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The suppression of freedom and privacy in the UK

Posted by on September 28, 2014.

David Cameron

David Cameron (credit: Reuters/Pascal Rossignol)

The UK is rapidly becoming the internet’s ‘free world’ freedom and privacy weak spot. The cause is the tragic simultaneous alignment of several factors:

  • there is no single freedom guaranteed by law. There is no written constitution in place to protect the people from the excesses of government.
  • the British public is just about the most apathetic citizenry in the world. Technically, of course, we are not citizens (of a republic) but subjects (of a monarchy). The problem is that we Brits still behave as subjects and just do as we are told. We falsely assume that the government has our best interests at heart. It does not.
  • the UK is probably the most surveilled and monitored nation in the world. We have an incredibly high density of surveillance cameras that are increasingly being linked back to the police.
  • the UK has a completely ineffective data protection regulator who sees his primary purpose as showing big business how they can continue to do whatever they wish to do without breaking European data protection laws. The vast majority of fines he metes out are against public bodies where the fine is paid by the people and not the organization.
  • the UK has an unfettered and out-of-control intelligence service. There is no oversight. Cabinet claims to have oversight, but it is in secret and unreported; and the relevant secretary of state and/or minister never reins in the intelligence services or allows discussion of what it does. Remember that Snowden said that GCHQ is worse than the NSA. I do not doubt it.
  • the UK has a very clever authoritarian prime minister who understands that to prevent embarrassment from the few remaining libertarian MPs (take a bow David Davis) he can simply by-pass parliament. This is done by:
    • tacking nasty clauses into unrelated benign and necessary legislation
    • increasing use of diktats from secretaries of state that do not require a vote
    • doing deals in private with other party leaders
    • persuading industry (with threats and promises) to do voluntarily that which he might he might not get through parliament

The overall effect is that the internet in the UK is heavily monitored (by the intelligence services); policed (by the copyright holders and Cameron-thinking police and NGOs); and enforced by the ISPs. Add to this the terrorism laws that allow the police to define almost anyone, anywhere, on whim as a terrorist, and you have a total police state.

Cameron himself remains clean, but is the manipulator in the background. His purpose is to protect and facilitate the banks, the oil companies, big pharma and other large conglomerates. If he understands the concepts of freedom, liberty and privacy, it is only as impediments that need to be suppressed. The people of the UK are successfully suppressed: freedom and privacy is lost.

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