Friday, 6 June 2014

Snowden one year on

 Silence of the Cams

"The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; .....
There was no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to.”

The extract above is from ‘1984.’ Thanks to Snowden we know the prescient Orwell was spot on and only a few years early. The stupid, the complacent and the compliant, parrot the William Hague line, “If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.” Tell that to the people of East Germany who endured the Stasi monitoring their every move. Anyone suspected of dissent was tried in a secret court and sent to a forced labour camp - or shot. Sometimes they did not bother with the trial. 

The bombshell this week that our beloved government want to run a secret trial of two alleged terrorists is quite chilling. The fuse is suddenly burning quicker.

Are you happy that your mobile phone can be accessed by ‘the authorities’ without your knowledge. Were you aware that your mobile can be used as a bug, even when it is turned off? Thanks to Glen Greenwald in ‘No Place To Hide’ “Snowden said the US government has the capability to remotely activate cell phones and convert them into listening devices. …The government has used this tactician criminal investigations for years. In 2006, a federal judge presiding over the criminal prosecution of alleged New York mobsters had ruled that the FBI’s use of so-called roving bugs - turning a person’s own cell phone into a listening device through remote activation - was legal.”

The big tech companies, Google, Apple, Yahoo etc are making noises about how they did not know  the extent to which their services were being raided by NSA. They see the danger in their businesses being seen as government tools. Their gravy train is leaving the station.

Small organisations are springing up dedicated to improving encryption. Whole countries - Brazil, Russia, to name two are looking into setting up their own national net. The EU, so despised by UKIP, is investigating the amount of surveillance taking place and has challenged the US to come clean with what it is up to. In the US the Snowden revelations were explosive. There is massive awareness of the issue and growing anger at the extent of the snooping and the lies told by NSA and governments. Judicial challenges are taking place across the world. Obama stands exposed as a hypocrite and is struggling to control the situation. At least there is new legislation on the way in the States.

Meanwhile back in the UK there is a deafening silence from our political class. 

Remember these? 
  • The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.
  • Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.
  • The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency
  • Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.
These gems come from the Coalition Agreement drawn up in May 2010. My my, haven’t they done well? What a load of BS. Look at the Queen’s Speech for the so-called ‘Zombie Parliament, - not one mention of the need to get a grip of surveillance. 

Organisations such as Liberty are challenging the government in the courts and there are a handful of MPs and others who have raised concerns. To some extent this may all be meaningless if developments in the States and Europe expose what our government does not want us to know. They will be dragged into revealing exactly what GCHQ have been up to….and for how long. 

The question to ask the ‘nothing wrong - nothing to worry about’ numpties is to ask them for their bank code, their email password and their cell phone access code. 

The words in red are trigger words which activate the scanning computers to hone in. If everyone put similar words in all their emails and texts then the buggers would be swamped.

Dear Mr or Ms Snooper,

Are you happy in your work spying on your fellow citizens? Have you seen 'The Lives of Others' about the Stasi in East Germany? Have you thought about becoming a whistleblower and telling the world what you get up to? 

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