I got very angry about an article in The Times which suggested that the Police are to be permitted to hack into user’s PCs without a warrant and on the whim of ‘senior officer’.
So, despite having taken sleeping tablets and wanting to settle down with Christian Woolmar, I wrote an email to my (sort of) MP:
Hope the new year sees you well. I’ve just been reading this slightly disturbing article in The Times.
I wondered what your opinion on this was? I cannot help but feeling that this is another example of the gradual erosion of our civil liberties that has been in progress for the last seven years. A warrant to search a premises – but no warrant required to search a private store of information remotely and without knowledge?
At a time when trust in the Government and the Police force is shaky well, at least, mine is, after reading a number of articles like the above, but you read the polls too) I am unconvinced that a ‘senior officers’ belief in ‘proportional’ response is the best way forward for implementing such a controversial law. A personal computer is just that – personal – and contains exceptionally private information for many people, including bank details but also for many people, diary entries and letters.
What if someone decides to write a questioning diary entry on their computer about civil unrest or dissatisfaction with Government policies? If such an entry was scanned, I imagine it would lead to a quick swoop on someone who might simply be writing something down to formulate their thoughts, assuage their anger and ultimately would reject such actions. It is late, and I have not had a great deal of time to crystallise my thoughts, but I am highly sceptical that yet another acquiescence to an increasingly political police force will be effective (the same force of which 51% reject the firing of an officer who was found to be a member of the reprehensible BNP). Nor will it add to the confidence of those who, like myself, are concerned that the same excuses are wheeled out all the time to justify the intrusion of the state into individuals private lives. Let us not forget the allegations in Ealing of a (Tory, admittedly) council using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to monitor when residents put out refuse sacks and the Kent council that spied on a family, again using anti-terror legislation, to confirm their eligibility for a school place. There is massive scope for misuse by minor officials, corrupt politicians or security forces.
In conclusion, I would welcome your views and I would be very pleased if you could inquire about this pernicious attack on our freedom from within our own borders through your own channels.