We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The panopticon state approaching at breakneck speed

This comes as no surprise whatsoever…

All telecoms companies and internet service providers will be required by law to keep a record of every customer’s personal communications, showing who they are contacting, when, where and which websites they are visiting.

Despite widespread opposition over Britain’s growing surveillance society, 653 public bodies will be given access to the confidential information, including police, local councils, the Financial Services Authority, the Ambulance Service, fire authorities and even prison governors. […] John Yates, Britain’s head of anti-terrorism, has argued that the legislation is vital for his investigators.

The Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner said: “The availability of Communications Data to investigators is absolutely crucial. Its importance to investigating the threat of terrorism and serious crime cannot be overstated”.

It is just a bit ironic that is comes on the day celebrating the Berlin Wall coming down. It is not enough to just defeat this legislation, the likes of John Yates and all his ilk need to be driven from positions of power because these are the Orwellian people who are the true clear and present danger to our very civilisation. The threat from terrorism is real, but the threat from our own insatiable security state is even greater.

20 comments to The panopticon state approaching at breakneck speed

  • drscroogemcduck

    time to start using I2P or Tor. these rules are just going to push normal people to these networks and will be detrimental to any law enforcement goals in the long term.

  • Mike Lorrey

    Any illusion that western governments were light years better at respecting the rights of their citizens is pure propaganda produced by the interested parties. The distinction between a left fascist state and a slightly less left fascist state is one of degrees, not leagues.

    They had to appear to be far more free for the propaganda war. Even when you look at the most radical cold warriors, like the John Birchers, what you find is a bunch of fanatical southern baptist christian fundamentalists, who would ban birth control, drinking, public dancing, evolution and most science, not a bunch of raving individualist libertarians.

    Without such enemies to be contrasted against, the western big government State has been following its natural evolutionary progression. Liberty need find purchase elsewhere.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The Ambulence Service? WTF?

    Anyone who uses the internet and imagines their conversations are not public is probably being naive, unless you have great encryption which governments cannot break.

  • John B

    Mike Lorrey, while there may be elements of truth in what you say, the broad picture to which you are subscribing here is part of the enemy propaganda. It is one of the deceptions within the deception. And those southern Baptists have been foolish to fall for it , as well!

    But as to the totalitarian state being erected on the justification of fighting terror. Yes indeed. It is a justification. And as such I seriously consider that terrorism has been allowed in order to justify the totalist state. It could have been stopped if the wanted to (like wavy Davy and the Lisbon/EU situation) but, actually, they didn’t want to.

    “Terror” is another whole subject. I lived in London when the IRA let off some bombs and I don’t remember anyone being too terrified. Of course it is evil. So are a lot of other things. And of course if people start trying to trash ones infrastructure they need to be stopped. But I am looking at the relative harm that various things cause. And terrorism, while spectacular and, indeed gruesome and tragic, is fairly limited in its physical impact compared to other things.

  • Mart

    Fortunately I always use Opera Mini when reading my radical revolutionary material, plotting the overthrow of the state, and disseminating anti-establishment propaganda :p

  • cjf

    Your own kind do you worse than any other.

    I’m a non-card carrying member of senior social, tea, cats, reading, retired puttering terrorist group. Of one.

    Plain white business-sized, unmarked envelopes full of currency makes any evidence disappear.

    How come individuals are called “conspiracy nuts”
    I mean, doesn’t it take more than one to conspire?

    Collectivist conformity nuts are cliques of claques.

  • Brian, follower of Deornoth

    You would think the Labour Party and the Metropolitan Police would know by now that monitoring of communications can cut both ways.

  • cjf

    “monitoring of communications can cut both ways.”
    It already does.

    All information about us comes from us. Disinfo works for anyone. Outright lying should be avoided. Lighting is very important in theater.

    Conflicting data may come from us; and, still be “real”
    Tons of it can. Needles in haystacks.

    We often cannot “find ourselves”; or, ask “Who am I?”
    Kindness may lead us to share our confusions with those who take an interest in us.

    Dreaming a thousand lives to live, we live one thousand
    and one. Let them keep track of it all.

    Trying to hide too much becomes obvious. The familiar gets boring. People trying to psych us need help.
    By all means, give it to them.

  • Frederick Davies

    time to start using I2P or Tor. these rules are just going to push normal people to these networks and will be detrimental to any law enforcement goals in the long term.

    As a current TOR user I can only advise people to have patience with it. TOR may give you IP obfuscation, but at the cost of substantially reducing the speed of your connection. This actually serves a useful purpose: it reminds me, everytime I use the Web, why I hate those bastards so much.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “They will not require the permission of a judge or a magistrate to access the information, but simply the authorisation of a senior police officer or the equivalent of a deputy head of department at a local authority. ”

    I wonder what “senior” police officer means? Desk sergeant, perhaps?

    And a DEPUTY head of department! Jeez. Some spotty youth deputising for his boss for a couple of days gets to spy on my emails? Thanks, EU.

    Time to drage these people out and hang them, I think.

  • Stephan

    Jonathan, One doesn’t need to have “great” encryption in order to keep their communications secret from government. There isn’t some magical device by which they can unlock the laws of mathematics. An individual using AES 256 encryption, wrapped up in a good public key algorithm is pretty much totally secure from the prying eyes of ANY government with whatever message their sending in such a fashion. The main threats to privacy lie in access to all the third party monitored aspects of our communications and activities ie: credit card purchases ISP records, etc.

    With a few crucial steps, anyone can keep their really important activites relatively secret. Mind you, some of these steps would look bloody paranoid to some.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    As a point of interest, let me note that any number of secret messages could be encoded and delivered in the random word sequences spam emails use to defeat anti-spam filters. So what all this monitoring hopes to accomplish, I don’t know. Maybe it’s time for everyone to send everyone else lots of messages consisting of random number strings, and saturate the eavesdroppers.

  • From what I’ve been hearing, they’ll be able to know which online games you’ve been playing but not what you’ve been saying within those games. The simplest way to prevent them ever finding out is to turn off local chatlogging. Many online games do not log user chats on the server as they would require anywhere from twice to eight times the amount of hardware necessary to run the game to do so. So if you’ve got anything to say that you don’t want recorded anywhere, say it in a game with chatlogging turned off.

  • Simon Jester


    I don’t think the EU had anything to do with it – this appears to be purely home-grown totalitarianism.

  • Gareth


    Sweden challenges EU data retention directive

    It is being helped along by the EU. Presumably national Governments keen to keep this data lobbied the EU to cook up the directive concerned. The EU is a quango of Governments. Or perhaps, more like a consultant in that it tells the national Governments what they want to hear to muddy the waters as to who is actually making the decisions.(It is the ideal bogeyman) Whether those national Governments wholly abide with the edicts from the EU is up to them and in Britain they mostly do, to the letter.

  • Verity

    This sounds like something control freak Cameron could learn to love.

  • The Lincolnshire Poacher

    From what I can tell GCHQ plan to use deep packet inspection technology to intercept packets at the ISP level. Deep packet inspection means that the payload of IP packets are analyzed in real-time and by examining multiple packets in a stream it’s possible to determine what type of application is being used and extract any useful information. The technology and the boxes to do it exist and it’s already used by some ISPs for traffic shaping for things like games and p2p as well as targeted advertising such as Phorm. In my opinion DPI is potentially a huge threat to the openness of the internet and governments all over the world now seem to be gaining the confidence to claim internet behaviour as territory of their own.

    I believe there is some hope though. I’ve seen some speculation that for it’s Intercept Modernisation Program GCHQ haven’t really banked on the popular use of anonymity networks, encryption and the development of overlay networks. There was some media indication to back this up last week when Peter Mandelson announced his assault on file sharers. The security services were said to fear the retreat of file sharers to the use of darknets. Anonymity networks aren’t popular because they are slow. But if necessity forces people to use them they become faster and you become more anonymous. If we can’t have privacy by policy we can have it by design. I would imagine that this makes the job of the security services much much harder and if you look at it in this way you could argue that a more open internet is better for all.

  • RAB

    Well swings and roundabouts folks.

    So if I am a local government officer, ambulance worker or fireperson, it will be ok for me to tap into Downing Streets emails and find out what the lying bastards are up to, will it?

  • MarkE


    One of the things I see happening as a result of the EU’s opacity but its enthusiats try to deny is the probablity of a proposal being routed through the EU to avoid debate at home. To take this as an example; Brown wants to monitor email but suspects this would be unpopular. He trots off to the EU and suggests it be adopted at that level which, after a few deals are done (“I’ll shut up about the CAP/ support your extra commissioner/ vote for your guy as president/ whatever if you’ll support me in this”) it duly is.

    Brown then comes home and says “sorry guys, I tried to fight it but 26 other countries wanted it”. How many EU measures have been introduced in this way?

    If Mandelson plays it right he gets to cause further splits in the Conservative party which he sees as a bonus, being unable to see that if the Conservatives split finally there is a chance of a future government that might support a smaller state and that will therefore undo everything Brown (and Cameron) hold sacred.

  • permanentexpat

    All say they’re concerned about privacy & security. In order to use the Net for one’s own pleasure/information/ebay/amazon etc. it is enough that one divulges a small wealth of personal detail.
    My amazement is that soi-disant intelligent folk should compound their insecurity by using or subscribing to Twitter/Facebook et al.
    I am no conspiracist but would not be surprized if the provenance of these ‘social netwoorks’ did not lie in the murky realms of officialdom.
    Is it true…or not…that when one subscribes to Facebook, one’s entire address book is automatically downlosded to that organization?