On the day the beleaguered Child Exploitation & Online Protection agency (CEOP) has led nationwide arrests for downloading child porn, had only this morning released a report effectively asking for more money, warned of a connection between child porn and ‘contact offending’ and had released a ‘dramatic’ video showing a raid on a porn suspect’s house, it was no coincidence that the Home Secretary, Theresa May also confirmed that she would push ahead with laws to monitor everyone’s email and Internet usage, citing ‘paedophiles’ as one of the main excuses for doing so.
It is perhaps not surprising that CEOP is making such a noise as despite protestations, it will soon be consumed by the new National Crime Agency, something it has been fighting against for years.
TheOpinionSite.org suggests that all these events, actions and announcements have been deliberately coordinated; designed to lend weight to the government’s new, highly intrusive, Internet – snooping laws and to con a trusting public into believing that they are necessary when in reality, they are not.
If you disagree, having read it, look at the links at the end of this article and draw your own conclusions, remembering that it is the Home Secretary who is in charge of the police.
The government went to the trouble of making the formal announcement of the legislation on the day of David Cameron’s appearance at the Leveson Inquiry, knowing full well that Cameron would dominate the headlines and hoping that the Home Secretary’s ‘spying law’ announcement would go unnoticed by many.
When questioned on the BBC’s Today Programme, the Home Secretary made a great song and dance about the need for the monitoring of all Internet users in order to “protect children” and “catch paedophiles and terrorists.”
Everyone is therefore regarded as a suspect, innocent or not.
She was much less forthcoming however when asked to explain why 500,000 monitoring requests were made by police and security services in just one year and how, given this figure, people could possibly believe her when she said the new measures would be used ‘proportionately’.
She completely failed to justify the incredibly high number of requests but did say that the new powers were to be introduced because “the police asked for them.”
To make matters worse, it was also revealed that police would not need a warrant to monitor when, how and whom an individual was contacting. The system would allow the police to authorise themselves to carry out the monitoring rather than having to get permission from a judge or magistrate.
Former Shadow Home Secretary and Conservative MP, David Davis vowed to oppose the measures and the Liberal Democrats have promised to fight anything that is considered disproportionate, although they have been rather ‘flexible’ in their approach since enjoying the trappings of government and power.
Labour – as usual – are trying to pick up a few cheap votes by jumping on the child protection bandwagon.
As TheOpinionSite.org reported some time ago, if the new laws are brought in, Britain will be alone in the democratic world and will retain its reputation as the most spied-on country in western society.
Before the last election, both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats said that there was too much surveillance of people already. Obviously, they lied.
Anticipating the difficulties in trying to get the draconian legislation through both Houses of Parliament, Theresa May has once again fallen back on the exaggerated, media driven fears of parents and relied on the backing of police (who want more power) and charities (who want more money) in order to substantiate her view that the legislation is necessary.
TheOpinionSite.org therefore asks: “If this new, intrusive and undemocratic legislation is really necessary, why does no other European country or even the USA have similar laws?”
We would also ask why the police will be able to access the information without a warrant and only have the pathetically weak Information Commissioner to oversee their activities, rather than having to get permission from an impartial judge.
David Davis told BBC Radio: “If they really want to do things like this – and we all accept they use data to catch criminals – get a warrant. Get a judge to sign a warrant, not the guy at the next desk, not somebody else in the same organisation.”
Mrs May however says that the police will not be able to access the ‘content’ of emails without a warrant but, as anyone versed in the Internet knows (and she apparently does not), with communications protocols being as complex as they are today, it may be impossible to separate the ‘content’ from the ‘who’ or the ‘when’.
Police will therefore have access to the content of emails, web browsing history and Skype calls by default, whether the law says they should or not.
Commenting that local authorities would not be able to use the new powers, Rachel Robinson, policy officer for Liberty, said: “It’s good that local councils won’t be able to watch the entire population but even law enforcement should be targeting suspects – not all citizens.”
“Just like the internet, any private home can be a crime scene, but should we install hidden cameras and microphones in every bedroom in the land?”
The Home Office estimates its plans for wider collection of data will cost £1.8bn over the next 10 years – but claims it will save up to £6.2bn over the same period through more efficient investigations and greater criminal asset seizures; figures that cannot be proved.
The most hypocritical part of the Home Secretary’s choreographed lying and deception today is that the only people who actually won’t be monitored are the paedophiles, terrorists and criminals that the government states that it is so eager to apprehend.
They will use pay-as-you-go mobiles, encrypted communications and free, foreign-based proxy servers to avoid being traced; things over which the government has no control whatsoever.
This point has been made again and again by experts but the government refuses to listen as to do so would derail its plans to spy on everyone in the UK who uses the Internet or ever sends an email.
From the criminal’s point of view, if they change a web address here, a SIM card there or use a free proxy server, their anonymity is virtually guaranteed.
The people who will be caught are the innocent and incompetent; the ignorant person who mistakenly visits an innocent sounding website only to discover, too late, that it is actually something else.
Children, anxious to visit every website that their parents say is forbidden, will use their collective IT knowledge to access porn sites (as they do now) and will continue to send images to each other (“sexting”), unaware that such images are deemed to be illegal.
The new laws will pick up those children – but not the real criminals, terrorists or paedophiles who will use sophisticated equipment, knowledge and procedures to avoid being caught and to exploit the vulnerable.
As for the obvious – and rather crass – coordination of today’s announcements ( see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18428289 and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18442288), one can only say that the government has demonstrated a new contempt for the intelligence and trust of the people that it governs.
In fact, TheOpinionSite.org would suggest that it is worse than that, with the government supporting self-serving power brokers that are engaged in creating their own little empires, using fear and misinformation to frighten a gullible and trusting public into accepting new legislation; legislation that will finally remove the last vestiges of freedom that still remain in this over-policed country.
Some ‘good citizens’ may say, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”
In our opinion, such a view is ignorant, sanctimonious and puerile.
Governments, policemen and the powerful only ever want more and more power. If the Home Secretary is successful in conning the public into accepting the need for this new legislation, those very same, sanctimonious ‘good citizens’ may very well find themselves on the wrong end of a serious police charge, never really understanding how or why they are in custody or what they have done wrong.
Voice the wrong opinion, use the wrong word and with all communications being monitored by the police and GCHQ, the ‘good citizen’ may find themselves facing conspiracy to commit terrorism charges; inadvertently visit the wrong website and they may find themselves being accused of downloading or viewing child porn.
Perhaps more importantly, we should all ask ourselves why we should give up the last thread of privacy on the say so of politicians; politicians whose only real interests are to feather their own nests, rule over the rest of us and break the law themselves without being held accountable.
Rest assured, the privilege enjoyed by our politicians, particularly cabinet ministers, will ensure that they are not monitored. You on the other hand most definitely will be.
This new legislation is one of the first pieces in the end game for total political power. It is the first part of the finalisation of the police state in Britain. It is perhaps the most important departure from democracy that this country has ever seen…
…and once they have this power, they will never, ever give it up.
In truth, one can never trust a politician.
For example, when Income Tax was announced in Britain by William Pitt the Younger in his budget of December 1798 and introduced in 1799, to pay for weapons and equipment in preparation for the Napoleonic Wars, it was announced as a “temporary” measure. It is however still with us.
Theresa May on the other hand has made it clear that her new spying legislation is anything but “temporary” and once introduced, will remain.
Income Tax may be necessary for society to pay its way and to supply help and services to its citizens. Mrs May’s new laws though will help no one, protect no one, save no one but will systematically destroy freedom, privacy and independence in Britain.
Again, one can hear, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”
Really? Anyone who believes that is a fool and a weak fool at that.
Agree with it or not, the view of TheOpinionSite.org is clear:
Don’t start complaining when your calls start to be monitored and every website you visit is recorded. It will be far, far too late by then and the police state – worked for so strenuously by successive governments – will finally be here. It will be here to stay too – for you, your children and their children after them.
The sad thing is, it will be our fault for not stopping it while we can – before it really is too late to do anything about it.
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