Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On internet Surveillance and Interception.


Years ago, when you applied for a marine radio operators licence, you had to sign a statement that you would maintain "secrecy of correspondence".

"Secrecy of correspondence" was the legal principle that, "Under no circumstances would you divulge the contents of any radio message to a third party".

In other words privacy of communication was sacrosanct.  All radio operators hearing a message,  including Government radio operators , were only allowed to divulge the existence or the contents of a radio message to "the proper recipient".

I am sure this was often honoured in the breach by intelligence agencies.  But the principle that an individuals right to privacy overrode any other interests ,for any reason, was there.

Similarly it has been a legal principle,  in most "democratic" States, that phone calls can only be intercepted on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
Usually by a judicial or court order. Police are not allowed to listen to private phone calls at random.

WHY THEN! Are we allowing the State, and even worse, private ISP companies and copyright holders to breach a our privacy IN CASE WE ARE BREAKING THE LAW.


Sure they have all sort of laudable reasons. Protecting copyright holders, attempting to limit paedophilia and catching organised criminals. But anyone, who wants to intercept other forms of communication to prevent these crimes, has to see a judge.

Of course reasonable people support intercepting paedophiles and terrorists on the internet. Who wouldn't.

However, those people can easily find ways and means to bypass internet scrutiny.

While the rest of us have our rights to privacy and free and open communication with our friends trampled on.

Once a Government starts internet scrutiny do you think they will stop with intercepting illegal traffic. How long before they intercept Wikileaks, The New Zealand Socialist Party. The Labour party!  Anything which embarrasses them!

How long before the SIS and police start making lists.

Of people who are not comfortable with the present Government.

They have done it before.

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