fighting for civil liberties in
Free spirits pursuing their alternative way of life, going to visit a well-loved
cultural site, were brutally attacked by the forces of peace and order.
Laws were later passed, outlawing their itinerant living style. Nearly ten
years on, they are returning to their cultural focus-point. How 'the establishment'
is failing to crush every freedom.
2004: Public Meeting about ID cards
There's a public meeting (free attendance) to discuss the government's
ID cards plan and Blunkett has been invited to it. Confirmed speakers include
people from political parties, pressure groups, the police and experts in
security. Attendance is free, register at email@example.com.
UK government ID card: A licence to live
While the UK government starts the steam-roller to increase control of
their electorate, citing state security and fraud prevention, a sane voice
discusses why British ‘citizens’ would just be subjugated
further without any useful benefit.
to introduce guilt by association?
“The plan, according to the Observer, is to allow the placing
of orders banning people from contacting suspected terrorists on pain
UK parliament discussion
on the possible introduction of identity cards.
- “I have changed my view. I had felt that if there was a compelling
case I would be prepared to set aside some of my instinctive civil liberty
and libertarian concerns, but there is no compelling case. A range of
issues has been raised, which, in my judgment, mean that the Government
should not introduce the cards. They should heed the consultation and
listen to Labour Members and members of the Cabinet, and they should
not proceed with this policy. It would be unpopular in the country and
- Mr. Mark Oaten (M.P. for Winchester)
James Hammerton, a major contributor to magnacartaplus.org, starts a web
log (blog). Read details here.
report on net censorship
This first link gives a précis, while here is the full report (2Mb pdf file).
“This study has found that censorship of the Internet is commonplace
in most regions of the world. It is clear that in most countries over
the past two years there has been an acceleration of efforts to either
close down or inhibit the Internet. In some countries, for example in
China and Burma, the level of control is such that the Internet has relatively
little value as a medium for organised free speech, and its used could
well create additional dangers at a personal level for activists. The
September 11, 2001 attacks have given numerous governments the opportunity
to promulgate restrictive policies that their citizens had previously
opposed. There has been an acceleration of legal authority for additional
snooping of all kinds, particularly involving the Internet, from increased
email monitoring to the retention of Web logs and communications data.
Simultaneously, governments have become more secretive about their own
activities, reducing information that was previously available and refusing
to adhere to policies on freedom of information.
“Governments of developing nations rely on Western countries to
supply them with the necessary technologies of surveillance and control,
such as digital wiretapping equipment, deciphering equipment, scanners,
bugs, tracking equipment and computer intercept systems. The transfer
of surveillance technology from first to third world is now a lucrative
sideline for the arms industry. Without the aid of this technology transfer,
it is unlikely that non-democratic regimes could impose the current levels
of control over Internet activity.”
“There are some positive developments within this survey. Countries
have established protections, countries have enshrined protections, companies
have fought for the rights of privacy of individuals, technologies have
sustained the ability of dissident groups to speak freely and access content
privately, differences in laws in countries has sheltered the speech of
the oppressed. Technological developments are being implemented to protect
a free Internet, but the knowledge gap between radical innovators and
restrictive institutions appears to be closing.”
Breach of confidentiality
“Anonymity services can flourish only if users trust providers
to be straight with them at all times. This in turn means that providers
must be absolutely punctilious and obsessive about disclosing every exception
to their assurances of anonymity. One doesn't build confidence by letting
the Feds plug in to the network, legally or otherwise, and saying nothing
“Justifying it after the fact, as the JAP team did, simply isn't
“Telling us that they only did it to help catch criminals isn't
good enough either.”
Note that detecting this privacy intrusion was made possible by the software
Link thanks to ag
International civil liberties weblog
“Portland's top brass said it was OK to swipe your garbage—so
we grabbed theirs.”
An interesting and useful article on the growing government intrusions.
more opposition to
“Fearing that the Patriot Act will curtail Americans’ civil
rights, municipalities across the country are passing resolutions to repudiate
the legislation and protect their residents from a perceived abuse of
authority by the federal government.”
“In retaliation, some librarians have called special meetings to
educate their communities about the Patriot Act’s implications.
Others now routinely purge borrowing records and Internet caches.”
why government snooping
will ultimately fail
Out there are millions who will use their wits to protect their freedom
from over-ambitious government. Among them are great numbers who are much
brighter and more creative than most government time-servers. Among them
is a growing generation that increasingly understands the net, and a core
of old control freak fools who do not.
The Internet is the end of the old top-down society. Either government
opens up, or it will inevitably isolate itself.
“Poindexter, the controversial Pentagon official who is creating
a global database surveillance system that could collect massive amounts
of private, personal information.”
“But activists have created webpages to invade Poindexter’s
own privacy, posting his home phone number, his home address, his birthday,
information about his family, ways to find his Social Security number,
and even a satellite photo of his neighborhood.”
Good government serves the people, it does not seek to rule or to harry
them. Good government seeks the help and cooperation of the people. Good
government can be trusted. Good government is open, not secretive.
The Internet counters
“The Prestige was carrying more than twice the amount of fuel
oil contained by the Exxon Valdez when it ran into an Alaska reef in 1989.
Nevertheless, the traditional Spanish media—most of which is controlled
by the government— has largely failed to cover the event.”
“The University of Vigo has consistently contradicted the government’s
pronouncements on the advance of the black tide—a term never mentioned
by the official press, locals say—with reports published by French
and Portuguese experts.”
“Additionally, activists have used online forums to create petitions
goading the government to greater action, to coordinate volunteers and
to organize protests.”
“ ‘Once again, the Internet has proven to be an effective
means of communication when faced with government censorship of the news
media,’ said opposition Sen. Félix Lavilla Martínez. ‘The
Spanish people have seen the images and commentaries; solidarity has been
extended through the Web. ”
Attempts to close
down sites by using foolish UK ‘law’
“The commission found that the law put ISPs under pressure to
remove sites as soon as they were told the material on them might be defamatory,
without considering whether the information was in the public interest,
DNA intrusion on civil liberties
“Such expansions pose threats to civil liberties. DNA banking
of convicted violent offenders is a good thing, but compulsory DNA sampling
of the accused changes the nature of the relationship between citizens
and the state. No longer are we innocent until proven guilty. Worse, the
expansion of DNA databases creates new opportunities for genetic criminal
profiling in the future — and the likelihood of DNA-style defenses.
A recent report by the British Nuffeld Council on Bioethics suggested
that, as our knowledge of behavioral genetics grows and scientists identify
genetic traits that encourage antisocial behavior, courts might consider
a criminal’s genes as a mitigating factor in sentencing, just as
they now weigh environmental influences such as a history of poverty or
“In the Pentagon in Washington, a team is working on plans to
collect as much information about every single aspect of everyone in America
as they can."”
The clash between
free speech and incitement
As European leaders move to ban Internet hate speech and seek support
from the United States, civil liberties groups charge that the proposal
would violate free-speech rights.
[Site indicated by Limbic]
Declaration of Principles on Tolerance
“Proclaimed and signed by the Member States of UNESCO on 16 November
The reader needs to take account of the rather squishy vocabulary in this
Spain attempts to
interfere with the Internet
Any Spain-based Web site that engages in commerce - even a struggling
Egyptology site - must now register with the government under a stringent
new law that took effect on Oct. 12.
The tough rules have prompted at least 300 Web site owners to take their
pages offline in protest, according to Kriptopolis, a digital rights and
Internet security site coordinating the campaign. It has drawn support
from online civil libertarians across Europe.
Many site operators say their protest is open-ended, but others are gone
for good. Still others say the law is so hard to decipher they've gone
blank while studying how to comply.
Is Islam Compatible
With Democracy and Human Rights?
An interesting document comparing Universal Declaration of Human Rights
of 1948 to Islamic law and doctrine.
Associated article by an author of arabic origin.
Is Islam Secularizable?
Don’t read article without the other.
|Australia taps 20
times more phones than the United States
as a result of a judge’s signature on the warrant no longer being required.
[Sydney Morning Herald, 16.09.02]
|How attacks on civil
liberties are unfolding in the USA
As the article states, there is a greater awareness and concern with liberty
in the USA, and a greater understanding....