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UK Gov't Launches 'Your Freedom' Website To Seek Laws Worth Repealing

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the required-plug-in-crashed dept.

Government 332

Firefalcon writes "The UK Government launched Thursday the 'Your Freedom' website, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, to 'identify laws that should be repealed.' In a recent tweet, Police State UK pointed out an article in the New Statesman which appeals for people to call on the Government to repeal the ill thought-out Digital Economy Act that was rushed through Parliament without sufficient scrutiny. While part of the Act is regarding the digital TV switchover, other sections allow for users to be restricted or disconnected from the Internet at the behest of copyright owners, which goes against the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' that has been in place since the Magna Carta."

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Seriously? (5, Insightful)

cstec (521534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784224)

Damm, that rocks. Can we have some?

Re:Seriously? (2)

put_it_down (1847636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784322)

I'll donate to that.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784392)

Hope they've got a big server....

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784492)

Lets hope they actually read what people post to the website (=

Re:Seriously? (3, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784840)

There's a video of Nick Clegg on the front page specifically promising that all the posts will be read.

My first thought was - yeah, it's a great source of material for tracking dissidents.

But it is awesome. I hope it really gets done right.

Re:Seriously? (2, Interesting)

funkatron (912521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784686)

You really want one of these? It's just an area for people to vent and then get ignored, reducing the size of Mr Clegg's inbox in the process. The last government has a website to petition the prime minister, you were basically signing up to a mailing list which would send out a very nicely written "fuck off". The only improvement I see here is the design of the page.

Anything about "racially motivated" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784228)

Fuck all that racially motivated shit. Send the paki's home.

Re:Anything about "racially motivated" (4, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784658)

OK, sure. Now are you going to the job they did or are you "too proud" and will just keep claiming benefits instead?

Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784272)

Shooter licensing and gun registration, imposing penalties for refusing to divulge passwords, default penalties for people who refuse drug and alcohol testing all go against the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' that has been in place since the Magna Carta.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784398)

The others, sure, but isn't gun registration the minimum a government needs to do in terms of protecting Average Joe? Having a murder weapon like this is not a right, nor is it useful. And before you argue the use of cars/scissors/knives for murder, consider these devices, unlike guns, have been designed for other uses. Guns are made with the sole purpose to kill (man or animal), which makes it reasonable to register them.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (3, Informative)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784424)

Gun registration, no. Background checks on the buyer, yes. Actually, to apply for most jobs you have to submit the same papers you need to get a gun (clean criminal record, valid ID) and guns are not "designed to kill", they're designed to shoot bullets. Guns are actually a most inefficient way to kill humans, poison is better and you can make very nasty stuff with commercially available chemicals.
And who said "Average Joe" needs to be "protected"? In the UK, what the population needs is less protection, more education, less classism and less alcohol.

I nearly wrote a serious answer to you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784452)

...but then I realized your nick.

Well played, sir. Well played.

Re:I nearly wrote a serious answer to you... (0, Offtopic)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784592)

Not much, since you didn't understand but then I'm not responsible for your lack of wit. I don't support any mandatory registration for guns, but I support mandatory training and stringent exams for any would-be owner covering technical issues, legal issues and handling proficiency. Firearms require discipline to be properly used and stored, and I'm fine with every owner to go through that. If they're determined, they'll go through. If they don't, they won't. A firearm you don't know how to use is a useless firearm.

Re:I nearly wrote a serious answer to you... (0, Offtopic)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784762)

I don't support any mandatory registration for guns, but I support mandatory training and stringent exams for any would-be owner covering technical issues, legal issues and handling proficiency. Firearms require discipline to be properly used and stored, and I'm fine with every owner to go through that.

How can you have mandatory training for new gun owners without mandatory registrations? At least, you would have to certify/register the prospective gun owners themselves (if not the guns), and give them some kind of certified guning license with their pictures on it, that they would be required to show, to not just the dealers, but even the private individuals that they'd buy their guns from (since in most States, third private gun sales are perfectly legal, they just don't require any of the checks that a registered gun dealer would do).

Also, training usually solves the knowledge issue. Is this really the problem here? Knowing what to do under exam conditions is different than actually doing the right thing when you go home and no one else is looking. Also, I don't think your suggestion would address the bigger problem of criminals/idiots/untrained people getting guns illicitly through their friends and/or getting guns through the black market.

Re:I nearly wrote a serious answer to you... (0, Offtopic)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784876)

You've not thought out your argument too well. So you want all this mandatory stuff for gun owners, but no mandatory registration. Just think for a second - how will the government ensure that gun owners have been through this mandatory training? Oh wait - your idea is that gun owners will just do that. There has to be mandatory registration, otherwise the rest of your cunning plan is useless posturing. Also, gun owners should undergo regular (6-month maximum) psychological tests, as a gun owner, no matter how responsible they usually are, just takes a single rejection (from their job, wife, hooker, whatever), and they can (and do) take their shiny toys to the nearest clock-tower and start killing the fuck out of people, something no society needs to go through on a regular basis. I think the current system is fine - demonstrate to the police why you need a gun, get one, and then undergo checks to make sure you know how to store it correctly (locked in a cabinet). Where's the problem with that?

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784654)

Well, I think failing a background check is most likely to be "guilty since proven guilty". Well, depends if the conviction or simply the arrest record is checked. But if for example, a conviction for manslaughter or robbery might qualify as being "proven guilty" and also might be good grounds for not allowing this individual to have a weapon.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (2, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784404)

Since when is gun registration violating innocent until proven guilty?

Is it the same way as driver and vehicle licensing violates it?

That is... not at all?

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (3, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784542)

Since when is gun registration violating innocent until proven guilty?

Is it the same way as driver and vehicle licensing violates it?

That is... not at all?

Just because the courts have ruled that vehicle licensing doesn't violate the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" doesn't necessarily make it so. After all, there was plenty of precedent that slavery didn't violate the principle of "all men are created equal" too.

It may have been reasonable to require license tags on vehicles when the only real application was for identifying drivers who have been involved in an accident. But now that cameras are pervasive and the databases linking license tags to owners/drivers are too, license tags of people who have not committed a crime are routinely abused by both the government and private entities. The scope has creeped far beyond the original justification and thus what once was considered a reasonable trade-off between the public good and individual rights is no longer so.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784598)

Apart from ridiculous hyperbole and poor comparisons, do you have anything to substantiate the point.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784644)

How are road cameras abusing people who haven't committed a crime?

They do nothing at all to people who drive within the law, and create the proof of guilt for the people who are guilty.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (2, Insightful)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784870)

Licensing grants a person an exception from a general prohibition. In a country where the right to bear arms is recognized unless one has been convicted of a felony, licensing assumes the entire population are felons, and they must repeatedly prove that they aren't in order to own a gun. On the other hand, the government makes it very clear that driving is a privilege, and since it can deny you the ability to drive for any or no reason, guilt or innocence is irrelevant.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (2, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784484)

Shooter licensing and gun registration

What? How does that violate "innocent until proven guilty"? More like, "dangerously incompetent with deadly force until proven otherwise".

imposing penalties for refusing to divulge passwords

This is a compliance issue. In certain circumstances it is entirely appropriate for people to be required to comply with police. I suppose next you'll be complaining that people have to pull over to the side of the road when a policeman pulls them over.

default penalties for people who refuse drug and alcohol testing

Again, a compliance issue. There's no assumption of guilt anywhere.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784534)

This is a compliance issue. In certain circumstances it is entirely appropriate for people to be required to comply with police. I suppose next you'll be complaining that people have to pull over to the side of the road when a policeman pulls them over.

Oh, that's awful. You might as well argue that not confessing to every unsolved murder under interrogation is "a compliance issue". There are very specific circumstances in which people may be reasonably required to comply with police. In particular, the police may detain you for a limited period when there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. There is your reasonable exception, not proof of any rule.

RIPA makes me guilty of the crime of not speaking in a particular way, regardless of whether I am guilty of anything else. We have recently lost our right to remain silent, but not speaking wasn't an offence: it was instead (insanely) judged acceptable to consider "not speaking" as evidence against you. But with RIPA the government goes further: now it is a crime to not speak.

Now some may argue that a man should also be compelled to provide fingerprint / DNA / semen samples, and that refusing to provide samples should be grounds for force to be used to collect and/or further prosecution and/or evidence of guilt. I'm not clear whether and when each of these should apply. But none of this involves convincing a man to say things which may cause him to lose his freedom on pain of loss of freedom.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784632)

Oh, that's awful. You might as well argue that not confessing to every unsolved murder under interrogation is "a compliance issue".

One case is about insuring against deliberately hampering a police investigation, and the other is about forcing false confessions. I simply don't see why allowing one necessarily implies we need to follow the other. Besides, I would say that providing or coercing a false confessions, is an extremely large compliance issue. Compliance is to the state, not to the police officer.

There are very specific circumstances in which people may be reasonably required to comply with police. In particular, the police may detain you for a limited period when there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. There is your reasonable exception, not proof of any rule.

I never claimed it was the rule. Like I said, it was only "In certain circumstances". But there are other such circumstances where police have such powers. My point was that there is precedence.

RIPA makes me guilty of the crime of not speaking in a particular way, regardless of whether I am guilty of anything else. We have recently lost our right to remain silent, but not speaking wasn't an offence: it was instead (insanely) judged acceptable to consider "not speaking" as evidence against you. But with RIPA the government goes further: now it is a crime to not speak.

That's a separate issue. It's not actually a problem with "innocent until proven guilty".

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (2, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784782)

One case is about insuring against deliberately hampering a police investigation,

Not assisting the police is by no reasonable definition "deliberately hampering a police investigation". Deliberately hampering might include destroying evidence, or lying to the police, or resisting arrest. You cannot deliberately hamper by doing nothing.

Consider for a moment an alternative world in which it is illegal to not actively help the police.

and the other is about forcing false confessions. I simply don't see why allowing one necessarily implies we need to follow the other.

You're asserting that the state should be able to require you to actively cooperate in finding you guilty, using some argument which assumes that the state has a privilege to force "compliance" on the innocent. Do you not think that people in interview are encouraged to confess, even when their guilt is in doubt? Is the problem not that the man under suspicion is not saying what the police want him to say?

That's a separate issue. It's not actually a problem with "innocent until proven guilty".

If a man is innocent then why should he be forced to testify against himself? And if he doesn't testify against himself why should this make him automatically guilty of anything? He should surely be innocent of the crime for which he was initially arrested until he is proven guilty of that crime - not until he can be charged with new crimes simply because of procedural bureaucracy.

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784670)

imposing penalties for refusing to divulge passwords

This is a compliance issue. In certain circumstances it is entirely appropriate for people to be required to comply with police. I suppose next you'll be complaining that people have to pull over to the side of the road when a policeman pulls them over.

default penalties for people who refuse drug and alcohol testing

Again, a compliance issue. There's no assumption of guilt anywhere.

Privacy is more important than "compliance issues". There's no privacy lost in pulling over, so it's acceptable to require it. Giving up your passwords and submitting to testing, however, are major infringements on privacy, so requiring them is unacceptable. Understand now?

Re:Too late for "innocent until proven guilty" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784866)

Shooter licensing and gun registration violate the concept of innocent until proven guilty because you are considered guilty by default, ie: you have to provide evidence of character etc, rather than have the state prove an accusation against you. Just because it's a rights violation you like doesn't mean it's not a rights violation. As for "dangerously incompetent with deadly force until proven otherwise" there are a multitude of legal ways to purchase deadly force, such as petrol and matches, knives, baseball bats, etc.

This is a compliance issue. In certain circumstances it is entirely appropriate for people to be required to comply with police.

Every act of disobedience towards the government is a compliance issue. That doesn't mean the government is right. The right against self incrimination is fundamental. If governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed" and people are understood to consent to agreements for their own benefit, then it follows that no person has agreed to a system in which he must do himself harm, including harm by self-incrimination. Penalties for not speaking are an assumption of guilt rather than innocence.

As for drug testing, you can be convicted on drug charges or drunk driving for refusing tests. That's an assumption of guilt if you refuse to provide evidence of innocence.

Top of my list would be... (1)

PandyBear (1586677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784280)

The 3 strikes "omgah, your a illegal downloader!!1!1!!!" law that was secretly brought in. Nothing else that im aware of needs changing. Maybe the games industry tax relief? *shrugs*

Re:Top of my list would be... (3, Interesting)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784704)

They are repealing the games industry tax relief, it was announced in the budget.

Top of my list would be drug laws, mainly because they don't work, and end up criminalising a very large proportion of the populace. There are an estimated one million _regular_ cocaine users in the country. There are over 3 million regular cannabis users. I'd personally guess that over half the population have at some point tried something illegal. The most idiotic of recent laws is the one outlawing mephedrone (which despite the newspaper hysteria has not been verifiably linked to any deaths yet), because it also outlaws many other drugs that have not ever been used by anyone. Basically, what I do in my own free time, as long as I don't inconvenience anyone else, should be for me to decide. If I decide to take something that might kill me, that is my decision - I don't need the government nannying me. The government currently is outlawing drugs for people's protection supposedly, and then locking up those same people.... if the goal is to protect people from the harmful effects, the solution is not to lock them up at the taxpayer's expense. Up to 4 billion pounds could be raised in revenue if drugs that are currently being used were taxed.

In no particular order, some others may be :
DRM circumvention illegality, as mentioned elseware.
Public disorder offences - I'm not against them per se, but recent laws are incredibly vague and make loads of things illegal.
Drunk and disorderly - Either enforce it or get rid of it... there are millions of drunk disorderly people on the streets every weekend.
All laws allowing detention without charge... 28 days is too long, which brings me on to...
All anti-terror laws. They are all shit and worthless (as far as I was aware, blowing people up was arleady illegal prior to anti-terror legislation), and infringe upon everone's rights. Glorifying terrorism is now an offense, which we seem to have been for ages when the terrorists are on our side (ANC, French Resistance, etc).
Some child protection laws - Two policewomen were recently found to be breaking the law by looking after each other's children, without being registered.
Some "eco" laws such as the illegality of incandescent light bulbs
Laws censoring the internet (currently being overseen by a non-governmental unnaccountable body, the Internet Watch Foundation) - They don't work, get over it.
Laws requiring people to reveal passwords to encrypted devices, which criminalise people who have forgotten their password
Some sex offences which require people to be put on the sex offenders register and not be allowed to work with children for the rest of their lives, like peeing against a lamppost, or somone on their 16th birthday having sex with someone a day younger than them.
Distribution of child pornography laws that apply to yourself - a 17 year old girl who sends a picture of her tits to her boyfriend is guilty of this.
Incitement to racial/religious hatred laws. I'm an atheist who really hates some religions, and tries to convince others to hate them too, ergo I am a criminal.

What depresses me is that I could go on - these are just some of the more important ones IMO. The last Labour government introduced almost 5000 new laws, so I am not convinced knocking off one or two will actually make a difference. Fortunately for us they have outlawed setting off a nuclear device, so we can all rest easy now... or perhaps that may have been covered by existing laws. Better safe than sorry, I guess.

thousand and one laws (3, Interesting)

fyoder (857358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784294)

This should be coupled with a law that states there can only be a thousand laws (not including this law) on the books at any one time.

That means that if they want to add a new law, they would have to get rid of an old one to make space. This would keep the number of laws from getting ridiculous, as well as discourage legislators from passing laws simply to look like they're doing something. Though I suppose they could be cunning and have one of the laws always be a disposable one which would be the one replaced by the new useless law which would then become the disposable one.

Hm. There's gotta be a way to discourage politicians from making new laws. Perhaps just keep it simple and make the price of introducing a new law a finger or thumb. No mp could introduce more than 10 laws, and they might be reluctant to introduce even one.

Re:thousand and one laws (2, Funny)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784308)

Or they would have to pass a law to extend the number of laws permitted on the books.

Re:thousand and one laws (3, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784334)

They'll just make them longer.

Re:thousand and one laws (4, Interesting)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784356)

How about an automatic sunset: a law that has 50%+1 support gets to live 5 years before it has to be passed again. A law that has 100% support gets to live 10 years before it has to be passed again. Scale linearly between the two to give some incentive to make popular laws, not just squeakers. If that would cause an overload at "pass-again day", add +/- 5% of the duration to the time until it has to be passed again so that the exact day will be sufficiently randomized.

Re:thousand and one laws (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784360)

They'll probably just use Codes [wikipedia.org] . i.e. massive laws that contain everything about an entire field. Then they'll only need to amend the code to add a new piece of legislation.
Requiring a 50% approval vote from the actual population would probably be effective, provided that it was optional to avoid voter fatigue.

Re:thousand and one laws (2, Interesting)

cheesewire (876598) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784442)

massive laws that contain everything about an entire field

Impose a word limit + prohibit abbreviations?
Let's say 150 words apiece so the laws of the land can be published unabridged in a modest paperback format. The perfect gift for every child as they turn 10 and gain criminal responsibility.

Re:thousand and one laws (2, Insightful)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784588)

Except these codes are sometimes necessary. You clearly have no idea what laws do if you think all there is to it is the criminal code, which is a small and relatively simple section of laws. "IANAL" in this case seems to be "and I don't even have a clue what laws do" - a budget is a law, for one.

Re:thousand and one laws (4, Insightful)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784606)

Imposing a word limit would force them to remove exceptions, such as self-defense (murder) and fair use (copyright). And do you really want statutes to resemble twitter posts?
Prohibiting abbreviations would make some parts of the law quite painful to read as well, and would also be ineffective as the norm is to use a simple, 1 word term (e.g. officer) and then define its meaning at the beginning of the act (e.g. police officer or member of law enforcement, or as defined by the Police Powers Act 1900)
Your idea of condensing all legislation down into a single book is incredibly naive. Law has many similarities to programming - can you imagine the issues associated with limiting the no. of lines of code that a program's source may consist of, while still requiring the same functionality? Comments would be the first thing to go, and the equivalent of comments in legislation are extremely important to their interpretation. Similarly, even if all legislation were compressed down to a single book, this book would:
a) be incomplete, as in any common law system precedent (i.e. past court cases) are of equal importance to legislation, and
b) be incomprehensible - the average person is as capable of understanding laws as they are of understanding C++, and because of the nature of the content involved they will not be able to do so without education on how to do so. Even when written in plain English, there are many legal tools that define how phrases are to be interpreted. e.g. Ejusdem generis [wikipedia.org]
Trying to limit the quantity of legislation is a poor way to go about your aim, which I presume is to restrict the power of the government. A far better way to do this is to explicitly limit what the government can legislate on. For example:

51 Legislative powers of the Parliament
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to
make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the
Commonwealth with respect to:
    (i) trade and commerce with other countries ...

-s51 of the Australian Constitution
In our case though this is of little significance practically as the states have unlimited legislative power (i.e. they can make laws about whatever they want).

Ultimately, the best way to keep stupid laws of the books is to keep stupid politicians out of parliament. This is largely dependent on keeping stupid people from voting, and consequently rather difficult to achieve.

Re:thousand and one laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784640)

This is largely dependent on keeping stupid people from voting, and consequently rather difficult to achieve.

Beginning with the fact that the people proposing such ideas would likely end up being the first removed from voting.

Re:thousand and one laws (4, Interesting)

LambdaWolf (1561517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784362)

Hm. There's gotta be a way to discourage politicians from making new laws.

I've heard it suggested that every law should automatically expire after a fixed period, such as one year or five years. Not only would the legislature be kept busy with votes for the laws that obviously should be kept ("Uh oh, armed robbery is going to become legalized on Wednesday..."), but it would limit the damage from laws that spend frivolously, are poorly thought out, or are motivated by special interests. At worst, lobbyists would have influence legislators over and over again to reap the benefits of a law that favors them.

Not saying it's the best idea, but it's definitely an interesting one, and I feel strongly that we need a way to get laws that were, say, meant to help bring electricity to rural areas 80 years ago off the books.

Re:thousand and one laws (2, Funny)

Irick (1842362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784376)

You never said it had to be the politician's digit. A loophole is worth a thousand laws. :P

Re:thousand and one laws (2, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784394)

I would say shorter law would be better than fewer laws. Things like the DEA and the PATRIOT act had SOME provisions that most people supported, but a lot of other bullshit tacked on.

Re:thousand and one laws (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784462)

Personally, I think we should go back to putting a Hammurabi-style stone monument in the center of every city with every law that applies in the jurisdiction. If congress, state government, or the mayor want more laws, they need to pay for a bigger stone and let people visually see how ridiculous it's getting. And no cheating with 1 pt font, it needs to be readable by a person walking past.

OTOH, it'd go a long way in the right direction to repeal any law the majority of the population disapproves of. Just a simple democratic vote at election time on anything strongly opposed. No law could be any worse than public apathy tolerated, and laws with secret justifications have no place in a republic. Having not read the article it's possible that's the role of this website. But for some reason I doubt the politicians relinquished their authority to override the will of the people.

Re:thousand and one laws (2, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784708)

Pure democracy isn't that great of an idea.

The average person isn't well educated on the meaning, purpose and ramification of laws.

The average person is also easilly swayed by emotional appeals and the sway of a charismatic personality.

It wouldn't take long for a pure democracy to turn in on itself and repeal freedom in the name of "think of the children" and impose tyranny on its minorities.

Re:thousand and one laws (1)

blue_teeth (83171) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784498)

People take pride in saying "Our nation is built on laws ..."

My take on this:

More number laws / lawyers = litigious society
More number of doctors = diseased/ill society

------------

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel - Samuel Johnson

 

Re:thousand and one laws (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784684)

All laws automatically repeal themselves after 25 years and must then be renewed under the same processes as those for passing a new law. That would get rid of all the anachronistic ones.

IR35 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784298)

What stupid tax regulation that costs the state more money than it raises. Its the bane of all consultants.

Re:IR35 (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784494)

Much as I'd like to get rid of this law I can't see how it could possibly cost the state anything, let alone the hundreds or so that I'm paying extra in tax every year.

Sounds great, but... (3, Interesting)

Irick (1842362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784304)

Great idea, in theory. I foresee abuse, trolling, duplicate posts and spammers making it an unintelligible and useless database for public opinion, but maybe it will at least highlight a few laws to be looked at and refined. I don't personally believe these sort of ventures stand much ground without some serious work being dedicated to dig out the gems of relevance within the tides of pure crap. The interent is a powerful tool, but having access to unlimited and unmediated information is not always the best thing possible when you need specific ideas. Then again, i've always been a 'pessimist'. We'll see how this works out, i hope it really makes a difference.

Re:Sounds great, but... (5, Informative)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784464)

They are actually moderating now, marking duplicates, removing real nonsense (suggestions to repeal a law that doesn't exist) etc. They didn't on Day 1 because of the volume of traffic.

Unfortunately, that still allows a lot of idiocy to be on display.

But there is also plenty of good highlighting of idiotic laws and regs. Have a read - you might enjoy it.

Re:Sounds great, but... (2, Informative)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784506)

The interent is a powerful tool, but having access to unlimited and unmediated information is not always the best thing possible when you need specific ideas.

There's been some good stuff going on wikiversity [wikiversity.org] since way before the election. What gets posted to the government website, likely 99% junk.

Re:Sounds great, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784678)

They already know what laws they are going to repeal. Allowing the public to "have a say" just means that they can select the ones they wanted, and claim they're doing what the public says.

This Is Good (5, Funny)

Bottles (1672000) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784306)

I am writing this from within the maximum security wing of the New British National Defence Forces detention island.

I was absolutely delighted to share all of my views about laws I felt needed repealing in the UK. My IP address was in no way used to trace my identity and when my new friends from the NBNDF came to talk to me I felt I was completely fulfilled by their probing and vigorous questions.

I have not been added to any lists of registered subversives.

My stay at the security wing has been fulfilling. I feel refreshed, invigorated and entirely supportive of the NBNDF. No electro-pain equipment was used upon me at all during this week.

Signed,
Mr Bottles.

:::rubs eyes::: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784314)

I just woke up, but I'm still dreaming!

We need one of these in the U.S. (2, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784324)

Plus a new law that states all new laws must have a sunset (five years max) and must be voted into renewal each sunset.

(save for actual amendments)

Re:We need one of these in the U.S. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784810)

It wouldn't work. Any law the government didn't want subject to the sunset provision would have a line saying "this law isn't subject to the sunset law". To make this binding you'd have to change the constitution.

This is a bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784332)

You want dumb laws on the books. Dumb laws on the books means the media has something worthy to report on. Dumb laws on the books means potential lawsuits (if it's possible) over such laws.

By the way, does the UK has jury nullification?

Re:This is a bad idea. (2, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784480)

Dumb laws on the books means potential lawsuits (if it's possible) over such laws.

And it is indeed possible Stop and search laws were successfully challenged in the European court.

By the way, does the UK has jury nullification?

Yes, and no. Jury nullification isn't actually an explicit legal right as such in the UK or the US. It's a de facto power. The Jury has a duty to make a judgement on the law and the facts of the case. The thing is they don't need to give a reason and if they don't there's absolutely nothing that can be done.

So yes, the Jury may pass a judgement of not guilty because the law is stupid. On the other hand, they can also pass a judgement of guilty because of the result of a coin toss.

Re:This is a bad idea. (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784776)

By the way, does the UK has jury nullification?

Yes it does, and happens relatively regularly. Judges will sometimes direct the jury to find a certain way, but the jury are under no obligation to do so. When being sworn in, jurors swear to find by the facts presented, ie. they swear to uphold the law, but what happens in the jury room stays in there, so there can be no recriminations to someone not doing so.

Note to America (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784374)

This is what can happen in the rest of the civilised world if you vote for the third party.

Re:Note to America (0)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784742)

unfortunately, the largest of the third party options are as bad, worse or more misguided than the democrats and republicans.

I knew things have changed in britain (4, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784450)

when i saw that when cameron moved into number 10, he only had a simple bed, 1-2 ikea brand stools and whatnot. i said to myself, well, someone who is living that simple has to have some good qualities at least.

immediately thereafter he apologized to irish for the bloody sunday. then, he come up proposing that queen's funds should be frozen. (11 mil or so a year). now, his partner clegg comes up with this.

it is sorry time for elite bloodsuckers in britain ...

Re:I knew things have changed in britain (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784770)

Erm, they are a pair of former public-schoolboy toffs with millions of pounds in personal wealth. Don't fall for their "men of the people" propaganda, they are even more entrenched with the ruling elite than the previous government.

(For the USians, "public schools" in the UK are actually elite private schools for the extremely rich)

lots of pot smokers on there (2, Interesting)

lord3nd3r (1073580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784486)

wow lots of legalize cannabis posts. We need something like that here in the states. That would help alot of issues I think.

Re:lots of pot smokers on there (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784752)

We did have a suggestion forum but it was deemed invalid because most of what people asked for was legalizing pot, proving that Obama isn't an american citizen and repeal of warrantless war powers by the secret agencies.

Libertarian is best (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784516)

It seems Britain would like to return to it's libertarian laissez faire ways. Kudos.

Re:Libertarian is best (0, Flamebait)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784570)

"Return"?
When has it ever been. Government sponsored megacorporations and enclosing commons is not libertarian.

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784646)

You're right, but it used to be much better in the XIX century.

Re:Libertarian is best (1, Flamebait)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784668)

LOL.
How so. Homosexuals were hanged until the 1860s, then imprisoned. You had to be a member of the Church of England to reach any position of importance in the empire. Britain was an empire stretching over a quarter of the globe, built through these megacorps, and violently repressing people by tens and hundreds of millions. Women had no right to property, or vote, or anything. Blacks were just barely out of slavery: it was abolished in the 1830s. Male suffrage was not even universal before that, even for free men. The working class had 0 protection and their lives were generally in squalor. Social mobility was non existent, the "commoners" who rose up were related by blood to the nobility already the majority of the time. Functional illiteracy was incredibly high, children died in droves in the first four years of their lives, and a majority of London's working class women were at least part time prostituting for subsistance.
Take off the pink colored glasses, will you, it was only good if you were rich, white, straight and male.

Re:Libertarian is best (2, Interesting)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784690)

Take off the pink colored glasses, will you, it was only good if you were rich, white, straight and male.

Race, gender and sexual orientation equality were not important issues back then. If we were to return to this '19th century libertarianism', we would have all the good parts as well as all of our modern equality. As for being rich, no economic system in the world has solved that particular problem.

Re:Libertarian is best (1, Troll)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784714)

Feminist started in the 18th century.
Frederick Douglas would likely be to classy to vomit on your boots, but I wouldn't.
And sexual orientation was most certainly not an issue FOR THE PEOPLE WHO WERE JUDICIALLY MURDERED ABOUT IT.
You've however happily told me the core bit: you're an idiotic straight white male who thinks if things are good for him they're good for everyone.

Re:Libertarian is best (2, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784744)

Congratulations, you've attacked me with an ad hominem while completely bypassing my main point. So let me reiterate it for you:

Race, gender and sexual orientation equality were not the cultural norm in the 19th century. They are in the 21st century. So if we were to go back to the 19th century way of government, we would not have to take back the inequality found in 19th century life. We can have the best of both worlds.

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784760)

No, you completely missed the point: the fight was on for the people involved. Racism was very much alive and led to fighting and revolutions, sexism led to violent manifestations for basic rights as property and vote. Sexual Orientation: the first attempts at gay liberation in Europe were mostly in Germany.

It's only not relevant because you have the luxury that it would not have been relevant to you. The people who were crushed under the weight and fighting because of it would beg to differ and would gladly ask that you stop peeing on their memory.

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784794)

All you're doing is taking my ambiguously phrased words "not important issues" and wedging yourself in there to ridiculous extremes. You clearly have no arguments against my main point, which your last post didn't reply to at all, so you're trying to misdirect me.

Re:Libertarian is best (0, Flamebait)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784808)

Your main point relies on a view of the 19th century that wasn't so. Addressing it would be basically teaching the controversy. The economic system of 19th century britain was made possible in part because it lacked these worker and minority protections.

Re:Libertarian is best (1, Interesting)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784892)

The economic system of 19th century Britain was made possible by the fact that minorities were oppressed? I fail to see how that's an integral part of the economy, and why, if we have to have some group serve as an underclass, we can't decide who the underclass is based on the people's merits (ie. high school dropouts working in McDonalds, like what we have now) rather than their race.

As for worker protections, finally we're getting into actual arguments here. I, however, would argue that worker protections, in general, are a bad thing. They deny workers the right to work at wages low enough to compete with third world countries, so we're stuck relying on manufacturing in China while our workers are unemployed. What situation would you rather be in, unemployment or a choice between a $4/hour job and unemployment?

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784764)

Oh, and sodomy laws were imposed by the UK on India, meaning that it was relevant enough to be made illegal where it wasn't.

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784720)

As for the good parts: what good parts? The Bloody Code? The inexistence of the Human Rights act? The limitation of the electoral franchise? The lack of worker protections? Blasphemy laws by the ton?

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784734)

The relative lack of government intrusion into every part of people's lives.

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784748)

Which I already pointed out was a myth. It was only limited by the technical means available, not by a lack of willingness to do so. Otherwise britain wouldn't have had anti-sodomoy, anti-blasphemy and other such laws.

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784806)

You're right, it was only limited by technical means. But we are not talking about 19th century government, we are talking about 19th century freedom. It doesn't matter how the freedom arose, we are talking about the result. Obviously, if we're going to return to this freedom we'll have to figure out a way of doing so that does not involve abandoning all technological progress since the telephone, but it's the result that matters.

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784822)

You can't talk about 19th century politics and ignore 19th century governments.

Re:Libertarian is best (0, Troll)

jprupp (697660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784768)

That's right,

At that time, the economic liberties were pretty good.

Today everything is regulated to a very deep extent in most of the World. Government has made an incursion very deep into the private lives of citizens.

Getting rid of bad laws can give back some of the power that has been stolen from the people by government, specially in the economic sense.

I doubt life in the 19th century was better than what it is today, but it's true that economic freedoms where as healthy as they get, much healthier than today.

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784792)

Corporate towns a great symbol of the political freedom of the people?
You must be kidding...

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784750)

It seems Britain would like to return to it's libertarian laissez faire ways. Kudos.

No, it's just a God (well, government) given opportunity for libertarians to have a rant, which let's face it, they're very good at.

Re:Libertarian is best (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784796)

And rant shall we.

Already trolled (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784544)

There's already a campaign on there to repeal the laws of thermodynamics. It's been spotted and locked but not deleted (at least, when I saw it).

F(p Taco (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784556)

formed h1S own

bah (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784594)

'Identify free thinkers and malcontents' more like. Although I fail to see how a british government and rail infrastructure will organise the cattle cars to take us to the british equivalent of the god-forsaken fly-blown taiga (Norwich).

I, for one, will not submit any complaints about the laws but will continue to pay cash for my tinfoil millinery.

brace for predictable... (1, Troll)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784596)

Cameron's a fucking brilliant PR man. He knows that the Internet is mostly paTrolled by lazy, middle-class Libertardian types with way too much time on their hands. The loudest voices on this site will not represent the population, but people obsessed with:

  1. Irrelevant: Anti-piracy bills which were unworkable anyway;
  2. Irrelevant: Cannabis;
  3. Insidious: Red tape which protects the worker or the consumer;
  4. Insidious: Benefits which tend to be abused by a small minority.

Non-single-issue laws which have a significant impact on the freedom or purse of the public, such as those related to the right to remain silent or surveillance or regulatory bodies or corporate taxation or military spending or public-private partnerships are far too complex to be properly analysed by the lazy group dominating the forum, let alone able to be tackled in terms of "keep or repeal". And Cameron knows this.

Re:brace for predictable... (1)

manicb (1633645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784630)

lazy, middle-class Libertardian types with way too much time on their hands.

Actually, we're being kept busy shouting down all the Daily Hate readers demanding capital punishment and the abolition of the Human Rights Act.

Re:brace for predictable... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784736)

Lazy Daily Haters would, accurately or otherwise, regard themselves as much defenders of freedom and the middle class as GROLIES.

But yes, that comes under (3), the abolition of the red tape that is Human Rights. Note that the Act also formally absolutely abolishes the death penalty, which AIUI was technically legal in the UK for certain military offences before 1998. Other-pond-siders may wish to note that it was an application of the European Convention on Human Rights, the thirteenth protocol of which also forbids the death penalty - though not all states accept all protocols!

Re:brace for predictable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784830)

One of the big ones on there is Ethical and impartial accountability of the police [hmg.gov.uk] , does that meet your non-single-issue criteria?

Hilariously, lots of NEW laws are being suggested (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784620)

Let's be clear on this: the majority just love their tyranny. For the small minded (you don't have to look far to find them) it's just so much fun to think up things that other people shouldn't be allowed to do.

A Freedom/Repeal bill is great in principle, but it'll never happen in practice. Quite apart from the problem that any repeals will pilloried as Soft On Something, the coalition have very different ideas on what the little people should be free to do: Cons tend to be pro freedom to smoke tobacco and anti freedom to smoke cannabis, and the Dems are t'other way around, for example.

Given recent controversy about website spending... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32784628)

...how much did this site cost then eh?

The Digital Economy Bill isn't going anywhere (3, Informative)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784652)

Although it's possible they may review it, the bill won't be scrapped. Before the election, I emailed my local Conservative MP (Nick Soames) about the Digital Economy Bill. Here's the response:

Thank you for your email of the 8th April about the Digital Economy Act. I share your concern about this piece of legislation and I want to make clear the approach that my Party has taken.

As you will be aware the Bill received Royal Assent yesterday.

Britain has been made to wait too long for legislation updating the regulatory environment for the digital and creative industries. I regret that once the Government got around to considering these issues, it did not allocate sufficient time in the House of Commons for proper legislative scrutiny. It says a great deal about the Government's support for the creative industries that despite considering many of these issues as far back as 2006 they only just brought this piece of legislation forward.

My Party took the decision to seek to remove those clauses of the Digital Economy Bill that we did not support or feel received proper legislative scrutiny, while supporting the Bill as a whole. Rejecting the Bill would have been an unacceptable set-back for the important measures it contains.

We supported the Bill's efforts to tackle online copyright infringement. This is an extremely serious issue that costs the creative industries hundreds of millions of pounds each year. We want to make sure that Britain has the most favourable intellectual property framework in the world for innovators, digital content creators and high tech businesses.

The measures in the Bill aimed at tackling online copyright infringement received robust scrutiny in the House of Lords. My Party was concerned about the lack of Parliamentary oversight of the original clauses and as such the Act now has a super-affirmative resolution in it. This means Parliament will debate any order that the Secretary of State lays that would allow people to be disconnected. These measures can also not be introduced for 12 months [ie 12 months after it became law]. This means that we are by no means rushing in to these decisions and that the next Parliament will be able to consider them beforehand.

The measures in the Act designed to tackle illegal peer to peer file sharing set up a proportionate regime that would, only following public consultation, repeated warnings and due process, lead to people having their internet connection temporarily suspended. It will not, as many have suggested, lead to people being disconnected without an appeal. Even if people are disconnected they will be able to sign up to another ISP immediately without penalty.

While I have no doubt that these measures could have been improved if the Government had allocated time for this Bill to be debated in Committee, blocking these measures in their entirety would have risked hundreds of thousands of jobs in the TV, film, music and sports industries and was therefore not something we were willing to do.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Nicholas Soames


Fun fact: Nick Soames is Winston Churchill's grandson.

The law I'd like to see repealed (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784672)

Is the extreme pornography law.

I should not be penalised for having pictures of a simulated act between two consenting adults.

I also think the 'anti-lolicon' law should be scrapped. I disliked lolicon but it's utterly wrong that I could draw two stick people having sex, label one of them as being 17 and end up in jail (with all the fun treatment you get for being labelled a nonce).

There is prior art! (1)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784674)

Douglas Carswell MP [talkcarswell.com] had already been inviting members of the public to contribute to a Great Repeal Bill. [wikiversity.org]

Clegg, Illness not cure. (1, Interesting)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32784692)

It's rather odd that Nick Clegg (having taken to the Conservative-Liberal coalition like a duck to water) has had to set up this consultation with the public. Prior to May's election his party, the Liberal Democrats, had a fairly comprehensive list of laws they'd like to repeal - as well as supposedly stalwart opposition to illiberal laws proposed by the previous authoritarian government. My thinking was that Clegg could simply re-read his manifesto from a whole 3 months ago, and gain a laundry list of repeals from that.

However it isn't that simple; despite his party being a vital component of the coalition most of the LibDem policies haven't been integrated convincingly to the workings of the government. This has become a much-sneered at point here in Britain; those who voted for Clegg at the election believed in his constant optimistic tone. He struck this same tone to a greater or lesser extent at all the TV debates we had; saying that Britain could become a fine nation, recapture its liberal values which it founded so long ago etc etc. He presented himself as a charismatic leader, with his second-in-command Vince Cable present to provide a sound economic policy; Cable had warned multiple times of an impending recession and was ignored. So we liked the combination; supposedly good leader and less-charismatic but wise economy-guru.

Clegg back in 2003 had partly authored a neoliberal tract named 'The Orange Book' - this basically cast aside most of the social-democratic principles which held quite some sway in the Lib Dems, and proposed a shift to the right for continued economic prosperity. Once the election and post-election negotiation ended, Clegg's deal was revealed. Most were surprised that he'd sold himself short, and abandoned a lot of the socially liberal principles native to his party...there are no signs of the Lib Dem proposals to 'recapture the values' of the past; Clegg has thusfar toed the Tory line - dragging his party into a place quite far from their liberal values. This has caused derision amongst LibDem voters; the Guardian recently had an article which claimed half of them would consider voting for another party next time round.

Basically the Clegg phenomena should have been seen a mile away, and was seen by a minority of individuals. The press went along with "Cleggmania", and the more vitriolic gutter press went with smear campaigns. It all seemed rather refreshing at the time; this liberal guy enraging all the nanny-state, corporate Murdoch press etc. But the truth wasn't investigated in the flurry, perhaps wilfully cast aside - the truth that Clegg, economically and socially, had a heck of a lot in common with our now-Prime Minister Dave Cameron. As I said in a topic on British laws against photographing police a couple of days ago...the new coalition government will not tackle the majority of New Labour's authority intensive legislation. That the Terrorism Act is so broad and vague means its use amongst rank-and-file constables doesn't belong in any democratic nation. The best we can hope for is a moderating of the law, with the formerly positive Clegg now a stooge (or be it, lapdog) of one of our most negative governments in quite some time. Clegg never put up much hardball negotiation, because he saw little worth bargaining for in keeping with his ideology.

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