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Lofty

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UK Outlines Plans for Internet Black Boxes

In what sounds like a dystopian sci-fi plot, the Home Office has made public plans to outfit the country's Internet with upstream data recorders to log pretty much everything that passes through. 'Under Government plans to monitor internet traffic, raw data would be collected and stored by the black boxes before being transferred to a giant central database. The vision was outlined at a meeting between officials from the Home Office and Internet Service Providers earlier this week.

Telegraph report here

In case the depth of this little announcement escapes you, here's what they plan to do:

Internet black boxes to record every email and website visit

The wrongness of this simply beggars belief. Of course, the excuse for this unprecedented invasion of privacy is "security". However, I see no difference in principle between monitoring emails and monitoring the Royal Mail. Imagine the uproar if the government asked the Post Office to inspect the contents of each and every letter sent or received anywhere in the UK.

"If you want to imagine the future ..."

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Great idea, think of the jobs it would create, not just "mail readers" but those producing and maintaining the systems. Sometimes you just have to look at the positives boys.

Seriously, this will never happen in a country that can't even agree on an id card.

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Ultimately, as you said Lofty, they will argue it is all in the name of security and and also to try and police/manage issues such as pedophilia, people trafficking, financial crime and identify crime. It would be hard to argue against that however there clearly has to be a balance between security and personal freedom and something like this would clearly tip that balance far too far.

As for the internet being the last bastion of free speech, maybe so, but I don't think it is entirely the case that the government has taken it away. If it gets taken away then it will be taken away by the people who use the net for the sort of things I have detailed above. Humanity has an element of scum running right through the heart of it which, brick by brick, is building walls between how we would like to live our lives and how our lives are being lived for us.

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I think there is a degree to which you lose freedom of speech if everything you say is potentially subject to scrutiny and could be recorded and potentially used against you. It creates a culture where people feel they only have proper freedom of speech if what they say is in tune with what is sociably acceptable.

This is why I think it is wrong that people are arrested etc for voicing opinions no matter how vile that opinion may be to the majority of people. People should be allowed to decide for themselves how to react to it rather than be sheltered from it.

The whole thing with the BNP is a prime example of this. For me they are a foul collection of people as are there supporters but I don't think they should be silenced through the courts. They should be free to be political in the same way every other party should be in the UK and the British people should be allowed to choose how they feel about them through the normal democratic system.

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You can stil have freedom of speech even if something is monitored. You only lose freedom of speech when your views or moderated by someone or you are prevented from voicing an opinion.

So you'd be ok with having your post "monitored" in a similar fashion? The difference here is between targetting suspicious activity and targetting all activity in case something suspicious occurs.

The issue is more to do with privacy than freedom of speech/censorship. Yes you can write whatever you like, but we want to know what you write, when you write it, and who you write it to. And if you write something we don't like ... draw your own conclusions about where that one might lead.

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Paranoia has set in ::MooNeY:::rolleyes:

Answer the question. Would you be ok with having your post "monitored" in a similar fashion?

Are you serious? You think it's paranoid to object strongly to having all your personal communications monitored and examined? And to mistrust what the goverment intends to do with all this information?

Surely you can't be that naive.

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What exactly do you think the government is going to do with all this data? There is a big difference to having something monitored and having something examined. Do you really think the government will be employing someone to read through all the posts people make on forums? Or do you think certain words or sequences of words might set off a trigger which would then set some wheels in to motion - if someone was using the internet and using words together such as 'explosives', 'airports', 'flying', 'suicide' etc then I would hope that someone did look in to it further.

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Totally with you on this, Lofty. If I can't write a letter or email without having to worry about whether it's being scrutinised by government henchmen with who knows what hidden agenda, then I might as well retire to a nunnery and take a vow of silence.

There's nothing paranoic about being suspicious of this very Orwellian concept. Winston Smith is hearing the clocks striking thirteen.

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What exactly do you think the government is going to do with all this data? There is a big difference to having something monitored and having something examined. Do you really think the government will be employing someone to read through all the posts people make on forums? Or do you think certain words or sequences of words might set off a trigger which would then set some wheels in to motion - if someone was using the internet and using words together such as 'explosives', 'airports', 'flying', 'suicide' etc then I would hope that someone did look in to it further.

You still haven't answered the question.

And your naivety is frightening.

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I think Chris has pretty much answered the question. He appears to be saying that as he has nothing to hide then he doesn't care (which is an opinion shared by many and an understandable one - it is the same argument used by people in support of massive amounts of CCTV cameras in city centres).

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Loz - precisely. I don't care who reads what I write - hence putting it up on a public forum. What do you do on the internet that you wouldn't want people finding out about?

Nothing until I met Mod and he started sending me 'those' links.

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Loz - precisely. I don't care who reads what I write - hence putting it up on a public forum. What do you do on the internet that you wouldn't want people finding out about?

Are you saying you NEVER write private letters or emails whose contents are exclusively for the addresse???????

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Loz - precisely. I don't care who reads what I write - hence putting it up on a public forum. What do you do on the internet that you wouldn't want people finding out about?

I disagree. I want a direct answer to a direct question. Would you object to people reading your mail? Whether email or snail mail or both.

We're not talking about public forums here, we're talking about personal mail. If anyone writes anything on a public forum, then it is there for all to see. I send an email to a friend, then that email is nobody's business except mine and the recipient. On a smaller scale, let's look at this forum. You post something here, anyone can read it. You send a personal message, that again is between you and the recipient. The key word here is personal. Maybe you wouldn't mind loz or Mod having access to all your PMs? Whether or not you trust loz or Mod isn't the point, the point is that such messages are personal, hence the name, and are nobody else's business. The same goes with emails and snail mail.

One more point. Even if you don't mind anyone reading your mail, to your wife, kids, girlfriend - whoever - does that give the government or anyone else the right to invade the privacy of those people who do?

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I think I may need to look up the definition of naive because I don't think Chris is being naive. I just think he is saying that he isn't bothered about the things you are, surely he is entitled to that without being insulted.

Personally I don't like the idea of it but I can understand where Chris is coming from. He is right that not every e-mail is going to be read. It will be based on a series of triggers and red flags and your e-mails would only be specifically extracted for scrutiny if the powers that be thought there was a reason for doing so. If he doesn't care about that then why is he being naive? I appreciate that you mean that he isn't taking on board what other uses the Govt would make of the data but so far I haven't seen anyone state what they are and point out what it is Chris should be worried about.

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im 50/50 on this. i sort of agree with chris in that if you have nothing to hide then theres no problem. though i also wouldnt be too happy with some unknown person scanning any personal emails i send. its a similar argument over cctv and ID cards. if you have nothing to hide then you wont have a problem, in fact these two things will help you a bit. i know an email is a much more personal thing than where you walk or where you go and as such can understand why people would find it a massive intrusion. but i doubt it would impact on the majority of users, only a select few would find it a problem. i also think it will be a massively overblown version of the truth thats being reported, especaially when you consider where its come from.

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naive = deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment ; credulous

I do think that to accept without concern the right of any government to examine the private mail, be it email or snail mail, of a citizen, is a sign of lack of wordly wisdom, hence naive.

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But he (Christ) still won't answer the question - would you object to someone reading your post in the same way that the government proposes to give itself the right to read every single one of anyone's emails. Just a simple yes or no.

And another question. Are you in favour of this proposal .. to give the government the right to read every single one of your emails. Again, just a simple yes or no.

As for it being a problem? You say you can't see how it's a problem - sorry that makes you naive in the extreme. It's privacy that is at the heart of the issue, not whether you've got anything to hide, but whether the government should have the right to pry. Because pry they will. As for keywords being used as triggers. Merely discussing/mentioning certain issues will then result in your emails being targeted. Maybe you care deeply about global terrorism, perhaps it's a frequent topic of conversation - you could take a perfectly sound anti-terrorist stance and still end up targeted as a result of keywords frequently cropping up. Oh but that's ok, the police and the government will realise your innocence and so you have nothing to worry about. Perhaps.

Back to privacy: If you don't give a damn about your own right to privacy, that gives you no right to waive everybody else's right to privacy. The wish for privacy does NOT equal something to hide; privacy is a basic human right in all but the most totalitarian of regimes.

I haven't started on the freedom of speech issue yet. This kind of monitoring/tracking, call it what you will, could also be used to censor web pages. Couldn't happen? Web pages have already disappeared as a result of taking an anti-copyright lobby stance. Take a look at the Australian's government plans to restrict Internet access - which are said to be more stringent than those imposed in Iran.

So where could all this lead: A totalitarian regime that wants total control over your every thought, your every action; 24 hour surveillance in public and in private. A dictatorship that treats its citizens as guilty until proved innocent. A postal service subject to the same scrutiny as the proposals for emails. It could never happen here, you say? Oh yes it could.

But never mind all that. You carry on, dismiss the entire issue because "I've got nothing to hide".

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