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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Paranoid Britannia

8 May 2017

The world has officially gone mad.

Well not so much folk like you and I (although I'm not so sure about you)... but those who sit in their ivory towers and tell the rest of us what we can and can't do, appear to have now totally lost the plot.

What am I talking about?

Well read this BBC story and you'll see what I mean.

Here is perhaps the most relevant section of that piece:

""It seems very clear that the Home Office intends to use these to remove end-to-end encryption - or more accurately to require tech companies to remove it".

Seriously? The UK government wants to eliminate the right to privacy and, by the sounds of it, this would include such things as the secure protocols on which we rely to protect our passwords, banking details and other sensitive data.

Yes, under this proposal, "https" would become a dirty word (well dirty acronym maybe).

Why on earth are the people who come up with this type of idiocy still in the public's employ?

Why do they get even a single red cent of taxpayers' money, when clearly they know nothing about what they're doing?

Will Google, with its push to replace all http conversations with https ones, become a wanted criminal for "aiding and abetting" those evil "terrorists that Home Secretary Amber Rudd has mentioned?

Another quote from that BBC story:

"Home Secretary Amber Rudd has previously argued that the Investigatory Powers Act is necessary to curb "new opportunities for terrorists" afforded by the internet".

Sigh!

Are the elite classes in Britain really suffering from levels of inbreeding to the extent that their mental faculties are diminished to this level?

Obviously so.

But seriously... how would people respond if the government required every room of every house to be fitted with cameras and microphones -- just in case terrorists were going to be talking about some evil plot? What's more, what if anyone who dared whisper so that their conversations could not be heard were to be accused of a crime for doing so?

Hopefully there would be outrage -- but these days, I'm not so sure.

Governments have carefully desensitised the masses to such things (just look at the way almost every inch of the UK is now covered by CCTV cameras) and they've discovered that you can take anything from the public (even their privacy) so long as you promise them security and safety in return.

Of course it's not just the UK that's gone mental. The USA has been leading from the front of the paranoia queue for a very long time and this Arstechnica story shows that nothing's changed there. If you live within 100 miles of a border then some very important aspects of the US Constitution do not apply. This means that some entire states (like Florida) have no Fourth Amendment rights at all. What the?

Isn't it ironic that the very technology which freed us from the tyranny of distance and gave is the ability to communicate freely with the entire globe is now being used to undermine our right to privacy and free expression.

What kind of twisted powers would seek to turn something so good into something so bad?

More importantly -- why do so many people simply stand by and accept whatever is handed out to them by clowns who clearly have no clue what they're doing?

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