Monday, 13 April 2009
Broken Britain - 7: ...it's for your Own Good...
Want to be an investigative journalist?
Want to have an opinion?
Want to have Any kind of original thought left in your body?
Forget It!!! - From 1st April 2009, every telephone call you make, every email you send and every website you visit is being logged under new regulations.
And every government department, every local Council and even every quango can access this telephone and internet database. (What could they use it for?…to access everything from treason to fly-tipping, they tell us…and, perhaps, who‘s been tipping off a journalist on a local paper about the misdeeds of a local Councillor???).
FACT: Any database will eventually spill out to those who pay enough money or who have the right contacts. (And if you thought electronic communications are secure - you must be crazy).
I remember the day Tony Blair was elected P.M. in May 1997, I predicted to the optimistic youthful voters who put him in power: “Be warned - you are about to witness the nearest thing to a Stalinist regime this country have ever seen. It Will happen”. And, I think, the years have proved me right.
Insider whistle-blowers beware.
Here’s a Tip: if you want to be an investigative journalist, I suggest:
- pen and paper (i.e. snail-mail letters)
- a pay-as-you-go mobile phone with an unregistered SIM card bought with Cash (yep, just like drug-dealers and terrorists)
- and a motorcycle.
As if all this were not bad enough, the REAL threat will come once the police put all sorts of information - vehicle license plates’ movements [ANPR: Automatic Number-plate recognition], CCTV camera data, emails, phone calls, etc. - into a real-time system that anyone can access.
It WILL happen.
Mind you, once you DO have a juicy bit of information, new technology means it’s easier and quicker to get it out there to the rest of the world before they catch up with you!
So I guess, if investigative journalism IS under threat, maybe this is a new role for the Blogosphere.
Oh, and the Motorcycle? Bikes usually only have One number plate - on the Back.
But APNR cameras focus on a vehicle’s front plates!
- Handy to know.
A PostScript: I’ve just seen a TV ad where I can get any information on any car registration number. Just send the number in a text to 83600 and for a fee of £3 + standard network charge, the DVLA will send you details of your car (where it is, and - if it has been stolen - if it's been pulped). Big Brother or a useful government service? - you decide. I think it’s creepy