Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

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Coming soon to a country near you?

November 18, 2016

Britain has passed the ‘most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy’
The law forces UK internet providers to store browsing histories — including domains visited — for one year, in case of police investigations.

It’s 2016 going on 1984.

The UK has just passed a massive expansion in surveillance powers, which critics have called “terrifying” and “dangerous”.

The new law, dubbed the “snoopers’ charter”, was introduced by then-home secretary Theresa May in 2012, and took two attempts to get passed into law following breakdowns in the previous coalition government.

Four years and a general election later — May is now prime minister — the bill was finalized and passed on Wednesday by both parliamentary houses.

But civil liberties groups have long criticized the bill, with some arguing that the law will let the UK government “document everything we do online”.

It’s no wonder, because it basically does. […]

H.T. Paul B

What Britain needs is the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. And let’s hope those will protect the U.S. from laws like this.

You’ll need to read the article to learn about the features of this new law (the Investigatory Powers Bill). There’s a lot more to it than just storing your browser’s history.

Who knew that little DARPA project would turn into a gigantic honeypot?

Next up? Making civilian use of encryption illegal.

Since Britain is probably the place with the most CCTV cameras per person I suppose this isn’t too much of a surprise. Britons have been subject to everyday surveillance for years now.

And the Anglosphere has already been surveilling private communications — see Snowden’s documents about the Five Eyes alliance. This British law makes (some of) that surveillance legal, rather than surreptitious.

The only safe assumption is that there is no anonymity or privacy on any network.

Take it, John.

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You can never go home any more

March 30, 2014

‘Tom Paine’ is a British ex-pat who’s been writing at The Last Ditch. I ran across his post below when I found it quoted at Samizdata.

Goodbye and good luck

You cannot, as the man said, step in the same river twice. I was away from Britain for 20 years. The Britain I returned to was not the Britain I left. Even though I had visited often, kept in touch with friends and family and followed political developments assiduously while living abroad, it had changed in ways I had not grasped. Perhaps, to be fair, I had changed too.

To me, it now seems a strange, immoral place. For example, I read articles in The Guardian and The Times this week about the abolition of inherited wealth. The Economist also recently wrote about it. It did not even occur to any of these columnists that they were talking about the property of others. They did not create it. They did not inherit it. They have no just claim to it. Yet they have no moral concerns about proposing its seizure. […]

I have tried to make these points both here and face to face with people I meet in my everyday life. All I have achieved is an outward reputation for eccentricity and a powerful inward sense of alienation. As the next General Election approaches offering me no moral choices it is time, alas, to accept defeat.

Everything I might still want to say to you has been said better in this book and this one. I am wasting your time writing anything more than this heartfelt recommendation to read them.

Goodbye and good luck.

I wasn’t certain that this was intended to be Tom’s farewell post but he confirmed that it was in a comment at Samizdata.

Reading his post reminded me of my thoughts that maybe those of us who favor freedom and self-reliance have lost a culture war. Maybe we’ve allowed the debate to be framed in terms favorable to our opponents’ points of view. There are times when I wonder whether I’m becoming an eccentric (as Tom says) or the culture really has changed for the worse in the years since I was young. It can be a tough call.

It helps to recall some Happy Warriors of the recent past, even if I didn’t always agree with all the battles they fought. They re-framed the debates of their time: "There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty."

And all that said, I certainly agree with Tom’s advice that you read Thomas Sowell’s books linked in his post.

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