UK Crime Agency Boss: 'Yes, The Public Must Give Up Its Liberty If It Wants Security'

from the deserve-neither dept

Last week, the UK Home Secretary pitched the current UK government’s plan to ramp up anti-terror laws to further stamp out privacy and free speech rights in the UK. This week, Keith Bristow, director general of the National Crime Agency, doubled down by arguing that he needs to teach the public that of course they need to give up liberty if they want security. He argues that “public consent” is necessary, but that legislation is “public consent” and thus he needs to help convince the public (or, really, Parliament) to cough up some liberty.

He said: ?If we seek to operate outside of what the public consent to, that, for me, by definition, is not policing by consent ? the consent is expressed through legislation.?

He added that it was necessary to win ?the public consent to losing some freedoms in return for greater safety and security?.

And while the famed Ben Franklin quote on “safety” v. “liberty” is mostly used out of context, that doesn’t lessen the importance of the premise behind it. Giving up liberty for the sake of presumed (without evidence) security is a very dangerous game, often used by those who just wish for more control and power, not any actual concerns with safety and security.

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Comments on “UK Crime Agency Boss: 'Yes, The Public Must Give Up Its Liberty If It Wants Security'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The problems are that:

① In order to provide said security, the net has to be physically built in another manner than it is today.

② The amount of security that can be provided is inversely proportional to the area covered.

③ Who the hell asked for this security at expense of freedom?

④ As long as there is no meaningful oversight, it’s just abuse; not protection.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Who asked? Why, we all did of course!

We vote in the people that literally state “Doing Something is better than nothing” even when that something definitely looks worse than doing nothing!

Did you help to change your political diaper(politician) last election cycle? If you didn’t then you need to lay in the bed you helped make!

Director, FBI says:

Re: Re: Re:

Dear AC,

Did you help to change your political diaper(politician) last election cycle? If you didn’t then you need to lay in the bed you helped make!

Please give me a call as ASAP as possible. I think beautiful music might just be similar to scratching my back.

Sincerely regarded,
James Comey

PS: Please forgive me, but the entrapment was too much like trying to take bathwater from a baby.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

  1. what do you mean ‘we’, kimo sabe ? ? ?

    2. for one thing, about half the eligible voters don’t vote, so ‘we’ is not so many people… not to mention that eligible voters only constitute a portion of the population…

    3. your premise ASSUMES there are REAL choices besides the two branches of the ONE Korporate Money Party; there are not: we get korporate flack A, or korporate flack B; there is essentially ZERO choice for a NON-korporate flack, PERIOD…

    4. which leads to: the current election system is BROKEN and CORRUPTED on many levels; you have a snowball’s chance in hell of fixing a broken system by using a broken system…

jameshogg says:

There is a significant parallel between freedom and the skeptical necessity of burden of proof.

If the citizen is a danger towards the public, or has committed a crime towards the public, it is the role of the authorities to prove this in the positive, not the role of the citizen to prove the negative. Authorities must show why a citizen may be guilty. It is no good saying the citizen must show why he is NOT guilty.

And “everybody is suspect” is not an argument in itself unless it can be proven, which it cannot be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Giving up liberty for the sake of presumed (without evidence) security is a very dangerous game

This implies that it might be OK to give up liberty for the sake of provable improvements in security, to which I say “Bullshit”.

Even if you had documented evidence that I would be safer if I gave up some of my freedom, I’d still tell you to take a hike.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So you are ok with abolishment of all laws? I can walk into your house and, if I am capable, kill you and your family and take whatever I want?

The idea of having a society at all requires giving up some freedoms for the sake of security.

While I do not think it is worth giving up all of my privacy for any security from a terrorist attack, I can understand how some people can make an argument for it.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I think this goes too far. I’m guessing that you are fine with giving up some liberty in exchange for some security. For instance, you’ve given up the liberty of imprisoning or murdering people who you feel have wronged you in exchange for protection from others who may want to imprison or murder you. That seems legit to me.

This is really a question of where the balance should be. I think you and I are probably more alike than different in where we want the balance: tilted more toward liberty than security. However, I don’t want it tilted 100% toward liberty. Tyranny lies down that road just as much as it lies down the road of 100% security.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hopefully this won’t mark a return to the “The Troubles” era, when police and military had unlimited powers and thousands of suspected troublemakers were rounded up and jailed for years if not decades without trial, somewhat Guantanamo-like (but notably without the brutal force-feedings, as hunger strikers like Bobby Sands were allowed to die as a form of protest)

For years British-occupied Northern Ireland was worse than a police state, it was literally a military zone, and the harder the government authorities cracked down, the more the resistance pushed back. Not unlike other former colonies. Apparently the Redcoats routinely seem to forget this lesson repeated many times over throughout history, that the chief cause of so-called “terrorism” is too little liberty, rather than too much.

Anonymous Coward says:

“the consent is expressed through legislation.”

This isn’t true either. Hasn’t been for some time. Jamming through law that the public doesn’t consent to has been going on for quite a while now.

If you mean corporations and special interest consent is expressed through legislation you would be much closer to what is now happening.

Anonymous Coward says:

So where is this protection we are already benefiting from? Where is it?

Are you stopping companies from getting hacked into? – no
Are you stopping terror attacks? – no
Are you making individuals more safe online – no

This is already a shitty deal why would we want more of your “nothing” that your already not giving us.

psiu says:

Re: Is this still going on?

I finally watched it a few weeks ago, and was thinking we probably shouldn’t be giving our leaders ideas like that. While most of us would agree with the heroes of the movie that this idea was terrible…the NSA is busy building bigger data centers “to hold everything”. Now all they need are some helicarriers and infallible* targeting algorithms!

* not

Hephaestus (profile) says:

This is a never ending cycle

They spy and hear all the nasty things people are saying about the government. This leads to paranoia, and a drive to find all the people responsible for these nasty words. Which leads to them hearing even more nasty thing … rinse, lather, repeat.

Meanwhile the real bad guys are using encrypted methods of communication and eluding all this craziness.

Toestubber (profile) says:

The linked article on the Ben Franklin quote...

…is pretty awful.

I have no doubt that most of the people who repeat that quote haven’t got a clue where it came from. But Ferenstein’s dumb thesis (“it’s pretty clearly about money”) is based on a complete twisting of the historical context to support a literal-minded gotcha piece. Benjamin Franklin was advancing a narrower point with regard to freedom, true. That doesn’t make the wider principle invalid. And it’s not.

Whoever says:

Is the threat really worse than from the IRA?

The UK is no stranger to terrorism. The IRA killed people in mainland UK, yet there was not the constant drum beat that people must give up their liberties in order to fight the IRA, with one exception.

The one exception was internment. This was equivalent to what the USA uses Gitmo for. Lock people up indefinitely without a trial. On balance, was it effective? I am sure the authorities behind it would say so, but it also alienated many people.

However, even that assault on liberty can be easily distinguished from what is proposed today. Internment affected a few thousand people. What is proposed today is the loss of liberty by everyone in the UK.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Is the threat really worse than from the IRA?

“The one exception was internment. This was equivalent to what the USA uses Gitmo for”

Unlike the Americans in Gitmo, the Brits never officially sanctioned torture to “make prisoners talk” and living conditions of IRA prisoners were generally far better, almost P.O.W. like.

Anonymous Coward says:

Do you know what’s really dangerous? Thinking is really dangerous. Thinking leads one out of the safety and security of the herd. Thinking leads to self-determination. Ultimately, thinking forces us to the realization that the burden of safety and security offered by others far outweighs the risks of freedom.

Thinking compels me to reply to this man: go pound sand.

Anonymous Coward says:

giving up ‘privacy and freedom’ is too high a price for any society to give, let alone a democratic society. the UK government has already screwed the people by bringing in the DRIP law with no debate in Parliament, and no input or opinions from the people. the whole aim of a democratic society, or so i thought, was to have a government that did what the people wanted, not do what the government wanted and use bullshit and fear mongering as reasons to NOT consult the people! basically what is happening is the UK, being still tied to the USA umbilical chord, are being sold the ‘paranoia road’ to go down. it is nothing at all to do with keeping the people safe, it is everything to do with the government wanting to know everything possible about all the people, everywhere! i bet the UK people are really happy with what the fuckers in government and security in the USA have sold the UK government. they have even been spying on the other members of the EU preferring to side with the US. crazy nation!!

Lord Binky says:

As a responsible adult, I’ll take care of my freedom and my security. Along with the rest of the responsibilities that come along with that. If people want to be treated like a child and pretend to live in a playground, that is up to them to decide and be treated and classified accordingly. Don’t punish me because other people are evil.

Digger says:

My response - you first.

Make every facet of your life public, you are a public servant, you cannot have ANY secrets from us.

Once you, and every other member of the government, alphabet agencies (or their UK equivalents) does this, then they can talk to us about us allowing them to do it.

But only if WE say it’s okay.

If WE say no, and then they do it anyway, then WE the people who are THEIR bosses just fire them, preferably out of a cannon.

ARoomwithNoView says:

Where does this all lead

I watched a movie called V for Vendetta the other day. I think it’s an old movie but basically all the shit that happens in that movie (ie. government trying to control the people) is still current today. Scary stuff

My question is where does all this lead to? I don’t want to live in a dictatorship.

Did the allies fight against this sort of control 70 odd years ago? Where did it all go wrong and our governments now see us as the enemy?

Perhaps this was the plan all along…

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