night in December 2000. Because that’s what they’ll be able to do. ISP’s and communication companies will be required to keep six years of records of ‘communication data': who called whom, who visited which site, etc. And several authorities will be able to access these records without asking a judge; under existing leglislation (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, 2000) a chief constable, the head of MI-5, etc, can access this data. The only oversight is that, should the person become aware they are being targeted, they can complain. That’s it.
Now, in the past, I’ve mentioned that the US is unhappy with similiar leglislation that Bush is pushing through. Does the UK even notice when Blair and Blunkett give it a go? Not really. Liberty talk a bit, and thats it. With Labour‘s huge majority, they can push through whatever they want. And the opposition couldn’t find their arse with both hands, a spotlight and a beginners guide to anatomy.
Effective opposition, anyone?