Sunday, 7 September 2008

our civil liberties or our wallets?

'Environmental volunteers' will be encouraged to spy on their neighbours (Telegraph, 02 Sep 2008)

Anti-terrorism laws used to spy on noisy children (Telegraph, 06 Sep 2008)

Children aged eight enlisted as council snoopers (Telegraph, 06 Sep 2008)

Child sleuths 'are not snoopers' (BBC News, Saturday, 6 September 2008)

Some observations:

First, the justified expressions of discontent if not outrage everywhere on the web in response to the above news may be ultimately driven by the worsening economic climate, which is mostly to blame on global factors rather than on Labour's incompetence. The surveillance state has been unfolding itself for several years now. Why are people waking up at this moment? Why were there no mass demonstrations five years ago, or as far back as eight years ago, when some of our most fundamental human rights were annulled? Remember that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill is from 2000, and wide-ranging extensions are from 2003. But our economy wasn't doing so badly then, and any financial adversity could always be blamed on the EU.

Secondly, even if the present government is overthrown tomorrow by an angry mob, and its senior members are tarred and feathered, they might be elected again at the next occasion, after a future Tory government will inevitably fuck up too, unable to find their place to the right of Labour on the political spectrum, and unable to turn the tide on our economy. Such is the memory of the average constituent.

Lastly, given that the news comes from the Daily Telegraph, could there be an element of opportunism from the side of the Tories?

Tories condemn rise in number of civilians given police powers
(Guardian, Wednesday August 27 2008)

Still remember how civil liberties existed in perfect harmony with the fight on crime and terrorism in times when the Conservatives were in power? Neither do I. See e.g.:

British Detention Law Is Ruled a Breach of Rights (The New York Times, November 30, 1988)

One more noteworthy link:

'Spying' requests exceed 500,000 (BBC News, Tuesday, 22 July 2008)

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