Monday, January 5, 2009

Rule Of Law? What That?

THE Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant.

The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs....

The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room.

Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.

Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone’s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.

Jesus H Christ!

Hell, why not just let the police do what the hell they like, after all they are jolly nice people who are only trying to protect us!

However, opposition MPs and civil liberties groups say that the broadening of such intrusive surveillance powers should be regulated by a new act of parliament and court warrants.

Damn right. The Police should not be judge and jury over the use of such powers...

A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he “believes” that it is “proportionate” and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime — defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years.

Incredible, but sadly not at all surprising. We have the most authoritarian and mendacious Government in the history of this country. We are sinking into the quicksands of the EU, rendering our Parliament powerless to oppose or enforce any degree of regulation over such powers.

And it is extremely ironic that this measure exposes the hypocrisy, contradictory, and impotent European Convention on Human Rights / Human Rights Act. For example, take Article 8 of the ECHR, supposedly designed to protect privacy...

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

  1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
  2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Part 2 undermines the very existence of the part 1. And indeed, such a right could not be a blanket right. As soon as one begins attempting to uphold positive liberties (rights), one gets into one hell of a mess as the contradictions render them practically meaningless.

Of course Brits already enjoyed a right to privacy before the ECHR. Not explicitly, but by the limitations of the powers of the state as granted by Parliament. That universal freedom, where an individual has absolute freedom other than where specifically denied by the law, serves as the best protection of freedom. We have no need for nebulous 'rights' which only serve to confuse the situation, and then require derogation in certain circumstances because they cannot be upheld universally.

It is time we repealed the Human Rights Act 1998 and withdrew from the ECHR. They serve no useful purpose to the British people.


  © Blogger template 'Isolation' by 2008

Back to TOP