The UKs Big, Gigantic Brother

By MICHAEL TENNANT | THE NEW AMERICAN | JUNE 18, 2012

“Unless you are a criminal, then you’ve nothing to worry about from this new law.”

How many times have humans heard that old saw? Only as many times as governments have taken away more of their liberties in the name of fighting crime.

The latest politician to utter those infamous words is British Home Secretary Theresa May. Defending her government’s plan to require communications providers to store details of every e-mail, telephone call, and text message in the United Kingdom, May called the proposal “sensible and limited” and denounced opponents as “conspiracy theorists … with ridiculous claims about how these measures infringe freedom.”

“I just don’t understand why some criticize these proposals,” she wrote in a June 14 op-ed in the Sun.

Who, after all, could object to a plan that, according to the Associated Press, “would force communications providers … to gather a wealth of information on their customers” and then make that data available to law enforcement on request, giving “authorities a remarkably rich picture of their citizens’ day-to-day lives”?

Under the bill, says the AP:

Providers would log where emails, tweets, Skype calls and other messages were sent from, who they were sent to, and how large they were. Details of file transfers, phone calls, text messages and instant conversations, such as those carried over BlackBerry Messenger, would also be recorded.

The bill also demands that providers collect IP addresses, details of customers’ electronic hardware, and subscriber information including names, addresses, and payment information.

Even physical communications would be monitored: Address details written on envelopes would be copied; parcel tracking information would be logged as well.

All the data would be kept for up to a year or longer if it was the subject of legal proceedings.

“Officials insist they’re not after content,” the AP writes. “They promise not to read the body of emails or eavesdrop on phone calls without a warrant.”

This assumes, of course, that one can trust these officials. Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail clearly does not. “Whenever you give any agent of the state extra powers,” Littlejohn observed, “they will always, always abuse it.”

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Big Brother gets Bigger in Canada

Breitbart.com
February 14, 2012

(Via AFP) Canada’s government Tuesday introduced a bill to give law enforcement authorities sweeping powers to probe online communications, but the move sparked criticism about threats to privacy.

“New technologies provide new ways of committing crimes, making them more difficult to investigate,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholsontold a press conference in unveiling the measure.

“This legislation will enable authorities to keep pace with rapidly changing technology.”

 Opposition parties and civil liberties groups, however, said new police powers contained in the bill could result in unreasonable searches and seizures.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, whose office is independent from the government, said in a letter to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews last October she had “deep concerns” about the proposed changes, which she said could have “serious repercussions for privacy rights.

“I recognize that rapid developments in communication technologies are creating new challenges for law enforcement and national security authorities and that the Internet cannot be a lawless zone,” Stoddart said.

But “by expanding the legal tools of the state to conduct surveillance and access private information, and by reducing the depth of judicial scrutiny… (the bill would allow the) government to subject more individuals to surveillance and scrutiny.”

Further more it goes “far beyond simply maintaining investigative capacity or modernizing search powers. Rather, (it) added significant new capabilities for investigators to track, and search and seize digital information about individuals.”

The legislation would require telecommunications service providers to set up systems that allow police or Canada’sspy service to intercept communications as part of their investigations.

As well, they would be required to provide subscriber information to authorities and other data that would allow police to track suspects using a cell phone or a computer.

Toews in parliament insisted the newest draft of the bill balances law enforcement needs and privacy rights, but Stoddart’s office told AFPher concerns remain.

 

NYC: The most Surveilled City in the World!

Excuse? Testing New Technology Aimed At Reducing Traffic Congestion

CBS
July 18, 2011

What if you could fix a traffic jam with a push of a button?

It might be just wishful thinking or it could become reality under a new high-tech traffic monitoring system unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg — optimistically called “Midtown in Motion.”

Traffic engineers in the city’s new high-tech Traffic Management Center don’t look like wizards, but they may have the ability to make traffic congestion disappear, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“This system is about to take a quantum leap forward,” Bloomberg said Monday.

The new program is sort of big brother-ish. An array of new traffic monitoring gear, including microwave sensors, traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers will be used to measure traffic volume at 23 intersections. The technology will allow traffic experts to spot traffic tie-ups or unusual congestion and then do something about it.

“It will allow engineers to quickly identify congestion choke points as they occur and what’s most important, they’ll then be able to remotely alter traffic signal patterns to begin to clear up Midtown jams at the touch of a button,” Bloomberg said.

The new program is sort of big brother-ish. An array of new traffic monitoring gear, including microwave sensors, traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers will be used to measure traffic volume at 23 intersections. The technology will allow traffic experts to spot traffic tie-ups or unusual congestion and then do something about it.

“It will allow engineers to quickly identify congestion choke points as they occur and what’s most important, they’ll then be able to remotely alter traffic signal patterns to begin to clear up Midtown jams at the touch of a button,” Bloomberg said.