The UK Government have decided to take some lessons from the likes of China, Iran and Syria and started implementing increased internet surveillance. It often seems to happen when Governments are having a tough time they roll out the ‘tough on terrorism’ plans and start telling us how it will catch criminals and keep us safe. After all it sounds good and is easy to implement – even though for the most part it’s completely pointless.
Under these plans, Police, the Government and intelligence agencies will be able to access data on all phone calls, emails, internet useage. They will be able to read through your web mail, Facebook messages, Linkedin posts, forums and gaming boards – just about anything you do electronically will be accessible to these people.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner says -
Put simply, the police need access to this information to keep up with the criminals who bring so much harm to victims and our society.
What they will have is data and information on people who are doing nothing wrong. The criminals will be using SSH encryption, VPNs, secure proxies or they will simply just use other peoples Wifi connections. The only criminals you’ll catch by this incredibly intrusive internet snooping is thick ones who you should have caught anyway.
For instance I’m quite a careful driver however I live in an area where the Police force seems to have one single aim in life to catch people who exceed speed limits by three miles an hour. As such I have quite a few penalty points on my license which I’m not altogether happy with.
However I know several speed obsessed, thrill seekers who drive like they are on the Le Mons racetrack who have absolutely no points at all. Do you know why – it’s because they all have Warning systems and Radar detectors things in their cars. As such the only speeders that get caught are dozy ones like me who occasionally drift over the limit by a tiny amount.
This is the reality – and in this case too there are lots of easy ways to avoid this surveillance.
All this rubbish about a ‘Total War on Crime’ is just an excuse to further erode our privacy and civil liberties. For example if I use Identity Cloaker then nobody will be able to see anything I do online, my data is encrypted and all the logs will just contain my fake IP address from the Identity Cloaker proxy server that I use. The logs on those are deleted almost instantly so that makes me just about invisible online.
So what’s to stop a terrorist using any one of these security systems ?
Nothing which is why the British Government will be left spying on ordinary people. That’s going to win the war on crime isn’t it? Of course if you snoop on enough people for long enough I’m sure you’ll catch some people doing something illegal. But is it worth the cost, are we really expected to believe that this data won’t be routinely accessed to build profiles of individuals.
At the moment, the police can access this information anyway, however they need a warrant from a judge. Of course a judge isn’t going to issue these on the basis of ad hoc requests and idle snooping – which is exactly the way it should be.
We all know these powers will be abused, even if the police and intelligence services only exercise these rights in extreme cases (yeah right) – you can be certain that databases will be hacked, logs left on trains or USB sticks dropped in taxis. All the time the criminals will be not remotely be worried as they will be the only ones not being monitored.