Mission Creep

Be concerned. If like me you’re a little fuzzy on DRIP and why it matters, a group of internet law experts have published a really straightforward, clear open letter on the worrying power grab by the government in terms of surveillance and data retention.

“The legislation goes far beyond simply authorising data retention in the UK. In fact, DRIP attempts to extend the territorial reach of the British interception powers, expanding the UK’s ability to mandate the interception of communications content across the globe. It introduces powers that are not only completely novel in the United Kingdom, they are some of the first of their kind globally.”

Worryingly, this crucial legislation is being rushed through, potentially undermining parliamentary oversight.

Why the rush? We’re told it’s because it’s an emergency. But Open Rights Group has published a useful fact-check of these claims. First off, the government has had 3 months since the court ruling that precipitated the issue to do something about it, but now we’re told it has be rushed. “Legislate in haste, repent at leisure”, the saying should go.

There’s a sunset clause apparently – this “emergency” has a two-year life span. For starters, that’s a long emergency. And, if it can last that long, why not longer? Once this is on the books, renewing it (especially as all the parties are in lock step on the issue) won’t be too hard.

My thesis is on the securitisation of immigration and how it’s used as an excuse by the government to amass more powers. This is no different.

We are told we must be afraid all the time. And at risk of sounding like a woman with a tin foil hat yelling at Speaker’s Corner, we are passively allowing the growth of the surveillance state  under the pretext of security. We surrender more and more, but we never feel more safe. Meanwhile, governments and certain corporations profit off the political economy of securitisation.

And then, for good measure, we are encouraged to be sceptical about human rights.  In the name of independence, Euro-sceptics would have us pull up the drawbridge and burn down our own house, all to be free of the supposed jack boot of the European Court of Human Rights.

There’s definitely undue pressure to restrict our rights, and it’s not coming from the ECHR, that’s for damn sure.


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