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Speech on the timetabling of DRIP yesterday

Yesterday in the debate on the timetabling of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, I said: Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): The subject of the Bill is of profound importance to members of the public who care about such matters, and no wonder because it is the paradigmatic example of the conflict between the rights of the individual and the power of the state as enabled by technology. The Bill can be understood only in the context of the very worst crimes […]

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Counter-terrorism powers are too vulnerable to abuse

I recall vividly the day when a police officer – not one serving in Wycombe – told me of his disgust at a superior’s easy resort to counter-terrorism powers against people not suspected of terrorism. Now the police have taken that resort against a Guardian journalist’s partner, we have a story. In a video, the Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger explains that the disturbing element of the David Miranda arrest was the use of counter-terrorism powers to suspend the normal rules. […]

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Let’s not be hysterical about CCTV

As reported by the BBC and Sky, the CCTV Code Of Practice (PDF) comes into force today. Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch featured heavily on BBC Breakfast this morning, urging applicability of the code to private CCTV operators. Big Brother Watch writes: The code is a step in the right direction towards bringing proper oversight to the millions of cameras that capture our movements every day. However, with only a small fraction of cameras covered and without any penalties for breaking […]

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I didn’t seek election to roll forward Labour’s surveillance state

Via Government web surveillance: ‘Expensive, impractical, totalitarian’ – Telegraph: The Government’s plan to make Internet Service Providers capture personal communications data is nothing new. It was brought up under the last Labour government as the “Intercept Modernisation Programme” and received heavy criticism from the Tory party in opposition. The article concentrates on the practicalities of recording people’s internet activity. For a more philosophical point of view about why it shouldn’t be attempted, see Sam Bowman’s Our road to serfdom. Meanwhile, […]

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Remember, remember, the 5th of November

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As CNN reports, the V for Vendetta-style Guy Fawkes mask has inspired Occupy protesters around the world. CNN points out: Ironically Fawkes, far from being the anti-establishment hero he has come to be seen as in the years since his death, was a monarchist who merely wanted to replace the Anglican king with a Catholic queen. A transcript of his trial with co-conspirators is available here. It’s hard reading for one not accustomed to 17th century English but, in relation […]

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Tory MP says HMRC ‘menacing’ letters show state is using ‘sinister’ psychology | News | Money Marketing

Updated. A story on Money Marketing, reporting my comments to them on a letter that two of my constituents received from HMRC as a first demand (notwithstanding HMRC’s claim in the article that it is only sent as a third reminder): A Conservative MP says recent letters from HM Revenue & Customs demanding people pay up or face having their possessions auctioned is an example of behavioural psychology now being employed by the Government. And He says: “We now have […]

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Speech on the retention of DNA from those arrested but not charged or convicted

I spoke yesterday on clause 3 of the Protection of Freedoms Bill in committee. It relates to the retention of DNA from those arrested but not convicted. Via Hansard: Steve Baker: I support the clause. We have heard a great deal this afternoon about balance; in particular, the balance between evidence and principle has come out in hon. Members’ remarks. Consideration of that balance speaks very much to the nature of the clause. A lot of the talk has been […]

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Civil rights organisations capitulate on CCTV reduction – Big Brother Watch

From the excellent JP Floru: Yesterday I witnessed the lamentable spectacle of civil rights organisations bending over backwards not to lose their wished for influence over the government’s civil rights agenda. I attended a Freedom Bill Committee hearing in Parliament.  The witnesses included spokespeople for the human rights organisations Justice and Liberty.  At issue was the CCTV part of the proposed Freedom Bill. Read the rest of the article via Civil rights organisations capitulate on CCTV reduction – Big Brother […]

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Private versus Public Nudging

Via Private versus Public Nudging « Mark Pennington on Pileus: Listening to Professor Thaler I was reminded of the claim made by many socialists in the past – Lenin being perhaps the most prominent – that since private firms routinely engage in ‘planning’ there should not be any concern about the state ‘planning’ on  a society wide scale. Yet, as Hayek noted on numerous occasions, to recognise that ‘planning ‘ is an essential element of a progressive society tells us nothing […]

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The Prisoner and “Mindspace”

I just discovered the Cabinet Office and Institute for Government publication, MINDSPACE, Influencing behaviour through public policy (THE PRACTICAL GUIDE). It put me in mind of this: Number Two: I am definitely an optimist. That’s why it doesn’t matter “who” Number One is. It doesn’t matter which “side” runs the Village. Number Six: It’s run by one side or the other. Number Two: Oh certainly, but both sides are becoming identical. What in fact has been created is an international […]

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