The Register reports on one of the more alarming attacks on civil liberties in the UK. Two people have been convicted for refusing to hand over encryption keys.
This highly controversial UK law went into effect in 2007 October.
Of a total of 15 notices served under this law, there were 11 cases of non-compliance, of which seven were charged, and two were convicted.
I still think that’s two too many. This law should not even be on the books. Of course, that is the UK, where they think nothing about putting up tons of CCTV cameras in public spaces as a security measure.
And my loyal readers, or even those just dropping in at random, may well be wondering “why does this crackpot even care about the UK when he obviously lives in the US?” My answer is simple: governments look to each other for ideas. The US and UK are rather closely allied today–the whole thing about dumping taxed tea into the harbor is well over two centuries old now–and the possibilities that certain US states will try to emulate the UK is horrifying.
So what is going on here in my home state of Texas? We had an attempt to pass what has been known as the “papers please” law, SB 1175, making it a crime to refuse to identify to a law enforcement official if detained. The existing laws already make it illegal to falsely identify, but do not proscribe refusing to identify at all. The Fifth Amendment implications should be obvious.
Thankfully, that attempt appears to have gone down in flames, at least for now. While I despise terrorism like any American who loves his country, it is our freedoms that make this country what it is. By passing the laws that erode what is left of our civil liberties, our Congresspeople, state legislators, and local-level representatives surrender what makes our country the great place it was. And they’re doing it while pretending to represent the best interests of those that elected them.
And I find that absolutely, positively, galactically disgusting.