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David Cameron Says Fictional Crime Proves Why Snooper's Charter Is Necessary

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the with-all-the-wisdom-of-a-politician dept.

United Kingdom 179

An anonymous reader sends this story from TechDirt: "You may recall the stories from the past couple years about the so-called 'snooper's charter' in the UK — a system to further legalize the government's ability to spy on pretty much all communications. It was setting up basically a total surveillance system, even beyond what we've since learned is already being done today. Thankfully, that plan was killed off by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. However, Prime Minister David Cameron is back to pushing for the snooper's charter — and his reasoning is as stupid as it is unbelievable. Apparently, he thinks it's necessary because the fictional crime dramas he watches on TV show why it's necessary. Cameron said, 'I love watching, as I probably should stop telling people, crime dramas on the television. There's hardly a crime drama where a crime is solved without using the data of a mobile communications device. What we have to explain to people is that... if we don't modernise the practice and the law, over time we will have the communications data to solve these horrible crimes on a shrinking proportion of the total use of devices and that is a real problem for keeping people safe.'"

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I know right? (5, Funny)

ganjadude (952775) | about 9 months ago | (#46129697)

Its the same reason that we should be increasing our ability to hunt down hobbits. If they get control of that ring again it could be the end for us all!

Re:I know right? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129745)

Left. All comparisons (however strikingly right) aside, Cameron is firmly under the influence of the spook-strukture NSAMI6 basically equivalent to their butt-buddies, the israelis.

Ask anyone in Parliament about LFOI or CFOI, it`s the same shizzer the yanks have trouble with, AIPAC. That on the political spectrae,
there are parallells in the "implementation" of their spooky-agenda, on the practik and technikAI side of thing, no news to most /dottirs....... here again, reference is made to FB data-slurping (isreel`s AKAMAI), telephone metadata-slurping (isreel`s AMDOCS), I-phone sensory-deprivation (isreel`s PrimeSense), and of course the joogle-behemoth.

Re:I know right? (4, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | about 9 months ago | (#46129769)

I'm posting to remove error in moderation, but you make NO fucking sense.

Re:I know right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129807)

Fair comment, dargaud.
Back to your internet-less cage......

Re:I know right? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46129817)

Well, at least it's a fitting comment to the loonie bin that rules the UK.

Re:I know right? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130599)

I suggest you visit the nearest emergency medical centre and have a brain scan to hopefully rule out a stroke, brain tumor, or cerebral aneurysm. This is not a joke.

Re:I know right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129883)

We also need to nuke the clouds, we have to stop those care bears. All their preachy commie bullshit is going to destroy the world!!

Re:I know right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130549)

Worse: it's going to destroy America.

Re:I know right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130725)

That ring has been destroyed.

Do try to keep up.

Re:I know right? (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 9 months ago | (#46130763)

Its the same reason that we should be increasing our ability to hunt down hobbits. If they get control of that ring again it could be the end for us all!

Don't you know anything, the ring was melted down to nothing in the fires of Mt. Doom. It's no longer a threat.

It's magic, ESP powers, aliens, Time Lords, Daleks, and robots that we need to defend against according to such reliable TV and movie series as "A Certain Magical Index", "Warehouse 13", "Aliens" 1 through 4, "Dr. Who", etc.

After all, how can we puny humans stand up to an alien with magic and ESP powers that can travel through time without having the ability to snoop on their communications?

Idiocy. (5, Interesting)

MajikJon (661494) | about 9 months ago | (#46129699)

By that logic, the best way to prevent 9/11 would have been to cover up the small thermal exhaust port on the World Trade Center that led directly to the main reactor.

Re:Idiocy. (5, Funny)

chromas (1085949) | about 9 months ago | (#46130413)

DC is America's thermal exhaust port. It's where all the hot air comes from.

Re:Idiocy. (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 9 months ago | (#46130471)

DC is America's thermal exhaust port. It's where all the hot air comes from.

And it's filled with womp-rats.

Terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129721)

If we can't see your mobile data, the terrorists will murder you, and we won't be able to find them.

Re:Terrorists (4, Funny)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 9 months ago | (#46129773)

We won't be able to catch the suicide bombers either if we can't analyse their mobile communications after the bomb goes off!

Re:Terrorists (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46129795)

And we really need to catch them and lock them up to make sure they'll never do it again!

Re:Terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130281)

we really need to catch them and lock them up to make sure they'll never do it again!

To be fair, the UK did have to do just that with the 21st of July bombers [wikipedia.org] .

On the subject of integrity (0, Flamebait)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#46129725)

Techdirt is honest reporting at its finest, rivaling even Slashdot's journalistic integrity. They're both very upfront and clear about their biases.

...his reasoning is as stupid as it is unbelievable.

Re:On the subject of integrity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129755)

Indeed, he's merely providing a context to which people might be familiar, if he had chosen to give real examples of policework, it would amount to the same dialogue.

Or do these same people chide those who mention Orwell, Rand, and other authors of fiction?

Re:On the subject of integrity (3)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#46130301)

Indeed, he's merely providing a context to which people might be familiar, if he had chosen to give real examples of policework, it would amount to the same dialogue.

Or do these same people chide those who mention Orwell, Rand, and other authors of fiction?

Well, when you look at how many times a reference to a tv show or a movie is made by posters here on Slashdot as justification or backup of their point of view or draw analogies. Just yesterday someone pointed to Bones as an example of a STEM educated woman.

It seems like every story has some posting from a juvenile living in his mom's basement referencing some TV show or movie. It happens every day in every thread.

Cameron was just playing to the audience most likely to buy his drivel.

Re:On the subject of integrity (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#46130447)

Well, when you look at how many times a reference to a tv show or a movie is made by posters here on Slashdot as justification or backup of their point of view or draw analogies.

We expect more from national leasers than we do from the less than average slashdot reader.

Of course we are constantly disappointed.

Re:On the subject of integrity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130661)

Or do these same people chide those who mention [...] Rand

Yes. Those guys are idiots.

Re:On the subject of integrity (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about 9 months ago | (#46129823)

Techdirt is honest reporting at its finest, rivaling even Slashdot's journalistic integrity. They're both very upfront and clear about their biases.

...his reasoning is as stupid as it is unbelievable.

Sometimes that isn't bias, as much as an accurate and objective assessment. It is a bad idea to seriously consider every ridiculous statement instead of dismissing it outright.

That's why politicians start from ridiculous propositions -- so that any "compromise" is well in their favor.

Re:On the subject of integrity (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129867)

That's why politicians start from ridiculous propositions -- so that any "compromise" is well in their favor.

And while we're at it...

Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.

Meringuoid's Law [slashdot.org] , 2005, Slashdot.

Re:On the subject of integrity (3, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 9 months ago | (#46129899)

Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying.

just like the patriot act. we have the author of the bill running around now stating that he never intended for it to be used in the way its being used. Well if you didnt intend for it to be used in this way, why did you write it in a way that it COULD be used in this way???

Re:On the subject of integrity (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 9 months ago | (#46130141)

Well if you didnt intend for it to be used in this way, why did you write it in a way that it COULD be used in this way?

Law of unintended consequences. You'll see it any country where laws and lawyers exist. A law is written as X,Y,Z; a lawyer will see it as X,A,C,Y,Z and exploit any and all loopholes that previous precedents or case law will allow. Let's be realistic, some politicians have been lawyers, but your average politician isn't, and they have no idea that "and" is explicit, and "or" can be taken in 12 different ways within a legal framework. Even lawyers who specialize in particular areas get messed up on that.

Re:On the subject of integrity (3, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 9 months ago | (#46130185)

good point, but on that note the laws are generally not written by the politicians, they are salesmen, they get handed the laws that are written by their handlers or companies or lawyers. So in reality I would argue that the laws were written with the loopholes, and in a way that gives himi the excuse of saying it was never intended to be used that way, even though it is

Re:On the subject of integrity (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 9 months ago | (#46130449)

True in some cases. Though you'll probably remember that the base draft of most laws are written by politicians, in turn the faults in those law will transfer over because the one doing the draft or final draft listen to the one who wants it written as such. I've seen this in action up here in Canada both in federal and provincial politics, it's very easy to make a non-threatening phrase turn into something that twists the entire meaning and not make it so.

An example from the US: The passing of the restricted magazine law in NYC(I believe it was). The phrasing was explicit, written by politicians, and didn't exclude police, and other law related personal. In turn, it fully disarmed the law enforcement side.

Re:On the subject of integrity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129855)

I know it's not so much a slippery slope as a sheer faced cliff, but in this case I'm all for calling it what it is.
Cameron's quote, from the article, actually goes like this:
"In the most serious crimes [such as] child abduction communications data... is absolutely vital. I love watching, as I probably should stop telling people, crime dramas on the television. There's hardly a crime drama where a crime is solved without using the data of a mobile communications device."
So it's "think of the children" yet again! Only this time he backs that "view" with an even more ludicrous point.

Re:On the subject of integrity (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 9 months ago | (#46130123)

only the police used historical mobile data to find some suspects in the Madeleine Mcann disappearance case (to the shame of the Portugese police who no doubt didn't have access to such, if they weren't incompetent as described in the media :) )

So there's a real-life case of what he's saying being true, while those TV crime dramas do exaggerate the possibilities (think CSI using the reflection in a car body as evidence, or 24 using satellite tracking video data, or Bladerunner zooming into a picture to see behind objects) that doesn't mean the drama series are based on nothing but fantasy.

So the question isn't really that we can do these things, or even if the police use these things in their work; but how do we ensure that the authorities use them responsibly, openly and without abusing them. I'm certain we can't trust the security services to check themselves, and politicians seem to be in the thrall of these guys, so what can we get that puts the correct restrictions on this data so its used as we want it to be?

You'd think the only way to do this is to enshrine it clearly in law, which is the "charter" he's talking about... now forget the stupid talk of complaining about what he said and start talking about the contents of that law he wants introduced.

Re:On the subject of integrity (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 9 months ago | (#46130327)

That's if you think "enshrine it clearly in law" will act as a protection against misuse. Unfortunately, recent history casts derision upon that point of view. (I was going to be more "polite" and say "casts doubts", but reviewing recent history, I couldn't justify that more moderate statement.)

Re:On the subject of integrity (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 9 months ago | (#46130359)

And for all the extra data obtained for the Madeleine McCann case they have got precisely nowhere. Identifying suspects who turn out to be exonerated is the same as not having identified them in the first place.

We'll stay with the stupid because it is that which he is using to justify the law he wants introduced. For example, he cites Sherlock as a use of metadata to solve crimes. The problem with that is that no metadata was ever used by Sherlock. So either he didn't watch it and just assumed or didn't pay attention and just assumed. So not only is he using fiction to try and alter reality, he used the wrong fiction and expects blind obedience to his latest idiotic wheeze.

At this point it doesn't matter what the proposed law might be. "It started off badly but turned out alright in the end" is no way to enact legislation.

Re:On the subject of integrity (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 months ago | (#46130031)

At what point is a bias no longer a bias but a measurable fact?

Being unable to distinguish between reality and TV seems a rather clear indication of mental retardation.

Re:On the subject of integrity (3, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | about 9 months ago | (#46130351)

He's a politician. You can tell he's lying if you see his lips move.

P.S.: I don't follow British politics. If that's an overstatement in British politics, I appologize. I'm assuming that in it's broad aspects it resembles US politics.

Re:On the subject of integrity (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#46130435)

British politics differs hugely from American politics. However, yes, in the moving lips = lies point, politicians are the same worldwide.

You know what else we need (3, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | about 9 months ago | (#46129751)

Warp drive. Lawyers with a conscience. Guns which never need reloading. And magic infinite photo enhancement. When do we get those, huh?

Re:You know what else we need (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46129787)

Oh, please, I know this thread is about science fiction and unrealistic drama, but lawyers with conscience... the rest I could see, but that really pushes the envelope.

Re:You know what else we need (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#46130469)

I know it was a joke. But lets not forget that there are lawyers who work pro-bono on various human-rights and other good cause cases.

So there are lawyers with consciences. It's just that the money grubbing bastard lawyers tend to make the news more often.

Re:You know what else we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130535)

It's just that the money grubbing bastard lawyers tend to make the news more often.

It's more the problem that they shape the conversation.

Defense lawyers fighting for good causes exist, but the fact that a defensive lawyer was needed in the first place is directly attributable to the mountain of asshole lawyers that pervade the system.

Re:You know what else we need (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 9 months ago | (#46129799)

Guns that never need firing would be infinitely better

Re:You know what else we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129839)

Ha ha. We have those. Ever heard of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_assured_destruction ?

Re:You know what else we need (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#46130439)

Weapon Shop guns. They'll only fire in self-defense.

From "Weapon Shops of Isher", if it's not clear.

Re:You know what else we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129803)

He watches crime dramas. The magic infinite photo enhancement he might do, the others I don't know if he's aware of.
And even he knows Lawyers with a conscience is only possible in TV.

Re:You know what else we need (2)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 9 months ago | (#46129809)

First we need to legalize the police creating GUI interfaces in Visual Basic in order to track IP addresses.

Re:You know what else we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129831)

Enhance! Enhance!

Re:You know what else we need (4, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | about 9 months ago | (#46130229)

I really don't think we should legalize Visual Basic.

I agree with his logic (1)

ATestR (1060586) | about 9 months ago | (#46129753)

Of course, the stories I'm following are the ones that picture totalitarian governments. We should therefore pass laws barring any government agency (there than very local law enforcement) from having any powers.

Re:I agree with his logic (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 9 months ago | (#46130217)

of course, you've just used things you saw on TV to advocate what laws the government should pass..... and you didn't see any resemblance to Cameron doing exactly the same thing?

I blame modern education that eschews classical teaching in favour of shiny technology :-(

Re:I agree with his logic (1)

mooingyak (720677) | about 9 months ago | (#46130311)

of course, you've just used things you saw on TV to advocate what laws the government should pass..... and you didn't see any resemblance to Cameron doing exactly the same thing?

I blame modern education that eschews classical teaching in favour of shiny technology :-(

What do you blame for missing that he obviously did that on purpose? Subject line was kind of a big hint there.

The bigger problem (5, Informative)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 9 months ago | (#46129759)

... is that a large number of the couch potatos in the country will nod quietly and agree with him.

We already know that things which happen in soap operas come to pass, in real life - as programmes like those set the agenda for what "ordinary people" assume is socially acceptable: both for their own behaviour and that of others. Those programmes (and cop shows, too) also tell people what is an acceptable reaction to given situations.

Some (non-viewers) might say that these are fictional drama and therefore should be treated as non-real and non-realistic, but just check out TV forums and see how many posters refer to actors by their characters' names. For a lot of people, TV is real-life: just as Google IS the internet as far asa they're concerned.

Re:The bigger problem (2)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 9 months ago | (#46130019)

Next, the British government might as well start dressing up its agents like Batman, since TV shows seem to prove that it lowers the crime rate.

David Cameron (1)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 9 months ago | (#46129763)

Well, at least he admits his madness. His reality is fantasy.

"Reality" is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.

Re:David Cameron (1)

Mitsoid (837831) | about 9 months ago | (#46130021)

You realize you're arguing, on SLASHDOT, about how people live in TV fantasy worlds?

TV Fantasy/SciFi encouraged a heck of a lot of technology development over the last few decades. TV Crime Drama's are only a few years ahead of us with their crazy non-sense. 5x enhance (i.e. zooming in) is the future when we can mount 100MP cameras at intersections, or on buildings. Modern consumer cameras take pictures you can't even view on a 1080p desktop at their actual resolution.. (41 MP = 7264 x 5440 ... you could 'enhance' (zoom) this 3-4 times in photoshop before you got to the actual native resolution on your monitor)

Re:David Cameron (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 9 months ago | (#46130627)

That is the problem. The TV dramas are showing us that the cops are always right in whatever they do to catch the bad guy, and the the guy they're after is the bad guy, so it justifies everything. Including using his refusal to submit to a search or whatever being used as evidence that he must have something to hide.

I'm not sure there's a crime drama on TV today where the protagonists haven't, at one point in the series (often every single episode...) broken into a "suspect"'s house to peek around before coming back with a real search warrant.

Same road (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129775)

Just a different path. Politics / democracy today is a one way road running along two footpaths all going the same direction.

The biggest fools are the votes who are suckers and fall for the biggest con in the book.

The biggest fools in the world are the yanks, they are, and I don't like to admit it, the worlds last hope for a free world, they have the guns, the constitution, but, unfortunately for the rest of the world, theyre too fat and dumb to understand it. They keep saying... "One more straw and we call to arms!"... yah.. .well, so far we have had thousands of final straws and yet we wait on the call to arms.

You all may as well lay down now.

What's his need? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46129781)

He should watch more of the shows where a halfway decent hacker and a computer can sniff out any kind of information, whether it's somewhere on the internet or not, even if it's hidden on a standalone computer in some godforsaken place of the marble we're on, a truly good hacker can dig it up.

So what does he need those laws for? He should hire a few more of those wonderful hackers.

Given the right price, I'm for hire, btw...

Ronald Regan revisited (1)

nmrtian (984245) | about 9 months ago | (#46129791)

As Regan looked at the world through the fog of dementia and dirty windows at the White House he couldn't distinguish between movie scripts and reality. (Remember the refit of the New Jersey?) It seems that Cameron has lost more than a few brain cells too.

Re:Ronald Regan revisited (1)

achbed (97139) | about 9 months ago | (#46129829)

As Regan looked at the world through the fog of dementia and dirty windows at the White House he couldn't distinguish between movie scripts and reality. (Remember the refit of the New Jersey?) It seems that Cameron has lost more than a few brain cells too.

This is what happens when the GCHQ uses the neuralizer too much.

s/Regan/Reagan/g (2)

billstewart (78916) | about 9 months ago | (#46130809)

Donald Regan [wikipedia.org] was Treasury Secretary and later Chief of Staff for Ronald Reagan [wikipedia.org] , an actor who played the President of the United States.

The /g isn't strictly correct, because sometimes somebody might actually want to refer to Regan, but it's probably 99% correct.

This is the UK establishment all over (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129797)

Cameron notices his butler has a tv and spends time watching it, realises this could be a way to communicate with the proles "on their level"

Ok, Mr (3, Insightful)

JoeCommodore (567479) | about 9 months ago | (#46129811)

Your TV prviledges are revoked, go to your room!

Re:Ok, Mr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129935)

Cameron - "But Mum, Frauline Merkels on the Line!"
Mummypenny- "Alright you little twat, might as well stay online to bait the Yankee- strUdle- Doo!"

*NSA is more objective than MI6, as MI6 is weighted down by their ENORMOUSLY HEAVY ZIONIST inclination. It easier to spot than in the american system which is entirely more bureaucratic. At the end of the day, however, the NSA-slurpee-and-super-big-gulper feeds right into the ISR3AIli PANOPTICON, upon which some English-accented MI6/Mossadnix sits.*

Question: Does Yellen speak Yiddish, and if so, how does that help ze Germans get the remaining 295tonnes of their gold the FRB is meant to have sent?
go-figgur!

..,.,.,m, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130003)

I like you.

Time Lord's Charter (4, Funny)

mbone (558574) | about 9 months ago | (#46129825)

It seems to me, from the British TV I watch, that the UK is clearly in need of a Time Lord's Charter, authorizing the use of the Tardis and associated technology in solving existential threats to the Earth.

Re:Time Lord's Charter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130165)

I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Time Lord's Charter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130443)

Cameron watches too much Saxon TV.

I'm sorry, but (5, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 9 months ago | (#46129861)

When did "keeping us safe" become the primary function of government? Oh, that's right, George Bush and John Ashcroft used that as an excuse to make us live in a police state right after 9/11. Now it has spread to the whole democratic West. Good thing the terrorists didn't win.

Re:I'm sorry, but (2)

davecb (6526) | about 9 months ago | (#46129909)

One of the first tasks of a government to to prohibit private wars and vendettas, called "preserving the King's peace". From there, you get a slippery slope that honest governments admit exists, and used to work hard to stay away from. Not so much lately!

If you've read Asimov's later "Robots" stories, you can see his re-raising the question, and asking how it applies to a new technology.

Re:I'm sorry, but (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 9 months ago | (#46129919)

Actually "keeping us safe" goes all the way back to the begining. We had to take the native americans land to keep us safe from the "savages"

We had to get involved in a war 1/2 way across the world to keep us safe from the nazis. and in the next 40 years we had to keep us safe from the evil communists.

I know everyone loves to bash bush, myself included. but if you honestly think that the government only started "keeping us safe" after 9/11 you need to open a book.

Re:I'm sorry, but (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 9 months ago | (#46130011)

No. I ascribe "keeping us safe" (in an open-ended woolly-thinking sort of a way) to George Bush in exactly the same way that I ascribe "make the world safe for democracy" to Woodrow Wilson. Each of them (OK, Bush's speech writers) knew EXACTLY where the course of their actions would take us.

americans would fall for this too (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 9 months ago | (#46129869)

Im convinced that if people in congress or this administration (or any administration in the past 20 years actually) tried to use this same argument, the polls would show over 1/2 of the us here in the USA would also be all for it

The worst part (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 9 months ago | (#46129879)

who says that tv shows and movies are heavily not influenced by government agencies doings or their manipulation? You get full circle, we need to defend from what we are actually doing, or need to defend to the boogeyman we just put in front of you. And you will be convinced because you just saw it on tv. Never seen such political way to say "you are all retards and i will take advantage of that".

1984 was fiction too (4, Interesting)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 9 months ago | (#46129881)

Not to defend him by any means, but in this instance his statement is no more stupid than invoking 1984 or other dystopian works of fiction as the reason the Snooper's Charter is to be avoided. Fiction they may be, but these works portray possibilities that inform how things might turn out in reality given a course of action, even if the actual outcome resembles the fictional scenario only in kind, not in actual detail. The ability to gain insight into ourselves is one of the many reasons we find works of art valuable in the first place. The key is not to confuse fiction with reality which admittedly many do.

Re:1984 was fiction too (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 9 months ago | (#46129911)

It actually is stupid. His logic apparently suggests that all it takes for criminals to succeed in their endeavours is to not use mobile communication devices (because without them, the authorities are screwed!). So the outcome would be that everyone would get snooped except for the criminals who won't get caught.

Re:1984 was fiction too (1)

plover (150551) | about 9 months ago | (#46130559)

It actually is stupid. His logic apparently suggests that all it takes for criminals to succeed in their endeavours is to not use mobile communication devices (because without them, the authorities are screwed!). So the outcome would be that everyone would get snooped except for the criminals who won't get caught.

That's not stupid at all, because it's absolutely true. If you leave all your RF behind, wear a ghillie suit or CV dazzle makeup, or at least a cap with camera-blinding IR LEDs pointed out from around the brim, and use a vehicle not-your-own for travel, you'll be highly successful. However, most thieves are not that smart, and won't leave their phones behind. So they get caught.

Re:1984 was fiction too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130211)

... no more stupid than invoking '1984' ...

We invoke '1984' to emphasize how stupid leaders are In Real Life and say "it's not a manual". Here, the leader of a country is demanding that a piece of fiction decide security policy. It's not the first time this has happened but leaders usually aren't so open about their reasons.

... The ability to gain insight into ourselves ...

The insights to be gained from cop shows are:
  - authorities will defame and blackmail law-abiding citizens
  - police powers will be abused
  - it's us versus a power-tripping 'them'

Re:1984 was fiction too (1)

plover (150551) | about 9 months ago | (#46130623)

But we praise the leaders when they use a piece of fiction to decide science policy.

Perhaps we should judge the leaders on the actual policies they produce, rather than the source of them.

Re:1984 was fiction too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130483)

Except that there is data out there on how many crimes get solved using communications data in the real world, and it is a generally well known fact that crime dramas do not reflect particularly accurately how real police work, and don't even intend to, because they are about entertainment, not about realistically portraying a possible future?

Imagine What Might Happen! (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 9 months ago | (#46129893)

"...over time we will have the communications data to solve these horrible crimes on a shrinking proportion of the total use of devices and that is a real problem for keeping people safe."

Ahh, yes, the spectre of bad things that could happen in the future. We can't show any actual evidence of the value of these kinds of programs right now, because it is fictional, but think of what might happen tomorrow! As Wimpy would say, "I will gladly protect you Tuesday for your liberty today."

He is a masterful politician (4, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 9 months ago | (#46129937)

Let's face it, 90% of people are fucking stupid, and believe everything they see on TV, including "crime dramas" where unbelievable feats of forensic science are achieved in every episode. People eat this shit up, and most of this stupid underclass believes it is necessary to prevent or solve crimes.

This is why the revelations that these ubiquitous, omniscient surveillance systems exists generated nothing more than enthusiastic yawns among the populace.

People... just... don't... care...

Honestly, the people who do care, even being as vocal as they can be, make an almost imperceptible noise against the drums of big tyrannical government - like an annoying mosquito in the ear of the underinformed, low-information majority who just wants to know when the next episode of the Kardashians or Property Brothers or CSI or other mindless drivel will be on.

Obvious bias is obvious (0)

Mitsoid (837831) | about 9 months ago | (#46129939)

Instead of pointing out what is wrong with the proposed law(s), the article jumps to name calling and insult throwing.

I suppose they could not be bothered to read the law and provide a meaningful response... Must not be a bad law if they can't provide an example of abuse, or problems, the law would create.

TV can show us what may be the future all the time. Everyone on slashdot (should) appreciate this concept, Star Trek/Star Wars, and many Sci-Fi programs. TV may blow it out of proportion, but not always. Sometimes shows us what, ideally, would happen. Crime happens in the middle of nowhere? Dump the cell tower for the 5 names on the list. Presto, you may have solved an otherwise unsolvable crime because they had a cell phone on them. (Yes, serious criminals may turn off their phone, or use burners, but there are solutions to that too)

Re:Obvious bias is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46129999)

you cop-apologists needs to *investigate* the cop-coke-fuelled shooting death, subsequent public backlash, subsequent provocateur-ed looting in South London which diverted from precisely what you are on about;

Rupert Murderer och AMDOCS TELPHONE HACKING SCANDAL,

Thant would have led you Maddy and to the failed peadophilia-ring BBC-Bankers-Epstein operation.
nevermind, go back to your evidence-room-sourced cokesnorting, and your pub-loo orgies. SWINE.

Re:Obvious bias is obvious (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 9 months ago | (#46130373)

Why should we be interested in what you have to say if you preface it with "I'm a teapot"?

"keeping people safe" (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#46129961)

keeping people safe.

This is the big problem. You can't keep people safe and there's on need to strive to do so to the absolute. You can keep them safer, and the trick is to strike the right balance between their security and their freedom.

If only there was some apposite quote from an elder statesmen of a bygone age...

Re:"keeping people safe" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130475)

If only there was some apposite quote from an elder statesmen of a bygone age...

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), founder of the House of Rothschild.

Re:"keeping people safe" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130749)

"They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Benjamin Franklin (11 Nov. 1755)

Would someone rape this asshole? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130037)

Hell cut ne orifices and rape those when the others quit responding.

I recommend calcium chloride laced condomes.

And Sriracha and latex bandages with superglue.

Drawing on british crime dramas (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 9 months ago | (#46130051)

What Britain really needs is a real Sherlock Holmes. He can only invade your privacy if you're within his sight.

Re:Drawing on british crime dramas (1)

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) | about 9 months ago | (#46130121)

How about a real Detective Mudoch? (Admittedly, Canadian) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1091909/?ref_=nv_sr_4)

Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130129)

I think we can officially declare the UK a lost cause.

It's been fun!

It's the JEWS - didn't you notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130175)

Where have you all been? Let's all skirt around the issue, let's pretend we don't know who it is behind all of this... I just can't imagine... what secretive group of people would possibly want to CONTROL everything that their 'cattle' write and say?

Who took away our right to free speech?

http://balder.org/judea/Hate-Speech-Laws-Immigration-Jewish-Influence-Britain.php

Is that not enough to convince you?

Crime = 0% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130195)

All the UK really needs is for someone to send in a team comprising of Jessica Fletcher, Adrian Monk, Dr. Mark Sloan, Father Frank Dowling and Constable Benton Fraser, RCMP.

And if that doesn't work, send in Daphne, Fred, Scooby, Shaggy and Velma.

Leprechauns (1)

fritsd (924429) | about 9 months ago | (#46130265)

In other news, the UK PM Sir Mortimer Chris (played by David Cameron) said:
"It's all because of the invisible leprechauns. It's true, because I saw it in a film [wikipedia.org] . We have to be much tougher on everything and everybody in order to eradicate this terrible pest. The Snooper's Charter is just the beginning; I'm now working on the draft Wear Your Underpants On The Outside For Hygiene Law (WYUOTOFH law).

Most of my cabinet ministers have agreed with me, and those who haven't (because the leprechauns subverted them) have agreed to be publicly crucified in Wembley stadium to atone for their weirdness and sins.

I have instructed our nuclear submarines to go to code Red. Death to leprechauns. God will save us!"

Good Precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130407)

Why not have Cameron tout the magical ability of technology to keep the State safe; St. Reagan the Senile went about for most of a decade telling the world how his fictional space-based ray gun would save the world from nuclear devastation.

As a hardware and software professional of many years standing even back then, I'd go down the pub with my colleagues (HW and SW) and we'd all have a good laugh about the utter infeasibility of SDI, but that didn't stop ol' Ronnie. We'd joke about how if one missile got through, we'd have to refactor the code that failed and all we could do was hope that the original coder hadn't been living in the area where the missile got through or had written well-commented code...

So now, why not in England: "Well, last night DCI Banks caught a baddie using new magic electronics and CCTV, so clearly it is a national priority to have more of both, with emphasis on the magic stuff we won't/can't tell you about."

I, for one, feel safer for such statements as Cameron's. But then, the electroshock treatments ol' Maggie T. forced on me probably had something to do with that.

Media fiction used to condition the sheeple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130417)

The mainstream media exists for one reason, and one reason only- to sell propaganda campaigns to the sheeple. For instance, in the UK, shortly after 9/11, the BBC ran a pro-torture campaign that featured propaganda in every form of BBC output- news, drama, discussion, etc. The basic premise was always the same. IMAGINE that a terrorist has planted a bomb in some school, and only by torturing the terrorist can you prevent the death of hundreds of innocents.

The BBC was set up, as the propaganda arm of MI5 (before it was known as MI5), right from its beginning. During the 70s, a switch was thrown at the BBC, and a broadcaster that had previously been 'racially' sensitive since the late 1950s suddenly unleashed the most foul racism into its popular shows. As a consequence, the ultra-right wing party (a creation of MI5), the National Front came into being and grew in electoral power UNTIL the election of Margaret Thatcher, after which it 'mysteriously' collapsed as a significant political force.

Of course, you may well ask how Cameron could be so very thick, that he'd refer to this propaganda method in such a moronic and self-revealing way. Well Tony Blair, the real power over the UK, has two puppets running the country day-to-day. Cameron is the brainless, upper-class twit who fronts the Conservative Party. He is even thicker than Obama, and cannot be trusted to say or do anything that requires at least one working brain-cell. The REAL Prime Minister of Britain, and Blair's trusted lieutenant, is Clegg. For you Yanks, Clegg heads what was Britain's 'true' Liberal/Libertarian Party, but once in power, Clegg adopted the policies of the hyper-Right, and set in motion the most extreme program of new police state laws- each of which had been detailed on Blair's wish-list when Blair was 'officially' PM, but that Blair lacked enough clout back then to get passed into law.

Technically, Britain is today ruled by a 'coalition', but Blair outlawed 'VOTES OF CONFIDENCE', and created a de facto American style presidency for the person/people who take power following a British national election. The House of Commons is supposed to be a democracy, where each elected Member has an equal vote, and the Prime Minister ONLY rules with the 'consent' of parliament. However, under Blair's coup, the Members lost their right to withdraw support from the PM, so the PM rules, even if he/she loses the confidence of the majority of Members, for Blair's new fixed FIVE (or is it six) year term.

Blair's change ENDED even the flaky version of 'democracy' that Britain had enjoyed for centuries. In the UK, unlike the USA, there is no national vote for a 'leader' (PM or President). The people vote ONLY for their representative (Member), and send this person as their proxy to the House of Commons. Now this proxy has ZERO say over the leader. Instead, the party (or collection of parties) with the majority of Members take control of the nation, and they may place whomsoever they wish into control (and change that person at a whim WITHOUT an election). By Law, British people DO NOT vote for political parties, even if their choice has a party affiliation. The Member elected is FREE to change his political affiliation at any time, without triggering a by-election, because in the UK you vote for the man (man or woman), not the party.

99.999% of current Britons have no idea that Blair tore up all the rules covering parliamentary democracy, and replaced rule by Member with rule by 'party'.

Anyway, Britain's PM, Cameron, no longer needs to win the support of the House of Commons, which is why he is free to be this moronic and mouthy, dribbling ever more extreme nonsense as each day passes. It serves Clegg (Deputy in title, but the real PM on behalf of Blair) to have the person the sheeple thinks is in charge to be such a useless buffoon. This fact makes it easier for Clegg to operate behind the scenes. .

While we're at it, (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | about 9 months ago | (#46130445)

we need to triple funding for creating GUI interfaces in Visual Basic! Hurry!!!

Camoron should move to a totalitarian country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130603)

If Camoron wants totalitarianism, he should leave Britain. The British people don't want a greatly expanded form of Stasi style spying.
I can't believe that anyone would actually want to propose more Nazi style spying, particularly in light of the extensive criminality that has recently been discovered at the heart of the American Regime.

Re:Camoron should move to a totalitarian country (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130787)

>The British people don't want a greatly expanded form of Stasi style spying.

Please do not tell me what I do or do not want.

Anything that keeps me and my children safe is always a good thing. I welcome this idea.

Good thinking. Likewise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46130739)

In a related story, President Obama urged the stockpiling of garlic and to curtail its civilian use as a spice due to its effectiveness in combating vampires. How does he know? How do we ALL know? Movies and televisions shows about vampires have consistently agreed that garlic is a super weapon against the vampire problem. There. Any questions?

Knight Rider and macgyver (1)

chris231989 (1182795) | about 9 months ago | (#46130821)

I think using Knight Rider and Macgyver as reference for national security policy would be far more effective that the murder porn shows.
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