Tag: nick clegg

After Woolwich attack, 'snooper's charter' back on the agenda

The UK thought it was rid of the reviled ‘snooper’s charter’ communications bill, which would make storing data on all Britains legal, but now political figures are suggested it be resurrected in light of the axe attack in Woolwich yesterday.

Lord Carlisle, formerly the independent reviewer of terror laws, said on BBC’s Newsnight that it should offer a “pause for thought” about dropping the bill, the Metro reports.

“We must ensure that the police and the security services have for the future the tools they need which will enable them to prevent this kind of attack taking place,” Carlisle said. 

“I hope that this will give the government pause for thought about their abandonment for example of the communications data bill and possibly pause for thought about converting control orders into what are now called Tpims, with a diluted set of powers”.

Lord Reid weighed in saying that mobile data stopped a 2006 airline attack. “2,500 people would probably have been blown out of the sky over the United Kingdom,” he said.

The unpopular bill was thought to be blocked by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, and it was not mentioned in the Queen’s speech.

Nick Pickles, at Big Brother Watch, told TechWeekEurope that Lord Reid’s track record speaks for itself. Reid was, Pickles said, “one of those responsible for the knee-jerk decision to try and introduce powers for people to be detained for up to 90 days without trial by the last government, after the 7/7 attack”.

“We face down terrorists by defending our values and traditions and acting proportionately, which is a balance current policy recognises,” Pickles said.

In a blog post, Big Brother Watch offered agreement to former head of MI5 Lady Neville-Jones, who said efforts need to be made in tackling hateful rhetoric online and elsewhere.
Critics of the Snooper’s Charter would argue that there is little evidence to support it as a preventative measure, and would also paint every citizen in the UK as a potential violent criminal. 

Google is a country, not a company

Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Go Ogle, was in Oxford yesterday, speaking at the Sheldonian about goodness knows what. It was probably attended by arse lickers, big time.

We couldn’t be bothered to tip up – and in similar manner, Eric Schmidt couldn’t be bothered to tip up at a Google conference this morning where champagne socialist Ed Miliband dilated at length about how evil Google is.

Schmidt did, however, appear at a conference later on, where he said and yeah, I kid you not, he said: “Google is a country.”

He corrected that to “company” a few seconds later, in Just a Minute style.

Now we  have met Schmidt when he suddenly appeared as the boss of Novell. He’s a bit like Princess Anne. Who is she? Well, no one knows.

And no one knows who Schmidt is. But we are a bit interested that every single politician in England – David Cameroon, Nickerless Clegg and Headless Miliband – is complaining about Ogle. Get off Google’s back – it is a country, not a company!

Snooper's Charter blasted by MPs, Nick Clegg

Plans to introduce a “Snooper’s Charter” have received a wave of criticism, with MPs, public bodies and even the deputy Prime Minister attacking the Draft Communications Data Bill. 

A Joint Select Committee rejected initial plans to allow law enforcement agencies to access currently obtainable data such as in email communications, with proposed powers to monitor online data scaled back.

The scope of plans to monitor data should be significantly decreased, committee chair Lord Blencathra said, with major changes required to the Bill.

“There needs to be some substantial re-writing of the Bill before it is brought before Parliament as we feel that there is a case for legislation, but only if it strikes a better balance between the needs of law enforcement and other agencies and the right to privacy,”  Blencathra said.

The Lord added that there is “a fine but crucial line” between giving law enforcement and security agencies access to the information necessary for national security, and allowing UK citizens to go about their daily business “without a fear, however unjustified, that the state is monitoring their every move”.

Home Secretary Theresa May previously put forward plans which she claimed would protect against terrorism, for example, handing police and other agencies improved powers to monitor electronic communications.  However, the committee argued that May should not be given “carte blanche” to order the retention of all types of data.   The committee also rejected claims that it is necessary to put in stricter measures to ensure that plans are ‘future proofed’.

According to the committee recommendations, the types of data that are accessible should be reduced, with MPs able to vote on whether service providers should have to collect IP address data from subscribers for example.  The number of public bodies able to access the data should lowered, the committee recommended.

In addition, MPs said that there should be more consultation with privacy groups to avoid the gung-ho approach that has drawn widespread criticism from external bodies.

However, the committee indicated that it would be happy to pass proposals if they are changed to meet the recommendations.

The plans also received criticism from deputy PM Nick Clegg, who said that plans to increase powers to monitor online communications need to go “back to the drawing board”.

“It is for those reasons that I believe the coalition Government needs to have a fundamental rethink about this legislation,” Clegg said.  “We cannot proceed with this bill and we have to go back to the drawing board.”

The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham also took aim at the recommendations, highlighting the problems it would cause in regulating the strict rules initially proposed by the government.   Withholding more data, and for longer periods of time would also be a drain on public finances, Graham said.

“My concern is around the adequacy of the proposed safeguards that the ICO would be responsible for regulating,” Graham said. 

“Ensuring the security of retained personal information and its destruction after 12 months would require increased powers and resources, and as it stands today we’ve not been given clear advice on where that will come from,” he said.

The Home Secretary defended the bill in a newspaper column today, stating that she is “determined” to see through the web monitoring plans.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, told TechEye:

“The committee has exposed weak evidence, misleading statements and fanciful figures and unanimously rejected this draft Bill’s proposal to monitor everyone’s emails, web visits and social media messages.

“The complexity and sensitivity of the subject required a radically different process and a totally different bill. There are challenges, but they can be solved in a proportionate way that protects privacy, is based on what is technically possible and focuses on maximising the effectiveness of data already held.

“After such a damming report, Parliament cannot support the draft Bill and it is now essential that if proposals are brought forward, they are comprehensively re-written and based upon the clear evidence and proper consultation that this draft Bill fundamentally lacked.” 

Brits call for the repeal of the Law of Thermodynamics

A Tory website which was set up to ask Brits which stupid laws they would like repealed seems to have had an overwhelming response calling for the end to the law of thermodynamics.

Each law has been roundly debated and the common belief, before a Tory Party activist realised what was going on and shut down discussion, was that the laws of thermodynamics had had their day.

Obviously the first law which says that heat cannot be destroyed but only be converted to another one is  complete anathema to your average Tory. After all heat can simply enter the country and change into something else. It can also claim several benefits at the same time.

The second law “heat can spontaneously flow from a higher-temperature region to a lower-temperature region, but not the other way around” has totally failed to keep people coming from warmer countries and taking British jobs.

The third law which says that as temperature approaches absolute zero everything stops. Has been a principle that has run the British Travel networks for years, but it is perhaps time for a change.

It is not clear when the Law of Thermodynamics first came onto the statute books. Apparently the first one was dreamed up by Alexander the Great’s teacher Aristotle and the second one has been around since the 19th century.

Obviously laws that have been around that long should be considered “up for review” but no one seemed to suggest that the law of Gravity should be appealed.

The http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/ site was the Brain Child of David Cameron’s fag Nick Clegg who needs something to do otherwise he will end up demanding proportional representation again. 

Clegg backtracks on McKinnon extradition claims

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has started to do a U Turn on plans to save Gary McKinnon from extradition. For a few brief minutes it looked like the new government was going to stand up to the United States and not extradite Gary McKinnon.


The Deputy Prime Minister said during a radio interview that he, the Home Secretary Theresa May or even David Cameron might not have the power to halt an earlier court decision allowing him to be extradited.


So that means all those remarks he made while in opposition that it was “completely within” the then Home Secretary Alan Johnson’s power to make changes to the law to allow him to be tried in Britain may not have been completely true.


It appears however that it is true that politicians views change when they get a desk in the ministry.


The extradition has been approved by the courts, though lawyers for McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, have waged a long-standing legal campaign against it insisting that the move would breach his human rights.


Until now Clegg has been a high profile supporter of their efforts and dismissed claims by the previous government that it had no power to intervene.


Clegg wrote last year it was “simply not good enough for Alan Johnson to shrug his shoulders and claim that nothing can be done”.


“It’s completely within his power to enact amendments from the Police and Justice Act, which would allow Gary McKinnon to be tried over here. Or he could urge the Director of Public Prosecutions to begin proceedings.”


However when talking to Radio 5 he said that while he had not changed his view “in any way” he said that he had not got the power to completely reverse and undo certain legal aspects of the case.


He still thinks that Gary McKinnon should be tried in the UK, but says he is powerless to do anything. He should know about being powerless – he has been a liberal democrat for some time. However you should think that now he is in charge he should be able to do more than do a France to the Americans.

Nick Clegg scraps databases and says CCTV will be properly regulated

Nick Clegg has announced that over £7 billion worth of government databases will be scrapped and CCTV will be properly regulated.

However although privacy groups have welcomed the scrapping of databases, others have called the CCTV promises a “load of old rubbish.”

In his speech today Mr Clegg said: “It is outrageous that decent, law-abiding people are regularly treated as if they have something to hide. It has to stop,”

He also said the £1.3 billion identity cards scheme will be cancelled, as well as the £3.6 billion biometric passports database. The £224 million ContactPoint database of vulnerable children will also be scrapped.

The news has been welcomed by No2ID, which has been campaigning for database scrappage for years now.

Phil Booth National Coordinator at the organisation, told TechEye: “It’s a very welcome first step. However, the Government must act now to scrap these plans instead of dragging it through Whitehall and having the plans delayed by some members who are still very much for the database state.”

In his speech Mr Clegg also promised that “CCTV will be properly regulated.” This has angered privacy group No CCTV, which told us the claims were a “load of old rubbish.”

Charles Farrier, a representative for the group, told TechEye “This is nothing new, they are just trying to shush up privacy campaigners by putting the word “properly” in front of a strategy that is exactly the same one as that set out by the last party.

“It should not be about what people can do with CCTV, it’s about what they can’t do,” he added.

Mr Clegg also left himself some room for maneuver when it came to the Interception Modernisation Programme, which would demand ISPs retain details of the customers’ communications, in case intelligence or law enforcement agencies want to access them,  saying: “We won’t hold your internet and email records when there is just no reason to do so.”

The Liberal Democrat press office refused to tell us exactly what those reasons would be..

ID card faces brownout as Brown out

Gordon Brown appears to have been displaced as prime minister of Her Majesty’s Brittanic United Kingdom and Colonies and that means the crazy ID card scheme will be no more. Hopefully.

Brown will have to go see the Queen and suggest his successor. The sums were all wrong for the Dundonian.

The Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party appear to have formed a coalition and both are opposed to the ID card scheme, a scheme that has already cost British taxpayers an arm and a leg.

A combination of Liberal Democrats and Conservative party members of parliament means that the coalition will have a majority in the House of Commons.

Although the Conservative Party may be nurturing a Whiggish viper in its bosom, it looks likely that one of the things the two parties can agree on is that the ID card is dead.

Both the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party are riven by internal divisions – a natural state of affairs in any group of human beings that claim to be working together towards an ideal.

And there really are quite a lot of divisions between LibDems and Tories – the Labour Party will now sit on the sidelines and watch the squabbles as a new government tries to address the dreadful debt the UK is in. It hopes to capitalise when the coalition falls flat on its face.

Quite often, when there’s a change of government, the first thing they do is change the name of government departments at frightful expense.

UK satirical magazine Private Eye painted Gordon Brown as a Stalinist. The magazine will now have to figure out what it will do as Broon changes into Cameroon…

Here are the Top 10 MP Tweets as General Election looms

With the UK General Election looming, politicians are doing everything they can to win the British publics votes.

Although in the past many have claimed that they will not be depending on social networking sites to win votes, the Twitter debate is hotting up with many MPs using it as a forum for criticism, back stabbing and their own policies. We’ve put together a top ten of the best political Tweets out there.  

Nadine Dorries (Conservatives)
Lib Dems are like Coke Zero, after a while you want to go back to the real thing.

Labour’s failure to tackle benefit dependency has led to the cost of benefits to drug and alcohol addicts reaching £5bn http://bit.ly/8ZoH0a

Nick Hurd (Conservatives)
The Liberal candidate was wearing an “I agree with Nick” badge at the school hustings this morning. Which was nice of him.

Harriet Hormone (Labour)
Surreal Tory demo at Ipswich Sure Start. Parents and children love Sure Start. Tories love tax cuts for millionaires. Vote Labour

Jeremy Hunt (MP for South West Surrey and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport)
Gordon Brown just made biggest gaffe of campaign but denying responsibility for Labour leaflets

Nick Clegg (Lib Dems)
Malaria still kills more people worldwide than AIDS, that’s why I’m keen to support World Malaria Day and #endmalaria

David Milliband British Foreign Secretary and Labour candidate for South Shields:
Jack Straw didn’t have his soapbox to meet his ward organisers but it was impressive. So was the Ivy Street Community Centre

Labour Party
Vote LibDem and get Tory who will CUT Jobs CUT Nhs CUT Police CUT Education CUT Child Credits & RAISE Taxes

Tom Watson (Labour)
Clegg picking a fight with everyone. He may regret that.

Tessa Jowell (Labour)
Beautiful day. I’m off to eat some Liberals.

Clegg still winning social media battle

We’ve got our latest set of social media analytics in from Webtrends and it shows, as far as mentions go, that Nick Clegg’s telly appearances are still keeping him very popular, despite alleged smear attempts from major media outlets.

Click through here for the latest.

As we said just the other day, mention trends on social platforms often tend to mirror who’s going to be the winner and loser. For example, Webtrends only failed to predict the correct evictee from Big Brother once. This chart shows that Clegg’s had a four percent rise in popularity on social networks after yesterday’s second leader debate.

And no, we haven’t had our collective head in the sand – we’ve seen the #nickcleggsfault hashtag on Twitter. For those who missed it, there was a huge trending hashtag yesterday claiming all sorts of things were #nickcleggsfault. TechEye even suggested that Scrappy Doo’s introduction on the Scooby Doo show could have been #nickcleggsfault.

Webtrends took this into account for us and the 54 percent lead over Gordo and Cameroon is without all those mentions. With the trending hashtag, Clegg managed to haul in about 70 percent of total mentions across social media. This includes Twitter and Facebook, as well as forums, blogs, the whole shebang.

We will, along with Webtrends, continue to bring you updated analytics after the TV debates or big stories.

Lib Dems blast rivals in new online campaign

The Liberal Democrat Party has finally launched its online campaign for the upcoming UK elections.

The ‘Labservatives’ website claims to be from both the Labour and Conservative parties, with overlapping red and blue backgrounds. The logo resembles the old Labour symbol of the red rose, although this time in white, and its slogan is ‘For more of the same…’ The site looks as though it could also be 3D, if you had the right goggles.

The site highlights that for the last 13 general elections the UK have voted in either a Labour or Conservative Prime Minister. This, according to the site, has made these two parties complacent and there should be a change.

The figurehead of the site is a nightmare-ish mish-mash of Gordon Brown and David Cameron, called Gorvid Camerown.

“We’ve taken the first step on our unstoppable stroll to victory with the launch of a brand new advertising campaign,” Gorvid announces on the first post of the site. “But though our triumph may be inevitable, we’re leaving nothing to chance. Number 10 is where we belong. Besides, all our stuff’s there and the garden looks lovely at this time of year.”

The website also has a YouTube video of Gorvid laying out his ‘manifesto’ and some pictures of billboards with the Labservatives election pictures on. At the time of writing it is not known if these are mocked or genuine.

The campaign also has a twitter side, with both Gorvid and the Labservatives having accounts. There is also the opportunity for supporters of the campaign to add 3D glasses to their avatars.

The Labservatives seems to have been well met by the Lib Dem-ers on Twitter, the Labour and Conservative parties have not yet commented on it.