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I’ve got an infinite number of baboons…

Every email, phone call and website visit is to be recorded and stored after the Coalition Government revived controversial Big Brother snooping plans.

Meet the new boss, same as…

It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.

Well that’s all of us apart from “Mad” Jock MacMad who lives in a yurt in the outer Hebrides.

Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the surveillance state.

Return?

The plans were shelved by the Labour Government last December but the Home Office is now ready to revive them.

Meet the new boss, same as…

It comes despite the Coalition Agreement promised to “end the storage of internet and email records without good reason“.

“Good reason” covers a multitude of sins. My suspicion here is that this will be used to crack down on benefit cheats and tax evasion. Link this into the defence review with it’s new emphasis on “cyber-attack” and yeah… This isn’t about preventing the Chinese PLA’s First Fighting Laptops crippling critical British infrastructure (Our government will do that all by itself. Thank you Beijing but we can fubar the gaff without your meddling).

Any suggestion of a central “super database” has been ruled out but the plans are expected to involve service providers storing all users details for a set period of time.

Oh gods! Anyone who knows anything about the internet will know that makes no difference. I am typing this in England, the server is in Australia and you could be on Mars.

It carries on in a manner that I’m sure you can guess. Vague references to “law enforcement agencies” which since RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) means everyone down to the council dustman and to “those engaged in activities that cause serious harm” which could of course mean anything. Prepare for the paramilitary wing of the five-a-day co-ordinators to kick down your door at 4 am and seizing your cheese and Theresa pleasuring herself with a root vegetable over your pr0n stash as she May.

The largest manhunt in British criminal history was for the Yorkshire Ripper. Huge quantities of information, interviews, tip-offs and all the rest were collected and back then it was on card indexes. It hampered the enquiry because it was a total information overload. Ah, you say but they now have computers and data-mining techniques and all that. So do we. The quantity of information we are talking about is horrendously larger. If they really want to store details of every tweet, SMS, PM, phone call, VOIP, email, web-site access, download, torrent, file-share… Then they might as well build a total library. Where’s the best practical place to hide a book? Where’s the best conceivable place to hide one? Here. I hope Jorge is having a laugh.

From the Wikipedia article linked above:

In “The Net of Babel”, published in Interzone in 1995, David Langford imagines the Library becoming computerized for easy access. This aids the librarians in searching for specific text while also highlighting the futility of such searches as they can find anything, but nothing of meaning as such. The sequel continues many of Borges’s themes, while also highlighting the difference between data and information, and satirizing the Internet.

I don’t know whether to join Borges in his chuckles or be very afraid.

12 Comments

  1. Lynne says:

    More cast iron U-turn fuckulence from iDave. I suspect that he’ll do it once too often and disappear up his own arse.

    Well one can live in hope…

  2. NickM says:

    Lynne,
    Do you get the same feeling as me about this? Think “Yes, Minister”. iDave pitched-up full of “high sentence but a bit obtuse” and got persuaded by Sir Humphrey. I might be being seen as a bit sympathetic to him there but I’m not. Jim Hacker was sometimes bamboozled by Humphrey but he was often also persuaded because, quite simply, it is very easy to oppose in opposition but once in power measures that increase (or would appear to increase) that power are awfully tempting. It’s like sitting in a restaurant, on a diet, and you walked in there thinking, “I have criticised the lardies and I shall now stick to my principles!” And then the waiter delivers a big juicy steak to the next table and you think, “fuck salad”, I want that! It is much easier to have principles in principle. Kids might go to Sunday School and say all that stuff about not being lead into temptation but if you take them to the sundae store they want hundreds and thousands on it. Principles get defenestrated when temptation is there. Especially with kids and politicos. Both utter buggers for “mission creep”. Kids aren’t too bad because it’s usually sweeties or Wii but with politicians it’s power.

  3. Pogo says:

    Maybe we should all set up scripts to email PGP-encrypted extracts from the Riga telephone directory to each other throughout the day. Give the bastards something to keep them busy.

  4. RAB says:

    Call me cynical, but I thought they had been doing this for donkey’s years. It’s what GCHQ is for isn’t it?

    I have been extremely circumspect and euphemistic on the dog and bone for decades now.

    As we all know, or should do, certain key words will trigger a response. So if you are banging on about leaving the bomb in the car park, or the Drugs will be arriving next tuesday, well you are going to need a new front door arn’t you?

    It’s the sheer weight of email traffic, and their own inbuilt incomprehension about matters computer, that will sink it however.

    I love the assurance that they gave. They will be able to tell who sent what to whom and at what time, but will not know the contents of the message! Pull the other fuckin one lads!

    iDave is just another cunt, simple as. No different from Blair, Blair 2 in fact. A principle free zone.

    EU Referendum promised, delivered? Nope.

    Harridan’s Equality Bill, through on the nod.

    Oh I could go on and on, but what’s the use….

  5. NickM says:

    Pogo,
    I almost titled this post “Spam is your friend”.

    Tell ya what, you do Riga and I baggsie Vladivostock!

    RAB,

    What you gotta watch out for is phrases like, “In Moscow the ducks fly south for winter”. Or “The Italian navigator has entered the New World and found the natives very friendly”. That’ll get you tied to a chair with a potty on your head and your todger in a flowery bap whilst someone shouts, “Unleash the Jack Russell!”.

    I dunno. iDave looks like a man of high principle compared to his MiniMe Nicky Clegg. I saw him pwned on the telly by a schoolgirl over tuition fees at uni. Manifesto pledge from the LDs to abolish ‘em, now Clegg is in a government that’s gonna triple them!

    The truly naive amongst us thought for maybe a nanosecond that the coalition might mean sound economics (the Tories) and a reasonable stance on civil rights (the LDs). Those that thought it for even two nanoseconds are now in five point restraints in a rest home for the emotionally unusual.

    You are right. It is the return of Blair. Sith Lords you see, always two of them…

    I think the great symbol so far of this coagulation is that, apparently, shortly after the birth of little Flo Cameron iDave and ?Nick spent an afternoon building IKEA furniture together for the nursery. I wonder how long that will hold together.

  6. Kevin B says:

    It is all a bit of a joke, but it is a sick joke.

    True, the snoopers will eventually drown in all their information, but in the meantime some guy who books a business trip to Ryadh, or someone who tweets an anti-muzzy joke will trigger some software alert and get their doors busted down by super plods waving H&Ks in their face. Meanwhile Abdul and his pals are quite merrily setting up Mumbai 2 – the London version – with no problems whatsoever.

    Bill Whittle’s latest vid about how central econimic planners cannot even begin to get a handle on the billions of daily economic decisions has a superb resonance with this nonsense. No matter how big and fast and hairy your smart guys and their super computers are you have no chance of understanding enough to get it right.

    It’s the dream of centralisers through history, (and the nightmare of libertarians), and though they’ll never get it right, when they get it wrong, or when it justs grinds along messily failing, any of us can get caught in the gears.

  7. Lynne says:

    Rest assured, Nick. When the times comes I’ll build a wall long enough to accomodate the Mandarins alongside their meat puppet “masters”. I won’t be asking the MOD to supply the ammo because the poor bastards probably can’t deliver until 2015.

  8. I had much the same sentiments to make when I blogged about this one earlier.

    They just don’t get it, do they? None of them. Not even Labour were stupid enough to try seeing this through.

    Plus ca change!

  9. NickM says:

    Yes, Kevin,
    It’s already happened. That guy who was tried and convicted for a joke about blowing up Robin Hood airport.

    Lynne,
    Ha ha! Ever the optimist you. This from the same jokers who can supply aircraft carriers without er… aircraft. 2015 is way too soon for them. Make it 2040. I’ll take ‘em out from my bath chair.

  10. JuliaM says:

    “RAB,

    What you gotta watch out for is phrases like, “In Moscow the ducks fly south for winter”. Or “The Italian navigator has entered the New World and found the natives very friendly”. That’ll get you tied to a chair with a potty on your head and your todger in a flowery bap whilst someone shouts, “Unleash the Jack Russell!”.”

    And whatever you do, no riffing on 80s TV show catchphrases

  11. RAB says:

    Dan da dee da, dan da diddle da!

    I always thought Mr T was a sleeper for the Nation of Islam myself.
    All that Bling looked either like an improvised flak jacket, or potential shrapnel for when he puts the IED up his arse.

    And Nick…

    Oh no! Not the comfy Chair again??

    I confess!!

  12. NickM says:

    RAB,
    With talk like that you are heading for the “nice sit down” with the “lovely cup of tea” and, if naughty enough, I may unleash the Hob Nobs. You have been warned and am defrosting Cardinal Fang.

    Mr T, no! He was a God of my childhood and I pity the fool who thinks otherwise.

    There has been an arse bomber in Saudi. Alas for the cause of Jihad his device took the path of least resistance and only managed to kill the user. It afrighted the intended victim – a Saudi Prince – but it would wouldn’t you. The botty bomber was posing as a reformed AQ-type who was meeting with this Prince (a high-up in Saudi security) to hand over details of other AQs when his arse exploded.

    Rectum? Bloody well killed him!

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