jamesbondBritain’s Conservative government is making headlines over digital rights – in good and bad ways.

The government has formally proposed making broadband access a legal right in the UK, “giving everyone a legal right to request a 10 Mbps connection by end of this Parliament.”

However, under the UK’s Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, the government is also seeking to compel ISPs and phone companies to hold records of everyone’s browsing history for up to a year – for police or spy service access without a warrant. Could James Bond’s homeland be too spy-friendly?

keep-calm-and-trust-your-government-3Also, Conservative Prime Minster David Cameron is pushing ahead with plans to make filtering of content mandatory on UK ISPs, with adult content filtered out unless specifically requested. Despite protests from LGBT communities that this would be effective discrimination, and contravention of EU guidelines on freedom of information, the government appears ready to press on regardless.

Anyone with a strong stomach might want to read David Cameron’s statement in the UK government’s announcement on broadband access, which contains nauseatingly jingoistic language for a serious legislative proposal:

Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.

The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, meanwhile: “will make provision for the retention of internet connection records for law enforcement to identify the communications service to which a device has connected.” So presumably Cameron is offering Britain the right to be snooped on and censored?

Even Conservative Party MPs have protested against the bill, with Conservative maverick David Davis warning, in an interview with The Guardian, that: “We’re the country that invented James Bond and we like our spies. We have a wonderful illusion about our security services, a very comforting illusion. But it means we’re too comfortable. Because for the past 200 years we haven’t had a Stasi or a Gestapo, we are intellectually lazy about it.”

Some might point out that 10 Mbps is a pitifully low baud rate by today’s standards, hardly enough to qualify as broadband at all. Certainly a pathetically low price to pay for liberty.

James Bond image information: Here.


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