Privacy threatened in staggering undemocratic move by UK Government

Anti-privacy legislation in Parliament

New anti-privacy legislation is being tabled for Parliamentary time this week. The “Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill” (DRIP) is being rushed through parliament with NO public scrutiny and no independent consultation at a public level. It is legislation that threatens our privacy. IT is happening in the face of the European moderation of the previous UK legislation.

The full Bill that is going to be put to the vote on 15th July 2010 can be found here:
Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill.

How does this Bill represent such a threat

Why is this Bill such a threat to our privacy? Simply put, it will allow the Government to snoop on your telephone and Internet use. The Bill forces the Telephone companies and Internet providers to keep all the records relating to your telephone conversations and all the Internet sites you visit. Based on that data they can make assumptions about your life, friends, and interests.

There is huge scope for misinterpretation in this new law. It will allow anyone in the security forces to draw almost any sort of inference about you that they wish.

Levels of surviellance

The level of personal surveillance being undertaken by the UK Government has reached unprecedented levels. They are now able to cross-connect your data covering nearly all areas of your life. These include health, justice, Internet use, reading (via libraries), the television you watch, telephone conversations, driving, Tax, personal friends and affiliations, social networks and shopping. In addition, your face will be photo-recognised every time you walk down the local high street. In the UK we now have more surveillance on us as citizens than any other country in the world.

Despite this “security” we are no safer than we were before 9:11. Because terrorists and criminals who wish to by-pass this type of surveillance know how to do so and can do so. They simply stay off the grid. This is the electronic world we live in. Citizens are more vulnerable and more followed than criminals.

How do you feel?

Now you know all this, how do you feel? There are very many ways you could be marked for an anti-terrorist watch. The simplest things can set off the alarm bells for the security services. The right combination of words and phrases in some of your every-day activities and you could be targeted by the security services. And, you might remember how that ended for Jean Charles de Menezes – a perfectly innocent man shot to death by police on the basis of unfounded assumptions.

Does that make you reconsider, say or do certain things? If you think differently now, this legislation is already affecting your freedom of action in a lawful society. It has inhibited your ability to say and do certain things. These are things that we, in a normal modern society, should be able to do without fear or concern.

The pace of executive power-growth – cabinet power, undemocratic power – is developing in a very similar way to pre-war Germany. In this legislation we see the Home Secretary acquire extensive powers to carry out surveillance on individuals with little or no regulation. The pace of this erosion of democracy cannot be sustained without democracy itself being destroyed. This latest legislation is inhibiting your freedom in the name of tightening security. Sacrificing freedom for security makes a mockery of the concept of a free society.

To help you make up your mind

Here is a document that highlights the many reasons this legislation should not be allowed to get onto the statute books…
“The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill” – A Joint Briefing Paper.

Further insights why the “DRIP” Bill should be stopped…
Why the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill should not be rushed through Parliament

This legislation and how it came to Parliament strikes at the very core of British democracy. The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill is an unnecessary threat to my personal privacy and that of every other UK citizen. The fact that Party leaders support this is of grave concern. Party leaders are acting irresponsibly when they consider that they can enact repressive laws like this without public overview. That is a very dangerous precedent. You will have no say in this undemocratic, anti-privacy legislation unless you protest to your MP now!

Contact your MP

You can send an email to your MP here…
Telephone your MP… Call Parliament: 02072193000
Tweet to your MP. Find their Twitter name here… Tweetminster

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  1. Pingback: I just wrote to my MP about the DRIP Bill - Data Distress

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