It was said that if the UK transformed into a police state some day not a lot would have to change. We are one of the most policed societies in the world believe it or not. There is CCTV nearly everywhere you go and all this is put down to the fact terrorism is a bigger problem than ever before.
Well to me as a marxist terrorism is something that if it didn’t exist would be created by the ruling class. It is used to divide people from the class struggle and rule them with a bit of nationalist words to get us all thinking we must protect ourselves against these foreign terrorists wishing to ruin our way of life.
So am I surprised when I hear of this governments latest plans to monitor our activity on the internet and more ? no I rarely am these days.
Proposals for real-time monitoring of email and social media show the government has caved in to the security services
'The Terrorism Act was introduced by Tony Blair with the promise that it would be used only in the gravest of cases. Less than five years later it was used to bar an elderly man [Walter Wolfgangfrom the Labour party conference for heckling.'
If the government were to suggest monitoring every building that each person in the UK visits, and making a note of every conversation they had, the policy would be seen asfurther breach’s on the nanny state which we were told the tories were dead against before the election..
Assurances that the actual content of conversations wouldn't be recorded would be unlikely to help.
It's a telling sign of how many real-world freedoms have been sacrificed online, then, that a government that just two years ago pledged to "reverse the rise of the surveillance state" feels able to propose real-time monitoring of all email and social media communications.
The information stored would include the sender and recipient of an email, the time it was sent, and details of the computer it was sent from. This would build a profile of who contacts whom, with what frequency, and from where.
The government says such measures are essential to counter organised crime and terrorism, citing that 95% of organised crime investigations and "every" major counter-terrorism investigation use communications data. However, this statistic does not show if such information was essential or even useful to these investigations – merely that investigators chose to get hold of communications records on almost every occasion, usually via warrant or use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa).
This kind of surveillance is nothing new: it's been gradually expanding in the UK over the past decade, from measures that make it easier to obtain permission to monitor communications, to requiring internet service providers to store information on email communications to all their users. Under Ripa, state employees as junior as Royal Mail officers are allowed to "ping" mobile phones for location information on the basis of a simple, unrecorded, verbal request.
Information about each email sent – the data that would be covered by the new proposals – already has to be stored by providers for at least a year under UK law. The change would make it accessible to intelligence services in real time, presumably to allow for patterns or unusual activity to be spotted.
Such efforts sound impressive, but whether adding to the huge pile of data at the disposal of the UK's intelligence agencies will make us safer is questionable. Trawling big data for suspicious activity is the 21st-century version of finding needles in a haystack. Terrorists are thankfully very rare relative to the size of the population. As such, attempts to identify suspicious patterns of activity may generate many "false positives": examples of innocent behaviour
All this comes in the background to what we hear on G4S security who is now one of the largest if not the largest employers of workers in the world now. A huge private security firm making profit out of security is it any wonder the government who have been found to have links to this company are wishing to have these nuggets of information about us and our habits opened up to a wider audience.