Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Terrorism Bill 2005

The Terrorism Bill currently working its way through Parliament really scares me. Not just the oft-mentioned 90-days-without-trial, but the very lax wording that leaves it open to potential abuse. Spy Blog is an excellent resource for analysis of this and other machinations of Government. I've written the following email to my MP, for all the good that it'll most likely do:

I am writing to urge you to vote against the Government's proposed Terrorism Bill 2005. This bill is over-reaching and grants too many powers without enough safeguards. In relation to the proposal to detain without trial for up to ninety days, one of the major reasons stated for this is to allow time to 'decode' computer hard disks etc. What is not commonly stated is that it is already illegal not to provide encryption keys and passwords, when requested for law enforcement, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. I would point out that this Act is still untested, as none of the Home Secretaries since its introduction have used it, so asking for more powers when the ones that already have are still unused is cheeky at best. More details, along with further reading, are available.

Also, the oft-quoted recent YouGov poll indicating that over 70% of the public support ninety day detention is flawed at best. A detailed deconstruction of this poll is available so should not necessarily be used as an indication of public opinion.

In other news, I wholeheartedly support this open letter to University Management by my union. The University does feel very adrift at the moment with no clear direction, and a pervasive climate of fear regarding job cuts and the ongoing RAE. Voluntary severence has been used for the third time in six years as a means to try and achieve savings, and those savings are squandered on games of musical chairs, with departments being moved around at huge costs. Management is failing in its job.

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