Saturday, 23 June 2012

Snoop laws invading privacy

Chequered internet history?
With the Home office proposals to keep tabs on the emails we send and receive as well as our Internet providers keeping a record of what websites we visit one is forced to ask;


Also more pointedly; To what end?

I know that the Police etc could keep an eye out for would be terrorists, paedophiles and hackers but lets be honest how many actually indulge in this? I know the tired old argument that if I'm not up to mischief then what am I afraid of but...

What I do in my free time is up to me. It is my Private life.

If I want to sit at home on my laptop reading articles about Medway's past or what Mr Clegg is up to now, or stare longingly at Games-Workshop's latest model is up to me and my personal business and the state have no right to take an interest in it until it can effect the state. It would be the same if I was using the Internet to watch an absolute boatload of pornography or conduct an extra marital affair, why should the state know before my wife? Also my emails correspondence are my own just the same as the post. I don't expect MI5 to monitor my post or MI7 to police what has been said.

Not that I am having an affair nor watching porn - if I was that would be up to me.

What I do look at on the Internet, and could raise suspicion, is my well known interest in the Luftwaffe and the campaigns of the German military throughout World War II. Now all the sites I visit are Military based and have nothing to do with the bloated tumour that is Nazism however to the casual observer who just glances at the pictures on the site and not really read the content, I may appear to be a goose-stepping Nazi.

Which- again, I'm really not but there lies the danger.

I know this will all sound rich coming from me after the long protracted debate with Andrew Emmerson about Civil Liberties and CCTV but this is how I've separated it in my mind and feel free to disagree...

CCTV watches public areas and according to the strict guidelines laid down in the SIA licence individuals cannot be targeted without due suspicion. For example you're walking down the Rochester High street and you spot a CCTV camera, you are but one face in the crowd and no interest will be paid to you.
You draw a handgun and start aiming it at people - the operators may spot you, zoom in and call the police because you are breaking the law and it will no doubt be the first time you've been seen.
Alternately you hang around a post office paying particular attention to OAPs coming out with their pension money, the chances are an operator may zoom in on you to see if you are up to no good and if they're satisfied you're just loitering they must zoom back out.
You also have the right to contact any Public authority and demand a copy of ALL footage they may have of you.

With my emails and web usage it is my Private life not what I get up to in Public.

The basis of law, according to the statute books, is that you are free to do what ever you want so long as your actions do not interfere with anyone else's freedoms or do anything that someone else would consider objectionable. This was one of the legal loop holes that was used to argue for the decriminalisation of Homosexuality - what goes on between consenting people behind closed doors is their own affair.

CCTV is not allowed to look into Private residences or places and neither should the Government.

The hope that I hold, and many Libdems should feel the same, is that the Coalition has assigned Dr Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, to the review process. I have a lot of respect for Dr Huppert and he has a proven track record of standing up for Libdem values and beliefs, including voting against the rise in Tuition fees.

So let us hope that Dr Huppert will act as a voice of reason in this affair and the Government will not adopt these invasive measures.

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