So no sooner do I write the previous post saying we need some check-points in this fast-paced evolution into the cyber-world of SkyNet, then I pick up the Evening Standard and read that the UK’s top prosecutor is also concerned at the rising tide of technology usurping the British people by giving away ‘enormous’ levels of power to those in charge of running the country.
Speaking in a lecture in London, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, warns that a “relentless pressure of a security state” is giving grounds for the government to push an increase in surveillance powers that will ensure “freedom’s back is broken”.
His fear for the British public is justified. The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, only last week was pushing for all public communication – every phone call, SMS text, email and web browsing habits of every citizen to be ‘stored’. What then would be a ‘private’ phone call?! It is a total insult of the 99.99% of the general public assuming we are all terrorists.
Concerned of how the state may use these powers and fearing that once change is implemented it will be irreversible, he says “we should take very great care to imagine the world we are creating before we build it. We might end up living with something we can’t bear”.
With patriarchal confidence and sensibility, he suggests we should resist the ‘paraphernalia of paranoia’ and ‘medieval delusions’ when dealing with the real threats of terrorism. Sir Ken suggests the best way to tackle the danger was to strengthen institutions and processes of law rather than degrade them, stating the “conviction of terrorism is in excess of 90% – unmatched in the fair trial world”.
It s good to hear of such sound and grounded advice rather than the usual freak-show of surveillance-junkies based on a grossly hyped-fear that the government itself has created by its cotton-wool nannying wrapped up in supposed political correctness. It all comes back to the old adage, ‘who is watching the watchers?’ Fortunately, for now, someone is…
I find it ironic that as politicians remove discipline at all levels within society and simultaneously fail to preserve any kind of traditional culture, they should be so eager for developing such ego-centric systems that give them unparalleled and unchecked levels of control designed to protect them from cultures they have failed to embrace and understand.
Makes me wonder how Churchill would write his “History of the English-Speaking Peoples” today? He’s probably turning in his grave…
It is amazing, but when people like us write about our concerns in relation to the state taking unprecedented steps to spy on its own citizens, just how many people are prepared to write us of as the lunatics. The most common criticsm is that if you have nothing to hide, why would you object.
I believe these people completely miss the point. The state does not need these additional powers, there will never be enough checks and balances to ensure that the power is not abused and it is primarily based on the notion of the risk of terrorist plots. The truth is, whilst 6 electricians die every week as a result of asbestos inhalation, in the past 3 years, no-one has been killed as a result of a terrorist incident. I would not want to be complacent, but equally, there has to be a balance between our long fought for civil rights and liberty and the tools needed to effectively fight crime and terrorism.