Current Polls

  Goldcroft 13:18 21 May 03

Was very surprised to see that to date 27 percent have said that the government has the right to spy on our internet traffic.

Just wonder if the phrase linking the question to current terrorism problems has influenced voters. Also would point out that the question refers to everyone, not just suspects.

Do we really want the government to have the right to spy on us IN ALL AREAS of our lives, for make no mistake, no government could resist making use of any information they find, even though it may have no connection to security of the state, criminality etc.

Personally I would not trust any government to act honourably. You only have to read the secrets which are released after 50 (60?) years to feel that way.

  allstar 13:44 21 May 03

I agree.

The problem is that advocates of monitoring always say "if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn't be worried".

I have nothing to hide but I am worried. This sort of monitoring means that all public sector employees could have the ability to view my personal details (The Home Office is currently attempting to increase the no. of depts that can view the info) and any unscrupuluos member of the civil service could use my credit card etc.

There is an element here of guilty until proven innocent. I abhor terrorism, peadophilia etc but am always wary of the media frenzy surrounding the so called guilt of people before their trial or even being charged in some cases.

Ultimately, I feel iti s nobody's business if I view PCA site 10 times a day or whether I bank on-line etc. There are other ways of investigating and it seems that the authorities are choosing the least cost option without a thought for all the heartache they may cause the innocent.

  -pops- 14:04 21 May 03

George Orwell's vision may be a few years late but, never fear, it will soon be upon us. It could be worse, fulfilling the visions of Franz Kafka.

Are we going to enter into a system like in so many oppressive regimes - like the one just destroyed in Iraq - where everyone is spying on everyone else?

Are our leaders becoming as paranoic as Ceausescu in Romania or Saddam? I sincerely hope not.

One thing though, look on the bright side, it will probably bring full employment.

  Goldcroft 14:26 21 May 03

Yes. The government wants us all to translate to e business and has set - albeit stupidly short - target dates. Just imagine what it could do with all our information and details and history readily searchable and collatable.

Personally I do not object to an ID card, but I would object if that card could be swiped to uncover every aspect of my life.

Pops: thought you were too old to be recruitable as a secret policeman?

PS: please don't forward that remark to the authorities.

  -pops- 14:52 21 May 03

Too old to be a conventional policeman, most certainly but, I don't think there's an age barrier for the secret police.

Sorry I didn't respond immediately, just had to get my report off to MI7½.


  Goldcroft 15:09 21 May 03

Oh God. Someone has just rung the front door bell.

Seriously, I would like to hear from someone who has voted "for" in the poll. It would be interesting to hear why.

  Belatucadrus 17:45 21 May 03

I don't think the poll question is clear enough, does it mean they should have carte blanche to look at any Internet activity, or are they expecting some form of control mechanism, such as used for bugging and other forms of surveillance ? It's a difficult question, I expect the government to use all measures possible to protect me from terrorists, perverts etc, yet I don't want them to read my e-mail. No matter how they handle this it's a no win situation. If it was confined to security or criminal issues I wouldn't be too concerned, but when they refer to Stasi like archives of all e-mail open to uncle Tom Cobbly and all I get worried.

  jeez 18:04 21 May 03

I voted for, and although reluctant to do so, I did because too many people find the internet a safe haven for terrorism, organised crime, football hooligans, paediophiles, etc,etc,etc. What is true is that if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about. And more to the point, how many of you actually believe that they aren't already monitoring us anyway?

A bit, of sense however would go a long way, I believe that person-specific monitoring should be allowed, but only with a warrant. And general monitoring (for specific words like bomb, etc) whenever they see fit.

  allstar 20:26 21 May 03


The point is that I have nothing to hide but I am worried. What business is it of the authorities if I surf for 10 minutes today and 30 minutes tomorrow. I am entitled to privacy and expect this to remain.

I also feel I am entitled to go about my lawful business without being under suspicion or being hassled. I think you will find that obstructing someone from going about their lawful business is illegal. Do you really think that those being monitored will be allowed to continue doing this?

This last point is exactly what will happen. As pops pointed out, George Orwell's Big Brother may be late but it is coming. We need to have an open and honest discussion about who will use and why and when.

Ultimately, who will watch the watchers?

  Forum Editor 21:08 21 May 03

Do you think that any government would propose allowing any agency - the police say - to open your ordinary post? "Of course not" I hear you say, and you would be right; there's no way any politician would countenance it, because you would know it had been done. The whole crux of this Internet data thing is that it's clandestine - you don't know when it's being done - and that should worry us shouldn't it, or should it? And what about that phrase "In the interests of national security" surely that overrides every other consideration - although who decides what is in the interests of national security anyway?

What about your telephone - surely the government should be able to ask BT to provide details of the numbers you the interests of National security?

  wee eddie 22:24 21 May 03

Checks & Balances

I expect that such a bill will come before the House within the next 5 years. We will then have to rely on our MP's to create a raft of checks and balances, which will monitor the Security Services.

Unfortunately the ability of terrorist groups to hide their activities form the Law (bounded by the Human Rights Legislation as they are) has reached a threat level that leaves the Security Services hamstrung within their present parameters.

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