Jesse Kline: Online spying in the U.K.
The U.K., which is already a hotbed of surveillance, is looking to expand their online spying regime in a way that's very similar to what we may be facing here in Canada. As intrepid academic Christopher Parsons has noted, the U.K.'s invasive surveillance system comes riddled with communication errors and breeches, and an ever-increasing use of monitoring, especially for minor offences (employees arriving late to work, for example). The U.K. also suffers from "a continuing failure…to demonstrate that less intrusive methods have been considered", according to their Information Commissioner.
The online spying regime that's is active and ever-worsening in the U.K could be reflected in Canada if online spying bill C-30 is passed. That is, unless we all take a stand.
Article by Jesse Kline for the National Post:
In the 2005 movie V for Vendetta (based on the comic book of the same name), the Conservative Party in the U.K. cements its hold on power following a terrorist attack, which turns out to be an inside job. In order to maintain control, the government institutes strict censorship laws and sends secret police — known as “Fingermen” — out to patrol streets in surveillance vans that allow them to listen in on the private conversations taking place within people’s homes. Apparently, British Prime Minister David Cameron saw this work as a policy document, rather than dystopian science fiction.
In 2010, the U.K. government expanded its existing Internet censorship apparatus, which was originally designed to block access to child porn, to include websites that contain adult content considered criminally obscene (whatever that means). Now the government is expected to unveil a new surveillance proposal that will vastly expand its ability to snoop on Britons’ private lives.
Under the new proposal, the government would have the ability to monitor and track everyone’s Internet and phone usage, including the web sites people visit and who they communicate with. Although police and intelligence agents would not have the ability to eavesdrop on conversations directly, they would be able to compile data on who they contact and what they do online.
People in the U.K. spend approximately four-billion hours on the telephone and send some 130 billion text messages and one trillion emails each year. Combined with other technologies like Internet telephony and e-commerce, this would allow the government unprecedented access into the lives of ordinary citizens. And unlike the Fingerman in V, who had to cruise the streets listening for key words in private conversations, modern technology allows all these data points to be stored, catalogued and analyzed by computers. As one senior Liberal Democrat official put it, it’s “a big battle between those in favour of security and those in favour of liberty.”
Britons have a history of passively accepting an ever-increasing surveillance state. The country already has more closed-circuit cameras per capita than anywhere else (including one monitoring the former residence of George Orwell). If the proposed legislation becomes law, the state will have the ability to track someone’s movement in both the physical world and in cyberspace. Read more »
Read more at nationalpost.com