Monday, November 16, 2009

You are being watched!

In a previous post I pointed out how the United Kingdom suffers from not having a written constitution, how its so-called "unwritten constitution" is based on laws passed in parliament, precendence and tradtion and how this really isn't good enough because certain rights can simply be eroded by the passing of a law in parliament, which then becomes an "Act of Parliament".

The problem with these "Acts of Parliament" is quite simply that the government in the United Kingdom can pass them almost at will, often does, and often to curtail certain freedoms; yes, the government in the United Kingdom has introduced an increasing amount of laws which allow and facilitate increasing state interference while invading peoples' private spheres.

How scary it is all becoming can only be gauged by the attempts, dropped for the time being due to public opposition, to pass the 'Communications Data Act'. If it becomes law this act will, as one blogger says, "transpose EU Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of communications data." We should, however, not start blaming the EU and we would do well to understand "transpose" here as meaning "transform", for as another blogger, when talking about the EU Directive, says, "the aim is to ensure that the data retained is available for the purpose of the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime, as defined by each member State in its domestic law." Apart from in Britain the citizens of all EU countries have certain protections regarding the privacy. Moreover, those protections are written into each country's constitution. We can only imagine how the law will be defined in a "big brother" blighty and commentators are already aware that the bill in the UK might indeed lead to legislation that exceeds the EU Data Retention Directive.

Still, there might be some consolation for all of you up there in the land of the free, for with the Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy, the current Interception of Communications Commissioner, telling us that "there are approximately 474 local authorities throughout the UK (already) approved by Parliament for the purpose of acquiring communications data," you shouldn't be too worried about the bill even if it is passed. You are already being watched!

No comments: