The Guardian failed to point out in its report that new legislation proposed by the Law Commission would make the author of the anonymous letter, Jones herself, and the journalists at the Guardian, liable for prosecution—with up to 14 years in jail.
It seems totally futile to stand up to these people.
No, that's not a proposal of the Law Commission report (which isn't a proposed new law).
Here's the document. It's over 300 pages long. The consultation is still open.
The report gathers information about all the whistleblowing protection law in the UK; all the secrecy protection law (which exists in some weird places; and laws in other countries.
The 14 years comes from 2 places:
1) comparing the English "Official Secrets Act" maximum sentence (currently 2 years) with the equivalent in Canada (currently 14 years). But the report does not propose, even tentatively, that the English maximum is extended to 14 years.
2) Comparing the maximum sentence under the official secrets act with other laws. For example:
> 3.184 The maximum sentence for the offences contained in the Official Secrets Act 1989 is the same as many other offences that criminalise the unauthorised disclosure of information. For example, it is an offence punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment for an employee of the National Lottery Commission to disclose information that has been supplied by Her Majesty’s Commissioners for Revenue and Customs that relates to a person whose identity is specified in the information or whose identity can be deduced from the information. This is the same maximum sentence available for an unauthorised disclosure that, to take one example, damages the capability of the armed forces to carry out their tasks.
One effect is to lengthen the maximum sentence under the Official Secrets Act, but another might be to reduce the sentences in all these other laws.
> This is the same maximum sentence available for an unauthorised disclosure that, to take one example, damages the capability of the armed forces to carry out their tasks.
I had to look that up - that's incredible. For all the fuss made about it 2 years seems very short. I was under the impression these kind of things carried passive penalties. Though I guess there's extra charges if you reveal secrets to an enemy or something.
They already won.
You'd be surprised. Maybe read some history. Except if you mean: it doesn't work to guarantee an utopia or even that the things/rights/etc won by protesters are secured for eternity. Then again, nothing does.
On February the 15th 2003, millions of people marched against the Iraq war across around 800 cities - with possibly as many as 1 million in London alone. This made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally.
What happened? We went to war.
Demonstrations are not some guaranteed method that will always bend those in power: it's just one of the few methods that affect change and have in the past.
If demonstrations were all that it took every time, then the French wouldn't have to behead their king, and the Americans wouldn't have to fight a revolution.
It's also about how seriously those people mean it. Marching for a day is useless if you don't also change how you act politically, inform people, change your buying habits (e.g. boycott some company), vote differently, go on strike, etc.
Else, who cares if they protested? They just had their fun for a day and went back to watching their favorite TV series. They didn't even mean it that much themselves.
Protesting is not just standing around with some banners. Demonstrations, strikes, occupations, etc. are all part of it, and have brought down many a government.
It's not about "conscience" -- except if we mean some tame gatherings where people stand quietly and hold some picket signs for a few hours and then go home.
Life is unfair that way.
The civil rights movements of the last century are proof that it does in fact work when enough people engage.
You say that like the current situation is no better than what came before the civil rights movement.
I happen to believe that trade off has gone a bit far and I'm worried that significant further erosion of civil liberties would start causing some serious issues, but lets face it if we believe that we have to argue the case before the public. Whining about living in a police state isn't going to be very productive, or lend that struggle much credibility.
The results of surveys on this issue are interesting.
A clear majority of people in the UK do typically back some of the stronger surveillance and security measures, when (as is almost always the case) they are presented as giving the police and security services greater powers to prevent serious crime and terrorism. I mean, who doesn't want to prevent serious crime and terrorism?
On the other hand, when presented with more complete information about the actual laws that have been passed, such as the much wider range of government departments who have been given such powers, or when questioned in a way that demonstrates they themselves are subject to the same intrusions, many more people express concern and a lot object strongly.
Surveys also show pretty consistently that the vast majority of people don't know even roughly what the actual situation is, and assume it is more the former than the latter. For example, many people didn't even know about the increased surveillance powers granted a few months ago. Popular support is based on trust in our government and public services, rather than knowing the facts.
lets face it if we believe that we have to argue the case before the public
Unfortunately, the political party with the most credible basis for arguing in favour of stronger civil liberties seems to have decided they want this election to be about exactly one issue, Brexit. Whether or not that strategy works out for them over the next couple of months, it makes it highly unlikely that other important issues like this will even make it into the public debate at all.
Of course, that's an improvement over the rest of Europe. Last time Europe got voted out of parliament they didn't even bother with redoing the election. They just went directly against the election results, like in Greece.
Why does anyone still pretend at this point ?
Bizarre comment. Do you really think the election has a credible chance of overturning the result of the referendum? Or that this is the reason it's being held?
Every time an elected government does something random poster on HN or elsewhere doesn't like, it's the end of democracy and a conspiracy of the elite.
I voted Remain and still believe leaving the EU will harm Britain and the electorate was mislead and conned. But you know what? The electorate are all grown-ups that had access to the same information that I do. We hold regular elections to allow the electorate to change their mind if they are conned. But if they obstinately and persistently refuse to see things my way, well that's fine. Well it isn't, but I'm not going to throw all my toys out of the pram and start crying about it. Politics is messy and imperfect mainly because it's a reflection of us, the voters. Uncomfortable, but true.
I am not sure I have ever heard such trust in the electorate. Isn't an uninformed electorate a huge problem in most western democracies?
It's fairly pointless to list examples, as they are everywhere. Sometimes the goal is achieved more easily, sometimes it takes decades. But it can work.
*edit: I don't know what I thought ANG was...
Since then, despite the high crime rate, there hasn't been any ethnic cleansing or large scale retribution. Beyond generic Africa-standard corruption, the country has mostly taken the high road.
The ANC ... well ... in the words of the Apartheid museum  (ie. The South African government's own words):
"Demonstrations against the killings followed in many parts of the country and led to the banning of the main African opposition organisations, the African national Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). Both went underground, and formed armed wings, Umkhonto we Sizwe (ANC) and Poqo (PAC)."
Yes, Nelson Mandela ... founded a revolutionary army. Yes, I agree with the outcome too, and the process was almost bafflingly well executed. Bombings, placing landmines on public roads, kidnapping and torture were some of the tactics used. Again, bonus points for the outcome, and for successfully keeping control of this army after it was no longer needed, but peaceful ? Please. Also, I would further argue that South Africa did not exactly become a haven of peaceful coexistence under Nelson Mandela.
India, and Gandhi is another example of this. So is Che Guevara. Looking how peaceful what happened with them at the helm of organisations is, you really, really, really wonder why these people are considered nonviolent.
Yes, Gandhi thought (and taught) that violence was beneath him, but he certainly had the option to act and prevent the people he led from using violence. What happened ... he sent out his forces and the opposing side sent out it's forces, and at least 10 million died. Granted, not during the revolution he was famous for, but he was in command during the partition wars. Doing India's independence he was not peaceful either. He commanded forces that, time and time again, attacked others.
And Che Guevara. He was not a violent man, you see, he simply saw the bourgeoisie as constantly committing violence upon everyone and he was just using the minimum amount of force to prevent them from continuing that. That minimum amount of force, of course, included things like shooting any medical doctors on sight, several massacres, and having his followers do worse than even that.
Plenty more along these lines, Kemal Ataturk, the French revolutionaries, the Communists (granted, not so much in the USA, but even in the USA the "real socialists" are peaceful), muhammad, the muslim prophet, ...
But men of peace ! Men of the people ! In reality, living with some of these men was like living as a Jew under Hitler. Ironically, Adolf Hitler is also a Nobel Peace prize laureate.
A non-peaceful transition of power is what happened in Zimbabwe, or Mozambique, or DRC or so many other African countries when the colonial forces let go of the reigns.
That's one of the reasons why the concept of the 'cell' has emerged in multiple places in multiple movements, the only way to keep the organisation as a whole going under massive scrutiny from the authorities is to internally partition it so that compromise of one cell doesn't compromise the others, this only works for a longer period of time if the cell contacts up the tree are beyond the reach of the authorities for either political reasons (Sinn Fein in Ireland) or judicial reasons (they are outside the country in a place they can't be extradited from).
There is a fascinating history of the ANC in South Africa using a digital technology and long distance lines to London as a clearing house for information to avoid the security services in South Africa during apartheid.
Why do we have to consider what essentially is treason to a nation to be ok?
You have to go to the electorate and tell them "you see, this guy just leaked these documents which put our nation's security at risk. Shall we just set him free?". I'm sure that'll go well... you have Snowden/Assange to see how it went.
If we as a nation want those activities, then we should make them legal and clearly defined. If not, then stopping those activities from taking place hardly sounds like "treason".
We did, in 1998, in the Public Interest Disclosure Act https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Interest_Disclosure_Act...
And we made things a bit better for NHS Whistleblowers with the Freedom to Speak Up Review and and NHS Improvement (was Monitor) Freedom to Speak Up policy which is compulsory for NHS Trusts
I don't think we should make these things legal, personally, but I think they should either be legal so whistleblowing doesn't make sense or illegal and whistleblowing is encouraged.
Before RIPA we had a bunch of different public bodies using surveillance with little control over what they were doing. After RIPA they can still use surveillance if they follow the correct procedures, and some of the abuses were reigned in.
The police especially have strong powers to use surveillance.
If you leak data that damages the capability of the armed forces to carry out their tasks the maximum sentence is 2 years.
Compare that to:
> By way of contrast, sections 57 – 59 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, when commenced, will make it an offence punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment for a Crown servant to disclose without authorisation anything to do with the existence or implementation of particular warrants granted pursuant to the Investigatory Powers Act, including the content of intercepted material and related communications data.
So, while it might be right that official secrets is made more restrictive, but with an increased max sentence, that is a bit worrying because other law tends to anchor to OSA sentences, and we don't want longer sentences all over other data privacy laws.
Anyone who works in a classified/borderline field signs multiple documents that skirt around this, limit rights, and especially allow some form of nonjudicial prosecution.
As for that being right or wrong on either side, that is a long and frustrating argument.
Must acts that are committed now be judged by the laws that exist now? Yes.
Anyway, there already are whistleblower protection laws in many places.
Per the article in the Guardian, the Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the claims.
I'll note that the corroboration was passwords of politically active people, which frankly doesn't do anything to implicate law enforcement. This may well simply be yet another "whistleblower" attempting to sow distrust of any authorities who are not beholden to their own influence.
A similar thing happened in Quebec, Canada.
And in Newfoundland a man who made comments on Twitter criticizing the police was tracked down then hauled off to a psychiatric hospital. He was admitted against his will and using suspicious methods.
Well jeez no wonder they were hacked if they're that easy to socially engineer. "Verify my password? That's funny, you're the third one this month..."
"Nono, you've got it wrong, MY password is hunterTHREE - you see there was this incident..."
But realistically I think your right. People will gladly handout passwords to people who sound authoritative. It's amazing to me how many DEFCON talks begin with: "So we just pretended to be X and asked for their password and got it."
So these were all abandoned passwords, at the point Bindmans confirmed them correct.
Having said which, the notion that people are generally crap with passwords is obviously correct. Also I wouldn't be at all surprised if the way the article reports the password verification is abridged or at least wildly inaccurate.
Edit: I notice the Guardian article says Jones is represented by Jules Carey, who's a very well known and trusted lawyer among UK environmental activists, not a random person. I don't know if that's who they gave up their old passwords to, but we seem to be generally letting our imaginations run away with us here so let's say it was.
Personally, I would almost certainly say no on the principle that nobody should have my email password, but I'd probably be okay with revealing one letter at a time while they also reveal one letter at a time of the alleged password.
If I get my bike stolen I am not be blamed if I use a shitty lock.
If I get raped I am not to be blamed if I was too drunk to resist.
If I get hacked I am not to be blamed if I was susceptible to social engineering.
Yes, it is very useful for potential victims to learn how to best protect themselves. But the moral responsibility in such violations is on the attacker, and is proportional to the damage caused to the victim, not the efforts taken to cause it.
Admittedly, this is part of why part of the crypto-activist community puts me off. Yes, cryptography is a great resistance tool, but my utopia is a society built on cooperation, equality and trust, not one of algebraic fences.
Bike theft: stealth, in my list above -- someone acted while you weren't attentive. You didn't hand over the bike, so you're not to be blamed. Even if you used no lock whatsoever, I wouldn't blame you. You could've done more, but you need to weigh the benefits against the burden of a massive lock so there's no perfect way out.
Rape: force, in my list above. You had no ability to change the outcome. I wouldn't blame you.
Hacked via social engineering: You spilled the beans. Spilling beans is avoidable with some practice, awareness, logic... this is not the same category as the others. I don't say "this is all you're fault," of course not. But unlike the bike thief and the rapist, all you had to do was ignore the attack.
And even if there was authentication, now it's time for authorization. The only authorized recipient of a password is the exact same entity with which you established the password.
Yes, dressing a certain way, drinking a lot of alcohol, and attending a party doesn't begin to excuse rape. But that doesn't mean it was a good idea and is something you should do without considering the possible consequences.
If someone calls and says they work for a security firm, offers to confirm if you were involved in a hack and you do tell them your password, you are probably falling for a scam. That's all GP is saying.
If you insult someone's mother, you might get hit. If you leave valuables or cash on top of a car in a bad neighborhood it might be stolen. It's still the fault of whoever did the bad action, and everyone would be better off if you didn't need to take precautions line that, but you could have easily taken steps to lower the chance of it happening.
If you say to buckle your seatbelt, get a fire extinguisher, or look both ways before crossing the road no one bats an eye. God forbid you acknowledge that there are bad people in the world and you should take steps to protect yourself from them.
GP is suggesting that the people involved were clueless rubes who gave out their passwords to people of unknown identity, which I submit is almost certainly untrue.
I also tend to gag slightly at the phrase "victim blaming", because I think it's a shibboleth that identifies your allegiances and shuts down critical thinking. But I don't actually think it's unwarranted here. Yes, the article says the people involved gave Bindmans their passwords. It also says those passwords were defunct, and that Bindmans had them anyway. It doesn't say that they didn't make reasonable efforts to verify that sharing the passwords was the right thing to do (which, as it turns out, it was). It's extremely ungenerous to respond to that by saying they deserved it for being so crap at security.
> Bad security practice is bad security practice and pointing it out doesn't make you Hitler.
I am willing to concede that it's unlikely anybody in this thread is Hitler.
For this reason Signal is hardly comparable to Whatsapp and many other apps using the same protocol: the latter group openly logs metadata, the former says they almost don't, is open source, is more trustworthy due to the organizational structure. Finally, there's even some evidence ( https://whispersystems.org/bigbrother/eastern-virginia-grand... ) that they don't.
At least parts of the server are open for a long time though, and they also recently exchanged some stuff into WebRTC. Could anybody clarify what part of it is still nonfree?
Not as much these days. Even SMTP uses opportunistic encryption between email servers. So it takes a number of emails to make a statistical inference based on timing if there is any amount of traffic.
Meanwhile, there are places that are living in a dystopia, and the single most important goal of the powers that be in those places is undermining the rule of law. So I can't help but be skeptical of stories like this.
We have a society where we can air discussions about topics like this, and where criminals can be kept out of the public sphere, and these are good things. There. And hey, tonight at least, for once, I won't go to a throwaway to say so.
If anything, cases like this demonstrate how quickly that can change when you soften surveillance and free speech laws. Look at Turkey. Turning a democracy into a dictatorship took only a few years.
The German government, too, is working on establishing a massive censorship complex. How can you tell it's censorship? They don't bother going after the people who make supposedly illegal statements. Instead, they pressure social networks directly to make the statements disappear without any legal process.
Right now, many people are cheering, because it works in their favor, but they're too shortsighted to realize that it'll eventually be used against them, too.
Note that I'm not even saying that certain statements shouldn't be punishable, but in a democracy, there must be a legal process for each and every case. When opinions or money decide what should be censored, it stops being a democratic process.
Right now, they've appointed a private organization (Arvato) that belongs to the Bertelsmann group, which has a strong lobbying branch and is very close to the government.
So basically, a private corporation is allowed to run its own show on all ends and it'll only get worse when they turn this into a law.
>However, going after the posters (and even just identifying them) takes a long time.
That doesn't justify censorship in any way. You sound like a government shill.
Arvato was contracted by Facebook to enforce their own terms of service and comply with the law. They are free to contract any company they like to operate on their platform. It's not the government that chose Arvato.
If you think that law is the result of lobbying alone you haven't followed to large public debate that happened over this topic the last year at all.
And please refrain from name-calling. This doesn't make your arguments look any better.
Like I said:
>Right now, many people are cheering, because it works in their favor, but they're too shortsighted to realize that it'll eventually be used against them, too.
The problem is that hate speech is the most generic term ever and can be used (and already has been used) to censor anything.
>People were punished for internet posts
Yes, I mentioned that, but they didn't start an investigation against all authors of deleted posts. Millions of posts and pages with millions of followers were deleted without any legal repercussions. If the post is not enough concern to start an official legal investigation, there's no legal ground to delete it.
You are defending censorship. Saying you sound like a government shill is putting it very nicely.
What's the use of being able to freely discuss any story if the people who's job is to uncover sensitive stories are silenced?
We like to think our Western countries somehow are immune, but without any particular reason. In reality we should worry more due to our technology. If lack of free speech combines with the ability to monitor everyone's speech (through phones, TV, breaking ssl) we will have recreated 1984 quite well.
That seems unfair. I am sure there are many governments that would like to get their share of data too.
At what point along the path to that dystopia are you going to recognize that a problem exists and fight against it? It's far better to detect and try to fix problems before they spiral out of control. If you're waiting until you see a stereotypical Orwellian dystopia, it's too late.
> surveillance that is being done is promulgating a safe and stable society
Although many people claim surveillance is correlated with safety, there is very little evidence of it having any benefit.
> not toeing the sky-is-falling line doesn't do much for those numbers by my username.
That's not from a any party line, but instead is probably a reaction by the people trying to prevent a dystopian future. Pretending that problems don't exist just because they are not yet sufficiently terrible is how small problems grow into larger problems.
> is undermining the rule of law.
We've seen a many examples of that in recent times. I you believe the US is properly ruled by laws, you haven't been paying attention. We've had a two-tier justice system for such a long time it's spawned slang phrases such as "driving while black". Hang out with public defenders for a few days if you need any more proof.
The evidence that such systems endanger safety, meanwhile, should be obvious to anyone who has read about how surveillance has been used, from totalitarian states to even liberal democracies (even in the somewhat recent US history), as well as knowledge of how quickly the latter could turn into the former.
I would not plan on going back any time soon, I'm sure I'm not a minority in thinking this.
"'Undercover lays bare the deceit, betrayal and cold-blooded violation practised again and again by undercover police officers - troubling, timely and brilliantly executed.' Henry Porter
The gripping stories of a group of police spies - written by the award-winning investigative journalists who exposed the Mark Kennedy scandal - and the uncovering of forty years of state espionage.
This was an undercover operation so secret that some of our most senior police officers had no idea it existed. The job of the clandestine unit was to monitor British 'subversives' - environmental activists, anti-racist groups, animal rights campaigners.
Police stole the identities of dead people to create fake passports, driving licences and bank accounts. They then went deep undercover for years, inventing whole new lives so that they could live incognito among the people they were spying on.
They used sex, intimate relationships and drugs to build their credibility. They betrayed friends, deceived lovers, even fathered children. And their operations continue today.
Undercover reveals the truth about secret police operations - the emotional turmoil, the psychological challenges and the human cost of a lifetime of deception - and asks whether such tactics can ever be justified."
- this book I read in three days, it was that thrilling!
Hard to believe someone found out with such a watertight process...
But guess what the electorate will say? "They only came for the Socialists. I'm not a Socialist". Sad times.
Here is PJ O'Rourke writing about this in the 1960s in the US.
People don't just don't care that much.
It is worth worrying about though. With the NSA and computer surviellance we've created a 'turn-key tyranny'. And people have been worrying about that since at least the 1970s: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/04/influential-senator-w...
Well, it's not easy to understand. At times they've cared enough to extract meaningful change, so we shouldn't assume that that will never happen again. If you ask them privacy questions phrased in the right ways (I mean for clarity, not trick questions), they will often be pro-privacy.
Also, as Schneier says, we're relatively new to the internet. Who says people won't come to understand it, and the privacy issues that come along with it, better?
While I concur that many people have the "but I'm not doing anything wrong" mentality, even if you do care, you have no influence on the situation. Both of our 2 parties are apparently happy to let the intelligence agencies trample the 4th Amendment. It takes an odd duck like Ron Paul (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-11/ron-paul-warns-elec...) to actually stand up to such things. We need more of these kinds of voices in our political system, which is why I vote Libertarian in any race I can.
Edit- Superficially wrong about this (the requirement for this nomenclature changed, but it's still acceptable usage). However, I think I'm right in the effect, as:
>The concept of a subject remains in the law, and the terms the Queen's subjects, Her Majesty's subjects, etc., remain in use in British legal discourse.
Because they are the real terrorists. I seriously think they had dissidents in mind when pushing for all those "anti-terror" surveillance laws.
This doesn't add up for me yet, because I don't understand what the supposed motive is. Do the police have much interest in journalists accounts? I mean really, what's the thinking here? Are London police ignoring murders of journalists? The UK is hardly an autocracy.
Frankly we should wait to see what the IPCC says. This could easily be entirely fabricated, the only corroboration was information that would be accessible to cybercriminals, not anything that implicates law enforcement specifically.
Not only autocracies do this kind of evil. Especially now that the (deeps state) ruling class consists mainly of capitalist, you can see that the police targeting dissidents fits a clear motive.
Sorry I don't think you should state conspiracy theories as fact without someone calling you on it. There are reasons for police to spy on activists (even illegally) without needing to assert the existence of a "deep state"
EDIT: to clarify, above where I say "reasons" I mean just that, not "reasons that I necessarily agree with"
These are people with political views the government disapproves of. They are not bomb-throwing anarchists or people with a history of violence. They are not organising or threatening acts of public violence.
This is entirely a free speech issue.
Animal rights protestors have firebombed several UK department stores (for selling fur), and abattoirs and milk distribution depots; dug up a corpse from a grave and held the body hostage; rescued animals from labs and caused damage to the labs;
Far right groups have rallies that attract considerable violence; an English politician was murdered by a far right extremist.
Illegal surveillance is obviously, unambiguously, wrong. The people who did it need to face both disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.
There's real "people harming" evil all over our societies. Evil towards rather innocent people that destroys lives and kills, often benefiting the perpetrators (financially, or by pushing their agenda). These, to me, are the only crimes that need tough surveillance.
So under your definition of terrorism someone needs to be injured? You're diverging from the dictionary a little there.
Some kinds of animal-rights attacks on shops or universities could qualify, especially ones using indiscriminate methods like car bombs. But I don't see how it makes sense, apart from wanting to use pejorative hyperbole, to use "terrorism" to describe sabotage that damages equipment on a lab or farm, things like throwing paint or glue on things, short-circuiting electronics, etc. We already have the perfectly good words "sabotage" and "saboteur" to describe those acts and the people who carry them out. If these all start being grouped under "terrorism", then we end up with absurdities like describing the Boston Tea Party as an 18th-century terrorist attack, which I've actually seen people do, but I don't think is useful.
I mentioned a group that stole a corpse from a grave.
> The militants, including a vicar's son and a psychiatric nurse, led what they called a "holocaust" against a farm which bred guinea pigs for medical research. Jon Ablewhite, John Smith and Kerry Whitburn pursued a six-year hate campaign against Darley Oaks farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire. Whitburn's girlfriend, Josephine Mayo, was sentenced to four years for a lesser part in the campaign.
> Almost 100 people connected to the farm were targeted. Explosive devices were sent to some, mail threatening to kill and maim to others. There were attacks on homes, cars and businesses. The relentless campaign culminated in the theft of the body of Gladys Hammond, a close relative of the Hall family who ran the farm, from her grave in October 2004.
> For months, activists taunted the Halls, telling them the body would be returned if they closed the farm. The body was found only last week in woodland after Smith told the authorities where it was.
This is a campaign of violence, against people, for political reasons.
The comment I replied to generalised the work of these activists as "potential property damage"... which in the case of the Animal Liberation Front's firebombing campaign, or the plan to interfere with the safe operation of a nuclear power station is incorrect. They're both acts that put lives at risk and clearly intend to cause fear beyond the event.
Firebombing department stores to stop them selling fur is terrorism by most definitions of the word.
Don't forget that arson is a particular type of criminal damage and carries much heavier sentences because it's so dangerous.
No-one even knows why they were infiltrating them in the first place. The Met has got seriously out of control. Undercover officers with crazy fake identities not investigating crimes but acting as stasi agents.
This is not a surprise nor particularly unbelievable.
Talk to some anarchists, activists and others that may be labeled as dissidents by the capitalists ruling class. They will clearly tell you their motives: keep the status quo from being seriously challenged, allowing the rich get richer at the expense of the broader societies and the environment they exploit.
Authoritarians (like cops, broadly speaking) have always tried to spy on people who might subvert their own authority and the status quo, like protestors, activists, and the journalists who cover such things and who keep in touch with such people. It has ever been thus.
Social reformers sometimes actually change things - think of the labor movement, the civil rights movement - but foreign terror against random civilians usually only re-enforces the social order and the status of cops. The cops are, and have historically been, more concerned with domestic journalists than with foreign terrorists or even actual criminals.
"Cops caught spying on journalists and activists, won't even apologize" has been a pretty common headline for many decades.
Journalists may have information that the state may want to know. For instance, you'd want to know if a new Snowden is leaking info to more Guardian journalists. It's wrong and worrisome, of course, but I'm not surprised in the least.
The police had legal surveillance powers available to them, but chose not to use them.
Now they face both disciplinary action and criminal prosecution; and the victims can sue for damages.
However I don't really fear either though I think the former is the more likely thing to affect me.
I'm sure somebody out there will argue over the exact numbers, but the general point that terrorism isn't in the top 100 causes of death is unassailable.
No comments needed.
Except that, you know, not sure how impartial the World Socialist Web Site is likely to be!!
I did not see this yet in any of the MSM sites I sometimes poll on these matters. Nothing yet! If this news if true, which I believe at this point, then it is a BIG story (proven total failure of democracy, high up officials in charge have to step down because of protests). Here on HN we seem to generally agree that it is a big story as it is on the front page for quite some hours.
It originated in the Guardian. That is a MSM outlet. That said, it originated in an opinion piece. What you have is something that the Guardian didn't have enough facts for to make a real story yet, and you are expecting other MSM sources to report on it, which means they would be reporting on a Guardian opinion piece, since that's all the evidence they have.
I find it much more likely that multiple investigative divisions are looking into this and trying to find something factual to report. In the end, that is still one of the major differences between MSM outlets and random small news sites - one of them is actually expected to be accountable for what they report.
Dunno man. I've seen stuff being reported by MSMs that was well below the professional threshold for me. Guardian seems to be one to better big outlets.
But I have to give to credit for pointing out a very valid reason for other MSMs not reporting on it.
It's not perfect, but it exists. That's why you see retractions at major agencies. That said, they don't generally feel compelled to retract conjecture, unless egregious, and conjecture is often misinterpreted as fact (likely sometimes because of purposefully vague presentation).
I still view an organization willing to make retractions as a level above one that isn't, even if the line between conjecture and fact is sometimes obscured (because they all do that, MSM or not).
Who is your favorite "impartial" reporter? Publication?
If the WSWS is respectable, presumably it will have a history of handling stories responsibly, and someone here can vouch for that. If nobody here knows, then it is useful to note that so people can investigate before assuming truth.
By propaganda I mean stories whose only purpose is engender attitudinal change, eg gleefully reporting on sex scandals but only if they happen to your political enemies. Obviously they have a pretty orthodox Marxist/communist agenda but since they're completely open about that I don't consider it manipulative of their readership.
For me to double down, I would have to have been the author of the original comment, or even agreed with the manner it was delivered, no? I can't help but find your response ironic.
If anyone needed more evidence that we are living in a bourgeois democracy rather than a people's democracy, look no further than this government policy enforced by their thugs.
The only way to remove manipulation is to remove emotion from politics. So you either need someone who knows what needs to be done and can't be influenced otherwise, or a system that is not easy to influence, like one based on facts and evidence.
Enlightened dictator is a high risk high reward type of deal though, even if he is awesome then there are no guarantees afterwards. Basically rolling dice. Of course you need to do other things too, like restricting the influence of money in politics, but even with decent politicians the masses are vulnerable to manipulation by various interests. That really is the Achilles heel of democracy. So the system needs to be transparent and based on the scientific method. It really is the only way to remain impartial and objective.
We have a long way to get there however, so I think a short term solution is to invest in education. I know it's kind of a platitude and also imperfect, but history and research has shown that education really is the defining factor between the good and the bad. A democracy needs an educated populace, monarchy was fine and natural for certain times because it pretty much the only thing that could have worked when 95% of the populace was illiterate and relatively stupid. Sudden democracy in the Middle Ages would have been a disaster. Unfortunately there seems to be a trend of anti-intellectualism recently is certain places like the UK and US. Make no mistake, whether it is deliberate or not, it is exactly what many interests want. Dumb people are much easier to manipulate.
I don't think that's the only way. At least, I think there's a few things to try first.
If information dissemination is being exploited due to new technology, first we should try to fix that in various ways. There are various other problems that might or might not have full or partial solutions as well.
When you have a hole in the henhouse that lets a fox in, the first step is to try to close the hole and possibly trap or kill the fox, not to stop raising chickens. Even if new holes are occasionally dug, as long as it's still worth it to grow chickens, you don't just give up.
There will always be ways to exploit various systems, you can only react, not prevent in those cases. Because of entropy, complexity is always increasing. It means that not only are the problems going to be getting harder to address individually but that new problems and systems will be created at an exponentially increasing rate. Those problems are superficial in nature and more like symptoms in any case, than real causes. You have to address the root of the problem and that is human nature. Instead of chopping of the heads of a hydra, shoot in in the heart or something.
As long as politics can play on emotions, people will be liable to act irrationally and thereby manipulated.
I personally think the solution may be to remove the idea of representation from government, because the perverse incentives for anyone at a structural node are tempting and human nature is fragile. You can try to engineer corruption and rent-seeking with rule systems, but as we've seen in many Communist countries taking money out of things doesn't necessarily get your a more equitable or sustainable society.
I see a future with a much abridged legal code that is maintained somewhat like Wikipedia or a version control system, and whose implementation is built around blockchain technology and a narrowly-defined ethical calculus. However I can only handwave this for the time being as the challenges of computation legal and governmental systems are non-trivia, not to mention offering the many novel problems that would surely ensue.
I'm not sure what to do about giving the vote to people; arguably democracy is very good, but I would rather have per-commune direct democracy (with instantly recallable delegates or without) rather than a representative democracy.
In short, I want to do away with voting for masters, as it will be unjustified authority no matter which way it's taken.
Edit: can people please explain why they are downvoting? It would be nice to know so I can improve the quality of my posts in future.
You believe in an oxymoron?
In Marxist Communism (and, with variations that are important but not relevant to this discussion, it's derivatives through Leninism), "Communism" is the desired stateless end-state, and the "dictatorship of the proletariat" in which the workers seize control of the means of production through the State—Socialism—is a transitional stage used to get from Capitalism to Communism.
Non-Marxist Communism seeks the same stateless end goal by other means; Anarcho-Communism is, in a sense, among the purest forms of Communism, since it seeks fairly direct (not necessarily immediate, but constsntly in the same direction and not the out-and-back "empower the State to destroy the State" approach) transition to the statelessend end-state.
Consider something else, reproduction. While not all people want to have children, it is a major desire of many people. How do we ensure equal opportunity of reproduction to all who wish to have children?
I do not think that Socialism itself does away with the problems of humanity, but it does away with the power relationship between proletarian and bourgeois, and also all those other historical classes.
Communism isn't about equality of outcomes, it's about having the ability to apply your labour in the way which you are able to, in order to provide for yourself. Of course we must work to live (which is unfortunate, but Socialism helps mitigate that by voluntary means). It is totally fine, in my opinion, to have more than the other person next door. In a Communist society, the only reason why you would have more is because you worked harder, put more hours in, or were more efficient at what you do than the other person.
With regard to children, I don't know how to answer that question, and I don't know if there exists such a way by voluntary association which leads to such an outcome as perfect equal opportunity for reproduction. I would be very interested in finding a way, though.
Karl Marx died in 1883 so while he was probably able to make guesses about how steam engines would be deployed in the future he never lived to see an actual automobile. Adam Smith's economic insights were likewise somewhat limited by the technology of his day; one has to be careful not to attribute knowledge that we only enjoy with hindsight to economic theorists of earlier eras.
This statement is true in the same way 'Anarcho-Communist' is. Care to guess how?
In fact this goes as far back as the 19th century if not more, with workers rights activists, human rights activists and others. And doesn't stop at collecting data.
You can't have it both ways. Either LEO follow the letter of the law and we're not in some 1984 scenario (because there are, in fact, substantial protections for privacy under the law), or they do not, and we're left with this mystery of why things like the USA PATRIOT Act exist, which now needs to be explained.
How many law enforcement officials have been indicted for homicide again?
(If you're a member of the Establishment, that is..)
If you do something colossally illegal, you'd usually try to hide it rather than subcontract to people you've never met...
Virtually nobody is a British subject, we are citizens.
There are only two cases where you can be a British subject: if you were born in the Republic of Ireland before 1949 and claimed British subject status before 1983, or if you were born in a British colony that gained independence but you didn't become a citizen of the new country.
I'm now 38 years old and have seen little evidence to support your statement, either in the UK or elsewhere.
Most people seem _totally_ okay with members of their ruling class being drone-murdering, tax-thieving, law-breaking, crotch-grabbing assholes.
If only the subjects of the UK had a spine, as a people, and the willingness to confront the dire evil that has usurped their political infrastructure .. alas, they don't. A nation of cowards, really.
A nation of sheep perhaps but not a nation of cowards.
Not to mention a significant portion of the society appears to be perfectly aligned with the need for a total surveillance state, due to an endemic national fear that, perhaps, the imperial acts committed in their name will come home to roost..
Not sure how you arrived at that conclusion, most people I know don't know much about what we did during the age of empire and the rest broadly think Empire was a good thing for the countries we conquered.
I'm talking about here and now.
But you're right, nobody knows about that, either.
No, it is not. It is a city where tiny portions have police cameras. Somewhat larger areas have council-controlled cameras that it's fairly easy for police to gain access to. The vast majority of CCTV in London - and in the UK - is privately controlled, and most of it is not networked. Police can get access to it if/when something has happened, but most of them also either don't record or record only on a 24h loop, and access is often enough of a hassle that police does not even bother.
Certainly there is a lot of surveillance in London, and especially the central areas and around important buildings, but it's nowhere near as bad as you imply.
I live in London - I'd have about a 20 minutes walk to the nearest networked, police controlled camera, and about 10-15 minutes walk to any camera. In any direction.
> surveillance vans
Yes, but how many of them do you think there are? They are a rare sight, and they are obvious. I'm sure the Met would like more of them, but they don't have the budget to use them all over the place.
I see them often. But equally often I ask myself what the point is. What are the odds of catching a crime? Or do they work in tandem with dispatchers from the police, moving around in areas near reported crimes to try to capture footage?
Because article 8 of the ECHR guarantees it and the courts generally uphold it. I haven't researched beyond this article but it clearly says what the Met is/was doing is/was illegal.
Surveillance vans are a myth.
Police cameras? Sure there is plenty of CCTV but most of its is privately owned and operated.
I don't think they meant "block" in the usual American sense, but in the general sense, that is: "an area".
> Surveillance vans are a myth.
Surveillance vans are not a myth, honestly. Maybe not in the what the police would call the "plebian" areas, but in the centre and Canary Wharf, you can see them every now and then, they even have their own WiFi you can try and connect to, which has like 3 password fields (I've tried when I was passing one in Canary Wharf).
> Sure there is plenty of CCTV but most of its is privately owned and operated
No evidence for this, and I think the parent comment meant "street-level" CCTV, not in buildings, and i'de be pushed to say it's more weighted towards public CCTV (govt.) rather than private.
City certainly is it's own little undemocratic (sure, you can vote, but so can nominees of corporations located in City), police-state fiefdom.
(for the non-Lononders, City of London is one of the financial districts of London, on the site of the historical site of the original settlement of London, and makes up a tiny portion of London; it's got its own police force, and a government that's entirely unlike anything else in the UK)
I was involved with a long trial that relied heavily on CCTV evidence and I'm interested to read how you think they are operated or owned.
Also, plenty of police vans with ANPR systems to check on cars etc as they drive about.
As for the rest, sometimes I wonder if people on HN have forgotten what the real world is like. Is encryption evil? Clearly not. Does it being prevalent cause issues with intercepting terrorist/criminal communications? Probably. So, sure, the prime minister said something which doesn't stand up to scrutiny - as have most politicians and indeed people. Just because someone is wrong doesn't mean that they've ill intentions.