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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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The Intelligence and Security Committee should have an elected Chair

Earlier today, I moved amendments tabled by Andrew Tyrie MP to make provision for an elected chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee which scrutinises MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. At present, the ISC is a Government committee of parliamentarians. The Bill makes it a Parliamentary committee whose members are appointed by the Houses of Parliament on the Prime Minister’s nominations. The nominees would then elect their own chair. The Committee must have access to highly classified material, so it can’t operate along identical […]

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Security is the building block of all energy policy

NB: this guest post is by Sophie Hirt, my Parliamentary Intern and the views expressed are her own. Security is the key issue at the heart of the Government’s energy outlook and will impact on all the decisions made by the Department of Energy and Climate Change for the foreseeable future. Security, it must be pointed out, is not just meant in the traditional, physical sense, though of course, this is a top priority. Security in this sense must be […]

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Schneier on Security: Portrait of the Modern Terrorist as an Idiot

Reflecting on the inadequacy of the debate over control orders, I found this snippet in draft, taken from Schneier on Security: Portrait of the Modern Terrorist as an Idiot: The recently publicized terrorist plot to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport, like so many of the terrorist plots over the past few years, is a study in alarmism and incompetence: on the part of the terrorists, our government and the press. Terrorism is a real threat, and one that […]

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The altruistic individual in society

In preparation for an article to be published in the Autumn, I just reread The Open Society and Its Enemies – Volume 1: The Spell of Plato. The book traces mankind’s opposition to change and the consequent rise of the myth of destiny, technically, historicism: the belief that history unfolds according to laws which can be discovered. Popper argues that the strain of civilisation causes us to seek to return to a supposed harmonious state of nature, a heroic age […]

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Razeen Sally, “Trade Policy, New Century”

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This post originally appeared on cobdencentre.org. Razeen Sally’s Trade Policy, New Century (PDF) succeeds magnificently in explaining the 21st-century case for free trade and, specifically, unilateral trade liberalisation to the interested, non-specialist reader. From the IEA home page of the book: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is failing to deliver the trade liberalisation desperately needed to bring prosperity to developing countries, according to a new study released today by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The WTO is hamstrung by a […]

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David Cameron and “The Death of Politics”

Via Suboptimal Planet, a commentary on Karl Hess’ 1969 Playboy article “The Death of Politics”, reproduced by mises.org: At its limits, the libertarian ideal will no doubt face practical problems of its own. But it will be a long time before we need to worry that our government is too small, and our people too free. While Hess was optimistic, writing: A laissez-faire world would liberate men. And it is in that sort of liberation that the most profound revolution […]

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Spy chiefs fear Chinese cyber attack – Times Online

INTELLIGENCE chiefs have warned that China may have gained the capability to shut down Britain by crippling its telecoms and utilities. They have told ministers of their fears that equipment installed by Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, in BT’s new communications network could be used to halt critical services such as power, food and water supplies. The warnings coincide with growing cyberwarfare attacks on Britain by foreign governments, particularly Russia and China. via Spy chiefs fear Chinese cyber attack – […]

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Thousands of personal files stolen from RAF base

The Telegraph reports: The details of up to 50,000 serving and ex-service personnel are at risk after three USB portable hard disc drives were stolen from an RAF station, the Ministry of Defence has admitted. Also in The Times. So that’s personal details of me, my wife and many of my friends in the hands of criminals. Surpassed by the child benefit fiasco, I am sure, but it won’t help people be glad to serve. read more | digg story

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EU plan: The rise and rise of the securocrats

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The creation of an EU-US common security area by 2014 and “convergence” on surveillance and data gathering, redefining “home affairs” as a matter of EU internal security. This story is reported at least by the Telegraph and the Guardian. The original leaked report is here. To say the least, I am to be convinced that this is a good idea. Telegraph | digg story Guardian | digg story

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