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Where is the British EFF? Just Around the Corner!

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the like-the-bobbies dept.

Announcements 205

Drachan writes "A seminar at the UK's (BBC sponsored) technology conference 'Open Tech 2005' (organised by the fantastic 'Need To Know' (NTK) team as a follow on to last year's "Notcon 2004"event) posed the question 'Where is the British EFF?' The answer, as prompted by those attending the seminar was, of course 'Nowhere! so... uhh.. well... why don't We create it?' A PledgeBank page was set up within a few hours (available here) which states that the pledging person will donate £5 (GBP) per month to the support of a British EFF-style organisation provided that 1000 others also agree to do so. There is considerably more information at Danny O'Brien's Oblomovoka. Maybe this is a step in the right direction, after all the controversy over ID cards, the Anti-Terrorism Bill and general UK political disaster?"

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Fighting for Bloggers' Rights (-1, Troll)

hongree (902595) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163293)

These guys are taking blogging way too seriously! [eff.org] These guys definately don't [overheardintheuk.com] .

Re:Fighting for Bloggers' Rights (3, Funny)

murky_lurker (780235) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163312)

Some of this info is fascinating :)
From the EFF Bloggers' FAQ on Online Defamation Law:

Not-libelous:
* Calling a political foe a "thief" and "liar" in chance encounter (because hyperbole in context)
* Calling a TV show participant a "local loser," "chicken butt" and "big skank"
* Calling someone a "bitch" or a "son of a bitch"
* Changing product code name from "Carl Sagan" to "Butt Head Astronomer"

Re:Fighting for Bloggers' Rights (1)

achew22 (783804) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163343)

I think thats it an important right of mine to be able to call someone a "chicken butt" in my blog! I'll have you know I'm a strong supporter of the EFF, but even the best organizations take it a little too far sometimes.

Re:Fighting for Bloggers' Rights (1)

Mechcozmo (871146) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163581)

Lawyers Are Wimps!

What's better? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163300)

(a) A British EFF

or

(b) Sex with a mare?

Re:What's better? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163320)

From personal experience - (b). :)

Political disaster? (1, Troll)

sosume (680416) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163309)

..and general UK political disaster?

Why do people think that Slashdot is biased? I was under the impression that the UK has had a quite stable government for the last decades.

Re:Political disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163329)

They do, but never put it past a Liberal to slip in a "omg, Dubya's poodle got re-elected!!" comment.

Re:Political disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163341)

The Tories are on record as saying that they would be just as gung-ho, so I don't think Iraq was that much of an electoral issue.

Re:Political disaster? (2, Interesting)

zenmojodaddy (754377) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163348)

Stability doesn't necessarily mean good government. It can also mean stagnation and convergence of the main political parties, so they only way you can tell a Conservative from a Liberal Democrat or Labour MP is the colour of their tie.

Speaking as a UK citizen, the political setup is a rickety pile of hacked fixes, kneejerks, self-interest and outmoded traditions. The current government is incapable of coherent thought: on the one hand, giving the police more powers to deal with the growing binge-drinking culture, while also loosening licensing laws so pubs and bars can stay open all day. Not to mention the idiotic political correctness that sees Metropolitan Police officers take off their shoes before raiding a London mosque they have reason to suspect is harbouring criminals.

Don't think this makes it okay for you to slag us off though. It's like family: it's okay for an insider to complain, but if someone from the outside criticises, the ranks close and you'll get your sorry arse bawled out... :)

Re:Political disaster? (2, Interesting)

thaig (415462) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163404)

Here's the view from an insider who wasn't always an insider: stability is good and something that one shouldn't knock without experiencing the alternatives.

Regards,

Tim

Re:Political disaster? (4, Insightful)

mikeplokta (223052) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163408)

The current government is incapable of coherent thought: on the one hand, giving the police more powers to deal with the growing binge-drinking culture, while also loosening licensing laws so pubs and bars can stay open all day.

But those policies are both intended to address binge drinking. If you don't have every pub in a city full of people drinking as fast as they can in order to drink as much as possible before the pubs close at 11, and then throw them all out onto the street at the same time, it will reduce rather than increasing binge drinking and alcohol-fuelled violence.

Re:Political disaster? (1)

zenmojodaddy (754377) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163435)

I've seen this argument put forward before. Subjectively, I just don't believe that it's a two-pronged attack; I think the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. That's an opinion rather than a fact though. Like most of Slashdot. :) I also don't think that 24 hour drinking is going to encourage anyone to pace themselves - the sort of people who are going to get pissed and start fights will do it regardless. Then again I don't drink anyway, so maybe I'm talking out of my hat.

Re:Political disaster? (5, Informative)

ColdGrits (204506) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163457)

Actually, it DOES work as was shown in Scotland where a relaxation of the drinking laws saw a reduction in drink-related disorder for precisely the reason you dismiss - no need to cram those last 4 oints down your neck and then head into the street with hundreds of others when the pub remains open for hours more.

Re:Political disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163523)

Re: Your sig

"BSD is for people who like Unix; Linux is for people who hate Windows"
A slight problem, as I see it: your choice of terminology. Your insistence on using "Linux" instead of the more proper "GNU/Linux" serves a variety of negative functions. First off, you not only perpetuate ignorance, but you also are blatantly ignoring the contributions of the volunteers of theGNU project, dating back to the mid-80's--far before the emergence of GNU/Linux. The kernel is a critical part of the operating system, but not the only part; indeed, you cannot drive to the grocery store without your engine, or with only an engine. The insistence of many in the Open Source community to refer to Linux as GNU/Linux also serves to alienate the Free SoftwareFoundation and the ideology promoted by it. Calling the system GNU/Linux recognizes the role that our idealism played in building our community, and helps the public recognize the practical importance of these ideals.

Indeed, such mistaken terminology will only serve to distance the now-misguided Open Source community from the ideological goals of the movement they ostensibly joined, but from which they have effectively and unknowingly splintered.

As was originally stated, Richard Stallman's goal was not to create a free of charge operating system with available source code--it was to create an operating system that was as free in speech as it was in price. Not only do you propagate misinformation as to the nature of the operating system, but ignoring the GNU/ prefix is simply inappropriate, given the large share of the code that was written by the volunteers of the GNU project, and promoted by the Free Software Foundation. I'm sorry if this sounded preachy, but it's an important distinction that you have to make.

Re:Political disaster? (1)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163590)

No, no. The grandparent's sig is only talking about the kernel. No sane person would use anything except Debian [debian.org] as their user-space environment...

Re:Political disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163597)

This what they call an ANAL ATTITUDE ;)

Re:Political disaster? (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163558)

I also don't think that 24 hour drinking is going to encourage anyone to pace themselves

Have you tried to drink for 24 hours?

I tried years ago back at uni. Even ten years ago, if you were in Edinburgh during the festival and you new which pubs opened at what times you could do a 24 hour pub crawl - a lot of pubs got late extensions combined with market pubs that had odd hours anyway. It's not that easy.

Re:Political disaster? (2, Insightful)

Linus Torvaalds (876626) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163434)

Speaking as a UK citizen, the political setup is a rickety pile of hacked fixes, kneejerks, self-interest and outmoded traditions.

Are there any governments where this is not the case?

The current government is incapable of coherent thought: on the one hand, giving the police more powers to deal with the growing binge-drinking culture, while also loosening licensing laws so pubs and bars can stay open all day.

That seems perfectly sensible to me. Why let a few drunken louts spoil things for the rest of us? It's like banning football because a few hooligans start fights.

Not to mention the idiotic political correctness that sees Metropolitan Police officers take off their shoes before raiding a London mosque they have reason to suspect is harbouring criminals.

Again, seems perfectly reasonable. Taking off shoes doesn't impede their raid in any way, yet it respects their religion instead of giving them more reason to resent the authorities. Trampling all over their religion is something the yanks would do [google.com] ; let's not follow in their misguided footsteps and become as hated as they are.

Re:Political disaster? (1, Funny)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163349)

The post was probably written by an English person: we tend (outwardly at least) to take a very pessimistic "the sky is falling" outlook on things. Hence the nickname "Whinging Poms", I guess.

That said, I didn't vote for the current poor excuse of a government :-)

Re:Political disaster? (1)

Drachan (902244) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163614)

Irish, thanks, but I'm England born and England raised. ;) How did you guess? Hehehee I voted Lib Dem... Had a major row with the gf about it "Why on earth do you bother to complain about the goverment if you can't be arsed to do anything about it.. You don't protest!" "I did protest, I didn't vote for them!"

British Mares. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163367)

Either way, British mares are quite sexy.

Re:British Mares. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163372)

And don't you know it!

Re:Political disaster? (2, Funny)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163378)

ObPratchett:

Vimes: "How is his lordship?"
Littlebottom: "Stable"
Vimes: "Dead is stable."

And always remember:

Stable != Ethical
Stable != Honest
Stable != Trustworthy ;-)

Re:Political disaster? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163411)

Why do people think that Slashdot is biased?

Because posts like yours get modded Troll.

Re:Political disaster? (1)

sosume (680416) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163575)

So why do I get Score: 0 (troll) ???? Because some people may disagree? Mods must be having a bad day :/

It's a disaster because there is no opposition (1, Interesting)

NigelJohnstone (242811) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163428)

It's a disaster because nobody wants to elect the Conservatives after the idiot John Major. So all the Conservatives do now is try to copy Labour but out-do them.

Labour wants a million cameras watching everyone all the time, and Conservatives want, no, DEMAND, 2 million cameras. Labour wants detention without trial, Conservatives want execution without trial.
(OK, so I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea).

The voter has no choice, there is Labour and Labour-to-the-Max (Conservatives). All because Tony Blair is such a convincing orator that they don't want to disagree with him.

Re:It's a disaster because there is no opposition (1)

PeteDotNu (689884) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163440)

Are you sure that it's not the other way round? I thought that New Labour were actually more of a Conservative-Lite.

Re:It's a disaster because there is no opposition (2, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163533)

It used to be like that...

Labour copied the conservatives to get into power ('New' Labour).

This freaked the conservatives out so much they basically collapsed in a mess (they changed their internal rules after a lot of fighting, elected a succession of lame duck leaders who nobody can remember the names of, and they've just changed the rules again... who knows if they'll get out of the pit their in.. politics suffers when there's no opposition)

only in the last couple of years are they starting to be a credible oppositition, basically by taking a leap to the right to differentiate themselves, and copying everything Labour do.

The problem is Labour just keep pulling the same trick.. if the Conservatives ever have a good idea it'll be government policy within a couple of weeks.

The only people with any guts now are the Lib Dems and they're able to be like that as they're unlikely to get elected in my lifetime anyway.

Re:It's a disaster because there is no opposition (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163469)

I'm not sure it's the idiot John Major, more the spectre of Thatcher looming large. Not helped by people like Michael Howard and David Davies. If Davies is elected leader this October, I can see the Tories not getting in for another 10 years simply due to alienation of everyone who's not as right wing as he is. Hopefully with the euro-constitution on ice they'll come to there senses and elect someone a bit more voter friendly and we can get back to having an opposition in the Commons rather than the Lords.

It seems like we're stuck in the rut like we were in 80's - better the devil you know and all that. The only difference being that in the 80's the Tories were elected by more than 21% of the electorate.

Respect the right to vote, please (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163482)

Whether you like or not a government, you should always respect the people that have elected it with their votes. If they are dissatisfied, they'll change their vote on the next election. That's democracy for you...

Re:Respect the right to vote, please (1)

mugstar (765102) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163551)

When we have a *representative* democratic system here in the UK, I'll agree with you. This Government was elected on a 22% share of the electorate. [source] [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Respect the right to vote, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163580)

Whether you like or not a government, you should always respect the people that have elected it with their votes.

Why?

Re:It's a disaster because there is no opposition (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163520)

Conservatives want execution without trial.

Sounds like they got it.

Re:It's a disaster because there is no opposition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163522)

John Major is the reason that the conservatives are still so far behind?? Pull the other one. There are many, many reasons why Conservatives didn't and won't get voted in to power. It's mostly because they are the greedy representitives of industry and most people don't care less what these slef-righteous self-important scum bags think.

Liberals will overtake Conservatives in the next 15 years and we'll end up with a people oriented humanitarian system of politics that is fundamentally different from the greed based direction of the recent past.

Re:It's a disaster because there is no opposition (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163594)

Liberals will overtake Conservatives in the next 15 years and we'll end up with a people oriented humanitarian system of politics that is fundamentally different from the greed based direction of the recent past.

The only way the LibDems could overtake Labour is if Old Labour split from New Labour and join with the Lib Dems. As long as people with left wing politics vote for a right wing party simply because they like the brand name, then we're going to have "conservative" government. At that assumes that the rump Labour party doesn't just swallow the Conservatives - if they did that they'd still be larger than the "New Liberals". While people in this country (ie, the UK) hate to admit it (as it's extremely unfashionable) this country is a very right wing place and has been for years. Socalism (ie, a people oriented humanitarian system of politics that is fundamentally different from the greed based direction of the recent past) just doesn't appeal to people, other than as a fashion statement.

Re:It's a disaster because there is no opposition (1)

NigelJohnstone (242811) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163604)

"There are many, many reasons why Conservatives didn't and won't get voted in to power. It's mostly because they are the greedy representitives of industry and most people don't care less what these slef-righteous self-important scum bags think."

They were like that under Mrs Thatcher, yet it didn't stop them getting elected.

So I stand by my comment, I think it was the staggering incompetence of John Major that made them unelectable. if you recall how huge the vote was in favour of the then unknown Blair over the then, very well known, Major.

Where's the -1, Uninformed mod? (5, Insightful)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163459)

The parent is not a troll, from the outside, the comment tacked on the end about political disaster was completely unwarranted and does indeed look like a knee-jerk reaction to everyone's favourite warmongers getting new terms in office, so I can quite understand the parent's annoyance at Slashdot (a site supposed to report the news and not bias it with it's personal opinions) taking a swipe at the UK government.

An uninformed person does not a troll make.

The problem with the British political system is that, while stable, every party looks pretty much like every other party, only with slightly different reasons to hate them - in other words, people do not vote for the best, they vote for the least worst. Allow me to indulge in a non-partizan rant about the major political forces in the UK, this should give anyone else confused like the parent a little help...

Labour Led by Tony Blair, these are they guys in power right now - Labour, traditionally, is a socialist, left-leaning party, but under the leadership of Blair it has swung very much swung hard towards the right, and have done all the awful things you've heard about on /. before, like flooding the country with CCTV, planning ID cards, etc, while the police are wholly incapable of dealing with what are essentially groups of kids. Blair, if not the party as a whole, is now very unpopular with many people, largely due to the Iraq war and the ID cards debacle - most people would like to see Blair step down and Gordon Brown take the reins, with many members of the party itself voting against him on important issues. The party, however, remains in charge because last time the other major force in UK politics was in power, they made things even worse.

The Conservatives In the last election, led by Michael Howard, but with him stepping down it looks like Kenneth Clarke may be replacing him sooner rather than later. In my opinion it's a bad idea for them to be considering placing another unpopular figure from the last Conservative government in charge, which proved a major negative point for them during the last election. More right-wing in terms of immigration (a sensitive issue in the run-up to the election and an even more sensitive one in light of the London bombings) and promising to pull troops out of Iraq, the major factor against them is the fact that when they were in power (when Margaret Thatcher and later John Major were leaders) they very nearly crippled the country with severe mismanagement. Arguably the largest factor in their election failure, in light of the unpopularity of Blair's government, was the spectre of those old governments in the form of Michael Howard, who was Home Secretary under the former Conservative rule.

Liberal Democrats Led by Charles Kennedy, and could be summed up as 'lacking voice'. Their PR assault during the last election boiled down to, while the other two parties slogged it out over immigration, ID cards and the War in Iraq, the Lib Dem PR machine putting out a statement that Kennedy's wife had had a baby. Even in the UK of reality TV stars being involved in supposedly serious political debate and tabloid newspapers declaring they could decide the election simply by siding with one side or the other on election day, this didn't get them the votes they needed, falling far short of their target of overtaking the Conservatives as the 2nd-largest party in Britain. Very left-wing in their views, they are disliked by many for their open-doors views on immigration, which as I previously pointed out was a sensitive issue at the time of the election, with many Britons fearing being swamped by immigrants largely from Eastern Europe. This, combined with their status as perpetual also-rans in general elections for as long as I can remember pretty much scuppered their chances of winning this election.

British National Party Led by Nick Griffin. A media campaign against the BNP by the BBC led to Griffin's arrest under religious hatred laws for using a racial slur while being secretly taped by an investigative journalist. Portrayed before the election as mindless racists, their extreme right-wing views on other issues (wanting to bring laws supporting corporal punishment for petty crime, for instance) meant many people who looked deeper than the BBC's report found them even more disagreeable than they first thought. Though they have council seats in areas close to places with large immigrant populations, they do not yet have any MPs.

So who would you vote for? The 1984 Party, The State-Wreckers, The soft saps or the racist thugs?

(All sides of the UK political spectrum are going to mod me through the floor now, but at least it was an equal-oppertunities 'bait).

Re:Where's the -1, Uninformed mod? (3, Informative)

Jon Chatow (25684) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163503)

The Conservatives [...] when they were in power (when Margaret Thatcher and later John Major were leaders) they very nearly crippled the country with severe mismanagement.

Surely you jest? (Old) Labour are the party of the Winter of Discontent, what with their inability to deal with the unions. The British economy was improved almost immeasurably by the Thatcherite reforms (even if the attempted social reforms left something to be desired). I really can't understand how this myth is perpetuated (except, perhaps, by disgruntled former coal-miners who wrongly feel that the loss of their jobs was neither necessary nor unpreventable); yes, people lost their jobs at the same time that Thatcher was reforming the industry, but there is not a causal link - they were both symptoms of globalisation and so economic competition from the Far East.

And, before you go accusing me of being a Tory, I'm a Lib Dem. :-)

Re:Where's the -1, Uninformed mod? (2, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163552)

Going back a little further Edward Heath had *excatly* the same problem with Unions (3 day week anyone?)... back then it wasn't a party political issue but an endemic one to britian.

Thatcher sorted that out, it's true (and should be commended for that). She also mishandled the economy so badly we ended up in the worst recession since the 30's.

It's pretty much the memory of Thatcher that keeps the conservatives out of power (not of John Major, who was too uninteresting to be hated).

Re:Where's the -1, Uninformed mod? (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163562)

black wednesday?

Re:Where's the -1, Uninformed mod? (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163567)

The British economy was improved almost immeasurably by the Thatcherite reforms (even if the attempted social reforms left something to be desired).

Thatcher wasn't the satan she is sometimes made out to be, but you can't deny that she was ousted when interest rates approached 15%, heavily undermining support from the Conservatives' middle class, home-owning typical supporters.

It's understandable in a way:- you say the economy was improved almost immeasurably, but for some reason it lead to high interest rates and high unemployment. Not a way to win votes.

Also, many of her reforms create mixed feelings - for instance she privatised British Telecom [slashdot.org] , which free marketeers would tell us should have lead to competition, low prices, and flawless service. I think quite a lot of people would say we don't have that!

Michael

Re:Where's the -1, Uninformed mod? (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163676)

Also, many of her reforms create mixed feelings - for instance she privatised British Telecom, which free marketeers would tell us should have lead to competition, low prices, and flawless service. I think quite a lot of people would say we don't have that!

Yeah, but anyone who says that probably hasn't bothered to try and find a better deal. There is plenty of competition and some very low prices.

If anything, the percieved problems with BT are due to the failure to deregulate the market fast enough, thus protecting BT. Why did local loop unbundling happen only recently? And look what LLU is bringing - broadband band use is high and there is now real competition for BT - you longer need to either keep your existing BT line or have cable installed to use another telcom company.

Re:Where's the -1, Uninformed mod? (4, Interesting)

awol (98751) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163570)

I think the poster's distinction between left and right with regard to the position on ID cards and things like CC TV monitoring is mistaken. The issue is big government vs little government and when taken in that context the Labour party is exactly the party that I would expect to push for ID cards and monitoring.

The main issue for politics in the socialist democracies of Europe and the Commonwealth (Aus, NZ, Canada etc) is that there is an overriding push to the centre for economic policy since there is almost no way of "arguing" against the tenets of economic rationalism in the Global Economy. Interest rates, Budget deficit are more or less out of the control of the government (well whilst technically in control, to use fiscal policy unfettered has been shown to be ordinarily problematic). Which means the battle ground for politics has turned to how the government spends money (the extent and quality of the welfare state) and how they collect it (who pays what tax).

Since there are so few actual issues, it is almost impossible for the parties to distinguish themselves. Most people attribute this to the fact that the parties are equally crap. The reality is, I think, much more benign. The function of government is so well established that it is only around the edges that can be tuned and the distinguishing features of the left and right are unable do do this "tuning" in such a way that they are different enough to justify someone changing their vote.

Obviously, radical changes in structure are possible. In the UK the most recent was Thatcher's attack on the labour market to free up the structural rigidity that was stifling the economy. But there was the NHS before that and others before that. In Australia, the massive changes to industrial relations (the labout market) that are impending are the natural successor to the extensive deregulation that has already taken place. These radical changes in structure are usually the result of "great leaders" (I don't mean good I just mean influential) and it seems to me that these structural changes are the result of the left and right ideological differences. One would never find the labour party in any of these economies advocating the kind of industrial reform being contemplated in Australia and once the reform is complete the left may well regain power to add a little "sugar" to the recipe that the right has formulated. As a result the swinging between left and right in the Liberal Democracies is a very marginal thing in general since there are so few "fundamental" differences remaining to distingush them.

This begs an obvious question in my view and that is; "Are there new 'big ticket' items that the left and right can use to distinguish themselves?".
From my perspective it is less the left and the right that is the axis on which the new big issues are based and more liberal -> totalitarian and the answer is yes. The EFF acts in the space where I think many of these issues will be defined. So it is a very important organisation to add to the Corporatist landscape since it is the influence of these corporate groups (environmentalists, human rights campaigners, business groups, etc etc) that provide a second channel for the influence of political agenda within the democracies of which we speak.

Why list the BNP? (1)

Smuttley (126014) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163616)

What about Greens and UKIP? Both got way more votes than the far right BNP.

And don't forget Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parties as well. They may not have got as many votes due to lower populations in those areas but at least they got some seats.

First Prime Factorization Post (1, Offtopic)

2*2*3*75011 (900132) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163311)

Myself I prefer the factorization conference 'Open Tech 5*401' as a follow on to last year's "Notcon-posite 2*2*3*167" event.

ID Cards Refuseniks (5, Informative)

Baljet (547995) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163313)

There's been a fair bit of recent noise comming from pledgebank for example the No2ID campaign: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/25/id_refuse_ resist/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:ID Cards Refuseniks (2, Informative)

dances with elks (863490) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163449)

I hope it works because our MP's aren't looking out for our rights. My own MP http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/tom_levitt/high_p eak [theyworkforyou.com] Tom Tevitt, always votes the party line never rebels or sponsors a bill and costs us >£100000 a year in expenses (not including salary).

Re:ID Cards Refuseniks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163539)

Yes but opposition to biometric ID 'cards' and the database state is the logical and sensible thing to do. The EFF campaining for filesharers 'rights' is pathetic when the only rights holder in this case is the copyright assignee.

Big difference.

Incidentally, if you are a UK citizen be shure to renew your passport in August ;-)

Re:ID Cards Refuseniks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163540)

It's coming with one m.

There are some organisations already (5, Informative)

bvdbos (724595) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163314)

Of course there's the European Digital Rights-EDRI (http://www.edri.org/ [edri.org] ) which is the joint organisation for digital rights in Europe. In the UK the
* Campaign for Digital Rights-CDR (http://ukcdr.org/ [ukcdr.org] )
* the Foundation for Information Policy Research-FIPR (http://www.fipr.org/ [fipr.org] ) and
* Greennet (http://www.gn.apc.org/ [apc.org] )
are members. I would suggest consulting them first.

Re:There are some organisations already (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163392)

They have the support of the UKCDR, and if they get up and running then UKCDR will turn over their assets to the new organization.

Re:There are some organisations already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163461)

There are even more than that:

Re:There are some organisations already (1)

bvdbos (724595) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163497)

IMHO, these are related organisations with the specific purpose of software and not digital rights (freedom of speech etc) as such.

Re:There are some organisations already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163537)

At least in the case of FSFE, this is clearly wrong; I propose to check the list of their activities: United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, IPR Enforcement Directive, reform of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

The FSFE [fsfeurope.org] has its roots in Free Software, but much of its work is more towards "informational human rights" -- which makes a lot of sense: software is what shapes the information society, so it makes sense to not only demand freedom, but also implement it.

Re:There are some organisations already (1)

bvdbos (724595) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163561)

Thanks, didn't know that...

Re:There are some organisations already (3, Informative)

ntk (974) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163513)

Ian Brown of EDRi (and ex- of FIPR) was on the panel which inspired this. CD-R has given it their support.

The idea would be to act (initially at least) as a one stop shop to redirect media inquiries to the right experts, and direct publicity to other groups. There's not much else you can do for 60K -- but there is enough spare to start seeking out extra funding for bigger co-ordinating efforts.

What's the big deal with ID cards? (2, Informative)

master_p (608214) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163342)

In my country every citizen has to have an Id card from the age of 15. But I see no problem with this. Even without the Id card, government agencies already know about any person.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (5, Interesting)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163363)

That's not the problem, the problem is that they want these cards to be mandatory to carry at all times and include fingerprint and possibly iris scans. They also want to make them exempt from the data protection act so that you won't even have the right to know what information they store. As if that's not enough they will also use RFID (and we will probably see that broken) and they want to charge each of us for the honour, an estimate of £100 to £300 each!

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163430)

To be honest, I don't see a *huge* problem with mandatory ID cards. People always say "Papers, please" as if that by itself is supposed to be argument enough against mandatory ID, but it wasn't just having ID and being required to present it that made such regimes oppressive. It was the limitations on what you could do and where you could go that was the real evil.

Now, I do object to being unable to know all of the data stored on your ID card. I'm also leery of these systems using RFID. But as long as the cost of issuing the IDs is kept to an absolute minimum, I just don't get why everyone's so worked up over this, and it has so far kept me from donating to the EFF since I'd rather my money go to combat restrictions on fair use than something I don't have a problem with.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (4, Insightful)

MartinG (52587) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163484)

I just don't get why everyone's so worked up over this

For me it is exactly the same as if the government said they were going to force each citizen to pay 100 quid towards having their house painted white in order to raise educational standards.

My point is the card costs money but nobody has yet adequately explained what problem it actually solves and how.

I don't care whether costs are kept low or not. Is it good value is the real question and that requires knowing what it is actually supposed to do.

Also, google around a bit and see how mandatory id systems have been abused in the past.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

Will Fisher (731585) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163582)

Indeed.

Lets not forget that all the london bombers would have had no problem getting ID cards.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163625)

And the overwhelming majority of those involved in 9/11 were in the Unites States legally. In fact (IIRC) the few (3-5 max) who weren't there legally had entered the country legally on temporary visas, and simply overstayed for a couple of weeks after their visas expired.

And yet every single time a terrorist incident occurs the government concerned trots out the "ID cards would have prevented this!" bullshit. Just once I'd like to hear them explain how.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163633)

THe 9/11 hijackers all had valid passports and visas, but I dont see that as a reasonable arguement for not having passports and visas.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

Will Fisher (731585) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163660)

Thats because passports a visas are not touted as measures to prevent terrorism.

Passports and visas are there for other, good, reasons.

There are no good reasons for ID cards.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (2, Insightful)

strider44 (650833) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163495)

To be honest, I don't see a *huge* problem with mandatory ID cards.

The question is, what about people who do see a *huge* problem with mandatory ID cards? Why do you presume to speak for them?

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (3, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163549)

To be honest, I don't see a *huge* problem with mandatory ID cards.

You lose the card. You can't cash checks, withdraw money from your bank, shop at the grocery store, go out drinking with mates, buy plane tickets, get on a plane.

The point is: it is a limit being put on the actions of society. When you need an ID card in order to buy milk, your life will revolve around whether or not you have that ID card on you, or not.

It may seem strange to the modern citizen, but it is actually possible to live a safe, happy, comfortable life, without needing ID right now. If the ID act goes into place, and its mandatory: without that card, your life will be hell. Restricted. You will not be able to live 'within the so-called normal limits' of society.

Think of it as a mandatory genetic modificiation which, if not performed, precludes you from certain society. Like circumcision.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163572)

You lose the card. You can't cash checks, withdraw money from your bank, shop at the grocery store, go out drinking with mates, buy plane tickets, get on a plane.
All of which is true if you lose your driver's license and expect to pay with credit card.
The point is: it is a limit being put on the actions of society. When you need an ID card in order to buy milk, your life will revolve around whether or not you have that ID card on you, or not.
Cash is your friend.
It may seem strange to the modern citizen, but it is actually possible to live a safe, happy, comfortable life, without needing ID right now. If the ID act goes into place, and its mandatory: without that card, your life will be hell. Restricted. You will not be able to live 'within the so-called normal limits' of society.
I have no ID because I've never learned to drive. I can't buy beer or get into clubs because I don't have ID. I can't get a bank account because I don't have ID. Since I don't drink and don't need a bank account, none of this is a problem, but I'm far from normal.
Think of it as a mandatory genetic modificiation which, if not performed, precludes you from certain society. Like circumcision.
You're a fucking moron.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163600)

You lose the card. You can't cash checks, withdraw money from your bank, shop at the grocery store, go out drinking with mates, buy plane tickets, get on a plane.

All of which is true if you lose your driver's license and expect to pay with credit card.

But not if you live in the UK.

I can't get a bank account because I don't have ID. Since I don't drink and don't need a bank account

Good luck getting paid if you ever work in the UK. It is normal that your pay is credited directly into your bank account over here.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163606)

"...it wasn't just having ID and being required to present it that made such regimes oppressive. It was the limitations on what you could do and where you could go that was the real evil."

Right, but you can't effectively restrict what people do and where they go without a national ID system.

There's nothing wrong with a National ID card. And there's nothing wrong with police asking you to see it instead of another form of ID. And there's nothing wrong with every government or utilities-related transaction you engage in sitting on one central database, and traceable right back to you. There's nothing wrong with you not being able to find out what information is stored on that database. And there's nothing wrong with the government having unfettered access to the database, as long as you trust the government to act selflessly in your best interest.

For those of us who keep up with the news (and no, I'm not talking about Fox News or the Sun/Daily Mirror/Daily Sport), it's very, very, very painfully obvious that the government can only be trusted to do three things - act entirely in its own interest, attempt to garner the maximum amount of information and control it possibly can over the people it's meant to be serving, and abuse said power and control whenever it's convenient.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

achew22 (783804) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163365)

<rant_on_privacy>While it is true that the government knows A LOT, even in a free society, about a person. But when you force them to carry a traceable ID card their power grows at a geometric rate - the ID card lets them know where you are so they can send a well equiped van (or extra large camel) with a hyperbolic mic to bug your house.</rant_on_privacy>

A few questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163384)

Did you have to pay around £90 for it?

Do you have to show it to police officers on demand for any reason whatsoever (or none)? If so, does this tend to happen a lot more to ethnic minorities?

Did you government claim it was needed to fight terrorists?

"Even without the Id card, government agencies already know about any person"

Ok, so why do they need to spend billions on an ID card scheme then? They dont need one!

Re:A few questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163499)

In Belgium:

We pay around 11 Euros (varies from place to place) for an electronic ID card. A valid ID card must be carried at all times. We have to show it, on demand, for any reason, to a police officer. If you can't identify yourself, the police will take you to the police station until such time that your identity can be verified.

Re:A few questions (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163623)

We pay around 11 Euros (varies from place to place) for an electronic ID card. A valid ID card must be carried at all times. We have to show it, on demand, for any reason, to a police officer. If you can't identify yourself, the police will take you to the police station until such time that your identity can be verified.

Which are powers that I just don't want our police to have. Exactly what crimes are those powers supposed to stop? And what stops the police from harassing innocent people? I feel such power is far to liable to abuse with no appreciable gain in security.

Re:A few questions (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163651)

So, basically, you're a criminal in your own country by the simple expedient of forgetting your wallet when you leave the house in the morning?

And it's a crime punishable by several hours detention (minumum?).

And the police don't have to have a reason to stop you and demand your ID?

And what happens if/when you lose your card?

Hate to tell you mate, but that sounds frighteningly like a totalitarian police state to me.

As an aside, isn't the biggest step towards a police state the attempt to criminalise the average citizen, so there's always something you can pull them in for if you want an excuse? (I'm sure I remember reading that somewhere - might even have been 1984.) The idea is that then the average citizen always has to be slightly afraid of the police, because they always have something they can be threatened with.

In a free society the police shouldn't be able to inconvenience anyone without just cause.

Re:A few questions (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163683)

Oops - forgot... also:

"But they won't use these powers for intimidation" is not an excuse. Historically powers like that are extremely unlikely to ever be repealed[1].

Do you feel able to make that promise for every government your country has for the rest of time?

No, then you'd be stupid to completely unnecessarily hand them the powers now, wouldn't you?

Here's a quick hint: If the government is (1) seeking greater powers over their citizenry, and (2) citing terrorism, drugs, organised crime or whatever the trendy anxiety du jour is as the reason, and (3) failing to give a single sensible example of how these new powers would actually help prevent the problem, they're either megalomaniacs after power for power's sake or they're knee-jerk-reacting paranoid idiots - either way they should be opposed[2].

Governments serve people, not the other way around. The government is supposed to represent the majority will, not impose their will on the majority.

Footnotes:

[1] Well, without revolution or large-scale civil unrest. And historically what happens when there's a lot of civil unrest? Right - governments clamp down and do start abusing those powers.

[2] Since even paranoid idiots will then get those laws on the books... to be abused by the very next megalomaniac administration that gets in.

Re:A few questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163610)

Did you have to pay around £90 for it?

More like £300

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163387)

The real problem is twofold: first, it erodes the sensitivity to privacy as seen in your acceptance of it (you grew up having one, right?). Second, they need extremely strong restrictions so that they don't become a prerequisite for commercial and public services as that opens the door for abusive data correlation and invasion of privacy.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163498)

It's not just an ID card it is an entire database about your life that contains all sorts of personal data that governemnt intend to sell on to marketing companies to help finance.

It can be cross referenced with friends and family, entire profiles constructed of different people and ethnic groups. It will be a government record of your entire life based on physical identification from cradle to the grave and contain way about you and your life than anything previously seen.

It is open to enormous abuse, it is hugely expensive, it is way way more than the current status quo and I think a lot of people don't fully understand that.

Check out http://www.no2id.net/ [no2id.net] for more info

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (0, Flamebait)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163504)

flamebait?? You got to be kidding me! That is the truth and, if the mod knew something about the real world, he would know that there are a lot of countries which have mandatory ID cards for it's citizens. The parent isn't flame-baiting. He is stating a fact.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163693)

Yeah - the poster clearly had no clue, but the Mod was a fucking tool.

Single point of failure, stealth through obscurity (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163588)

Ignoring the issues of costs, effectiveness and infringements of civil liberties there are good, hacking reasons for not wanting ID cards.

The government will no doubt spend millions developing encryption techniques on the cards. This will not be open to scrutiny and we, the UK public, will just have to trust the government that the cards are secure. Yet inevitably the cards will be hacked by some of the thousands of hackers on net who can makes tens of millions stealing and abusing people's ID. And because ID cards are meant to be the one safe reliable piece of ID, when your identity is stolen its like someone's got root on your server. They can do whatever they like.

Re:What's the big deal with ID cards? (1)

tiger_omega (704487) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163626)

A major part of the problem is the cost involved in getting the goverment to setup a biometric ID cards along with a national register database. When it comes to rolling out projects that require huge IT infrastructures the public sector in the UK usually ends up becoming a complete farce. Mostly down to bad management and political infighting.

The UK goverment tells us it's going to cost £100 per citizen while the initial report from the London School of Economics tells us it's going to cost closer to £300 per citizen.

We are also told it's to help fight terrorism. But then fail to explain how and why? But off course the UK goverment have been happy enough to let the Jihadie bastards setup shop and practice recruitment and their "trade skills" in our country.

There is also no good arguements why the ID card is better than the photographic driver's license or passport. It's another form of identification on top of these existing methods and not an integration. So my personal feeling on ID card introduction is that it does not provide any real benefits while having a project that is going to cost the tax payer (of which I am one) a huge amount of money for nothing more than a political mess.

Why care about that just shut their heads? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163352)

Why care about Vigilate any no-white in London, Just shut their heads off. Hey Bobby, bang...

Good luck! (1)

Arioch of Chaos (674116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163371)

You need it... World leader in camera surveillance, recent terrorist attacks... hm...

Re:Good luck! (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163433)

There are many good reasons to criticise the UK Govt, but putting those two together makes a pretty weak argument when you consider we have quite good cctv pictures of the terrorists [bbc.co.uk] so we can catch them. They would, incidentally, all have qualified for a legal UK id card.

Re:Good luck! (1)

typical (886006) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163451)

Yeah, if only we had taken pictures of the terrorists in the *US* before they blew themselves up so that we could...uh...make proper headstones?

Re:Good luck! (2, Informative)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163474)

No, the important pictures are of the second group of bombers - the ones who forgot to keep their explosives in the fridge and therefore didn't meet quite the 'glorious' end they were hoping for.

Re:Good luck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163476)

Smartarse... Many of the UK bombers are still on the run, so the CCTV camera images will help catch them.

When the UK web site goes down... (3, Funny)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163375)

We can all yell 'EFF off!'

Re:When the UK web site goes down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163560)

They can't call it the EFF - that name's already taken. And indeed, why restrict their version of the foundation to the protection of electronic free speech? They could combine with the press and representatives of the UK media, and just call themselves the British Freedom Foundation... the BFF.

Then as they charge into the battle against censorship, suppression of human rights and personal freedoms, they may let forth the mighty roar of their war-cry: "Baom Fom Froosh!"

Re:When the UK web site goes down... (1)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163615)

Combining the two, when their web page goes down you can then shout... BFF is off the menu!

Why not FFII? (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163420)

Why don't they just join forces with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure [ffii.org] ? That seems to me the closest European equivalent to the EFF. Even if the goals are not exactly the same, an organization at european level would have a stronger voice than an organization based in a single state, I should think.

Re:Why not FFII? (3, Insightful)

Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163579)

Well, of course it would. Likewise, when local grass-roots action is needed an organization like FFII is not the most efficient (pardon the pun).

To say that smaller-than-EU-wide orgs are not needed is just plain wrong -- organizations like this are needed on all levels where the powers-that-be work in (from municipal to global).

Re:Why not FFII? (3, Informative)

GozzoMan (808286) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163617)

As far as I know, there do is a local UK group which is part of the bigger-picture FFII: http://www.ffii.org.uk/ [ffii.org.uk]

MP3 Victim Pledgebank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163485)

Check this out http://www.pledgebank.com/bpifine [pledgebank.com]

"I will donate £10 to pay the fine of Sylvia Price, whose daughter downloaded some MP3s but only if 400 other people will also throw in a tenner."

Bit much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163516)

I would donate but five pounds per month is a bit steep I'd rather make a one off donation of maybe £20.

i must say (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13163543)

i think tha

In Soviet Russia (1)

In_Sovjet_Russia (902104) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163545)

The EFF corners you!

It's about bloody time! (2, Interesting)

flajann (658201) | more than 9 years ago | (#13163563)

With the way the British gov has been acting lately, squashing privacy everywhere in that country, it is about bloody time they get into operation something akin to EFF.
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