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UK Government To Back Off Plans To Share Private Data

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the oh-that-bothers-you-sorry dept.

Privacy 54

Richard Rothwell writes with news that Jack Straw, Britain's Justice Secretary, has made public plans to drop provisions from the Coroners and Justice Bill which would have allowed the government to take information gathered for one purpose and use it for any other purpose. "A spokesman for Mr Straw said the 'strength of feeling' against the plans had persuaded him to rethink. The proposals will be dropped entirely from the Coroners and Justice Bill, and a new attempt will be made to reach a consensus on introducing a scaled-back version at an unspecified stage in the future." After defending the government's intentions, Straw bowed to pressure from a variety of groups and individuals who presented objections to the bill.

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Orwell's 1984 (2, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113253)

Out of curiosity, is Orwell's "1984" being used as a policy guide in the UK by her politicians?

Re:Orwell's 1984 (4, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113273)

Out of curiosity, is Orwell's "1984" being used as a policy guide in the UK by her politicians?

No, of course not. It's decades behind the times...

Re:Orwell's 1984 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27113579)

Cowards! Fuckin Cowards!

Re:Orwell's 1984 (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27113597)

A better question. Why is it that I can go to the UK and see people who are mostly in decent physical shape, sure they're not Olympic athletes but they're not disgusting blobs of amorphous lard like most Americans. You can actually look at a woman in the UK and tell the difference between her boobs and her stomach. There are too many women in America who are such fatasses that you cannot tell that difference. Why are there so many fatasses in America? Is that supposed to be attractive now? Is it like in the ancient Orient where being fat was sexy because it meant you were rich and didn't have to work all day in the fields, sort of like the way emperors have long fingernails for the same reason, that a working person would have had to trim them? Seriously what's the matter with you Yanks, are you trying to commit slow suicide or is it all a big coincidence?

Re:Orwell's 1984 (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116897)

A cheap race to the bottom, the food supply has become
Food is about presentation and buzz words listed on the pack.
If you do not work it off, its stays on you.

Re:Orwell's 1984 (5, Funny)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113733)

Our public libraries have moved "1984" to the Non-Fiction shelves, on the basis that it's a User's Manual, not a novel.

Re:Orwell's 1984 (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114543)

Compared to most government projects it's ahead of schedule.

Re:Orwell's 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27113371)

The UK isn't female, or gendered at all, in fact.

Re:Orwell's 1984 (5, Insightful)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113499)

is Orwell's "1984" being used as a policy guide in the UK by her politicians?

No, but Franz Kafka's The Trial is. :)

The people comparing today's Britain to Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four are not taking everything into account. For a start the government isn't trying to insert cameras in everyone's bedrooms, they're not that cynical. They actually believe what they're doing is for the benefit of the people.

Also, many of these awful laws are driven by tabloid newspapers (Rupert Murdoch and The Sun). Part of Tony Blair's success was thanks to his schmoozing with Murdoch's and other tabloids, Brown has continued this trend. Now, despite crime rates decreasing, tabloids have been screeching about youth and 'knife-crime' for a while. Now the government are desperate to be seen to be doing something about it (since their popularity is at an all-time low).

So the source of these laws is public hysteria over knife-crime (generated by The Sun et al), pressuring an unpopular government into doing something, anything so they will be seen to be trying to fix a problem that only exists to sell newspapers.

The reason British tabloids have become so sensationalist is they're losing market share to Internet sites. The government are, as are the tabloids, stuck in a pre-Internet mindset where newspapers have more power than they actually do.

This is not Orwellian. The British government have not set out to control the populace, that will just be a purely unintentional side-effect. What they are doing is creating Kafka-esque bureaucracies -- particularly at local level, see: local authorities using anti-terror laws to check whether kids actually live within the catchment area of their schools, for example -- with the power to decide a persons guilt without giving that person an opportunity to defend themselves. Indeed, without that person even realising they're being investigated, or that they're committing a crime. They may not be using The Trial as a reference when doing this, but they certainly seem to think government should be able to determine guilt without any interference from annoying things like defence lawyers and juries. :)

There are many other dissimilarities with Nineteen Eighty Four, but that's the primary one.

Re:Orwell's 1984 (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113605)

Thank you. You put that better than I ever have.

Re:Orwell's 1984 (-1, Troll)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113641)

> This is not Orwellian. The Brit
ish government have not set out to control the populace,
> that will just be a purely unintentional side-effect.

Rubbish.
You've got it precisely the wrong way around.

The government is encouraging the tabloids as excuse and cover to carry out
this policy of "total situational awareness".

The government and British establishment are so terrified that all
those vague promises of British citizenship and rights of travel made to the
conquered peoples of the long collapsed empire have started to darken the pasty white
Britain and they have a long running policy to do something about it.

Its as simple as that.

Of course no one pointed out till it was too late that Mr. Average Britain
would also be caught in this web of cameras and spying.

I suppose next you will post the propaganda links about how popular these
cameras are, and how the stooges always show up at the council meetings to
lobby for more.

To turn around and blame this on the tabloids is laughable. You're a great
apologist, but not much of a clear thinker.
 

Re:Orwell's 1984 (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113727)

The people comparing today's Britain to Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four are not taking everything into account. For a start the government isn't trying to insert cameras in everyone's bedrooms, they're not that cynical. They actually believe what they're doing is for the benefit of the people.

You really think so? So the politicians are just a bunch of bumbling golly-gee-how'd-THAT-happen idiots who somehow always manage to try to increase state power. Their intentions are great and all of this is just an accident hmm? Incompetence and malice can be hard to distinguish, not that the difference is very important, for the only difference that makes is in the timetable. Otherwise, they are both equally dangerous.

This is not Orwellian. The British government have not set out to control the populace, that will just be a purely unintentional side-effect. What they are doing is creating Kafka-esque bureaucracies -- particularly at local level, see: local authorities using anti-terror laws to check whether kids actually live within the catchment area of their schools, for example -- with the power to decide a persons guilt without giving that person an opportunity to defend themselves. Indeed, without that person even realising they're being investigated, or that they're committing a crime. They may not be using The Trial as a reference when doing this, but they certainly seem to think government should be able to determine guilt without any interference from annoying things like defence lawyers and juries. :)

Again you really believe that this doesn't quite naturally go together with a desire for increased state power and a desire for further control and subjugation of the people? Politicians are a bunch of good-hearted, good-natured people who really care about us, yet the world over they just accidentally coincidentally happen to always have this same effect? They're not professional students of statecraft with thousands of years of history of what worked and what didn't work who know how to tell us exactly what we want to hear? The people aren't just trying to live their lives and aren't largely ignorant of such things as propaganda techniques, thesis antithesis synthesis, bread-and-circus, and divide-and-conquer? This doesn't create a gross imbalance of the sophisticated and entrenched versus the naive and under-represented? Really?

I'm sure their intentions are pure *cough*. The only thing worse than abuses of power are the apologists and useful idiots who defend and promote them. If not for them, the power grabs would easily be recognized for what they are and swiftly dealt with, probably in the form of public pressure. I think that happened here only because of the UK's record of the protection of private data, certainly they handle this much better than the USA does. The people of the UK who opposed this measure have enjoyed something like real privacy during a time when it's become more important than ever and they now appreciate it and don't want to have it taken away. They have an advantage also, in that "data privacy" is more of an intellectual debate that doesn't have the sort of thought-killing fear-mongering that surrounds other issues.

What it seems you are not handling better than the USA is the "terrorism threat" and the realization that your reaction to it can be much worse than the initial threat. If the Western nations lose their traditions of individual liberty because a few evil men blow up a few buildings, then we are only showing those evil men that we are better at causing our destruction than they are. That's an odd way to win a contest against them.

Re:Orwell's 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27120331)

I don't have anything to add. Well said.

Re:Orwell's 1984 -Brave New World (1)

Ontheotherhand (796949) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113775)

I'll see your Kafka, and raise you Brave new world. leaving aside the staggering beaureactatic nightmare that has probably always existed (see charles dickens and his "Circumlocution office" in Little Dorrit) Aldous Huxley, the author and well known philosopher, construes a society layered by genetic predeterminism. but the workers, programmed before birth, and controlled by drugs, are happy with what they know, and rebellious if denied their "pleasures". But if Aldous, or Orwell, had any inkling about the technology that was going to be available, I reckon they would have written another title - "Oh Shit, We're F***ed"

Re:Orwell's 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114527)

The British government have not set out to control the populace,

I kinda wish I still had your optimistic, naive outlook. (And I don't mean "naive" as an insult.)

Re:Orwell's 1984 (4, Interesting)

zrq (794138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116097)

The British government have not set out to control the populace, that will just be a purely unintentional side-effect.

They don't seem to realize what this many mean 5 or 10 years from now. The current government might not be planning to (mis)use these powers, but a future one might.

Another terrorist attack could get a fanatical nutter elected into government, and we are handing them a ready made police state. All the tools for complete control of the population installed and ready for (mis)use, all they would need to do is find an appropriate justification ... and once you start (mis)using it, it is very hard to stop.

Cattle (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27113283)

Our impulses are being redirected
We are living in an artificially induced
state of consciousness that resembles sleep.

The poor and the underclass are growing
Racial justice and human rights are non-existant
They have created a repressive society
and we are their unwitting accomplices.

Their intention to rule
rests with the annihilation of consciousness.

We have been lulled into a trance.
They have made us indifferent, to each other,
We are focused only on our own gain.
Please understand,
they are safe as long as they are not discovered,
that is their primary method of survival,
To keep us asleep, to keep us selfish, to keep us sedated.

They are dismantling the sleeping middle class.
More and more people are becoming poor.
We are their cattle.
We are being bred for slavery.

Re:Cattle (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114113)

Our impulses are being redirected We are living in an artificially induced state of consciousness that resembles sleep.

The poor and the underclass are growing Racial justice and human rights are non-existant They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices.

Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness.

We have been lulled into a trance. They have made us indifferent, to each other, We are focused only on our own gain. Please understand, they are safe as long as they are not discovered, that is their primary method of survival, To keep us asleep, to keep us selfish, to keep us sedated.

They are dismantling the sleeping middle class. More and more people are becoming poor. We are their cattle. We are being bred for slavery.

I can easily enough find reasons why you were modded down, in fact it seems like classic shoot-the-messenger to me. Your message here isn't the easist thing to handle especially for people who are just starting to realize that all is not what it appears. It does not help that the more petty people will judge the truth of a thing according to how palatable it is and whether it fits in with their current worldview, rather than questioning their reliance on palatability and being willing to abandon any worldview that they may have outgrown.

Having said that, I think what you said more or less does sum up what's happening. We like to think that the political forces arrayed against us are haphazard and petty and disorganized and merely selfish but I do not believe they would be so effective at slowly suffocating liberty if this were the case. It seems obvious to me that this has been a long-term plan enacted by people who did not care whether their goal would ever occur during their own lifetimes, and in that manner the acquisition of power has taken on more of a religious nature. We tend to look at individual politicians and their faults and their ambitions without understanding that they have bought into an abstract system and are merely parts in that system. Most of these parts are interchangeable. Those parts are "true believers" and many of them don't have to actually "lie" to you because they really believe in what they are doing.

We really need to get beyond the superficial realm of names and personalities and start looking at intent and allegiance. Otherwise what you have described will continue and it will be built mostly on a foundation of apologists with good intentions who will believe that all of this is for our own good right up until they learn the goose step.

Re:Cattle (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119835)

It seems obvious to me that this has been a long-term plan enacted by people who did not care whether their goal would ever occur during their own lifetimes

why?

Re:Cattle (2, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27120611)

It seems obvious to me that this has been a long-term plan enacted by people who did not care whether their goal would ever occur during their own lifetimes

why?

Because families like the Bush family, the Clinton family, the Kennedy family, and so on are in this for the long haul. They increase their wealth and power in their own lifetime, but then they also look at the "long term investment" for their family and their class of people. This is how monarchs retained their power throughout the centuries. We really are just cattle to them, and what do you think will happen when we are no longer useful?

Re:Cattle (0, Offtopic)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114667)

Why isn't there a "-1 doesn't rhyme" mod?

Re:Cattle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116749)

They're going to add it when they add the "-1, doesn't understand that poetry doesn't always rhyme" mod.

Re:Cattle (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27124107)

Will that happen before the "-1 pretentious jerkwad" is implemented?

Good for them (5, Informative)

Rog-Mahal (1164607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113317)

Glad to hear it. The bill sounds like government data mining, and the earlier /. article made it clear that the data could make it to the public sector. Nice to know that public outcry can still make a difference.

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27113411)

What about public support for the bill? If this happened here in the US we'd have a large number of people protesting in favor of the bill, to protect us from terrorism. There must be some UK conservatives who feel marginalized by this action.

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27113525)

What public support? History is littered with examples of totalitarian regimes from both sides of the political spectrum. Almost everybody, regardless of their political view, realises what kind of society they should hope to live in by granting more power to the state.

Re:Good for them (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114315)

What public support? History is littered with examples of totalitarian regimes from both sides of the political spectrum. Almost everybody, regardless of their political view, realises what kind of society they should hope to live in by granting more power to the state.

You have just summed up the true nature of "divide and conquer". This is a thing that many people believe they understand but have never seen in action.

The state sits and watches the two sides squabble and lets them argue all they want. Meanwhile the two sides are too busy opposing each other to notice that no matter what happens, the state always becomes more powerful. When overwhelming state power becomes an undeniable threat, usually in the form of an openly totalitarian regime, the two sides then find themselves powerless to oppose it because by this time it is far too late. Then "go along to get along" changes from the favorite tool of the apologist or an excuse for not having the courage to stand up, to a method of survival, sort of like that saying "it's dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." How many examples of this must history provide before we learn to recognize these patterns?

I cannot tell you whether it was designed deliberately or if it arose on its own and was promoted because of how very convenient it is for the statists, but the left-vs-right method of politics is designed to limit possibility. This is shallow and superficial one-dimensional thinking, which is precisely why it can be represented as a linear continuum by drawing two points and one line. One side favors economic freedoms and is willing to reduce personal freedoms, while the other favors personal freedoms and is willing to reduce economic freedoms. It doesn't work that way, which is why the Left, or the Right, or the Left working with the RIght are always going to reduce freedom because neither of them value it for its own sake in all of its forms. That's a serious error and no amount of reform or adjustment of any party platform is going to fix it.

When I repeatedly try to warn against buying into this system and believing for one moment that it has our interests at heart, this is not an exercise or an intellectual debate. There is a real danger here, only it's a subtle one. It's a corrupting, compromising type of danger that demoralizes and weakens. If the media were truly your friend, you would hear about this every day on CNN and Fox News and ABC and MSNBC, and you'd probably believe it then, not because they have the authority of self-evident truth but because they have the kind of authority to which most of you respond. That is not at all natural but it's what you might call unnaturally natural. It is evidence of the compromising, corrupting, demoralizing influence of which I speak that for most of you, even your thinking and your truth needs to be prepackaged for you.

If you don't like the tone of this post, well that makes two of us. I don't like it either, but I'm really tired of the systemic failure to recognize things that are really quite basic and simple. The denial and the "can't happen here" surrounding these issues are staggering. These things should be so obvious that I am beginning to wonder whether Western culture has a collective death wish or a suicidal tendency. Especially in the USA, I don't believe that any outside threat is going to harm us. I think we're doing a fine job of that all on our own. I'd like to see that change, I'd like to see it change peacefully, and I'd like to see people wake up and start daring to dream that if we will just settle a few basic questions once and for all, and then learn to love one another, then something like "heaven on earth" might emerge. I think that's inevitable because nothing else is going to work long-term, it's just a question of how badly we need to suffer before we get there and how many unsustainable systems must fail before we make the realization that we're missing something simple and fundamental. How long that will take is entirely up to us.

Re:Good for them (2, Interesting)

rar42 (626382) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114655)

Curiously enough, in the UK the Conservative politicians were very strongly against this proposal - it may have been expedience or principle, who can tell.

What the rank and file members thought is more difficult to tell.

Re:Good for them (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113659)

Don't bee so quick to breath that sigh of relief.

This measure was merely to legitimize what is already taking place.

It's demise raises no impediment.

Wait a minute.... (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113319)

pressure is building... did they just say that British Justice is a straw man?

This explains a lot.

Am I the only one... (5, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113347)

...who finds it slightly depressing to read about a representative government choosing to "bow to pressure from [their constituents]"?

It reminds me of an XKCD punchline: "Strictly speaking, it's better than the alternative—But someone is clearly doing their job horribly wrong."

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113591)

Indeed. I also like how he claims he's backing off because of a "strength of feeling", as if that were somehow different than people really not wanting this law.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

Heather D (1279828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113595)

Yes. This battle is won but the war continues and the fact that this battle got to this point is a serious concern. Governments tend to grow and a government that can propose this sort of thing with a straight face.. Well it should be frightening.

It really should not have been a matter of 'bowing to pressure' it should have been laughed off the floor upon introduction.

Re:Am I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114017)

This government hasn't been representative for a long time. They only got in because the working class felt (and quite rightly so) that they'd been shafted during the Thatcher years. Unfortunately, in their first term Labour didn't do anything helpful, and wasted the only good that the Tories had done (record low unemployment and reasonable financial health). The working class didn't notice this, they only saw the short-term prosperity that came from heavy goverment borrowing during the boom years and selling off our gold reserves (at very low rates) and voted in Labour again.

Now the shit has hit the fan, no-one likes Labour and what we're seeing now is desperate policy-making by a government that know they're going to lose the next election. As such, they're pushing through all the stuff they want (reducing public rights and increasing their own powers) while they still have time.

Re:Am I the only one... (3, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114477)

Well, in some sense, the 'republican' form of a democratic republic (don't confuse it with the Republican party, mind you, though they do share some of the sentiment sometimes)... in this form of government the People elect representatives, ideally men of Principle, and then the representatives will do what they think is best for the country. Meanwhile, in the "democratic" form of the democratic republic, people are elected to office to implement The Will Of The People. (This fits more neatly with the US Democrat party's philosophy, and is closer to the purest "democracy" where everyone votes on everything).

So, there is some room in political philosophies for politicians to say "No, I don't care what the opinion polls say this week, we're doing this because it's what we should do". For example, if you will recall the 2004 US presidential election, you might recall talk of how John Kerry was a big "flip-flop".

Finally, one might worry that this democratic-esque angle of a democratic republic is prone to a variety of weaknesses, such as inviting undue manipulation of public opinion through propaganda and lies, or by rewarding people who are excessively Pragmatic and have no Principles.

This particular case, however, is not likely to be evidence of any positive traits of the "republican" aspect of a democratic republic.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

Jamie Lokier (104820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27120807)

It's because it's a nominally a government of representatives, not as some would have it, a government of delegates.

The difference is that representatives are elected to represent their constituents, but they are not expected to embody the views of their constituents. No, they are to present their own views according to their own consciences, with the constituents having elected which person will do that based on their manifestos.

A delegate's job, on the other hand, is to constantly consult with their constituents during the course of their job, to remain up to date with those views, and to represent those views, not their own personal views.

We nominally have representative not delegate democracy in the UK, although MPs' voting records suggest they individually lie on a spectrum between the two, mostly tending to the former.

This means that normally public pressure has most effect when it will be expressed at major elections. The system is in fact designed that way: to prevent the lawmaking process from being entirely ruled by (media-driven?) popular fads. To slow it down, if you like. Make it a bit more reasoned.

Occasionally substantial public pressure changes the direction of policy mid-term.

Recently I heard an interesting argument that the "parental" aspect of UK democracy is getting out of date, as the people are getting better informed, smarter and more interested in issues themselves, so the parliamentary process is a worse fit now than it used to be.

We need data sharing (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27113369)

Although the threat from terrorism is diminishing, there is still the threat from non-carbon neutral paedophiles.

Their Dark Intentions Remain (4, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113409)

The UK Labour party may have backed off this appaling legislation, but they've made it more than clear from this and other legislation - explicit even - that it is their INTENTION to increase the power of the State over ordinary citizens and to conduct pervasive surveillance upon those citizens wherever and whenever thay are able to.

It is their game plan for the UK.

All the while, they hide themselves from any light that is shone on their own activities, meetings and discussions - crying 'state security' or 'commercial sensitivity' (where their corporate freinds are complicit) as they scurry back into the darkness.

These bills and laws make explicit their aims. The citizenry of the UK seems uninterested, held perhaps in the grip of a belief that the State generally means well.

Re:Their Dark Intentions Remain (0, Flamebait)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113471)

The citizenry of the UK seems uninterested, held perhaps in the grip of a belief that the State generally means well.

Possibly, they're praying upon fear of the Muslim community. Xenophobia and ignorance along with actions by the Muslim community (riots over alleged slights against them) that give justification to some Briton's beliefs about said community, enables the UK Government to continue with these actions.

Re:Their Dark Intentions Remain (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27113787)

The citizenry of the UK seems uninterested, held perhaps in the grip of a belief that the State generally means well.

Possibly, they're praying upon fear of the Muslim community. Xenophobia and ignorance along with actions by the Muslim community (riots over alleged slights against them) that give justification to some Briton's beliefs about said community, enables the UK Government to continue with these actions.

Those dune coons seriously need to get a sense of humor. Yesterday.

Going apeshit because a cartoonist draws a picture of Mohammed? Are you shitting me? Why is this so acceptable when a foreign exotic culture like Islam does it? No one would tolerate the Christians doing this over a drawing of Jesus and no one would tolerate the Jews doing this over a drawing of Moses. They would be quite rightly ridiculed for it. What makes Islam so special?

Re:Their Dark Intentions Remain (0, Flamebait)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114397)

Because Jews and Christians would hold a committee meeting, or possibly send a strongly worded letter to the local newspaper. They might even get up the gumption to hold a bring-and-buy sale or a bingo game to raise funds for a placard or sign to hold up outside the town hall.

Muslims just kill you (long curvy sword for individual offenders), or several pounds of liquid explosive (useful for bulk intolerance sanitizing).

Re:Their Dark Intentions Remain (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113521)

The justification for these measures always seems to be administrative convenience.

The worrying thing is, I'm think they're genuinely being honest.

Of course, evil people don't consider themselves to be evil. They all have some motivation that they believe justifies their actions. Japanese internment in WW2 was a pretty reputable act but those responsible thought they were doing it for the common good. Serial killers will usually come up with some rationalisation. The Labour Party want a police state and absolute power for the head of the party because it will reduce crime and make it a lot easier to govern. They're right, but it's an easy to govern prison, not a country.

Re:Their Dark Intentions Remain (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27115455)

The justification for these measures always seems to be administrative convenience.

Read my sig.

Re:Their Dark Intentions Remain (4, Insightful)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113613)

Perhaps it's time for people to refuse to call them anything but Ingsoc as a form of protest.

Re:Their Dark Intentions Remain (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118953)

The current soubriquet is Zanu Labour.

Re:Their Dark Intentions Remain (1)

AirRaven (843900) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114341)

The saddest thing about this sorry situation is that the all-but-inevitable winners of the next election, the Conservatives, aren't at all likely to be any better than New Labour in that respect- barring a once-in-a-century Liberal Democrat election victory, we're in for at least another five years of British Conservatism's nauseatingly public-spirited new incarnation.

What good is Democracy when there are no significant alternatives?

Re:Their Dark Intentions Remain (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119041)

The citizenry of the UK are mostly mindless uneducated sheep held in thrall by celeb news.

The News around here for the last 2 weeks have been all about a reality TV "celebrity" which is sick with cancer - very little has been said about this proposed law.

If it wasn't for the 5% or such of people that actually use their brains to think this place would be a dictatorship already: as it is, we're already half-way to a Police State.

Fortunately, Labor is on is way out - they're pretty much incompetent at everything but image management, and the old saying that "you can fool some people all the time or everybody some of the time but you can't fool everybody all of the time" is finally coming back to bit them. On the other hand, they're likely to be replaced by the other side of the same coin - the Tories - whose modus operandi is pretty much the same.

That said, the overall management culture in the UK seems to be all about ah-hoc short term results and firefighting instead of vision, method, preparation and prevention - so I'm hardly surprised that people go for the flashy, populist and reactive politicians instead of the proactive, methodical and effective ones.

I've known Jack Straw (Justice Secretary) since.. (1, Insightful)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113793)

..since the 60's. He was a nasty manipulative self-centered Trotskyite nutjob then, and the only thing that has changed since is that more people see through him, thank god - largely because he is actually incompetent.

I venture to disagree - slightly (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114307)

Yes, he was a nasty manipulative self centred Trotskyite then, but no more of a nutjob than the other Trots we were saddled with in our student union. Their view can be summarised thus: one of them said to me "you can't just allow anyone to vote in a democracy because they might vote the wrong way". And now they run the country.

However, to be fair to Straw (through gritted teeth) I-like-fucking-rich-Yanks Blunkett, I-just-like-fucking-rich-people Mandelson, the utterly appalling John Reid (who now works lobbying for private prisons, no less), Jacqui claims-for-her-sister's-house Smith, Harriet Harman, Tessa "what bribe from Berlusconi?" Jowell, Tony "bomber" Blair and "Buff" Hoon are all even worse.

OK, rant for the day over.

Re:I venture to disagree - slightly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117141)

I dunno, when I attended the 1970 NUS conference in Bradford - Straw's last - we all thought him a dickhead then and were all glad to see the back of him.

Even the fellow who sat next to me in the conference hall and was one of a small group of us who hung out together, another Cambridge student called Charles Clarke...(oh yes).

Now *he* seemed OK at the time...(I emphasise "at the time").

Translation please...... (2, Insightful)

mormop (415983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114689)

"A spokesman for Mr Straw said the 'strength of feeling' against the plans had persuaded him to rethink"

Means:

Oh shit. Only one year to the election deadline...

Nuff said really

The Usual Modus Operandi (4, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#27115929)

Introduce something awful
Withdraw it
Re-introduce watered down version

See Poll-Tax -> Council Tax

Pu Pu: [was] UK Government To Back Off Plans To Sh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117093)

Glad I got my 200K Sterling on this bit of naughty naughty.

Top buyers were Sudan and our favorite Uncle Sam.

Nothing to do with the EU then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118583)

The UK gov is already under fire for pathetically weak enforcement of not-as-strong-as-EU-agreed privacy laws..

I've changed my mind, btw. They're not busy using 1984 as a manual. They're working on implementing a much earlier concept, the Panopticon [wikipedia.org] , which figures. They haven't quite gotten to the 20st century yet with their thinking, let alone the 21st.

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