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“The UK’s Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it’s dead”

The Register’s Rupert Goodwins is right to describe the Bill as “stupid” but, I regret to say, probably mistaken in describing it as “dead”. It has long since passed the Commons. Its progress through the Lords is almost complete. But a few more sharp thrusts like this one might yet kill the beast:

The British state is a world class incompetent at protecting its own data. In the past couple of weeks alone, we have seen the hacking of the Electoral Commission, the state body in charge of elections, the mass exposure of birth, marriage and death data, and the bulk release of confidential personnel information of a number of police forces, most notably the Police Service Northern Ireland. This was immediately picked up by terrorists who like killing police. It doesn’t get worse than that.

This same state is, of course, the one demanding that to “protect children,” it should get access to whatever encrypted citizen communication it likes via the Online Safety Bill, which is now rumored to be going through British Parliament in October. This is akin to giving an alcoholic uncle the keys to every booze shop in town to “protect children”: you will find Uncle in a drunken coma with the doors wide open and the stock disappearing by the vanload.

7 comments to “The UK’s Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it’s dead”

  • Fred Z

    I am always surprised by those surprised by stupid, dishonest, ineffective or evil government.

    Those are the norm, not the surprise.

  • Paul Marks.

    Some Conservative Members of Parliament are under the false impression that this proposed law would be used against the people who abuse them “on-line”, in reality the proposed law would be used against Conservatives. Organisations such as “Ofcom” would be in charge of the censorship – and such bodies hate Conservatives (they hate libertarians even more).

    So support for such proposed censorship measures is not “just” evil – it is also stupid.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    But the UK’s Online Safety Bill gives authority and power to the Blob… sadly any concerns about holding the information secure are well down the list of concerns compared to the lure of gaining Authority. And the Authority will be exercised in chosen cases to establish that Authority.

    The Elite have always wanted their minions to be able to tell them the inner thoughts of the Rude Mechanicals.

  • The Elite have always wanted their minions to be able to tell them the inner thoughts of the Rude Mechanicals

    The thing that really does surprise me is that the UK Gov (in its infinite stupidity) doesn’t seem to anticipate any form of behavioural response from us Rude Mechanicals to Government prod noses.

    For myself, my email and websites are hosted in a foreign country with slightly better appreciation of what data security and protection from intrusion actually means.

    I prefer speed in my browser responsiveness, but I am perfectly prepared (out of sheer obstinacy if nothing else) to start routing my web traffic through an encrypted VPN with randomly rotating locational information. I mean it’s not even hard.

    Even with Google Drive, I encrypt all the contents and obfuscate the filenames before uploading them through the Unix utility rclone, because I don’t trust Google to NOT pry into my affairs.

    My mistrust of UK Gov is several orders of magnitude higher than that of Google.

  • Paul Marks.

    I repeat – those Conservative Members of Parliament who support this measure, do not grasp that it is not going to be used on their opponents (the people who scream abuse at them on social media) – the measure would be used on their supporters.

    There are two governments – the elected government and the unelected government, not just the Civil Service but also the independent agencies, such as Ofcom.

    No prizes for guessing which government tends to have the real power.

  • Paul Marks.

    According to Nadine Dorries, the lady who was a minister in charge of the “On Line Safety” Bill – one of the faults of the Prime Minister is that he has “watered down” the measure – Natalie will know if that is true, but it did make me feel a bit better about the Prime Minister.

    Ditto the claims, made in the resignation letter of the lady, that the Prime Minister is not truly committed to “Net Zero” (according to the letter he should be hitting the British people much harder) and is not spending enough on X,Y,Z (everything from defence to the Welfare State).

    In reality government spending is incredibly high – but I suspended disbelief and, as I read the resignation letter, indulged in the fantasy of a Gladstone style government keeping a tight grip on its spending,

    There was, of course, no mention of the 400 Billion Pounds (“not much if you say it quick”) spent on insane Covid lockdowns and other such, supported by all political parties, that has left the United Kingdom crippled.

    Government spending was very high even before Covid – we did not have 400 Billion Pounds to throw away on counter productive (wildly counter productive) policies which most certainly did not “save lives” (rather the contrary) – but all political parties supported the terrible policies that have left us crippled.

  • Paul Marks.

    Nadine Dorries also complains about personal abuse (supposedly the On Live Safety Bill would stop this) and then lays into the Prime Minister for his choice of suits and shoes (which does seem like personal abuse).

    But the lady has a point about the “Prada” shoes – the Prime Minister should, of course, be wearing Northamptonshire made shoes.