Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Brown, Gordon - Broadband And State Paranoia

Brown Broadband Boost
'Selling' the service to the people - government hype
Thumbs Down - business angle (only)

It's debatable that any benefit will be enjoyed by all especially as some could obtain services and computers for free while others must pay for such connection. This is a recipe for the continuation of dividing Britain. Those who can pay will do just that (because they have to) and the others? Whether they can or just won't, get it all for free.

However, for any user the prospect of police invasion is hovering in the shadows posing a real threat. Intrusive surveillance by police and MI5 is to be allowed: without a warrant. This has been the result of a decision by ministers in the European Union in Brussels. Legalised and demanded by law without any consultation. The French, German and other EU forces can 'ask' British officers to pass over any relevant material. Presumably, but not specified, the reverse direction of the information flow will operate.

Liberty has described it's outrage as a "devastating blow to any notion of personal privacy" and plans to mount a legal challenge. Remote searches by the police have been possible since 2004 and changes to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 legalised hacking providing it was authorised and carried out by the state.

But what grounds constitute any sufficiency to authorise?

The extension to police powers has been (predictably) defended by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on the grounds that they must believe (on what evidence?) that it is necessary. The without warrant implies a non-provable belief will be enough to issue authorisation: Nightmare Police State. The Information Commissioner's Office says it would work with the Home Office to ensure cybercrime can be tackled without intruding disproportionately on the privacy of law-abiding citizens. The Home Office claims 'Working together to protect the public'. Working 'together'? Who is working with whom and how is this protecting the public? Place the public in their prison by threat alone and control absolutely behaviour by the threat of real imprisonment?

According to TV Licensing Detection and Penalties

  • It is a criminal offence to use TV receiving equipment to watch or record TV programmes without a valid licence, and there's no excuse for doing so. Still people try. In fact, we've heard all the excuses in the book and here you can read some of our favourites
The advertising of the penalties is very threatening and on a par with any other type of government threat. Nasty, especially if you happen to be one of the majority of law-abiding citizens. The assumption is that everyone is a potential subversive or crook. This is the paranoia of the state and creates instability. The government seems to be Hell-bent on attempting to frighten and so control the citizens some of which helped to elect it. Many (the majority) did NOT elect this hostile government. The true meaning of POWER is slowly being appreciated. Even by (some of) that minority that elected it.

Home Office objectives and values

The police would need to install some sort of monitoring software, such as a keystroke logger, onto a PC. The paradox here is that security software already installed onto a machine could simply block such a subversive approach. That is what security software is designed to do. The likely alleged target of such surveillance is also the most likely to remain untouched by such an approach. According to ACPO, any covert operations like this would still be governed by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. But covert means being totally unaware and carried out in the shadows of the hidden background.

There is clearly a conflict between the two linked concepts or a sinister and deliberate connection between Brown's aims and enforced surveillance. An added issue is the alleged interest in protecting users and especially children from the massive downside of internet use. Potential child abuse. Also the amount of crime associated with the use of the internet. This is another classic example of creating the situation and providing the solution. Encourage the use of computers, broadband and the internet and then legalise the surveillance of any activity using the service and equipment. Without a warrant being necessary. This implies that such surveillance would be clandestine with any user being totally unaware of being 'h(ij)acked'.