Conservatives are supposed to be wary of Big Government, right? Then why are they not up in arms over this, from Britain’s now decidedly right-wing “Labour” government?
The British government has brought down its long-awaited Digital Economy Bill, and it’s perfectly useless and terrible. It consists almost entirely of penalties for people who do things that upset the entertainment industry (including the “three-strikes” rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the net if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement, without proof or evidence or trial), as well as a plan to beat the hell out of the video-game industry with a new, even dumber rating system (why is it acceptable for the government to declare that some forms of artwork have to be mandatorily labelled as to their suitability for kids? And why is it only some media? Why not paintings? Why not novels? Why not modern dance or ballet or opera?).
So it’s bad. £50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing. A duty on ISPs to spy on all their customers in case they find something that would help the record or film industry sue them (ISPs who refuse to cooperate can be fined £250,000).
And that’s just for starters:
Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have the power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he’s planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of. And of course, Mandelson’s successor in the next government would also have this power.
You know how conservatives claim to be terrified by the US government providing a public health insurance option? That it makes them think of Stalin and Hitler? (Just like the Nazis murdered the people who opposed them, I will be forced to contribute a tiny fraction of my salary to providing extremely limited access to hospitals for poor people! It’s the 1930s all over again!)
So why on Earth doesn’t it bother them when private corporations and government get into bed together and give themselves police-state powers over ordinary citizens?
It’s like they don’t mind a big oppressive power ruling over them – provided that it’s dominated by unelected, wealthy, unanswerable private corporations.
I don’t get it.
And it’s astonishing that a massive power-grab by a supposedly democratic government and its campaign contributors can go so unreported.
ELSEWHERE: Victorians are going to get access to the new fire danger scale, online. This could indeed save lives.
Unless we brought in anti-piracy laws like the UK and someone in your street allegedly downloaded a song from the internet – then your family would be cut off entirely and could bloody well burn.
AND BACK IN THE UK: Look what use a police state can make of the humble traffic camera!
AND IN THE US: Police demonstrate, yet again, why giving them Tasers is a great idea: Cop Tasers and Arrests a 10-Year Old Girl For Throwing a Fit.