A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Monday, January 05, 2009

PCs to hack into PCs! How PC is that?

It never ceases to amaze me. One reason why I think New Labour likes the European Union so much is that each has a mutual nosepoking philosophy. Lord Mandelson is chief amongst this breed of busybodies. Quite keen to go sniffing around other people's business, but very sniffy when it comes them being checked out.

So it is no surprise that the "remote searchers" of the New Labour regime will be licking their lips. What quite distinguishes a remote searcher from a hacker is unclear. Answers on a postcard to Gordon Brown, I'd say, or rather email for those so inclined.

It is all part of this catchall type approach we experience today. It's all this warrantless intrusion into our lives that the ruling elite think is so acceptable. It isn't. What keeps a democracy apart from the others is the rule of law. If the rules allow for below-the-belt stuff, then we will lose a lot.

An amendment to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 made hacking legal if it was authorised and carried out by the state. So who does the authorising? The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said such intrusive surveillance was closely regulated under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. A spokesman said police were already carrying out a small number of these operations which were among 194 clandestine searches last year of people’s homes, offices and hotel bedrooms. That is all very fine, if we can trust their word, but it may not be so. Unless this is enshrined in law, all manner of "agencies" can go eavesdropping on a whim.

As usual, Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, has made some very sensible comments. He is someone I could have a lot of faith in as Home Secretary, as opposed to Jacqui Smith, where words fail me! Grieve agrees that the development may benefit law enforcement. But he adds, “The exercise of such intrusive powers raises serious privacy issues. The government must explain how they would work in practice and what safeguards will be in place to prevent abuse.”

Yes, explain now and concisely. Any delay will be monitored!


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