Bryan Hemming

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Open letter from UK legal academic experts re DRIP

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The powers of the state are already being abused enough. I urge everybody interested in personal privacy and freedom to read the letter I have re-blogged from Paul Bernal’s blog, a section of which appears below a few words of my own with a link to the full letter and signatories.

UK political parties are consistently covering up their own misdeeds while prying into the private lives of their voters on a scale never witnessed before, except in totalitarian regimes.

They are not alone is not alone in this, and seem to be dancing to the tune of the unelected US secret services, who are spinning out of control, and appear to answer to no one, not even the US president.

Along with the UK, US secret service agencies have been exposed for their mass, illegal spying on their own citizens and rest of the world. There are strong indications they don’t need more powers but far fewer.

However much I would like to bury my head in the sand, there are times we all have to stand up and be counted. The internet is too valuable to allow vain and arrogant politicians to steal it.

Paul Bernal's Blog

I’m one of the signatories to the letter below – not just a few, but many very serious legal academics, some of the most distinguished in the field.

Tuesday 15th July 2014

To all Members of Parliament,

Re: An open letter from UK internet law academic experts

On Thursday 10 July the Coalition Government (with support from the Opposition) published draft emergency legislation, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (“DRIP”). The Bill was posited as doing no more than extending the data retention powers already in force under the EU Data Retention Directive, which was recently ruled incompatible with European human rights law by the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the joined cases brought by Digital Rights Ireland (C-293/12) and Seitlinger and Others (C-594/12) handed down on 8 April 2014.

In introducing the Bill to Parliament, the Home Secretary framed…

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4 comments on “Open letter from UK legal academic experts re DRIP

  1. rangewriter
    July 16, 2014

    I fear that Pandora’s box has been blown wide open and there’s no calling back the technologies that will invade everyone’s lives from now on. It is scary. It is frustrating. I’m not convinced we’ll ever be able to manage it. Just one more global threat, like nuclear armageddon, pandemics, and starvation.


    • Bryan Hemming
      July 17, 2014

      Although you certainly have a point, at the same time, the more impotent we think we are, the more impotent we become. And the more powerful we believe our political leaders to be, the more powerful they become.

      Pandora’s Box is just one example of the wisdom of the Ancient Greeks, but sometimes we have to search a bit harder to find a more optimistic metaphor.

      Without wanting to appear condescending, there is no better example than one of Aesop’s fables to illustrate what I mean. I like Michael Chan’s illustrations in this version of The Bundle of Sticks.


      • Linda
        July 18, 2014

        The Bundle of Sticks is indeed a good metaphor. However, in talking with a professional networker who understands deeply, how electronic media work and has the task of trying to keep his University “safe” I don’t have much hope for ever getting the lid closed on privacy and being able to solidly defend our intellectual property. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying to defend those things, and many other rights. It just means I think that true success in that realm is a bit of an illussion.


      • Bryan Hemming
        July 18, 2014

        Solidly defending our intellectual property is a very hard one, as it can mean pursuing many expensive individual legal actions in different nation states, which is all but impossible for most individuals. But, lumping it together with defending our privacy, when they’re are clearly not the same things, is something your professional networker should avoid.

        We should all stand up for our rights to privacy and oppose laws that try to take away such basic liberties. WordPress itself has a little logo for the Internet Defense League, which you can see at the bottom of my posts. To let people know where you stand, all you have to do is move it from your widget list to wherever suits you. It takes no time at all. A lot of little people doing small things amounts to far more than you might think.

        As the German Pastor, Martin Niemöller famously said in November 1945, after re-visiting the former Dachau concentration camp, where he had been imprisoned from 1941 to April 1945:

        First they came for the Communists
        And I did not speak out
        Because I was not a Communist
        Then they came for the Socialists
        And I did not speak out
        Because I was not a Socialist
        Then they came for the trade unionists
        And I did not speak out
        Because I was not a trade unionist
        Then they came for the Jews
        And I did not speak out
        Because I was not a Jew
        Then they came for me
        And there was no one left
        To speak out for me

        Thanks so much for your input on this, Linda. I really appreciate it. Not only does it give me food for thought, but it and may help me produce an article of my own on the subject in the near future. Keep it coming! And lots of love.


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This entry was posted on July 16, 2014 by in Articles and tagged , , .

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