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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The invisible hand

AC Grayling quite rightly protests in the Guardian that:

In the Queen's speech this autumn Gordon Brown's government will announce a scheme to institute a database of every telephone call, email, and act of online usage by every resident of the UK. It will propose that this information will be gathered, stored, and "made accessible" to the security and law enforcement agencies, local councils, and "other public bodies".

But actually, it isn't Gordon Brown's plan at all.

The purpuse of the Communications Data Bill is, as the office of the leader of the Commons points out, to "Transpose EU Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of communications data into UK law."

Grayling writes that:

Not even George Orwell in his most febrile moments could have envisaged a world in which every citizen could be so thoroughly monitored every moment of the day, spied upon, eavesdropped, watched, tracked, followed by CCTV cameras, recorded and scrutinised.


The efficiency of bureaucracy has one of its finest moments in the neat and sorted piles of false teeth, hair and spectacles at the gas chamber doors. Oh no: better the milling crowd than the police-disciplined queues of bureaucratic efficiency; better the irritation of dealing with human fallibility than the fear of dealing with jack-booted gendarmes whose grip on one's arms follows stepping out of the queue.

This is pretty strong stuff. So why hasn't he bothered to look at where this is coming from? It looks like another case of selective blindness.

p.s - speaking of journalists' odd EU blindspot...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

EU Directive 2006/24/EC - that is the one that Charles Clarke and UK EU presidency railroaded through while shroud-waving after the July 2005 bombings.