Ireland and RIPA’s ‘economic well-being’ clause June 26, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Internet security/privacy/information, Irish Politics.
From Gé Bruite a post with some very interesting thoughts about Ireland and RIPA.
As those of you who have been paying attention will know, RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) was passed in the UK in 2000.
It specifically permits the interception of communications (contents as well as ‘meta-data’), informers and following of ‘suspects’:
…in the interests of national security, for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime and for the purpose of safeguarding the economic well-being of the United Kingdom.
The list of agencies permitted to use these powers is long, one might say exhaustive.
Now take a look at the optic fibre cable map and zoom the map in to Ireland (the gray cables represent those yet to be laid).
Practically all of our communications go through these cables. And all the cable from Ireland passes through UK territory. As we now know, GCHQ can monitor any and all communications through these cables, to ensure the ‘economic well-being’ of the UK.
If I was running an Irish business with UK competitors I would be concerned. If I was someone who publicly expressed the opinion that the baleful influence of the City of London on British and European politics should be curtailed by legislation banning most of their activities, I would be concerned. If I was campaigning against the British arms trade, I would be very concerned.
The thing is, in the digital world, evidence is easy to fake. Unless you digitally sign every communication with a private key that has been kept safe, then the interceptors can manufacture communications evidence. And, hey presto, your anti-arms trade campaigners can so easily become ‘terrorists’, hauled before semi-secret courts, and silenced.
As sclerotic capitalism – going through its longest crisis since the 1930s – becomes more authoritarian, and if we don’t succeed in taking back some democratic ground, we can expect these powers of the state to be used more and more.