Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The draft Investigatory Powers Bill

"The Home Secretary says the measures in the bill are essential to keep the British people safe from terrorists, paedophiles and serious criminals... "

"As well as the police and security services, the very same powers will be available to local councils and the taxman... [Not according to Theresa May in her speech to Parliament today] And as with the old law [RIPA], the powers in the new snooper's charter will be available to 38 public bodies, for the purposes of `detecting or preventing crime`."

"But critics say the powers it would grant to government, police and security agencies licence them to invade the privacy of anyone in the country with little oversight to whether the snooping is justified..."

"History shows us governments can't be trusted with this much power. According to a report by Big Brother Watch, local councils committed data breaches, on average, four times a day over the last four years. That's council workers looking at people's private data illegally, for their own personal interest. Or putting personal information on laptops and leaving them on trains. "

"The security services will not be allowed to access web users' full browsing histories under new surveillance powers, Theresa May has insisted. The Home Secretary said it was `simply wrong` to suggest that new powers in the draft Investigatory Powers Bill to access `internet connection records` would allow the collection of someone's full web history. Mrs May said it would allow the likes of the police and GCHQ to know if someone has visited a social media website like Facebook - but not which pages they looked at, who they communicated with, or what they said."
`If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear`is an oft repeated argument against concerns over state surveillance.

People who make that kind of pronouncement have obviously never had issues with a government body

The problem is not about hiding wrongdoing and why would any innocent person worry about that, it is about what tends to happen when individuals have to make a stand against a state agent who is doing wrong by them.

Take Mark Neary, for example, who fought a year long battle to have his autistic son returned to his care. In his latest post he recounts how social work had behaved in a deplorable way, hiding a report for two months while secretly taking screenshots of his Facebook page in an attempt to turn him into the villain.

That`s the problem. The more information government bodies have available to them, the more likely it is that they can construct a narrative to work against any individual when it suits them.

Information is power, and it will be abused.
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