The MI6 building in London. It looks like a bizarre cake or some post modern library with its multiple layers and sections and two tone colours. Well know because Bond, James Bond works there.
Looks good despite having been blown up several times by an assortment of Villains.
Yesterday we were honoured with the wisdom of someone called Sir John Sawers, an ex head of MI6. He was making the case for yet more government intrusion into our online lives but failed to present any reason for this other than Terrorists are bad, Terrorists want to kill us and we have to give up all freedom and privacy to prevent the evil terrorists killing us.
His comments are here.
Where to start. So many points to refute and debunk. So much to say and yet so little time and space.
Let’s start with “there could not be online "no-go areas" the government could not access.”
Wow, so much stupid in one sentence. While Britain is an advanced western nation with significant scientific and technological advances to its credit the bulk of online activity is carried out through the medium of software that is not British written, based or controlled. The digital nation, a world without physical borders where you can access resources and meet people from the whole planet.
Just how exactly does this Muppet expect the British government is going to force non British companies, service providers and software writers to grant what to them is a foreign government or foreign spies access to their core business, security codes and livelihoods and reputations?
“Online communication services like Facebook's WhatsApp and Apple's FaceTime could not be beyond the reach of monitoring agencies.”
Are they British software on British servers, how exactly is British law going to demand access to them?
While I have come to expect such stupidity and short sightedness from our politicians this is the man who was leader one of our security services, a man tasked with protecting us and leader those who protected us. I cannot believe he has not been brief as to the consequences of what he asks, and yet he asks anyway.
“No area the government cannot access.”
Consider the implications of that. Emails, texts, instant messages, the my little pony site your little girl loves, your bank transactions, the software your company uses, every single online trading and shopping system, every single digital method of communication be it voice or data. After all you can hide messages inside other data files.
Since it is extremely difficult to find a line of code hidden in a jpeg or mpeg or music file even if the government have access to the billions of those sent in the UK each year how do they plan to prevent terrorists sending messages that way?
How would they monitor everything even if they gain access to all of our online activities or communications. The number of messages, texts, emails, and transactions runs to many hundreds of billions a year. Would there be a massive recruitment drive to employ a hundred thousand new GCHQ staff or would the government bring in the likes of G4S to handle it.
What could possibly go wrong with G4S minimum wage or zero hours staff with little or no training being responsible for monitoring our private communications and activities?
How about “A breakdown in trust between internet companies and the government was the result of revelations by whistle blower Edward Snowden, the former US spy agency contractor who disclosed the extent of surveillance and electronic monitoring by US and British government agencies.”
No mention of the breakdown in Trust between the population and the government that was and is conducting whole sale monitoring of us under the guise of protecting us from those dirty evil Terrorists (never mind that ATOS has allegedly killed more people by denying them benefits that Terrorists have killed in the UK over the last decade).
Companies are reluctant to trust their encryption codes to the British government after leaks that reveal that same government that has been silently and often illegally violating their corporate and customer privacy for years.
Blaming Snowden for causing a greater security risk because he told people how their own government was spying on them. Yes thank you Sir John for your considered opinion.
There is little or no trust between the population at large and the politicians and institutions of government. Again and again we hear of our data lost or corrupted, misrepresented or made public by the same organisations and people that want to have access to everything. When a company is hacked and a few million people have their credit card details stolen it is a huge problem.
When the government through incompetence hands out the bank accounts, credit cards, phone numbers, financial details, personal details and more of tens of millions of people it as a technical issue.
I’m sure the people who just had their lives made public will be happy with a government apology.
MI6 and its partner agency the CIA facing accusations of Rendition and abuse. That means they kidnap people, torture them and murder them. And these are the people calling for greater access to your entire life and an end to your privacy. Police investigations into these charges are ongoing.
Sir John has apparently been spending the last few years modernizing MI6 to face 21st Century threats. Sadly he seems to lack an understanding of just what it is he is calling for in terms of monitoring and censoring digital communications in the 21st century.
A few years ago we were told that online censorship and greater security services access to our activities was to protect our children from Pedophiles, now we are told that greater security services access to our activities was to protect us from terrorists. But when you look behind the rhetoric its the same access to our lives, the same monitoring, the same snoopers charter.
The only thing that has changed is the justification for it.