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British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg 'Kills' Snoopers Charter

timothy posted about a year ago | from the just-glancing dept.

United Kingdom 47

judgecorp writes "The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has effectively 'killed' the Communications Data Bill which would have required service providers to share personal communications data with the police. Clegg has withdrawn the support of the Liberal Democrat Party (part of the Coalition in power in the UK) from the so-called 'Snooper's Charter.' The announcement is timed to block the measure from the Queen's Speech on 8 May, which introduces the next programme of planned legislation."

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Well, I never (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545149)

Lilly livered little Cleggy has actually some use. Colour me shocked.

Re:Well, I never (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545235)

Lilly livered little Cleggy has actually some use.

Don't count your chickens yet: Clegg has said he'll withdraw support. This is the guy who signed a pledge not to increase tuition fees and then almost as soon as the coalition had been formed backed them being roughly tripled.

Re:Well, I never (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545327)

Lilly livered little Cleggy has actually some use.

Don't count your chickens yet: Clegg has said he'll withdraw support. This is the guy who signed a pledge not to increase tuition fees and then almost as soon as the coalition had been formed backed them being roughly tripled.

"backed" is a bit strong and he didn't 'sign a pledge', it was in their Manifesto which may be splitting hairs, but let's not forget that was if his party got in sole power. They didn't. They had to compromise. He was naive, the coalition is not 50/50. It's more like 90/10 in favour of the other party (for those of non-UK and who care). What he didn't do was defy the rise after the fact (much).

Now that the election is only a couple of years away and the fixed term parliament (that was bought in) is pretty much likely to go the distance, Nick Clegg and the LibDems don't have anything (more) to lose and a lot to gain.

I think you will see more of this as we get nearer the election. I don't particularly have string feelings for Nick Clegg but by Christ, theirs was the only party to care about our deomcratci system enough to try to push much needed Lords Reform - scuppered by their coalition partners, also get rid of the ridiculous first-past-the-post voting system (yes AV was a silly compromise which in the end they didn't get either) again scuppered by their coaltion partners they give a damn about Freedoms of Joe Public and still push for Human Rights for instance, the Blue party would have those excised from statute as soon as look at you and the Red party would put us under evem more surveillance and government scrutiny on our every day lives.

Sorry but most of the adult population without kids (or kids past university age) simply don't give a shit about tuition fees.

If you look past the stupid media portrayals of the lib dems (who are not all Nick Clegg) you'll see they have a good record for the the little person.

Re:Well, I never (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545605)

"backed" is a bit strong and he didn't 'sign a pledge'

Actually, he did [guardian.co.uk] . If you look you can see it says "I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative", and you can just about see his scrawled signature below it. In his apology [guardian.co.uk] "It was stressed that Clegg was apologising for making the pledge...not to raise tuition fees, but not for the eventual decision by the coalition to lift the cap on fees to £9,000." So, he pledged not to, then at the very minimum didn't object to it happening and then apologises for the pledge itself but not the decision which contradicted the pledge.

As for the "LibDems are better than the others" comments, I'm not convinced by any of them. You've outlined the problems with the Conservatives and Labour pretty well, and summed up the LibDems with "they don't have anything (more) to lose".

At any rate, I wouldn't take his word on this issue until it actually comes to the crunch, because it's not the first time he has said X and then allowed Y to happen anyway.

Re:Well, I never (5, Informative)

RDW (41497) | about a year ago | (#43545663)

"backed" is a bit strong and he didn't 'sign a pledge', it was in their Manifesto which may be splitting hairs, but let's not forget that was if his party got in sole power.

I'm sure this is how lib dem supporters prefer to remember it, but he (and 500 other candidates from his party, including every elected MP) did indeed sign the pledge:

http://web.archive.org/web/20101215160749/http://www.nus.org.uk/Campaigns/Funding-Our-Future/Lib-Dem-MPs-sign-the-pledge/ [archive.org]

The wording was: "I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative", a personal promise which does not assume the lib dems would hold sole (or any) power.

Here's a photo of Nick holding up his signed copy of the pledge for the cameras, and some quotations from confidential documents in which senior party members were planning to betray this promise in the event of a hung parliament (which is, of course, exactly what they did):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/nov/12/lib-dems-tuition-fees-clegg [guardian.co.uk]

'Clear yellow water' indeed.

Re:Well, I never (2, Insightful)

RadioElectric (1060098) | about a year ago | (#43546045)

The new system is "a fairer alternative" to the previous system for people on low incomes however. The number of people from the lowest economic stratum applying to university has increased under the new system. One of the major issues it has introduced, claims that young people can "no longer afford to go to university", is an atrocious lie that will cause more harm than the system it is attempting to attack.

I have problems with how the change in funding arrangements will affect universities structurally (further marketisation) but to the students it is arguably a better deal. The only case I am aware of where it does cause problems is where students are taking a second undergraduate degree (which the state is not obliged to give them a cushy loan for).

Re:Well, I never (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546199)

The number of people from the lowest economic stratum applying to university has increased under the new system.

Except that the decades-long year-on-year rise in low-income applicants has slowed under the new system.

but to the students it is arguably a better deal

How the hell do you figure that? They are saddled with a yet-larger debt (a student on a 3-year course now will owe even more than I do from a 4-year course), with only a token "well, you don't have to pay it back unless you're earning above a slightly higher bar than the previous system" panacea.

Re:Well, I never (1)

RadioElectric (1060098) | about a year ago | (#43555161)

Here's a good impartial look from somebody who understands debt: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-loans-tuition-fees-changes [moneysavingexpert.com]

Point 8

"Many people worry that with the much higher levels of student debt, cash will be too tightly squeezed to live on once post-2012 starters graduate. Yet actually, today's university starters will have MORE cash in their pockets each month than those students who've just graduated. Graduates who started their course before Sept 2012, repay 9% of everything earned above £15,795. Those starting in 2012 and beyond see that increased to £21,000. That means those earning above the £21,000 threshold have £470-a-year more in their pockets than now."

Point 20

"The maximum possible loan combining tuition fees and maintenance is £16,675 a year; £50,000 over a three-year course. This is a frightening amount, and indeed many are frightened of it. Yet it's important to not just jump at this figure, but look at it in regards to how much of that you'll actually have to repay. In fact, when you examine this debt, it's far more like an additional tax than a loan for the following reasons:
It's repaid through the income tax system
You only repay it if you earn over a certain amount
The amount repaid increases with earnings
It does not go on credit files
Debt collectors will not chase for it
Bigger borrowing doesn't increase repayments
Many people will continue to repay for the majority of their working life"

Re:Well, I never (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43554447)

Citation? There were widespread reports of applications being down when the fees came in, especially at universities that charged the full amount.

Re:Well, I never (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43547229)

The pledge was written by the NUS. Not the Liberal Democrats.

I doubt they were too concerned with the wording for what was, in effect, a PR stunt that was most likely sprung on them.

They're manifesto is what they should be held to.

I'm not forgiving the hypocrisy of they're actions, but you must recognise that life in the UK would be a lot worse right now if not fopr their influence.

p.s. If you do choose to reply to this, please don't pressume you know how I vote.

No point responding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43548225)

The poster is posting as an AC because he doesn't want what he knows to be a complete and utter lie to be traceable to him. He just hopes that the few who do not read the numerous followup posts with clear evidence will be persuaded by his parties lies and vote for them.

The Libdems were always always the joke party. Now they have tasted some power it turns out they are just a morally and financially corrupt as the rest. How many had to resign so far? In the various elections since the big ones, they took a massive beating and it is save to assume they will be gone from power by the next election. After the next election, the UK will be as ungovernable as Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands were the voters are so fed up with all the parties that nobody can create a big enough power base to rule the country anymore.

Re:Well, I never (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43553749)

Agreed, he absolutely did sign the pledge.

The problem is he probably also didn't foresee that he might be in a coalition government.

The things that irk me about the tuition fee debate are:

1) At least 77% of people who bitch (seeing as everyone bitches about it and the Lib Dems only got 23% of popular vote) about the tuition fee cannot complain. The Lib Dem policy was that they would ditch tuition fees if they got power - if people wanted tuition fees ditched or at best to stay the same, they should've all voted lib dem. You cannot vote Tory/Labour/UKIP/Whoever who were clearly for an increase in fees and then bitch at the Lib Dems when they fail to stop an increase - most of the population voted for an increase at the end of the day, so the Lib Dems were outvoted by the general public on the issue. An increase in tuition fees is what about 77% of the UK's population asked for. That's how democracy works - you don't get to vote for parties that are against something you want, then bitch when that doesn't happen - you fucking voted for it. Hence, the only people with a right to bitch are people who actually voted Lib Dem.

2) The Tories wanted £12,000 tuition fees, the Lib Dems got them down to £9,000. A £3,000 drop is a roughly proportional drop in the Tory proposals relative to their share of coalition legitimacy towards their pledged goal. In other words, the Lib Dems got what they asked for relative to their democratic legitimacy. Again, blame the fucking voters who voted for increases in tuition fees.

Finally, where the Lib Dems really went wrong was in actually voting for the £9,000 increase. They did this because they naively believed that if they fulfilled their side of the bargain, that the Tories would fulfil theirs. This turned out to be naive and foolish given that they got fucked on the greater and more fundamentally important goals of electoral and Lords reform amongst other things.

The problem is for all their faults, I still do think they're the best option. Each time Ed Milliband gets on TV or in the papers he tells us he wants to restore the money for nothing state with money we don't have - just this morning he said he'd restore the highest tax band back up to 50% and use that money to give more handouts to people with kids or who don't work much. Here's a better idea - why not use that money to invest in something that will actually grow our economy in a worthwhile manner, or to shrink the deficit and hence debt? Labour has also made it clear they still desperately what ID card databases and other surveillance plans that were key in them getting kicked out last time.

Then you have the Tories, which are plagued by irrational debate on Europe based primarily on xenophobia and who are at the other end of the economic extreme and aren't willing to accept that maybe at least some of their cuts haven't been particularly well thought out, and hence refuse to backtrack or do something to fix the badly thought out ones. They're plagued by infighting between the younger more moderate Tories and the old fuckwads who hate gays, foreigners, and women with, for some reason, that vocal older minority being given too much of their own way.

Then there's the rise of the far right in suits - UKIP, I don't think much more needs to be said about them other than the fact they're racist, anti-gay bigots, whose economic plan is completely nonsensical - they actually think we could magically replace the lost of 1/3rd of our economic exports with trade elsewhere overnight if Europe opted to shun us post pull out, combined with removing the limit on working hours. Farage actually genuinely believes that by simply trading with other nations and getting the whole country to work 80 to 120 hour weeks we could write off Europe completely - he thinks productivity scales linearly with hours worked and thinks there would be no health or social problems that would arise from that.

So of the mainstream all that's left is the Lib Dems, who we at least know wont spend money we don't have like Labour, and don't want databses about every minute of our lives. Who have progressive views on things like the war on drugs and the war on terror. They may not be perfect, but as far as I can see they're the only party that will give us reasonable policy - the other three options are a waste of time, and the smaller parties aren't even an option on the ballot thanks to first past the post. Even if they were to backtrack on half their policies, they'd still be providing the other half of policies which is still better than everyone else.

Re:Well, I never (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about a year ago | (#43546751)

He was naive, the coalition is not 50/50. It's more like 90/10 in favour of the other party (for those of non-UK and who care).

Then why were the Tories so desperate for the coalition then? They were so desperate that they conceded the referendum for AV, which if it hadn't been so hopelessly managed might have changed the political landscape forever in the Lib Dem's favour.

The Tories had 306 seats, while Labour had 258 and the Lib Dems 57. If they'd not been so pig headed, they could have had a veto on every piece of legislation that has passed since 2010.

That means they could have stopped tuition fee hikes, spending cuts, welfare decimation, selling off of the NHS, the continued accumulation of the public sector by private companies and the rest of the Great Fire Sale to the corporate class that the Tories have been running since they got back into power. Just because they put the kaibosh on one thing doesn't make them principled.

Face it, they had the power to stop any of it, and they didn't. We might as well combine the main three parties and call them the Conservative Party.

Re:Well, I never (3, Insightful)

Rageaholic (728509) | about a year ago | (#43547037)

Yes, they could have used their influence to stop pretty much everything the Tories have done. And if they had the coalition would have fallen apart, and no one would have taken them seriously as a party they could have done business with in the future. They made some bad decisions, especially in the beginning but as the minority partner in the coalition I think they have actually done pretty well. Of course I'd rather have seen them let the Tories form a minority government then screw them at every turn. But they really wanted to get their electoral reform ideas through.

obscure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545157)

Littly Nicky Clegg... had a wooden leg.
He won it in the war
In 1944.

Re:obscure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545269)

Old Vince Cable...had a wooden table
He won it in the war
In 1844.

Re:obscure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546131)

As a non-Britard this is the only reason I opened this post.

Re:obscure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546807)

Mrs. Clegg, you must be proud of him
Mrs. Clegg, another drop of gin?

New law (4, Insightful)

Enigmafan (263737) | about a year ago | (#43545375)

And in a few months a new law will be proposed: 'The anti-terrorist and anti-child porn law for public protection', that requires ISP's to do exactly the same.

Re:New law (4, Informative)

hotseat (102621) | about a year ago | (#43545493)

It's worth bearing in mind that this is the second time that the Lib Dems have killed this particular bill. Also that their members are pretty virulently pro-privacy, and that the party currently has the balance-of-power in Parliament.

I'm sure something similar will be proposed again, but I'd be waiting until after the next election (2015) before it's likely to be passed.

Re:New law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545571)

And then we'll have the Great Firewall of Blighty...

Re:New law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546391)

And for that we can blame the unwashed masses for watching lowest common denominator crap like Britain's Got Talent.

Yep, a talent for watching shit.

Re:New law (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43547035)

I don't think you quite nailed that.

Paul Potts sings Nessun Dorma [youtube.com]

Wonderful, for more than one reason.

Re:New law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43547295)

Ah, a sheep replies, but no one cares. The silence is deafening.

Re:New law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43547325)

No, there is quite clearly cheering and applause at the end - for an opera singer. Aren't you listening?

Need another clue?

Re:New law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43548475)

I'm not talking about the YouTube video, smartass.

Re:New law (3, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#43546795)

And then we'll have the Great Firewall of Blighty...

Please. It will be the Great Fire Moat. And it will resemble a trough, in critical ways.

Re:New law (2)

digitig (1056110) | about a year ago | (#43546559)

I'm not sure the LibDems have the relevant balance of power. Both Labour and Conservative get wet dreams about strong State control of the population, and the LibDems don't have any power at all if Labour and Conservatives work together. The only hope is that Labour are more keen to cause embarrassment to the Conservatives than they are to get the bill they'd love.

The Police will stall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545745)

Agreed, all the will happen is the police will delay investigating any cyber-crime, until the trail goes cold, the data deleted, and claim the lack of a data retention law stops them investigating.

Recall Police Chief Peter Davies economy with the truth:
http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2012/evidence-for-the-cdb

If you have a police form hostile to the democratic process, it's difficult to stop them forcing laws through.

RIPA continues to be abused, when people demand details of JUST THE COUNT of a category of RIPA requests, the police have been refusing to provide them:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ripa_requests_3

"Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Could you please provide me with the following information under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000?

1) Can you please tell me for the year 2011, how many RIPA
applications were made by members of your Force in relation to Police Officers' use of Social Media or e-mail?

2) Can you please tell me for the year 2011 what were the relevant offenses or Discipline Regulations for these applications?

3) For the year 2011 what was the result of these applications? How many officers were either prosecuted or disciplined?

4) For the year 2011, how many such applications (as above) were refused and on what grounds?"

----
The RESULT:

DECISION

In accordance with the Act, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for
this particular request under Section 17(4). .....The Metropolitan Police Service can neither confirm nor deny that it holds
the information you requested as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue of the following
exemptions: ....Information Supplied by or concerning Security Bodies

--- So he files a complaint with the complaint body

The MET's complaint body agrees with the MET that the MET doesn't need to comply with the Freedom of Information Requests

So basically when asked how many times it had made requests relating to police under RIPA, it refused to answer saying its a Security Matter.

I'll tell Mr Wright his answer:
1) None, the police don't use RIPA against the Police, only the unsuspecting public
2) None, the police don't prosecute themselves
3) None,
4) None, because none were made.

They have only made a tiny number of prosecutions resulting from RIPA requests. Meaning that most are issued on innocent people who are never told.
There's no mechanism for matching up the RIPA requests made with the list handed to the watchdog, it's a self reported list. They only tell the watchdog what they want him to know.
There is no investigation into any of the RIPA requests, the watchdog simply asks the police if the RIPA request was needed, the officers say yes and he ticks it off.

And of course they're not going to hand out any info which might be contradicted at any point, because the more they keep secret the less about the abuse of privacy is known.

The police want everything they do, done in private and everything you do, on camera, on record, on computer.

Re:New law (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#43545761)

Very true re "And in a few months a new law will be proposed"
The UK has been dreaming of presenting what the GCHQ has been able to collect in a court setting since the ned of the Cold War.
From phone tracking, voice prints, data, encryption - a vision of super computers sorting or cracking seems to have a hold on generations UK politicians.
Every decade they are told not to expose the total understanding all aspects of any digital lifestyle of interest to the UK.
This law seems to be an end run around the top down GCHQ block - suburban, court friendly, average people presenting information on anyone of interest that was easy to 'find'.
None of that NTAC GTAC oversight mess.
No EU intercepts, satellites, decryption, sealed court transcripts with security cleared staff, no GCHQ staff under their 'cover' job questioned in court - just another day in court with your web history on display.
History that was exposed after 'you' did something of note.

Snooping as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545695)

Snooping as usual, I see.

Re:Snooping as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545817)

holy fuck... a Pingas joke on slashdot...

NTom is that you?

This is a rhetorical question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545759)

If government are elected to pursue the will of the people, why, then, do government engage in actions that clearly are not the will of the people? I doubt many Britons desire to be snooped upon by government, either through their mobiles or home computers, yet here it is... There will come a day when we will look back on this and laugh, albeit not likely whilst I'm alive, I'm afraid.

Re:This is a rhetorical question... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#43545943)

The UK become addicted to this from the early day - the Soviet Embassy was sloppy in 1930's with codes - wonderful in clear text.
Enigma and Lorentz gave the UK amazing near realtime insights into ww2.
For a short time the Soviets had so much data in the very early 1950's they where sloppy again.
Then you had every call into and out of the UK during the cold war.
Later voice prints, the internet, cell towers... it all becomes part of life for every sitting gov.

Re:This is a rhetorical question... (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43546811)

If government are elected to pursue the will of the people, why, then, do government engage in actions that clearly are not the will of the people?

'Cause a British government is typically elected by about 20% of the people, and election winners are typically determined by the votes of less than a million people in the Midlands where no party has a clear majority.

In this case, the British people voted 'none of the above' and refused to give any party a majority, but they got a government anyway.

Re:This is a rhetorical question... (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43553795)

I normally tend to agree because I think FPTP is an abomination.

But this time round I think it's the most legitimate government we've had in years. It's a government that between the two parties involved actually got a majority of the popular vote. The policies that have stemmed from it are are roughly proportional split based somewhat on those proportions - for example, the Tories wanted £12,000 tuition fees, the Lib Dems wanted the status quo, The end result was £9,000.

This is a government that only really the people can take responsibility for. Most people didn't vote Lib Dem so don't have the right to complain that they didn't block tuition fee increases for because that's what most the population voted for (i.e. the 77% that didn't vote Lib Dem).

We really did get pretty much what we voted for this time.

going lib dem this time (1)

sudstah (2631313) | about a year ago | (#43545769)

The lib dems are getting my vote next election a long with many other young peoples votes, Cameron has made sure of that! they are about the only party that hasn't recently had a chance of changing the country for the greater good without making it 50 times worse, if lib dem's do take power stay pro privacy and pull us straight out of the EU!

Re:going lib dem this time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546009)

Have you been asleep for the last few years?

Re:going lib dem this time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546357)

Indeed, young people are voting UKIP in unprecedented numbers now more than ever, no one trusts the three main parties anymore.
 

Re:going lib dem this time (1)

Anonymice (1400397) | about a year ago | (#43546339)

The Lib Dems are strongly pro EU...

Re:going lib dem this time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546495)

Entering the EU would be the death knell for Britain. One has to only look at the shared misery across the channel to understand why. There are precious few EU members actually doing "well". I still, however, would love to have a permanent holiday on Ibiza or Mallorca.

Re:going lib dem this time (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43546813)

Britain is already in the EU. It's not part of the common currency, and given its debts would almost certainly not qualify for common currency membership.

Re:going lib dem this time (2)

bjorniac (836863) | about a year ago | (#43546859)

We're in the EU, we're not dead. Are you confused, perhaps about the Euro?

Re:going lib dem this time (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#43548657)

I believe it's been in the EU since its inception in 1993 (Maastricht). And the EC/EEC before that. Other than that, good point. And you can have your permanent holiday in Mallorca since the Schengen agreement came into force in 1995. I guess you can worry about something else now.

Lib dems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546681)

They signed the last one, don't be fooled by this

Awww, rats! (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year ago | (#43548107)

He killed it, but now we can't investigate because we have no access to the critical data! Rats! RATS!

Law will be passed (1)

Fjinnes (2907973) | about a year ago | (#43553919)

This law will eventually be passed in one form or another. It will be interesting to see how they are going to monitor my communications through my VPN to Venezuela. :-)
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