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19,000 Emails Against and 0 In Favor of UK Draft Communications Bill

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the it-looks-close dept.

Government 174

Qedward writes "Open source writer Glyn Moody discusses the Draft Communications Bill (aka Snooper's Charter) in the UK and how the Joint Parliamentary Committee that had been considering the bill received almost 19,000 emails during its consultation period. He notes: 'Out of 19,000 emails received by the Committee on the subject of the proposed Draft Communications Bill, not a single one was in favor of it, or even agreed with its premise. Has there ever been a bill so universally rejected by the public in a consultation? Clearly, it must be thrown out completely.'"

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Unfair comparison (5, Insightful)

PieMasters (2751119) | about 2 years ago | (#41628641)

People always voice their concern when they're against something but rarely express their opinion if they're for it. This makes it unfair comparison. Just saying..

Re:Unfair comparison (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628675)

And that is just one of the excuses we are likely to see when the government ignores the consultation and presses on regardless.

It goes without saying that all the people who objected are probably terrorists and paedophiles.

Re:Unfair comparison (3, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 2 years ago | (#41628903)

But this bill is what we wanted. We voted the people in to government that are making this bill.

I'm sure the government will use some bullshit excuse like this.

Re:Unfair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629235)

The electorate does not vote for the government; they vote for the parliament, who then decide amongst themselves who will govern.

Re:Unfair comparison (5, Informative)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41629283)

Not quite, but not that far off.

The way it works is we all vote for an MP to represent us, then the party with the majority of MPs is (formally speaking) invited by the reigning monarch to form a government. If a majority isn't achieved (and the requirements vary a little depending on how the vote swings), then parties can team up as a coalition.

Re:Unfair comparison (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41628941)

And that is just one of the excuses we are likely to see when the government ignores the consultation and presses on regardless.

It goes without saying that all the people who objected are probably terrorists and paedophiles.

They're being added to the "extra surveillance" list as I write this.

Re:Unfair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629139)

It's funny because it's true.

Re:Unfair comparison (3, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41629491)

It's funny because it's true.

I think we left "funny" quite a ways back.

It may qualify as a Greek comedy however, which often ended tragically for the proponents in the play as well.

Make a decision. You know how this type of domestic government surveillance/secret police crap always ends. History is filled with such. There's not much time left in which anything can really be done politically by the people short of global chaos, death, and destruction before their control infrastructure is complete and it's too late. The window of time remaining for people to affect relatively peaceful change is closing as we speak.

Or do nothing. You, me, and everybody else will be living out that line from "Us and Them" by Pink Floyd; "'Listen Son,' said the man with the gun, 'there's room for you inside'."

Strat

Re:Unfair comparison (5, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#41629163)

Always the way.

The last big one I remember was ID cards, which was also very skewed, but at the last minute the government decided that any results collected from the internet were unrepresentative and to be ignored.

It's almost as if your opinion doesn't count if collected electronically, because it's too easy or something. Never mind that it brings down the barriers and allows people to participate just that little bit more in democracy, no citizen, you didn't try hard enough so even though we heard you we feel safe ignoring you.

And they are safe, frankly. We never vote the bastards out because of this stuff.

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629315)

Electronic whining is too easy, that's the trouble. Anyone can rustle up a few 100 people to target a civil servant on a subject these days, even providing boilerplate texts.

If you genuinely care about a subject, pick up the phone and make their staff sink in the deluge of calls. Follow up with a written letter too. These people get very few phone calls from the public, when they do, they and their office people know it and actually will talk and listen to you. Whether they change their minds or bother to fully read the bill in question is another matter, but at least in the UK, people aren't totally beholden to corporate paymasters, yet.

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 2 years ago | (#41629459)

Many of these online campaigns/polls etc are pretty meaningless. When you are after informed debate then having a barrier to entry can often facilitate it better than a free for all especially when so many of those 19,000 emails will be a template. The quantity of emails only tells you how many emails you have received, and with a bit of analysis how that compares to other issues of a similar type. It doesn't tell you how many valid concerns were raised, how many opinions were repeated or how interested the country as a whole is (an issue that affects 10,000 geeks will generate more emails than one that affects 10,000 Octogenarians).

As you then point out yourself people obviously didn't care that much about ID cards because it didn't change their opinions and it didn't cost them their seats. I wish people did, and I wish there was more genuine engagement by the public but that doesn't mean dumbing down engagement to email counts. You might as well base decisions on Facebook likes.

Re:Unfair comparison (3, Informative)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#41629591)

We use First Past the Post in the UK, chances are your opinion doesn't matter to your local MP anyway because they more often than not get elected with less than a third of their constituents supporting them.

AV would've fixed this to some degree because it would've forced MPs to be at least somewhat palatable to over half their constituency, but it still wouldn't have been led to truly representative governments. Unfortunately the Tories and Murdoch saw that any hope of them having to at least somewhat listen to most of their constituents was thrown out the window whilst hypocritically and hence nonsensically arguing against an actual proportional representation system with the excuse that they wanted an electoral system where the electorate had representatives, which is great, except most of us don't, because our MPs don't actually represent our views in the slightest. As such, the Tory argument was actually irrelevant to the vast majority of the population as a change from a system where you have a representative that doesn't give a fuck what you think, to a system where you don't have a representative at all, is absolutely no change at all.

But here's the real irony, the referendum WAS proportional, and most of the UK's population was too dumb to see that if they wanted MPs that at least somewhat listened to them, that was their opportunity. Instead, over 2/3rds of the population decide they didn't want that, and hence gave their implicit blessing to the status quo - of having MPs that don't give a shit what the vast majority of the country thinks.

So honestly, you can't even blame MPs, the electorate had their chance and threw it away, it's the electorates fault entirely for being so fucking dumb on average that MPs don't listen to them because the electorate voted to maintain a system where MPs don't have to listen to them.

So don't blame the MPs, like most people they're doing their job in a way that best suits them, and the electorate gave them the blessing they required to carry on doing that.

Re:Unfair comparison (3, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 2 years ago | (#41629173)

Having read the results of a previous unrelated consulation (on anti-money laundering powers), that unfortunately sounds way too accurate. In that case actually most of the responses were for additional state surveillance and law enforcement powers, largely because it didn't get noticed by any groups like 38 Degrees or ORG so most responders were, eg, regulators, people who run compliance training firms, law enforcement themselves, companies that already paid the huge cost of compliance and wanted competitors to have to pay it too and other organizations that were by and large a part of "the system".

In that case the consultation was triggered because a survey of "government activities that infringe civil liberties and individual freedom" highlighted the oppressive AML regime. Several years later, the results of the consultation concluded that the laws should be made even more intense! The government did get some dissenting submissions (such as mine). However the response was largely along the lines of, "we recognize the highlighted potential for abuse and you can rest assured we will be proportionate and reasonable in our application of these powers". Which is obviously stupid. The whole point for separation and limitation of government powers is you cannot assume reasonability over the long run! But despite that being pointed out they did not understand or care.

Consultation processes do seem like little more than an exercise in box ticking, especially when the consultations are often so obscure or (too often) simply canvassing opinions only from people who stand to directly benefit.

Re:Unfair comparison (5, Insightful)

tubs (143128) | about 2 years ago | (#41629535)

19,000 people? What difference is that going to make? The government of the day ignored at least 750,000 (+/- some) people who appeared in person to protest. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/2765041.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

jdfox (74524) | about 2 years ago | (#41629575)

Yes, we'll get that, as well as the tried-and-true "praising with faint damn" approach:
"Yes, perhaps it's not a perfect bill, but those who are rejecting it are arguing that we should do nothing."

No, it's not perfect, because it's a bag of shit. Throw it out.

Re:Unfair comparison (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41628679)

Ah, yes, the Waitress/Teacher/Street Cleaner Imbalance.

If you're doing a good job, people generally won't bother to tell you.
If you're doing a bad one, people will let you know.

That said, not receiving a SINGLE email for is sign of something - either you didn't do a proper consultation (and those people in favour didn't get the opportunity to reply) or people are vehemently against it. Either way, it means going back to the drawing board rather than pushing through with it.

That doesn't mean that's what will happen, though.

Re:Unfair comparison (4, Funny)

yotto (590067) | about 2 years ago | (#41629463)

You forgot option 3:

One guy emailed them 19,000 times.

Re:Unfair comparison (4, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41628689)

People always voice their concern when they're against something but rarely express their opinion if they're for it. This makes it unfair comparison. Just saying..

I don't think that's true. The article says that on assisted death, there were many replies on both sides.

Re:Unfair comparison (2)

Xenx (2211586) | about 2 years ago | (#41628729)

People always voice their concern when they're against something but rarely express their opinion if they're for it. This makes it unfair comparison. Just saying..

I don't think that's true. The article says that on assisted death, there were many replies on both sides.

There's a difference between this, and assisted death. With this bill there really isn't much of a reason to be outwardly in support of it. However, there are definite reasons to not support it. In the case of assisted death, there are strong reasons to take both sides. As such, people are more likely to voice an opinion.

Re:Unfair comparison (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628757)

Isn't that rather the point of the article that there is obviously not much of a reason to support this bill.

Re:Unfair comparison (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41628793)

With this bill there really isn't much of a reason to be outwardly in support of it.

That alone is reason enough to chuck it out!

Re:Unfair comparison (5, Interesting)

Adelea (1181917) | about 2 years ago | (#41628693)

In the report, they compared this bill with another one, which had appx 50/50 support - so that illustrated that people DO write in on both sides of the fence.

Re:Unfair comparison (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628923)

I see you left out exactly which bill that was, probably embaressed because even you realise it is a ridiculous comparision. ASSISTED DEATH. of course they got huge opinions both for and against something like that. A bill like this you either are very much against it or it is just another piece or boring paperwork being pushed around a political office.

Re:Unfair comparison (4, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | about 2 years ago | (#41629013)

Basically all this states is that you have those that are willing to write in against it, and those who are ignorant of it.

Sorry but at a rate of 19K to 0 the statistical significance is there to derive overwhelming disapproval from the result. Do you honestly believe if the populace was MORE aware of the details of the bill that suddenly there'd be an outpouring of support?

Re:Unfair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629237)

of course not, there would generally be an outpouring of indifference combined with a section of the community that is strongly opposed, not sure how big that portion would be, hopefully large. Indifference is the human state for many things in the world, anything that people don't see as having any significant impact on them.

Re:Unfair comparison (3, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | about 2 years ago | (#41629289)

So given a situation where of those informed and interested in the bill there is a significant amount of opposition, and of the remainder of the population people either don't know or don't care enough to support the bill, does this imply to you that this legislation is representative of the will of the people?

If this was a case of 19K for and even 1 against I might be able to buy the argument of sampling bias. When not one single person supports it in the consultation it is not only reasonable to infer that the legislation is not desired, but damn near certain.

Re:Unfair comparison (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628697)

Interesting that the first post is a newly created account posting in this and only this story.

Just saying..

If it is a new account (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628847)

If it is a new account, then the first post they make on that new account WILL ALWAYS be on "only this story" where "this story" is the first one they post to.

Re:If it is a new account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628873)

Missing the point pedant #69

No, that WAS the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629181)

The OP adding in "posting in this and only this story" is redundant with the statement that this "is a newly created account". It's rather like saying "this round ball has a curved surface. Just saying."

Re:No, that WAS the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629263)

Are you saying that upon creating an account the poster is only able to post to one story? A newly created account could have posted replies to any number of threads involving todays stories by now.

would you no longer call it a newly created account, since a couple hours have passed?

Your analogy is entirely flawed and the point you are trying to make is disingenuous.

No, I'm not saying that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629495)

I'm saying that the first post posted by an account CAN ONLY BE ON ONE topic.

Unless you have a quantum slashdot, your first post from an account can be only one first post on one topic. Posts don't bifurcate and end up on several threads. They are unitary. Singular. One.

Re:If it is a new account (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628911)

In case you're new here, First post refers to the first post in this story not the first post by the account. The point the parent is making is that this newly created account seemed to have been created solely to reply to this story, and only this story seeing as they didn't then comment elsewhere, even now.

In the case of manipulation of opinion this is a quintessential sign of an interested party trying to set the tone before people read on, especially given how infrequently people actually read the articles here.

Hope this helps.

Re:If it is a new account (2)

Imrik (148191) | about 2 years ago | (#41629457)

Another scenario is someone who finally saw something they cared enough about to make an account to post on it. In this case, they would be unlikely to go around posting in other stories right away.

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628727)

And hello to you too, Mr. COINTELPRO, Team 2, UK edition.

Re:Unfair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628809)

Not really. If this bill really adds value, then those people who agree on that will obviously voice their concern of not getting value-add.

Why pass a bill that nobody who are not bought up won't support?

Re:Unfair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628857)

While I agree, I feel the need to point out that "Why pass a bill that nobody who are not bought up won't support?" is a phrase to make a linguist scream until his head explodes.

Re:Unfair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628839)

19,000 / 0 = infinity

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629059)

19,000 / 0 = undefined

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629151)

depends on your definition. The whole point of calculus is basically finding inventive ways to divide by zero.

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#41628937)

'ER' that is a lie ;D. People also very often express refinements and improvements to things when they are in favour of them. We like it, however can you change this and possibly add that. Just saying ;).

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

mSparks43 (757109) | about 2 years ago | (#41629067)

People always voice their concern when they're against something but rarely express their opinion if they're for it

An argument which is completely destroyed when you RTFA and they compare it with a recent euthenasia bill which received a majority response in favour.

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

Gort65 (1464371) | about 2 years ago | (#41629085)

Yeah, but zero votes for? I mean, not one in favour? Sure, if only 10% were in favour, then that'd be a valid argument, but zero for and 19,000 against? Its extreme one-sidedness is answer enough.

Re:Unfair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629285)

Um, no. You can be concerned that a bill won't pass. By your thesis, in that case, you would be likely to be then write in about it. Not even the corporate jerks behind the bill decided to do so.

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41629449)

...but there isn't some corporate or security fearmonger asshole somewhere (who might be, in the current mindset, worth thousands of "normal" people) that said "OMG TERRISTS?!?"

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | about 2 years ago | (#41629515)

People always voice their concern when they're against something but rarely express their opinion if they're for it. This makes it unfair comparison. Just saying..

And of course here's the way they'll look at it - 'only 19000 against in the entire population! Surely it must be liked by most then.'

Re:Unfair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629551)

Except that they cite another case where the supporters did express their opinion.

Also, even if the probability that someone who is against it does send a mail were a thousand times larger than the probability of someone for it to mail (which I'm sure is a rather exaggerated number), if the opinions were evenly distributed, there should have been about 19 of the 19000 mails saying they are for it. But there was not a single one.

I wrote to my MP (4, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41628671)

I wrote to my MP, via a link the Open Rights Group (which I'm a member of) sent. I was pleased with the reply -- my MP agreed with me, gave some additional points that I'd not made, and asked me to forward any reply I received to him.

(At least, I think I did. There have been a few similar bills, and I've not necessarily kept up with which one is which.)

Re:I wrote to my MP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628985)

Who is your MP (if you don't mind)? Would be good to know who this fine chap is.

Re:I wrote to my MP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629243)

Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith.

silly conclusion (0)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#41628673)

While I am sure it is universally hated, taking the fact there was 19,000 against and 0 for as proof of that is just idiotic. People generally only respond to these requests for public comment when it is something they are against. The conclusion based on this is as dumb as the bill itself

Re:silly conclusion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628733)

As several people have pointed out, the article itself makes the point that in the case of the assisted death public consultation the public feedback was relatively half for and half against.

having not one single voice for it in a public consultation is significant.

Re:silly conclusion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628861)

Assisted death is something people have very strong opinions on in both directions. A communications bill is something you are violently opposed to or simply don't give a shit.

Re:silly conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629159)

So basically what you're saying is that either people didn't care or they were against it. ... Isn't that EXACTLY what we can read from a 19k against and 0 for result?

Re:silly conclusion (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#41629171)

Which goes to show that it has zero support, surely?

Re:silly conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628771)

Hello there, Mr. COINTELPRO, UK edition.

Re:silly conclusion (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 2 years ago | (#41629153)

sampling bias would be an explanation is it was say 15K against and 4K in favor.

that explanation gets a bit insane when it's 19000 to 0

Yeah, but will the government care? (5, Insightful)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 2 years ago | (#41628703)

When faced by overwhelming public rejection of a Bill has there ever been a modern government that has thrown one out because of that? Clearly they will just change the name and sneak it in with something else. Because what do the public know?

Government politics is now so completely flawed that it needs to be replaced. I'm with Billy Connolly when he said that "the desire to be an MP [modify as appropriate for your jurisdiction] should automatically prevent you from becoming one."

Re:Yeah, but will the government care? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628855)

I'm with Billy Connolly when he said that "the desire to be an MP [modify as appropriate for your jurisdiction] should automatically prevent you from becoming one."

Isn't that more or less a rehash of Douglas Adams? "It is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. Anyone who is capable of getting themselves into a position of power should on no account be allowed to do the job."

Re:Yeah, but will the government care? (2)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41628909)

If I want to be sinister, I could try as hard as I could, but I would never possibly beat the government. This isn't even its final form.

Re:Yeah, but will the government care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628961)

Have you not seen this happen before? Unpopular bills have been thrown out or heavily modified after public criticism in recent UK history.

For a flat out rejection, try the antiterrorism bill that would have lead to imprisonment without charge for a longer period. Gone. Not brought back.

For a heavy modification, see the current government's welfare reform. The original plans called for means testing on income support for the long term ill and disabled. The welfare reforms continue, but that particular bit of it died long ago.

Re:Yeah, but will the government care? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 2 years ago | (#41629049)

I don't recall a public consultation on the welfare reform. The bits that changed were all because of members of the House of Lords displaying some conscience, nothing to do with public opinion. And even after the modifications the government had to pull a hard whip on the vote to ensure it passed because they'd reached the point of wanting it through despite what anyone thought.

I can't comment on the anti-terrorism bill. I seem to have completely missed that one but I'm not convinced that it was rejected because of public criticism; there would have been another reason.

Re:Yeah, but will the government care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629325)

Election Day 2084 - Arthur C Clarke anybody?

Not only that. It must be made illegal, to even... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628713)

...suggest such a thing. Just like it's illegal to organize and conspire to murder or terrorize people. Oh wait. That means it already is.

cK0m (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628717)

I type this. and Michael Smith population as well be forgotten in a clearly become and building is 'I hAve to kill needs OS. Now BSDI

"GLYN"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41628749)

What a sylly name. How is that even pronounced?

Re:"GLYN"? (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41628779)

What a sylly name. How is that even pronounced?

It's Welsh. An Anglicised form would probably be "Glin", rhyming with "tin".

Re:"GLYN"? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 2 years ago | (#41628895)

What a sylly name. How is that even pronounced?

It's Welsh. An Anglicised form would probably be "Glin", rhyming with "tin".

And if anyone wants to try actually saying it with the broad "l" that features in Celtic languages, aim for "Glin" but when sounding the "l" don't touch the back of your front top teeth with the tip of your tongue but instead curl the tongue over your front top teeth and just touch the front of them with the tongue tip. It makes the "l" sound subtly different.

And if you can master that then seek out other Celtic words containing "l" and impress yourself with how better they sound with a broad "l".

Latha math (Good day)

Re:"GLYN"? (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 2 years ago | (#41629479)

Then it would be spelled 'Gllyn'.
Machynlleth has been in the news a lot lately. The range of pronunciations by various newsreader is ... interesting.

While we're at it: 'Grinnitch' not 'Grennitch', 'Shroozbry' not 'Shrowzbry' etc., etc..

Re:"GLYN"? (3, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | about 2 years ago | (#41628979)

Being the proud posessor of a Welsh name - come on, it's not that hard!

You must have heard of Bob Dylan (who took his name from Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet). The y in Glyn is exactly as the y in Dylan. (Although many people from the US seem to think that Dylan is actually pronounced Dialin', which is what you do on a telephone - despite Bob Dylan's fame).

I know a motorcycle sidecar racer called Glyn Jones who crashes often (and puts his passengers in hospital so frequently) his nickname is the Glyn Reaper. Think how you pronounce 'grim', it rhymes with Glyn, hence the joke.

They'll pass it anyway (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41628807)

Government doesn't pass or reject bills based on what its subjects want. Government passes or rejects bills based on what it wants.

Re:They'll pass it anyway (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41628967)

Government doesn't pass or reject bills based on what its subjects want. Government passes or rejects bills based on what it wants.

Which can involve brown envelopes full of cash [wikipedia.org]

Does anybody really think it matters? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 years ago | (#41628823)

I mean not to sound negative, but does anybody think that e-mails or petitions really matter in a sense that because you think you have a voice, that your opinion will matter to politicians? It's different in the UK I guess to a larger extent because you have more redress to vote the bums out of office if they aren't doing their job. In the US, we get petitions like the this and then the government choose to ignore it. [thinkprogress.org] I'm not being naive here and yes, social media is playing a bigger part in the attention span of everybody, but do we think we can change the world with twitter? Do we think that the politicians that represent us will really sit up and take notice?

As Stalin said "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."

Re:Does anybody really think it matters? (5, Informative)

Altanar (56809) | about 2 years ago | (#41628843)

Emails to your representative can work [arstechnica.com] .

"When SOPA-PIPA blew up, it was a transformative event," said Dodd. "There were eight million e-mails [to elected representatives] in two days." That caused senators to run away from the legislation. "People were dropping their names as co-sponsors within minutes, not hours," he said.

Re:Does anybody really think it matters? (1)

mSparks43 (757109) | about 2 years ago | (#41629277)

Actually, it does matter to politicians.
It's just that the politicians voice doesn't matter to HRH.
http://britishrepublicanblog.org/2012/09/26/secret-royal-veto-powers/ [britishrep...anblog.org]

The news that the Government is to seek to overturn the ruling that it must publish at least some of the criteria under which both the Queen and Charles are allowed to veto â" or, presumably, force the Government to amend â" much forthcoming Government legislation is utterly disgusting, but hardly surprising. It seems that both the monarchy and at least the last two governments are united in their insistence that we, the people of Britain, must be kept in the dark as to exactly how we are governed. To them, we do not even have the right to know how we are being governed! Not content with having kept secret the fact that both the reigning monarch and the next in line have a veto over virtually all proposed legislation, now we are told that we cannot even know the rules that determine which bills are subject to this anti-democratic veto.
This is the very antithesis of democracy, and seems destined â" designed, even â" to turn us back into serfs and slaves, unworthy of even knowing how we are being ruled, and hence utterly incapable of doing anything about it. As John Kirkhope, the person who requested this information said: âoeAll I have asked is to see the rules by which it is determined laws are made⦠Why do parliamentarians tolerate a situation in which they introduce a bill and someone may come up to them and say you need the consent of the Duke of Cornwall? If they ask why, theyâ(TM)ll be told that the Cabinet Office guidance is secret and they are not allowed to see it.â
It is difficult to imagine a more disgustingly anti-democratic idea in any so-called democracy. If ever there could be a clearer exposition of the need for a proper written constitution, I do not know of it, and cannot even imagine it.

Re:Does anybody really think it matters? (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41629361)

What a bunch of whining.

"need of a proper written constitution"

Let me point out the US Constitution, where the reasons for veto aren't spelled out either, and that the President can veto anything he likes, even if it's submitted on a type of paper he dislikes or his mood or anything trivial. While those reasons aren't used, there is no requirement that the President have a valid reason to veto.

Spelling out "valid" reasons required for veto is to claim to predict the future and all contingencies, which is impossible.

If the real problem is that the Royal Family is unelected, then make the head of state an elected executive subject to term limits or not and fix the problem the right way.

--
BMO

Quit changing UK spelling to US (5, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | about 2 years ago | (#41628893)

When you are directly quoting someone's writing it is usually considered a professional courtesy not to change the spelling to suit your own preferences.

He did not say "not a single one was in favor of it", he said "not a single one was in favour of it.

Re:Quit changing UK spelling to US (3, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | about 2 years ago | (#41629023)

Yeah, it does color my opinion of Slashdot a little.

Re:Quit changing UK spelling to US (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629107)

If I'm quoting someone who is speaking in Japanese to an English audience, then I will translate the words into English first. I suppose you'd think that's bad form?

Re:Quit changing UK spelling to US (2)

gsslay (807818) | about 2 years ago | (#41629135)

Not the same thing. In your Japanese case it is not a direct quote and it would be obvious you have done this.

The change here gives the misleading impression that it is an American's opinion of UK legislation, which subtly changes the context of everything.

Re:Quit changing UK spelling to US (0)

exploder (196936) | about 2 years ago | (#41629137)

When you are directly quoting someone's writing it is usually considered a professional courtesy not to change the spelling to suit your own preferences.

He did not say "not a single one was in favor of it", he said "not a single one was in favour of it.

Was he dictating letter-by-letter? One doesn't change spellings when quoting written material, but accepted practice when transcribing spoken material is to use the spelling appropriate to the audience, not the speaker.

Re:Quit changing UK spelling to US (2)

gsslay (807818) | about 2 years ago | (#41629157)

My mistake, I should not assume that people have RTFA.

I should have written;

He did not write "not a single one was in favor of it", he wrote "not a single one was in favour of it."

Well yeah (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#41628917)

I'm guessing that the only people who would support it are unable to open an email client.

100% of babies against vaccination (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 2 years ago | (#41628953)

In a wide-reaching formal study, it was discovered that fully 100% (9,345,124 out of 9,345,124) babies cried when receiving vaccination shots. Not one spoke up to express positive support for them, despite being told of their long term efficacy at promoting individual and societal health. Therefore, infant vaccinations are bad policy and should be banned, according to the Jenny McCarthy and Slashdot Submitter school of public policy reasoning.

I'm not saying it's a good bill. I am saying that These emails mean dick and squat other than "special interests, even potentially legitimate ones, are good at making their voices heard."

Re:100% of babies against vaccination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629099)

In a wide-reaching formal study, it was discovered that fully 100% (9,345,124 out of 9,345,124) babies cried when receiving vaccination shots. Not one spoke up to express positive support for them, despite being told of their long term efficacy at promoting individual and societal health. Therefore, infant vaccinations are bad policy and should be banned, according to the Jenny McCarthy and Slashdot Submitter school of public policy reasoning.

I'm not saying it's a good bill. I am saying that These emails mean dick and squat other than "special interests, even potentially legitimate ones, are good at making their voices heard."

They mean "dick and squat" huh?

I guess you forgot about the value of even having that option to speak out. I'd sure as hell rather live under a democracy that allows such emails than under a dictatorship that would punish you for it.

Re:100% of babies against vaccination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629101)

"100% (9,345,124 out of 9,345,124) babies cried when receiving vaccination shots."

That analogy only works if there is a vast gap in interlect and perspective between the actors.

(It's worth pointing out that just because an owner takes a dog to the vets to be neutered, it doesn't mean that politicians can remove the testicles of the electorate).

Stuart

Except that isn't them against vaccination. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629227)

That's them registering pain when they have a needle stuck in their arm.

How many babies were in favour of dying from measels, mumps or rubella?

Consultation, ha ha ha! (4, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | about 2 years ago | (#41628959)

Clearly, the submitter doesn't understand the purpose of a consulation in the UK if he thinks this will get the bill thrown out.

The purpose of a public consultation is so that Westminster can tick a box saying "we had a public consultation". If the consultation is favourable, they additionally may say that a bill has public support. If a consultation is negative, the consultation is simply ignored. I've responded to a couple of these consultations and I shan't bother again because they were simply ignored despite volumes of correspondence voicing (often constructive) opposition.

Perhaps a consultation won't be ignored if the majority of the comments are from marginal constituencies, but 19,000 voters can safely be totally ignored if not.

Just do what Obama did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629007)

Use a procedural gimmick to get it across and tell everyone on BBC1 that, "They have to pass it first to understand why they needed it later. And, you're just not listening to him. This will save the economy. But you can't actually measure the success, so if it doesn't look like it's succeeding, just wait 3 years and manipulate numbers to make it appear something somewhere is working!"

Unfortunately (3, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | about 2 years ago | (#41629019)

As I already commented, consultations generally are to tick a box "we had a consultation" (not to pay any actual attention to the responses), furthermore the document from "JOINT COMMITTEE ON DRAFT COMMUNICATIONS DATA BILL" is already titled "WRITTEN EVIDENCE: SUMMARY OF CHAIN EMAILS" (sorry about caps, copy and pasting from the PDF). They note more than once that most of the emails are pro-forma and go onto mention it's from a political pressure group website. This means furthermore that the responses will be ignored.

If you're ever responding to a European Union consultaiton, they say right up front that pro-forma responses will be ignored (at least they are honest) - so if you ever want the slightest chance that your response to an EU consultation then you have to write your concerns in your own words. I suspect Westminster is the same, they just don't come right out and say it.

Therefore I'm even more pessimistic that anyone is going to pay the slightest bit of attention to this consultation - it will be full steam ahead for this awful bill.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41629167)

I wrote to my then MP three years ago regarding some legislation regarding copyright and fair use. She said many things about IP being an important part of our economy, protection or rights being important, but ultimately this new law wouldn't help and her party (Lib Dem) and therefore herself would be voting against it.

She didn't even turn up to the vote. Don't think personally written correspondence is treated any better.

Re:Unfortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629203)

She didn't even turn up to the vote.

...But at least she didn't vote for it.

Sorry, I'm an American, and am used to trying to find any good I can when presented with two diabolical evils.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 2 years ago | (#41629327)

She didn't even turn up to the vote.

This is the thing that probably annoys me most about our MPs. Their attendance is beyond shockingly lax and wouldn't be tolerated in the corporate world.

The only vote that they will definitely turn up for is one that their party is forcing a strong whip on. And even then they turn up only to vote according to the party line even if it would be against the wishes of the people that actually voted them to office.

Ok, people have occasionally defied a whip but it's very rare.

MP Not Voting does not always mean what you think. (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about 2 years ago | (#41629379)

She may have found someone from the other side and agree to be 'paired' with them. Then neither of them vote on the bill.

Re:Unfortunately (2)

thuf1rhawat (2647299) | about 2 years ago | (#41629477)

They have a process ( perhaps not quiet that formal) in teh uk whereby unless the parties insist on it someone opossing a vote pairs up with someone voting for it and that way they can both go and do more impotrant things like f**king mistresses or going to important meetings to be bribed than actually turn up and vote.

Draft Communications Bill passes next week! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629303)

Clearly if no one is in favor of the bill then it needs to pass! (Government thinking)

nothing changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629401)

i got his email just now:
The All-Party IP Group would like to invite you to the launch of their latest report, to be held at 4.30pm on Monday 29th October in Room W1 at the Houses of Parliament.
  Hosted by John Whittingdale MP, Chair of the All Party IP Group, the launch will be an opportunity to discuss The Role of Government in Promoting and Protecting Intellectual Property, which examines the effectiveness of current Government structures and policies in delivering an environment where individuals and businesses are able to generate economic returns for their creations, innovations and investment. It will also provide an opportunity to discuss what measures the Government needs to put in place in order to maximise growth and innovation in the creative, design and branded goods sectors.

Poetic justice perhaps? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41629413)

Perhaps the ones in favour were intercepted and censored in the spirit of the bill. ;-)

Data Retention Direction should be annulled (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41629421)

The root of this surveillance shit comes from Tony Blair. In 2005 he used the UK presidency of the EU to push through the Data Retention Directive. This was the directive that established the "everyone might be a terrorist, so we should watch everyone just in case they do something in the future that justifies the surveillance we're doing now".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Retention_Directive

The thinking is circular there, they justify watching YOU by quoting how it was used successfully against SOME OTHER BLOKE, as if you are them. Or more truthfully, the assumption that YOU WILL BECOME THEM, and thus your privacy right can be eliminated now to catch you later.

Jacqui Smith MP for Vulnerable People, then expanded that into a mass surveillance directive with databases recording everything you do, indexed ready for searching.... "TO PROTECT THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE [from you]". It became too much of a vote loser and was killed, she lost her seat and is currently trying to worm her way into the BBC Board [God NO!]

Along comes Theresa May and the Conservatives with the voters wanting an end to this shit. They start out well, trying to reform the Criminal Background Check system (under which Police can make secret unchallengeable malicious claims against anyone to prevent their employment, and it is a crime to tell anyone).

Not surprisingly the police don't like this, and start campaigning against the Torys with "pedos will kill your children" stories.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/11/02/2011/116266/nick-clegg-defends-changes-to-crb-checks.htm
"Government plans to scale back criminal record checks could let "thousands" of dangerous individuals [you, it's your CRB check] come into contact with children [think of the children] and vulnerable adults [think of the child like adults! We want to use these powers even when no children are involved!], an expert [police PR man] has warned. "

Not good, and when it comes to killing the surveillance bill, the Tories bottle and Theresa May tries to give the police some of what they want to appease them. She's also aware that Clean IT has been mostly agreed, under which she will be required to filter and force ISPs to monitor the internet... to protect from terrorists and people who might disseminate terrorist info [i.e. to protect you from you because your so weak and easily influenced and they are so wise].

http://www.edri.org/cleanIT
"This document is not for publication, the recipient may share this document only on a need-to-know basis". [f*ck you But Klaasen, how can you have a discussion document that is secret? It's outside the democratic legal basis! Your document makes it clear than many of the things that would be illegal under the privacy directive have been agreed and things like changing the privacy directive to fit, are items to be discussed in secret.]

Of course the ever present US copyright lobby wants this too.
http://falkvinge.net/2011/09/05/cable-reveals-extent-of-lapdoggery-from-swedish-govt-on-copyright-monopoly/
"In short: every law proposal, every ordinance, and every governmental report hostile to the net, youth, and civil liberties here in Sweden in recent years have been commissioned by the US government and industry interests."

So at this point, you have a cowardly Tory govt, and an EU leadership that have no connection to ordinary people. A bunch of directives and national laws being pushed through by foreign powers, with the complicity of the national police forces and opposition MPs.

That's basically the sum of the situation. /rant

Surely there must be some in favor (1)

GoodnaGuy (1861652) | about 2 years ago | (#41629423)

This bill is pretty bad, but that doesnt stop me from thinking how unlikely it is that not one single person in 19000 replied in favor. These figures must be wrong.
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