Author Topic: The ongoing encroachment of the database state.  (Read 1639 times)

Offline Blizzard Beast

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The ongoing encroachment of the database state.
« on: October 26, 2008, 07:52:18 AM »
Hands up all Brits on here.

*hands*

Is it just me, or are we sleepwalking into a level of state intrusiveness in the UK that not even the Stasi could have countenanced?

You see, aside from the National Identity Register, 42 day detention, control orders, and so forth, there's an ongoing fetish - and has been since 1997 - to build gigantic databases with loads of information - usually of a personally sensitive variety - on it about everyone. Recently our Home Secretary Jacqui Smith proposed that we need a huge database of every e-mail, phone call, and web visit made by everyone, ever, in an attempt to fight terrorism. Or that we need a permanent record of every school leaver that tracks everything they did at school and all the time they appeared on Social Services' radar for whatever reason so they can be targetted for state intrusion.

I remember in 2007 a woman who had been suicidally depressed as a teenager had a child with her husband of several years and Social Services immediately swooped on her like Cowled Wizards on a marilith that appeared in the Bridge District and said that they were going to have the kid off her, since as a former depressive she posed a threat to it. The fact that it was all 20 years ago didn't cross their mind. Oh, and when she recorded the social worker in question and posted it on YouTube, the local council went into a massive dummy-spitting and threatened to sue them for invasion of privacy.

I also worry about the upcoming ban (from January 2009) on so-called "extreme pornography." Regardless of your moral viewpoint about such ongoings, is it really the business of the State to pontificate, ban, and incarcerate for three years for having the "wrong" filth on your laptop? Is it any of their business what people get up to and film, consensually, for theirs and others edification?

To be frank, the constant mantras that we all have to give up a little bit of freedom or personal information for our own good and so as not to be exploded by wild-eyed, bearded men with large rucksacks and 72 virgins on their mind, just don't wash. Unlike a lot of other countries in Europe and Northern America, we had been under siege in Britain constantly from the 1960s to 1998 by terrorists who were I. competent, II. properly funded, III. that the Americans were willing to sell guns to, and IV. that in 1984 came within six inches of wiping out the entire Cabinet. And we didn't need control orders or giant databases or detention without charge or constant surveillance to beat them, now, did we?

And the same applies to the protection of children. No, there are not paedophiles handing out in every corner of the Internet and in every park. Though I do think one laughable attempt by the Murdoch press to claim that terrorists were using kiddie porn to transmit secret messages (I wish I were making this up) was a bit of an overplayment of hand by the banstibators.

Unfortunately things are no better elsewhere. The French seem to be moving more towards mass surveillance and increased powers of intrusion for ticky-box bureaucrats, even though Nicolas Sarkozy promised in the 2007 election campaign that he'd move towards shrinking the sprawlingly inefficient French state. In Spain they've aggressively resurrected lÚse majestÚ. In Sweden they're moving to further impose a form of state-sanctioned morality on their people and aggressively surveilling them to check for breaches of this. In the US, the Republicans are demanding wire-tapping and Internet use logging for everyone, and the Democrats are crowing about how it's an invasion of privacy and unconstitutional but still voting for it because they don't want to be painted as "soft on terror."

In thirty years' time we'll probably be living in some sort of godawful cross between "1984" and "Neuromancer."

Now for your thoughts!
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Offline Kulyok

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Re: The ongoing encroachment of the database state.
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2008, 09:46:30 AM »
This topic may be a little extreme for this board: perhaps Yahoo Groups are better suited for this sort of discussion. Check out Pocket Plane FAQ for more info.

I am going to leave the topic open unless the admin says otherwise, but, please, keep this in mind.

Offline Lorph Halys

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Re: The ongoing encroachment of the database state.
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2008, 10:12:20 AM »
Well, I'll put my hand up to being British.

Unfortunately, if one hadn't had one's afternoon tea and crumpets yet, it would be downright distasteful to engage in such a spirited discussion as you, good sir, are proposing, not to mention damnably difficult to read any post of a length beyond one or two paragraphs without one's eyes glazing over. Unfortunately, I find myself in just such a situation.

Also, I've got the boy shining my monocle at the moment, don't you know. Can't read a damn thing without it. Awfully sorry, eh, what, haw haw.

Cheerio.

Offline jcompton

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Re: The ongoing encroachment of the database state.
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2008, 08:06:22 AM »
Yeah, Kulyok is right. BB, I appreciate that you're just trying to spur discussion on a new forum, but years of running mod forums has taught the difficult lesson that we have more fun when we argue about fake worlds and not real ones.
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Offline Rika

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Re: The ongoing encroachment of the database state.
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2009, 05:32:12 AM »
Mass hysteria, nothing more
So if the devil wants to dance with you, you'd better say never cuz the dance with the devil might last you forever