Theresa May has written in The Sun today and explained the new draft bill, which would give the police and intelligence services access to online data. Her justification for this invasion of privacy is laughable and exploits emotive stories to gain support. We shall break down her article:
WE have been sickened by the recent case in Rochdale of a network of men grooming young girls — plying them with drink, drugs and gifts so they could use them for sex…Key to the police cracking this case was communications data. Information from their mobiles proved they were in constant contact, making calls and sending texts to co-ordinate their crimes.
Yes, the police used existing laws and powers to bring these individuals to justice. This draft bill is unrelated to that tragic case.
But fast-forward five or ten years and this gang wouldn’t have been communicating just through calls and texts — they would have been using social networks, instant messaging, online gaming and emails.
Online gaming – are you serious? ISP’s and instant messaging services such as MSN and Yahoo! have a moderator facility (which has been around for years) and communication is regularly monitored. Similar to e-mails, a ‘key word’ system is used to attract attention to conversations that violate T&C’s. Again, this is nothing new and powers already exist. An ISP will provide the police with your communication data – if you discuss illegal activities.
Another thing: online gaming is such a vast community – are we talking console, PC or just website based games?
Just because criminals only talk to each other online shouldn’t mean they escape justice. But that is what will happen if we don’t update police powers. Paedophiles are avoiding capture because the police cannot get access to all the data they need.
Again, the emotive line and preaching to people fears. This idea the sky will fall – if the police are not given these new powers – is laughable. Again, existing powers are brining online criminal activities to justice.
If we do nothing the situation will only get worse. That is why the Government has today published a draft Bill to allow the law to keep up with changes in technology.
Politics of fear.
People have a right to privacy. But unless you are a criminal, then you’ve nothing to worry about from this new law. This isn’t a snoopers’ charter, it’s a criminals’ nightmare.
I have nothing to worry about? this bill treats everyone as a potential criminal; no different from Labour’s totalitarian anti-terrorism laws.
Regarding hacking, for example, majority of information gathering is achieved by using perfectly legal and legitimate ways. The government seems to be unable to understand that. The complexity of internet crimes are not black and white and similar to the real world; instead of rushing this draft bill, maybe the Home Office should take careful time to learn how criminality online actually works.
The people who will be investigated are those linked to crime. Those who will be helped are victims, the vulnerable and missing children.
Ah, the emotional line again. Preaching to people’s fears and emotions….
Under no circumstances will this new law allow the police to read what’s been said in an email or listen to what’s been said in a phone call over the internet.
Actually, they can and do. A ECHELON ‘key word’ system is already in operation; mention any of those words (I believe the total is 250) and your phone calls/internet activity will be monitored. Existing powers and all that…
I just don’t understand why some criticise these proposals. They must either not get what this data is and how it’s used or just can’t grasp its importance.
Oh, I grasp the importance, but treating all of us as potential criminals is a little bit extreme, don’t you think?
Conspiracy theorists will come up with ridiculous claims about how these measures infringe freedom.
BINGO! we’re conspiracy theorists. Tune in next week and I’ll be arguing why 9/11 was an inside job….*rolls eyes*
But without changing the law the only freedom we would protect is that of criminals, terrorists and paedophiles — and that is something I am not prepared to let happen.
Hear that LibDems? we are now the party of terrorists and peadophiles because we desire to restrict arbitrary power. The problem with the bill is this: it treats the internet in general terms, when it is a very complex and vast entity. Theresa May is nonchalant on internet activity and how users truly interact with it – especially those who desire anonymity and engage in illegal activity.
I’m more than happy to provide a more detailed account to why this bill is flawed, even to a select committee or to the Home Office themselves. As I’ve mentioned before, in a previous blog post, the internet is borderless and it is extremely difficult to restrict its freedom with legal powers.
Politicians don’t know how the internet works and, especially, contemporary social media.
You cannot achieve such an outcome without targeting everyone – that’s the problem.