Yesterday’s Queens speech was notable for its omission of the Communications Data bill, the extremely controversial Big-Brother-esque piece of legislation which received a huge amount of opposition in the UK and against which a number of blogs, including this one, have opposed.

Another public consultation on the bill will take place early next year and will aim to discuss problems the government sees in our national security, and proposed ways to tackle these problems.

Back in October, Jacqui Smith “clarified” what the Bill would and would not do:

“There are no plans for an enormous database which will contain the content of your e-mails, the texts that you send or the chats you have on the phone or online. Nor are we going to give local authorities the power to trawl through such a database in the interest of investigating lower-level criminality under the spurious cover of counter-terrorist legislation.” (quote from ComputerWeekly.com)

That’s alright then, isn’t it? We all got the wrong end of the stick? No-one was ever planning to snoop on us and squirrel away recordings of our daily lives?…

Well, hard to tell really. This government is so full of U-turns at present moment, that I don’t know what to believe, so not surprising many are such cynics.

All I can say is that we are relieved the Bill has not yet been forced through. But as I am sure many will be aware, it is just a temporary reprieve, at least until this government is in power. 

The Labour party is somewhat preoccupied with the worsening state of our economy at present so cannot afford to throw massive amounts of money at this extra “snooping” spend. It’s not because they listened to those who opposed the Bill, and thought to drop it. They are just running out of money. They still want to do this – I am sure with or without public consent.

I don’t for a moment believe that if the public disagreed with this Bill during the 2009 consultation, the Bill will be dropped for good. My cynical view is that it will be metamorphosed into something slightly different – less scary and not needing public opinion’s input, then quietly pushed through to become law, then slowly tightened and amended to be more in line with what Jacqui Smith wants to achieve now.

Why can’t we have something akin to a referendum on an issue that seems so important to so many people in this country? Think Europe – Switzerland – I am sure they don’t have “public consultations” that are done so quickly and quietly, sneeze and you miss them. They have a full blown referendum on key issues. Maybe this is why the Swiss actually turn out at their polling stations, as their opinion does seem to count. Here in the UK, it just does not feel like it really does. Does anyone else share the same fear?

 

Copyright 2008 by CuriouslyInspired

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