uk: COMMENT: Watch out – the state is after your hard drive

… You can hear, from Westminster, the sound of the state pooing its pants about the digital revolution. Its authority is being eroded on two fronts. First, the internet doesn’t recognise national borders so is nearly impossible to police. That is good for criminals. Second, the technology that allows people to publish and broadcast online is so widespread that central authorities cannot control the agenda. That is good for political activists. The tricky thing for government is how to curtail the freedom of the crooks while respecting the rights of reasonable dissenters.

The British state has so far veered between neglect and encouragement for the internet. The government once thought it was a nifty way to make friends with the electorate. They invited people to send online petitions to Number 10. But the mood is changing. The new MoD guidelines for blogging squaddies are a straw in the wind.I’m prepared to bet that the next major government online initiative will not be some post-your-comments-here consultation gimmick. It will be a heavyweight Internet Crime and Security Bill. It will ostensibly be aimed at protecting Mrs Miggins and her PC from fraudsters, pornographers and terrorists. But it will also give the state sweeping powers to shut down internet service providers and snoop around your hard drive. It will be,,2147157,00.html

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