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Rights Groups Speak Out Against Phorm, UK Comm. Database

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the noted-and-logged-at-our-secure-servers dept.

Privacy 102

MJackson writes "The Open Rights Group (ORG) has issued a public letter to the Chief Privacy Officers (or the nearest equivalent) for seven of the world's largest website giants (including Microsoft and Google), asking them to boycott Phorm. The controversial Phorm system works with broadband ISPs to monitor what websites you visit for use in targeted advertising campaigns. Meanwhile, the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has issued a new report slamming the UK government's plans for a Communications Database. This would be designed to intercept and log every UK ISP user's e-mail headers, website accesses and telephone history. The report warns that the public are often, 'neither served nor protected by the increasingly complex and intrusive holdings of personal information invading every aspect of our lives.'"

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102 comments

Can we stop this use of "Controversial"? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311283)

If, for instance, your mommy says you are special; but nobody else does, your specialness isn't "controversial" in any useful sense, it's just a settled matter with a contrarian outlier. In this case, the only people who think Phorm is even remotely a good idea are A)Phorm and B)ISPs who Phorm has promised gobs of money. That isn't "controversy", it is a handful of money-grubbing special interests attempting to screw everybody else. To dignify Phorm as "controversial" is far more than it deserves.

Re:Can we stop this use of "Controversial"? (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311463)

It's more than that. It is controversial, I'm afraid.

There's the whole is it/is it not legal debate, the controversy over the police investigations, the government capitulation and potential EU investigation of the whole thing.

There's also the fact the Joe public has never heard of Phorm and wouldn't particularly care or work out the consequences if he did. So it's basically an argument between monied interests, the British police and government on one side and geeks. privacy advocates and the EU on the other.

I'd call that a bit of a controversy.

Re:Can we stop this use of "Controversial"? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312395)

controversy n:

  • 1. A dispute, especially a public one, between sides holding opposing views. See synonyms at argument.
  • 2. The act or practice of engaging in such disputes: writers skilled at controversy.

Regarding the OP's main point. Is there in fact controversy over Phorm? Is there a dispute between two sides holding opposite views. I would argue with the OP and say there is not.

Not certainly it looks like there is a dispute. But realistically, it's all just mummery or controversy theater if you will. The mainstream media is playing lip service to the hundreds of thousands of people who are against this system, and Phorm is simply ignoring them and banking on the fact that the rest of the population will be too busy to even notice.

There is not one brass null's iota of justification for the Phorm system. They can target ads more effectively? So what! No one even wants ads in the first place, so why should they have to put up with marketers and governments tracking their online habits? There is no opposing view here. Phorm do not have an opinion. They are businessmen for whom anything not illegal is a legitimate way to make money, regardless of its effect on society.

There is no dispute. The purpose of this controversy theater is so that at a later date when Phorm is implemented it can be shown to have passed a "gauntlet" of public opinion and scrutiny and not found wanting. In reality, it will have paid for a few PR releases and banked on the fact that at the time the media was more interested in dead celebrities than the foundation of its free society.

The media is to blame for this. If rules limiting the amount of sport, gossip and leisure stories were enforced, we would have better watchdogs. Blaming individuals is not the proper answer [orionmagazine.org] . Just like the financial industry, the newspaper industry cannot be allowed to regulate itself.

Freedom of speech means nothing if people only talk tripe.

Re:Can we stop this use of "Controversial"? (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312469)

There certainly is controversy over the handling of Phorm, if not on its intent and the acceptability of its purpose.

When Phorm was trialled without consent the police investigated both them and the ISP and dropped the case (or were asked to by government). The EU got involved and is still trying to get answers out of the UK government about why this happened, why there were no trials and why it's allowed to continue...

Bah, Maybe not controversial amongst the public any further than "they're watching us all man!" and "calm down, who cares?" being as far as these conversations usually go.

Re:Can we stop this use of "Controversial"? (1)

theCoder (23772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27313547)

The media is to blame for this.

Well, they at least share part of the blame. The scumbags at Phorm get some of it, too.

If rules limiting the amount of sport, gossip and leisure stories were enforced, we would have better watchdogs.

Doubtful. And frankly, disgusting. There are plenty of news sources out there that don't have a lot of those stories (NPR, for example). But they don't have high ratings. Why? Because, sadly, people want sports, gossip, leisure stories, and don't care about their freedoms.

I'm not sure how we could encourage society as a whole to care about what you and I would consider the more important things. Societies have had this problem going back to Rome (and before). Maybe there isn't a way. But I can tell you that forcing the media to report only what you think is important definitely isn't the way.

Re:Can we stop this use of "Controversial"? (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311557)

I would say that your concerns about the use of the word "controversial" are controversial, but I don't think enough people share your view to justify using that term. :P

Re:Can we stop this use of "Controversial"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311825)

Personally I'm shocked Phorm have gotten this far. I was assuming they were going to fail when they first appeard on my radar a couple of years ago (they were One2One then) when their share price rocketed. I did some research on their 'product' and assumed they'd be laughed out of the sales pitch. ho hum.

Re:Can we stop this use of "Controversial"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311971)

It appears that webwise.net is the central point of failure...

1. Set target: 91.205.220.31
2. Fire lasers
3. Shit brix when major UK ISPs slow to a crawl

Re:Can we stop this use of "Controversial"? (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312455)

Given that information wants to be free, and that DRM doesn't really work, what do you think the long-term prospects are for monetizing content on the web?

Advertising will increasingly be an important part of keeping content being generated. Advertising based on user profiling will be more economical and less intrusive. Google understands this, but they don't require you to opt out of deep packet inspection to avoid it. That's where the controversy lies with Phorm -- are they breaking the law (they say not, but most others say they are) and is the law doing enough to protect privacy?

I need to find a new country to live in. (1)

ADT7 (1458965) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311309)

It's seems the UK government is constantly trying to do some and more to stop it's citizens having any kind of privacy.

While it's great that people like the ORG and JRRT are standing up to them and other organisations doing the same, you have to wonder, what can they really do when half the population is too ignorant to care?

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (0)

Ragein (901507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311379)

Urm this has NOTHING to do with the government RTFA

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (1)

ADT7 (1458965) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311407)

Urm this has NOTHING to do with the government RTFA

"Meanwhile, the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has issued a new report slamming the UK government's plans for a Communications Database."

Why don't you RTFA?

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (1)

Ragein (901507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311411)

Sorry in fact I need to RTFA it's two news stories in one, I apologize profusely.

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311381)

It's seems the UK government is constantly trying to do some and more to stop it's citizens having any kind of privacy. While it's great that people like the ORG and JRRT are standing up to them and other organisations doing the same, you have to wonder, what can they really do when half the population is too ignorant to care?

Take all the data that the government is collecting and make it public information that any citizen can view. Then, the population will not have an excuse to be ignorant. I think exposing my communications in exchange for being able to see the business and political leaders communications sounds like a great deal. Letting them spy on me while they reside in the shadows, not so much...

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311475)

Yeah, I'm fine with having my eyes poked out so long as everyone else gets their eyes poked out too.

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311777)

Yeah, I'm fine with having my eyes poked out so long as everyone else gets their eyes poked out too.

Don't know how you go from "everyone has the blinders torn off at the same time" to "everyone gets sticks in their eyes". Do you have reading comprehension problems?

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27312129)

Do you have reading comprehension problems?

No, you have a metaphor deficiency.

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311735)

It's seems the UK government is constantly trying to do some and more to stop it's citizens having any kind of privacy.

Privacy? That really depends on who you are. If you're a "nobody" then expect none, but if you're the rich and powerful that set the bullsh*t laws then you hold all the aces on privacy. From The Daily Mail newspaper [dailymail.co.uk]

Google was at the centre of new controversy last night after pictures of Tony Blair's London home were mysteriously removed from its Street View web service. Images of the House of Commons, the entrance to Downing Street and several Government departments were also blacked out. And it also emerged that Google's own boss in the UK does not have his London house on Street View.

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (4, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311857)

It is interesting that the government seems to think that whilst the population should be monitored as closely as possible when it comes to their own activities they clearly take the exact opposite view and fight tooth and nail to keep their own details secret. They also appear to want to take this inbalance even further since according to a government minister defending the government from this report on the radio this morning...

"the benefit of these systems outweighs their illegality"

They appear to think they can also completely ignore the law if it suits the interests of Wacky Jacky and the rest of them.

Personally I can see the benefit of centralising government databases, done correctly it should save money and allow the government to work more efficiently which can only be a good thing. However, and it is a big however, I would only support the creation of these central databases based on the following ground rules being enforced:

1. I want to be able see every single piece of data the government is holding on me myself and I want an audit log showing me who has accessed this data and a reason as to why they had done so.

2. In tandem with the above I would want a swift and effective system to impartially consider any complaints I might have that my data was not being accessed for a good reason and the ability to correct any incorrect data I came across and I would require the impartial authority to actually be impartial and have the power to block access and effectively punish those responsible if they agree people have abused their priviledge of access to my data.

3. I would want the ability to remove my data completely from government systems should I choose to do so and not suffer any discriminatory restrictions to my access of government facilities if I chose to do so. Obviously I'd accept things may take them a bit longer to process without access to the electronic data but I wouldn't want to, for example, lose my driving licence.

4. I would have to trust the government and believe that they held themselves to the rule of law and did not undertake nefarious and underhand schemes to abuse my data and to be honest about their intentions.

Sadly I don't think the circumstances will ever be met which would allow the above to happen, particulary points 3 and 4 and especially not under the current morally bankrupt bunch of incompetents.

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (2)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312515)

Spot on. I'd also be fine with CCTV if all streams were public and all access logs available.

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318865)

I want every single piece of information about the primer minister, members of the government and the whole parliament,and their families and friends, the data shall include health records, monetary records, travel information, education records, letters, phone calls, email and internet records, DNA records, shopping and expending habits....

I want to be able to access that data when ever I want to be able to cross reference it, data mine it and share with whoever I consider pertinent without prior permission or particular reason
I want to be able to track their location activities, and detain then for an indefinite amount of time under the terrorist law for their own good and the protection of their freedoms.

Bottom line I want those in power and their closest to be treated like any other citizen is being treated in UK right now.

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (1)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312399)

Good idea, but it's a pipe dream. Here in the US, Congress spends a lot of money on public research, but we never see most of it. Technically it's public domain, but you can't use the Freedom of Information Act on a document you don't know about.

A tiny percentage makes it to wikileaks anonymously through various senators and representatives, but only when it makes some of their opponents look bad. Reports that reflect poorly on the US government as a whole, especially Congress, quietly disappear. Moral: Unless forced to, western governments will almost never admit that they're wrong. You have to catch them in the act before they'll say "sorry." Even then that won't stop them from doing it again.

Re:I need to find a new country to live in. (1)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312249)

Where else are they going to get their political donations from? Having decided to offshore every other form of manufacturing, the only "manufacturing" industry left in the UK is the generation and analysis of personal data. Any company can use the "it will help in the fight against terrorism and child porn" justification for getting access to collect the information in the first place; the data; web browsing, car journeys, public transport journeys, supermarket purchases, mobile phone communications.

Then once they have access to that information, they can then sell it on to anyone else who wants it. The more random and disconnected data, the more funding the company will get to find "relevant data".

this won't win me many friends.... (0, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311357)

This isn't popular to point out but you set the stage for this when you let your Government disarm the population "for your protection". And no, I'm not implying that guns keep the Government in line. I'm implying that by acquiescing to the surrender of a right you held for hundreds of years you set the stage for the Government to curtail your other rights. If the populace didn't squeal when we took away the guns why should we assume they'll squeal when we take away the privacy? It's for their protection after all.

If you don't see the connection between the two then shame on you.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311581)

We've been training the inner city youth in knife skills though. We're all ninjas in London. Actually some commentators have said that society is on an edge in Britain, and a couple more things will break the camels back and cause 70s and 80s style riots again. That's the British way - put up with a lot, then snap as one very suddenly and very actively.

Doesn't matter. This government is out at the next election in 2010, and like the previous time Labour ruined the economy, they'll be out for 3 or 4 terms unless the Tories haven't learned from Labours mistakes.

As for these costly databases (they cost tens of billions each apparently), I can't see how they can be justified. I'm sorry, but personal travel (in person or online) is private from end-to-end (even if you are in the public all the time, being stalked is not legal).

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (3, Funny)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311627)

What do guns have to do with my network connection? Should I camp out by my firewall and shoot dropped packets, the varmints?

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311679)

That whooshing sound is his point flying right over your head.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27313137)

I must confess that there have been days when I too wanted to give the bleeping server both barrels of my shotgun.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311793)

you know it was 1903 when they outlawed firearms in the UK right?

i'm just saying, happened long before most of us were born. it was like this when we got here.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311903)

you know it was 1903 when they outlawed firearms in the UK right?

Actually no, it wasn't until 1997 that they outlawed whole classes of firearms. My understanding is that the previous bits of legislation regulated them but did not outlaw them. In either case, how does that change my original point? When the populace meekly surrenders one right why should they then act surprised when the government seeks to curtail other rights? You set the precedent -- don't be surprised by the results.

I also can't help but notice how my original comment has been modded into oblivion. Gotta love people using the moderation system to downrate comments they don't agree with.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312007)

In 1997 under 125K had firearm licenses

After 1997 around 125K have firearm licences. The difference is that they are now not allowed handguns.

1997 is not a significant date for this "rights" discussion. You had zero right to defend yourself with those firearms for a long time before that. The handgun ban was brought in to stop nuts shooting up schools. And it did.

The British public has no appetite for guns and hasn't had for many years and I sure as fuck don't want armed chavs roaming the streets.

I'm sorry, but your NRA talking point about 1997 is just plain wrong. I mean it. If you want to look at rights loss in the Uk there are hundreds of valid studies. If you even want to look at a link between loss of handguns and freedom, go ahead, but look further back.

I'm getting pretty tired of explaining this on the internet now, but I'll spell it out one last time -

In the discussion on citizens rights in the UK, 1997 gun legislation is completely, totally, utterly irrelevant.

Please take that back to your gun club speaker and make sure he get the message.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312163)

It doesn't matter what your "appetite" is. You've missed the point. The point is that you voluntarily surrendered a right that you held for hundreds of years. Now you act surprised that your Government seeks to curtail other rights? Can you not see how you set the precedent?

but your NRA talking point about 1997 is just plain wrong

I'm not parroting NRA talking points. I'm talking about the voluntary surrender of a right that the populace held for hundreds of years and the precedent that such surrender set. I could make the same point about the right to a trial by jury, which I understand is also being slowly eroded away. Think you'll still have that right in a generation or so?

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312377)

"I'm not parroting NRA talking points."

The 1997 myth is a favourite of US gun associations.

"I'm talking about the voluntary surrender of a right that the populace held for hundreds of years and the precedent that such surrender set."

Then find another example, there are plenty. 1997 is not an example of this. There was no right to use firearms destroyed by the law brought in then. There was no ability to use firarms to defend yourself before then. We did not give up any "rights" in 1997. For a long, long time before that licenses for firearm ownership were only available at the discretion of the police.

"Think you'll still have that right in a generation or so?"

That's got nothing to do with what I'm trying to say. The UK is badly in need of people to stand up for their rights, and is getting worse every day.

Just please, please, please, would Americans stop crowing about nineteen ninety bloody seven when FUCK ALL happened to impact anyone's rights.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312439)

For a long, long time before that licenses for firearm ownership were only available at the discretion of the police.

Then that's where you went wrong. I'm sure that you realize that the police (indeed, all organs of Government) work for you and shouldn't have the right to dole out permission to exercise your inalienable rights, correct?

Just please, please, please, would Americans stop crowing about nineteen ninety bloody seven when FUCK ALL happened to impact anyone's rights.

Would it make you happier if I just said that you set the stage for it when you willingly surrendered a right sometime in the 20th century that you had previously held for hundreds of years? I honestly didn't set out here to debate the merits of gun control, just to point out that the UK populace set a precedent for surrendering their rights long before the surveillance society came onto the scene.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27313155)

Then that's where you went wrong. I'm sure that you realize that the police (indeed, all organs of Government) work for you and shouldn't have the right to dole out permission to exercise your inalienable rights, correct?

So carrying a lethal weapon is now an 'inalienable right'? I'd rather most of my fellow citizens did not have that right thanks very much, and it looks like the stats on violent death in the UK and US per capita agree with me.

Government is the voluntary surrender of certain rights in return for security. Thus we give the police the power to lock us up, confiscate weapons, etc etc, governed by certain laws. So giving up certain rights is not some kind of watershed moment, it is fundamental to the social contract. Other rights, such as the right to a free trial. I'd be far more worried about detention without trial, and secret trials than the right to bear arms. Those are real attacks on your freedom, happening right now, in the US and the UK.

Evidently we disagree about whether wide gun ownership is a fundamental right, and further about whether it is even desirable. To go from there to saying that states with tighter gun control laws than the US are somehow automatic dictatorships where citizens have abrogated all rights is laughable. Contrary to your beliefs, it is still legal to own weapons in the UK, but the controls are stricter than the US.

Would it make you happier if I just said that you set the stage for it when you willingly surrendered a right sometime in the 20th century that you had previously held for hundreds of years? I honestly didn't set out here to debate the merits of gun control, just to point out that the UK populace set a precedent for surrendering their rights long before the surveillance society came onto the scene.

Ask yourself when you would ever use your gun against your government, and you realise pretty quickly that if you don't want to end up like those at Waco, you wouldn't. Further, if you feel gun ownership is a fundamental guarantor of other rights, why has the US seen the biggest erosion of civil rights in its history in the last decade? What have the gun owners done to stop that? Nothing.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314085)

So carrying a lethal weapon is now an 'inalienable right'?

Yes, actually it is. The right to keep and bear arms originated in the Common Law, alongside the right to self-defense.

and it looks like the stats on violent death in the UK and US per capita agree with me.

Correlation != causation. And what other kind of death besides 'violent' death is there? Is there a nice way to die that I'm not aware of?

Ask yourself when you would ever use your gun against your government, and you realise pretty quickly that if you don't want to end up like those at Waco, you wouldn't. Further, if you feel gun ownership is a fundamental guarantor of other rights, why has the US seen the biggest erosion of civil rights in its history in the last decade?

Nice way to repeat all the gun control talking points but if you had bothered to read any of my other posts you would have found that wasn't the point I was attempting to make.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317001)

>>>So carrying a lethal weapon is now an 'inalienable right'?

Yes. It's called the right of self-ownership of your body, and the right to self-defense of same. The government may suppress that right through force, but it can not take it away. It is an inalienable, instinctive right to protect yourself and your children against criminals or nutters.

Perhaps you'll grasp the idea just a few seconds before someone murders you. (Not that I want that to happen - but it does happen from time to time.) In those few final seconds, as you wish you had some kind of gun or sword or knife to protect yourself, and as you gasp your final breaths, maybe then you'll come to realize how valuable the right of self-defense is. But at that point, it will be too late.

I've heard stories of people somewhat similar to this. In particular a Texas legislator who watched a criminal gundown her mom and dad. She owned a gun, but per Texas law she left it at home rather than carry it in her car. She says if she would have had the gun, she could have saved her parents by shooting the criminal dead.

The right of self-ownership and self-defense IS an inalienable right.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314557)

"Would it make you happier if I just said that you set the stage for it when you willingly surrendered a right sometime in the 20th century that you had previously held for hundreds of years?"

That would certainly please me more, I dislike this focus on that one piece of legislation that had very little real effect on the rights of UK citizens.

"just to point out that the UK populace set a precedent for surrendering their rights long before the surveillance society came onto the scene."

These precedents have been set in most western nations. People (and states) in the US have been surrendering more and more rights to the federal government for decades. Hell, the US has a long history of abuses against its own citizens (mandatory sterilisation of those considered mentally deficient through about half of the 20th century, for example).

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314715)

These precedents have been set in most western nations. People (and states) in the US have been surrendering more and more rights to the federal government for decades. Hell, the US has a long history of abuses against its own citizens

Those abuses won't stop until people take back their rights. All of their rights. Not just the ones that happen to enjoy widespread support or the ones that happen to be politically correct. I grow weary every time I hear somebody justify a reduction in freedom with phrases like "it's for the public good", "it's for our protection" or the time-honored "think of the children!"

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312561)

The 1997 ban also explicitly excluded black powder weapons. I shot rifles regularly when the ban came in, so I had the opportunity to talk to a few people who were affected by it. They generally went in one of three directions:
  • High-powered air pistols. These are surprisingly fun, but a lot of effort to load.
  • Carbine (short-barrelled) rifles. These can fire several shots between reloading, with a simple wrist action to chamber the next round.
  • Black-powder pistols. Often these are revolvers, so you load six shots (push down the powder, drop in the bullet) at once and then you can fire them all as quickly as you can squeeze the trigger.

If you're concerned about defending yourself in the case of a total break-down of society, then all of these weapons are still available and still legal to own, as are shotguns and rifles. My old school (that's high school for USians) still has around 40 L-98s and a couple of LSWs [wikipedia.org] . The only difference is that it is understood in the UK that firing guns at people is not something that happens in a civilised society. The guns are there for sport and may be useful if society collapses. The structure of the society we have built is there to protect us from sociopaths. Vigilante action is not.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314125)

The structure of the society we have built is there to protect us from sociopaths. Vigilante action is not.

Let me know how well the structure of society works out for you when someone breaks into your house at 3:00 and starts stabbing you. Sure the police will be there in a few minutes -- by which time you will be dead or dying. And I'd really like to know how self-defense qualifies as 'vigilante action'. Vigilantism was already illegal before the advent of gun control you know.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314753)

"Let me know how well the structure of society works out for you when someone breaks into your house at 3:00 and starts stabbing you."

Let me know when that's anything much more than a gun nut's fantasy. Home invasions are very very rare.

In disarmed UKia we have a lot less murder and rape than in the US. I'm not saying this is because of our gun policy, I'm just saying, there's not actually a strong case to arm the populace either.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (0, Flamebait)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314913)

Let me know when that's anything much more than a gun nut's fantasy. Home invasions are very very rare.

Home fires are equally rare so I suppose there isn't any reason for me to bother owning fire extinguishers. And why are you assuming that my comment makes me a 'gun nut'? All I said was self-defense isn't vigilantism and the police aren't likely to arrive in time to help you. Do you disagree with either of those statements?

I'm just saying, there's not actually a strong case to arm the populace either.

The 'strong case' is the fact that you historically had the right and now you don't. Personally I don't like it when my Government tries to take away a right that we've had for generations. Apparently you disagree. Don't come crying to me when your Government takes away the rights that you actually care about. Ongoing events in your country suggest that they aren't looking to only take away guns.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27315477)

The 'strong case' is the fact that you historically had the right and now you don't

Historically, land owners had the right to unilaterally increase their tennants' rent or throw them off without notice, now they don't.

Historically, men had the right to rape their wives, now they don't.

Historically, employers had the right to refuse to employ women, Jews, or black people, and shops had the right to refuse to serve people on the basis of their faith, creed, gender, or colour, now they don't.

Historically, fathers had the right to decide who their daughters married, now they don't.

Historically, rich men had the right to horsewhip peasants who were rude to them, now they don't.

We've given up all of these rights, but I don't see you many people claiming that society would be improved by getting them back. If you think the right to carry a gun around with you would be worth reintroducing you need to give a better argument than 'well, that's what it used to be, back before 1903 when society was basically rubbish for anyone below the upper middle class'.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27315635)

Historically, land owners had the right to unilaterally increase their tennants' rent or throw them off without notice, now they don't.

They still have that right if you are on a month-to-month lease. Granted, they have to give you 30 days to get out but if you think they can't unilaterally increase your rent you are sadly mistaken.

Historically, employers had the right to refuse to employ women, Jews, or black people, and shops had the right to refuse to serve people on the basis of their faith, creed, gender, or colour, now they don't.

And I have a problem with that. Of course now you'll probably assume that I'm some sort of racist -- I'm not -- I have an issue when the Government compels private businesses or individuals to associate with others. If I don't want to do business with [insert some racial/religious group here] that's my right. It's also your right not to do business with me and to encourage others to do the same.

If you think the right to carry a gun around with you would be worth reintroducing you need to give a better argument

Self-defense is a right that we haven't yet given up. The most effective way to defend yourself is with weaponry. Who are you to tell me that I can't defend myself if my life is in danger?

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318303)

Raping your wife, letting someone rape your daughter, whipping poor people, all infringe on others' rights (in most places landlords can raise rent and shop owners can certainly refuse service to anyone). These things were always wrong, even when legal. Carrying a gun has no effect on others. Perhaps prohibiting guns makes law enforcement easier, but so would forcing everyone to live their lives in a pod. It's the wave of the future!

Also you seem to be little confused: people are born with rights, so there is no need to justify their reinstatement. If the government censors speech or prohibits self-defense it is simply illegitimate, and its dissolution becomes necessary.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27316811)

>>>he handgun ban was brought in to stop nuts shooting up schools. And it did.

You make it sound like an epidemic. A quick google search turned-up ONE instance of a school shooting in the entire history of the UK. One. One nutjob with a gun is not reason to disarm the hundreds of thousands of sane gun-owners, except in the mind of the politicians who fear the people having freedom.

Every person should have a right to defend himself. To quote one woman here in the U.S.: "I am not as strong as a man. If I am attacked by a man, I will be at a disadvantage but having a gun makes me equal to a man, so I can protect myself." Guns turn victims from helpless sheep into toothed wolves, and that reduces crime.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311993)

I see you've been modded (0). Dear moderators, simply because you disagree with someone is Not a valid reason to subtract a point. Making a person effectively invisible by plummeting their score to 0 or -1 is censorship in my humble opinion. If you disagree, that's fine but the disagreement should come through a *reply* not through punishment of the speaker.

>>>by acquiescing to the surrender of a right you held for hundreds of years

To clarify, the right is not the right to own a gun. The right is the right to protect your person, your family, or your home from criminal attack, whether it's using a gun, or sword, a stunner, or a very large bat. It's an inalienable right. An instinctive right. A government may suppress the right through force, but it cannot take it away because it is an innate quality of all living things - the right to self-ownership of your body, and the right to self-defense of same.

One final thought: The government is the employee. We the people are the boss. The boss rules, not the employee.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312069)

I see you've been modded (0)

Yeah, I'm not surprised. I should have protected myself with a shield of "go ahead, mod me down, I've got karma to burn!" in the original comment ;)

To clarify, the right is not the right to own a gun. The right is the right to protect your person, your family, or your home from criminal attack, whether it's using a gun, or sword, a stunner, or a very large bat. It's an inalienable right. An instinctive right. A government may suppress the right through force, but it cannot take it away because it is an innate quality of all living things - the right to self-ownership of your body, and the right to self-defense of same.

What kills me is that the right to keep and bear arms has it's origins in the English common law. They literally had that right for hundreds of years until they surrendered it in the 20th century. Then they act surprised that the Government (having seen that the populace willingly surrenders such a right) seeks to curtail other rights. WTF? You set the precedent. Are you really surprised?

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312603)

This isn't about rights, it's about your contractual position with your ISP. Does your contract allow them to interfere with the packets you receive from the network? Maybe, maybe not. Reserving the ability to shoot BT repairmen on sight will not really do much for you here, either way.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27322793)

If it's inalienable, then it's academic isn't it? What the government does doesn't matter, so there's no point trying to stop it. In a place I like to call "reality", the only fundamental right is might - you can do what you have the power to do. It'd be nice if that wasn't so, but what can you do? You seem to have trouble distinguishing what you would like to be the case with what actually is. History is replete with examples of these "inalienable" rights being violated, which rather suggests that they are not, or that the concept is of philosophical interest only and has no relevance to the world.

Sometimes Libertarians remind me of Marxists in their focus on ideology rather than reality.

One final thought: The government is the employee. We the people are the boss. The boss rules, not the employee.

Damn well ought to be. Our present employees seem to have forgotten this though, at least in my country.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (0, Offtopic)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312551)

blah blah second amendment blah blah wouldn't happen here blah blah if we had a corrupt government we'd force them out of power blah blah.

Where were you guys when the Bush family cheated democracy? You're all talk.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 4 years ago | (#27327471)

By "Offtopic" do you mean "I don't agree with this guy but I can't fault what he's saying"?

Thought so.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#27325061)

This isn't popular to point out but you set the stage for this when you let your Government disarm the population "for your protection". And no, I'm not implying that guns keep the Government in line. I'm implying that by acquiescing to the surrender of a right you held for hundreds of years you set the stage for the Government to curtail your other rights. If the populace didn't squeal when we took away the guns why should we assume they'll squeal when we take away the privacy? It's for their protection after all.

Lets ignore the 2 mass shooting the US has had in the last week.

Why is it that gun nuts insist on bringing this up whenever something remotely bad is reported in Britain. London experienced record snowfall lately and some uninformed gun nut pipes up and says "this is what happens when you don't have guns".

Also it doesn't seem to matter, where did the armed uprising take place when Bush started warrant-less wiretapping, which is far worse then anything other western nations have done in the march towards fascism? When an uprising occurs, it occurs when enough people stand together and say "no", so long as you have enough people together saying "no" it doesn't matter if you are armed or not as Mahatma Gandhi pointed out. Oh, the British did leave India, the IRA have been trying that armed resistance thingy for almost a century and there is still a British element in Northern Ireland. Sorry mr gun nut sir, but things are not as clear cut as you think, armed population != control by the people, more often then not it means mob rule al a South Africa and Somalia.

Besides, how would guns help in this scenario, its being pushed by a corporation, who if they cant buy an army will just take their money and fly away to their tax haven in the Caribbean. The government in this scenario is at worse, only taking advantage of the situation (it is far more likely the government was solicited by the corporation in question).

acquiescing to the surrender of a right you held for hundreds of years

That's a gross oversimplification of history. Up until the 18th century firearms were not manufactured industrially, in fact up until the Napoleonic wars most private firearms were either a) government issued b) custom built, this made them quite expensive and beyond the price range of the average peasant. The majority of firearm manufacturing in Europe was done in government armouries anyway, Smith and Wesson was not founded until 1855. Prior to the Napoleonic wars, most people in Europe still used swords and bows for defence, guns were quite expensive and considered a luxury item to own thus only found in the hands of the upper class and professional soldiers. Hundreds of years is hyperbole.

Re:this won't win me many friends.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#27327277)

Sorry mr gun nut sir, but things are not as clear cut as you think, armed population != control by the people

I disagree, but regardless, if you had actually bothered to read my post you would have seen that this wasn't the point I was trying to make. Let me help you since your reading comprehension is apparently lacking: "And no, I'm not implying that guns keep the Government in line. I'm implying that by acquiescing to the surrender of a right you held for hundreds of years you set the stage for the Government to curtail your other rights"

Lets ignore the 2 mass shooting the US has had in the last week.

Let's also ignore the fact that if any of the victims had been armed they might just have been able to defend themselves. Something the gun control lobby refuses to ever acknowledge as a possibility. Let's also ignore the fact that one of those "mass shootings" you refer to had one victim and the perpetrator was stopped by members of the public and not by law enforcement.

where did the armed uprising take place when Bush started warrant-less wiretapping, which is far worse then anything other western nations have done in the march towards fascism?

Yes, the warrant-less wiretapping of overseas phone calls is much worse than Kristallnacht or anything else that has happened in history. Why don't you get some fucking perspective and leave your off-topic rants about GWB for another discussion?

Change your ISP (3, Informative)

Ragein (901507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311363)

If you don't like what your ISP is planning to do then change it. Personally I will be trying this:- http://superawesomebroadband.com/ [superaweso...adband.com] Does anyone have any experiance with them?

Re:Change your ISP (0)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311691)

That is possibly the best website ever. Pricey, but if it really is unlimited...maybe. Whenever this comes up, I always shout out my own ISP, Net Central, who aren't IWF shills and have great tech support, and don't bother me, ever. £23.49 for a maxed out connection, no fixed limits but they do reserve the right to dial you back if you're hurting other people.

Re:Change your ISP (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27313347)

I recommend Be Unlimited: www.bethere.co.uk

Good price, unlimited data quota, 24 Mb/s, free static IP, and they don't do anything to your traffic as far as I can tell. Oh and it's only a 3 month contract.

Re:Change your ISP (1)

coder111 (912060) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314167)

Um, They will censor wikipedia and are IWF shills. I'm on Be now, but I will switch away from them when I get a chance. Search for previous articles on Slashdot.

I have heard AAISP is quite good, but they are more expensive and have traffic caps.

--Coder

Re:Change your ISP (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314327)

True, but nearly every UK ISP does this:

http://www.iwf.org.uk/funding/page.64.htm [iwf.org.uk]

And I've looked at the IWF blacklist. I don't think I'll be missing any of those sites. What sites do you want to access that the IWF blocks you from?

Re:Change your ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27315803)

Well, uh... Wikipedia, for one. Remember?

Besides, it's the principle of the thing. I don't like the general idea of my internet access being covertly intercepted or censored by a non-government organisation with no transparency, no oversight and not even any legal right to review the material compiling a secret list. Regardless of what's on the list right now, that's a bad fucking idea.

Andrews & Arnold are very good, btw, I get my service from them.

Yes, they have traffic caps, but they're realistic, open and up front about them - on the newest tariffs, which by the way are not that expensive (they're tiered based on the peak-time bandwidth allowance), they're mostly unlimited during the night (2-6am), 100GB/month off-peak (evenings, which is fairly high, shouldn't be a problem for most users, and you can always talk to them about it, they're very accommodating); also it bears mentioning that their peak-time is during office hours, rather than during the evenings like many residential ISPs!

At least they're not pretending they're "unlimited*" like some of the big guys do, and there are other good providers out there too, at least one of which the OP already linked to in my opinion.

Oh, and when you call AAISP, you get someone who actually knows what they're talking about. I consider that worth the price of admission alone. Feel free to shop around, of course.

Re:Change your ISP (1)

bluesatin (1350681) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314801)

Entanet are also a good alternative, they've had a couple of problems rescently due to BT buggering up the IPStream switchover, but they've practically all cleared up.

You can't buy directly from Entanet but there are plenty of resellers, I use http://adsl24.co.uk/ [adsl24.co.uk] personally.

Re:Change your ISP (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#27321653)

I've just migrated off adsl24 because after 3 months solid of my offpeak speeds dropping to 1-2Mb at the best of times, and sub 0.5Mb at the worst. On an 8Mb line, and no promise that it'd improve - the service is now designed for peak business hours, and offpeak is you get what you're given.

Since I only actually use my home connection when I'm not at work, that's not much help.

If you were on a low-load node, I'm sure your service is fine now. If you're on a node like Edinburgh (99% load right now), Manchester (95.3%), or Slough (92%) like myself, the service went from great to utter crap. I've been having problems since December, and they've been getting worse, not better, so I finally bit the bullet and used my MAC code.

Drawing these parallels seems dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311375)

Drawing parallels between a commercial targeted advertising tracking system and a government communications database seems harmful to me. Commercial advertising databases like Phorm often do not store and do not care about personal details: they're after demographics. They just want to know what you like and what you don't. Where you live or what your e-mail address isn't very important because they intend to use this information for things like banner ads or text ads or whatever.

Putting a link on the screen for a limited edition boxed set of a movie when you've been reading reviews of it is far more valuable than sending spam, either e-mail spam or the postal 'junk mail' variety, because you're actually likely to follow the link.

You're just an anonymous statistic to Phorm. To a UK Communications Database, you are an individual and they are tracking personally-identifiable information.

Big difference and drawing these parallels, I think, does more harm than good to the cause of privacy advocates.

Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311395)

The UK and France are slowly but surely turning into the totalitarian states that, prior to 1990, they despised. You can't carry a defensive weapon to protect yourself from a criminal attack. You can't walk down the street without a camera following you. You can't visit websites with nudity or other "harmful" material (censorship of the right to expression). You don't have a right to a trial by your peers (three strikes and you lose ISP access). Your biometric data is being recorded and tracked by the government, and soon I wouldn't be surprised if they make diets mandatory for people with BMI>25 (as has happened in Japan), or else get fined.

Yay. Freedom won. (cough). Or maybe not.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311493)

Freedom won.

Well, one version of freedom won. The freedom that says you need the Government to "protect" you from every conceivable source of harm, ranging from fatty foods to cigarettes to automobile accidents to firearms. The sheep can't possibly be trusted to assume responsibility for their own actions/choices so we need to curtail those choices for the public good.

When will people realize that real freedom is the freedom to do whatever the hell you want, provided that it isn't harming your neighbor?

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311725)

In order then that the social compact may not be an empty formula, it tacitly includes the undertaking, which alone can give force to the rest, that whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence. In this lies the key to the working of the political machine; this alone legitimises civil undertakings, which, without it, would be absurd, tyrannical, and liable to the most frightful abuses.

The meaning of freedom isn't open to debate. The only debate; conflict actually, is how much freedom people get, or how much is curtailed by the state.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311783)

"When will people realize that real freedom is the freedom to do whatever the hell you want, provided that it isn't harming your neighbor?"

Never.

And even if they did, they'd keep expanding the definition of harm. I've heard people claiming harm for all sorts of things, like having openly gay individuals living next door harms their property prices, or somehow "gayifies" their children and thus harms them.

People will never give up on their drive to interfere with and disapprove of other people's lives. More's the pity.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312103)

It is *physical* harm not abstract harm. That's why the KKK is allowed to go-around calling people the N-word and burning crosses. Although you might find this offensive, they have the right to say or do whatever they wish, so long as they don't cause physical harm to your body, your land, or your property.

"No man has a right to attack another. And that is all the government should restrain him." - Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Democratic party.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312423)

But that's the point, you'd never get anyone to agree to that, and then over time they'd stretch the definitions to the point of the ridiculous.

Isn't my mind part of my body? It distresses me and makes me ill to know what's gong on next door....

I don't subscribe to these bullshit arguments myself, but they do crop up. There are huge proportions of the population of the western world that would be horrified at the idea of just letting people do whatever they want. Like the drug thing - many folks consider drug use to be a moral failing and not acceptable regardless of harm, they'll never agree to stop interfering in the lives of others.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317179)

>>>It distresses me and makes me ill to know what's gong on next door....

Too bad. "Whether my neighbor worships one god, many gods, or no god matters not to me. It does not harm my body, my property, nor my rights therefore I will allow my neighbor the liberty to worship however he pleases." - Tomas Jefferson. The same reasoning applies to any other behavior your neighbor does, like gay sex, or swinger parties.

>>>many folks consider drug use to be a moral failing

Nobody has a right to impose their religious or moral beliefs on another. At one time U.S. states used to do that (official state religions), but eventually those ideas passed away (late 1700s/ early 1800s) because we came to realize the moral tyranny is as bad as political tyranny.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312597)

When will people realize that real freedom is the freedom to do whatever the hell you want, provided that it isn't harming your neighbor?

Harm to your neighbour is sometimes difficult to pin down. You should read up about the "tragedy of the commons" sometime.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27314255)

You should read up about the "tragedy of the commons" sometime.

So my smoking pot in the privacy of my own home leads to a tragedy of the commons? My being overweight leads to a tragedy of the commons? My ownership of a firearm leads to a tragedy of the commons?

Harm to your neighbour is sometimes difficult to pin down

IMHO, if you can't pin it down you have no right to tell me that I can't engage in the behavior you are seeking to regulate and/or prohibit.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317171)

I don't disagree that you can come up with at least three examples of freedoms that do not lead tragedies of the commons.

But what if consensus is hard to reach about certain other things, e.g. air pollution? Do you just engage in it because nobody can "pin it down" to the satisfaction of everybody?

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317337)

I hope you haven't read anything I've said and concluded that I would have a problem regulating air pollution. My problem is when politicians try to regulate behavior based on some perceived harm to society. Seat belt laws come to mind. Marijuana prohibition comes to mind. If my behavior isn't harming anyone else then what business is it of the Government? My main complaint is with the nanny state and the war on vice.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318041)

Everything manmade comes about as a result of behaviour. The distinction is not a useful one.

If you fail to wear a seat belt in the back of a car, you might just kill the person sitting in front of you. I should imagine that a front seat occupant is more likely to kill someone in the front of the other vehicle in the case of a head-on collision.

Where does your fist end and the other guy's face begin? It's a sliding scale. Marijuana might bring out psychotic tendencies in enough people to be considered a risk (to others; risk to yourself is nobody's business but your own). As it stands it's a no-brainer because alcohol is legal and demonstrably worse, and while that situation remains there's no case for marijuana prohibition (or perhaps no case for alcohol to be legal? Drink driving kills, and while you might argue that it's the driving that should be illegal rather than the drinking, there's no doubt it impairs your ability to judge the implications of driving under the influence).

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27324215)

If you fail to wear a seat belt in the back of a car, you might just kill the person sitting in front of you

Give me a break. A) That's so hypothetical and tenuous that it hardly merits a response, B) The person in front of you could have made an informed decision not to remain in the car unless you put on your seat belt.

I should imagine that a front seat occupant is more likely to kill someone in the front of the other vehicle in the case of a head-on collision.

Do you have a single example of this ever happening or are you going on your "gut" feeling?

Marijuana might bring out psychotic tendencies in enough people to be considered a risk

Then those people shouldn't use it and should be held responsible for any actions they commit while under the influence. Some people get violent when they drink -- you gonna take my beer away from me because of them?

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 4 years ago | (#27327465)

Give me a break. A) That's so hypothetical and tenuous that it hardly merits a response

Citation needed.

B) The person in front of you could have made an informed decision not to remain in the car unless you put on your seat belt.

True.

Do you have a single example of this ever happening or are you going on your "gut" feeling?

Call it a gut feeling if you want: I call it an observation of the laws of physics. But no, I don't have any evidence for it.

Some people get violent when they drink -- you gonna take my beer away from me because of them?

Ah, you're in favour of everyone having equal access to nuclear weapons? Good luck with that.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#27328277)

Ah, you're in favour of everyone having equal access to nuclear weapons? Good luck with that.

Ironic that you accuse me of hyperbole and bust out with 'so everybody should have nuclear weapons' in response to a remark about drug prohibition. I suspect we are done here.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 4 years ago | (#27329567)

Ironic that you accuse me of hyperbole

Poppycock. Show me where I did that.

and bust out with 'so everybody should have nuclear weapons' in response to a remark about drug prohibition

It's not in response to a remark about drug prohibition, it's in response to a remark about doing "whatever the hell you want, provided that it isn't harming your neighbor" (which includes owning nuclear weapons).

I suspect we are done here.

If you're done making false accusations and setting up straw men: indeed we are.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27322515)

You should read up about the "tragedy of the commons" sometime.

So my smoking pot in the privacy of my own home leads to a tragedy of the commons?

I'm in favour of legalising pot, so I don't think so. But some might argue that drug availability leads to social problems, particularly for hard drugs like heroin.

My being overweight leads to a tragedy of the commons?

Difficult to see how.

My ownership of a firearm leads to a tragedy of the commons?

Laws allowing widespread firearm ownership would do, yes, as it would mean that criminals would find it easier to obtain firearms and firearm-related deaths would increase.

There is a tendency for the Slashdot to audience to have an extremely simplistic view of freedom. "Provided that it isn't harming your neighbor" is almost *never* fully satisfied in practice in a large society with a lot of interactions between people. We simply have to decide what level of harm to neighbours is acceptable.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27323271)

Shouldn't reply to myself, but I'd like to make it clear what I'm generally on the (social) libertarian side of things - legalize most drugs, porn's fine, free speech - great, apart from harassment, intimidation or causing direct harm (offensiveness is not sufficient reason to restrict speech), guns... well, not as much as the typical American, but reasonable ownership, yes.

Authoritarianism is itself generally harmful to society and human happiness so it should be avoided unless clearly necessary. The current UK government seem to delight in it and see it as the solution to all ills.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312487)

You can't walk down the street without a camera following you.

I'm quite skeptical about this being as generally true as you make it out to be.

You can't visit websites with nudity or other "harmful" material (censorship of the right to expression).

Visiting websites isn't actually exercising a right to expression. Barring such websites from being run might be considered such, yes. Expression is solely on the speaker's end, not the reader's.

You don't have a right to a trial by your peers (three strikes and you lose ISP access).

Like it or not, ISP access is not a right. They are not punishing you for a crime, so you haven't lost any right to trial. It may be underhanded, you may not like it, but it has nothing to do with a right to trial.

and soon I wouldn't be surprised if they make diets mandatory for people with BMI>25 (as has happened in Japan), or else get fined.

No good rights tirade is complete without a slippery slope argument at the end.

Re:Looks like Eastern Europe and Soviet Union won (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312635)

Yay. Freedom won. (cough). Or maybe not.

Not quite. The Soviet Union fell.

The ongoing authoritarian creep, the increasing censorship, growing economic and social conservatism, the worsening impotence of our media, all can be traced back to the collapse of the Soviet empire and the second world. Without that counterweight, without that foil, the western world had not standard against which to measure the worth of its society. Since then, our freedoms have been proclaimed only in our own propaganda and not in reality.

Just a matter of time before they say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311405)

alright sir just bend over while we implant this device in your ass. Don't worry it will only hurt for a minute. It will also monitor your flatulence and automatically withdraw money from your bank account to cover the cost of emitting greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. We told you to keep your gas sequestered now look what you made us do.

Rowntree Reform Trust (4, Informative)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311433)

Links to the Rowntree report: executive summary [jrrt.org.uk] , and the full report [jrrt.org.uk] . (Both in PDF format). It's worth mentioning that their report doesn't particularly single out the communications database. They assessed 46 databases across all the major UK government departments. They found that at least one quarter "are almost certainly illegal under human rights or data protection law", and that these "should be scrapped or substantially redesigned", while over "half have significant problems with privacy or effectiveness and could fall foul of a legal challenge". Less than 15% were believed to be "effective, proportionate and necessary". They had some equally damning things to say about the cost of IT projects in the public sector, and the high failure rate of the projects (only 30% succeed).

Privacy Schmivacy (2, Insightful)

melissa replies (1507707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311489)

I highly doubt that some of the largest website giants are going to provide active discourse to boycott all of this invasion of privacy of traffic logging and email snooping. Look at how these large internet conglomerates get their money: from ads specifically tracking where you click your mouse on their website.

But anyway. Gee, look at the time! 1984 all ready.

Re:Privacy Schmivacy (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311657)

The only real hope, from people like Google and their fellow analytics and ad mongers, is that they'll oppose Phorm because it represents a competitor to their existing line of business.

Clearly, anybody who sells ads and click data is not a warm and fuzzy friend of privacy; but I suspect that most, if not all, such really don't want a third party, in collusion with ISPs, to gain a superior position.

Changing content (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311559)

Firefox plus any number of anti-advert plugins stop most adverts, so the system would be self-defeating to what is an ever larger percentage of people dumping browsers like Internet Explorer.

Don't expect the UK's privacy head to do anything, he makes a lot of noises like over the adding of 1 million innocent people to the DNA database (which is the largest in the world and larger than all 26 other European countries combined), but has let the government carry on. Deliberately toothless, a good PR job is all he does.

What is more worrying though, is that this technology has the ability to re-write web pages on the fly per users requests. So today it's just adverts being changed, tomorrow it's whole content and history changed to suit a governments propaganda. It must be made MUCH easier and cheaper for any website no matter how small to be able to use HTTPS instead of standard HTTP. This will help to put one over the evil that is Phorm and the governments and media who want to control content.

Tories as the new protectors of personal freedoms? (2, Interesting)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311599)

I found this comment in TFA (I believe it's taken from the Roundtree Report) intriguing:

"One of them (the National DNA Database) has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights, and both the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats have promised to scrap many of the others (emphasis mine)."

Is the an instance of the Tories saying simply "we're not Labour," or is this some new-found attachment to civil liberties by a party previously known for devotion to monarchy and deference to authority?

The Conservatives have never been very fond of Brussels either, so I'm guessing it's not a new-found devotion to the concept of EU-wide human rights that trump the authority of the member national governments.

Re:Tories as the new protectors of personal freedo (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27312623)

This, shows up in my news feeds, on the same day that the Tories declare that they are considering repealing the Human Rights Act if they come to power...

Re:Tories as the new protectors of personal freedo (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 5 years ago | (#27315389)

While repealing the human rights act sounds horrific, I can support it as long as its replaced with something better.

The Human rights act has been used by criminals to sue people for injuries they incurred trying to rob them and is heavily abused by rejected asulym seekers to delay their removal, the whole school girl demanding to wearing speacial clothing in school and by much of the PC brigade to supress the majority. Having actually read it I think it would be a lot easier to tear the thing up and start out using the old act as a guide rather than try and patch the issues in the current one.

Re:Tories as the new protectors of personal freedo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27312669)

I'm confused as to why you only emphasized that part of the statement... The Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats simply tend to be on opposing sides of any debate. It seems to me that the quote was merely intended to imply that politicians from the entire spectrum of parties agree on this, and that's unique!

Sorry for singing an old tune here, but.... (1)

pig-power (1069288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311681)

Whenever I see a story about internet and privacy, the same thought comes to mind.
The idea is brought up regularly on slash. Are we at the point that we need a type of DNS/ssl system put in place?
I mean, come on!, this IS slashdot people here??
Meh..GET OFF MY LAWN!!

We failed the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311951)

Seriously, we are the ones to blame. We dragged our feet over encryption. We made encryption the arcane, complex, unusable and, worst of all, optional privacy measure that it is today. We still develop new protocols and file formats without tamper-proofing them.

IPv6, for all that it could be, will not require end to end encryption. It will have a mandatory option which is so complicated that it will never be used.

DNS, which is abused by most government censorship efforts, has been mended several times to avoid cryptographic signatures on DNS data.

Sites like slashdot.org, geek havens, are still not available via HTTPS. How do we expect others to protect privacy when we can't even do it for ourselves? Who here reads and writes signed (or even signed and encrypted) mail?

If your Slashdot is slow,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27312099)

... add google-analytics.com to your AdBlock Plus filter, and presto! Fast again.

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