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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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:00am

    My reply would be

    "I'm ok with the current small risks, there's no need for further erosion of my rights. In fact I wouldn't mind a little less safety."

    And seriously, even if they ramp up their efforts they CANNOT provide the perfect safety they are promising. So it's essentially a "give up your rights for nothing" agreement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:28am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 1:27pm

      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!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Director, FBI, 8 Oct 2014 @ 5:07am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        art guerrilla (profile), 8 Oct 2014 @ 7:36am

        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...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:30am

    If I had to choose

    Although I think it's possible to have a reasonable level of security without giving up liberty, if we actually had to choose between the two, I would much rather live in a dangerous but free world than in a safe but unfree world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:36am

    He should shut the fuck up. The moral coward.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:38am

    Equality, Liberty, Security: Pick two.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:27pm

      Re: Pick two.

      Really?

      You mean I get get Liberty and Security at the same time, if only I give up Equality?

      Please do explain!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        PRMan, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:34pm

        Re: Re: Pick two.

        Easy. If you round up everyone from a middle-eastern country and everyone that has ever taken part in a militia group and everyone that has shown any sign of mental illness you will probably have Liberty and Security for everyone else, but at an unconscionable cost.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:49am

    I think maybe we're missing the subtext written between the lines here. What he's actually saying is “the public consent to losing some freedoms in return for greater safety and security ”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jameshogg (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:50am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:51am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:00pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        HegemonicDistortion (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 9:00pm

        Re: Re:

        Wut? Murder and theft are not, and have never been considered, freedoms. Freedoms/liberties, unless one is being entirely pedantic, are for people "against" their government, i.e. limitations on government authority.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:12pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2014 @ 9:50am

        Re: Re:

        When the teeter-totter moves too far in one direction, the "other side" must move further from the center to counter-balance. It's a law of physics.

        When it starts to move back, then my opinion will begin centering once more.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PlagueSD (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:51am

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:53am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 11:55am

    "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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:01pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:07pm

      Re:

      EXACTLY THIS!!!

      Do we reward shitty work with more responsibility?
      No!

      Why should it be different with law enforcement?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nimas, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:07pm

    Is this still going on?

    Huh, I could have sworn this idea would have been put out to pasture given the recent Captain America movie basically pointing out that people who ask this of you are nazis.

    ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      psiu, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:59pm

      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

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:12pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 1:34pm

      Re: This is a never ending cycle

      Government afraid of citizen unrest tend to enforce a self fulfilling prophecy where they constantly take actions that will directly cause citizens to revolt!

      Government is the largest purveyor and abuser of circular logic paradigms!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re: This is a never ending cycle

        Also, the more they suppress speech, the greater the concentration of extremists in the underground. That is the suppression of speech eliminates the moderating effect of the less politically inclined on the political activists.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toestubber (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:21pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:26pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 1:07pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:32pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:38pm

    What a truly god damn terrifying time to live in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:44pm

    I'm not giving up my principles just to make their jobs easier.

    Also, that attitude of theirs lost them colonies in the past.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 12:56pm

    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!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 1:01pm

    This is protection of the haves from the have nots, the end goal is the ability to create further inequality without repercussions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 1:42pm

    I'd say a revolution is on the horizon, but this is the UK we're talking about...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lord Binky, 7 Oct 2014 @ 1:43pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Digger, 7 Oct 2014 @ 1:53pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 2:22pm

    We need more Internet surveillance to combat the threat of Ebola.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 4:37pm

    The People have given up enough , Time for the Government to give up on this attitude , It's getting out of hand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2014 @ 7:26pm

    a

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ARoomwithNoView, 7 Oct 2014 @ 7:30pm

    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...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2014 @ 3:43am

      Re: Where does this all lead

      This is what the War of independence was fought for. We can only hope history repeats itself or were going to end up with an alternate version of Nazi Germany ruling the world. Only we will call them the something different.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 7 Oct 2014 @ 10:51pm

    "National Crime Agency", I mean, really? Could they be any more obvious?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2014 @ 3:40am

    Of course they cannot secure a fascist government if the public still value their freedoms

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2014 @ 4:26am

    No thanks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jsf (profile), 8 Oct 2014 @ 6:52am

    If only it were true

    The problem I have is that even after various liberties have been taken or given away, we are not actually any safer or more secure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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