Government snooping plans: outrageous, ineffective and expensive

This story looked for all the world like an April Fool's joke: Labour's plan for a massive surveillance programme that would dwarf anything dreamed up by the KGB, brought back to life by its opponents?

The surveillance state is back

David Cameron warned us in 2009 that "Today we are in danger of living in a control state." Sadly that's every bit as true now as it was under Labour. The Conservatives want to snoop on your emails. Every time you look at a web page, they want to know what you looked at, and when you looked at it. They want to monitor your phone calls and text messages. They want to record the details of everything you say on Facebook Chat, and keep a list of everyone you ever spoke to in a multi-player game.

Massive U-turn for Coalition

This is a massive U-turn for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, ignoring the platforms they campaigned on, and throwing away the text of their coalition agreement which explicitly promises "We will end the storage of Internet and email records without good reason."

Ineffective, but expensive

We're bound to hear the sinister justification that 'if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear". Well, the exact opposite is true in this case. If you do have something to hide, it's inevitably going to be trivially easy to avoid this surveillance system, through privacy systems like Tor, or simply by using foreign web servers. If you're just an honest member of the public you have to fear not just the phenomenal multi-billion pound cost of the system, or the massive logistical and economic burdens that UK companies will have to cope with, but something far worse: The absolute certainty of leaks.

Almost without exception, government IT systems never work properly and always go massively over budget. Even if this scheme wasn't a violation of our human right to privacy, we can ill afford to pay for another massive white elephant in the current financial crisis.

The current system of surveillance authorised by judges when there is reasonable suspicion works well, and gives the police all the powers they need while protecting innocent members of the public from excessive surveillance.

Transparent government, not transparent citizens!

Too many of our civil liberties have been eroded. The Pirate Party says enough is enough: We call for transparent government not transparent citizens!

When the Prime Minister said "If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state." he was right. We can't trust Labour, Lib Dems or the Conservatives any more, none of them have the principles or the guts to fight the surveillance state. Only the Pirate Party is in tune with the public. Only the Pirate Party remains committed to fighting for your freedom. Take a stand. Join us at https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/party/membership/

Andrew Robinson
Founder, Pirate Party UK

Monday, 2 April, 2012 - 10:45
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