Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 23rd Nov 2016 15:53 UTC

The UK is about to become one of the world's foremost surveillance states, allowing its police and intelligence agencies to spy on its own people to a degree that is unprecedented for a democracy. The UN's privacy chief has called the situation "worse than scary." Edward Snowden says it’s simply "the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy."

The legislation in question is called the Investigatory Powers Bill. It's been cleared by politicians and awaits only the formality of royal assent before it becomes law. The bill will legalize the UK's global surveillance program, which scoops up communications data from around the world, but it will also introduce new domestic powers, including a government database that stores the web history of every citizen in the country. UK spies will be empowered to hack individuals, internet infrastructure, and even whole towns - if the government deems it necessary.

"Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame?"

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RE[5]: Why brexit?
by BeamishBoy on Thu 24th Nov 2016 02:52 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Why brexit?"
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Where do you get the impression that "the governed" have consented to it? That's trivializing an issue that in reality is highly debated.

It's not trivialising it in any way. I use the term "consent" in the manner it is commonly accepted in political science and the law which constrains government, i.e., the consent of the governed. This is a concept that is central to Magna Carta, the work of Hume, Locke and Burke or indeed the Declaration of Independence, which says:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...

The implication about implicit consent and the conservation of the status quo is, I trust, clear.

The fact that the usefulness or fairness of the electoral college is debated is neither here nor there. Many things to which the demos consents - principally the status quo - are continual subjects of debate. Indeed the entire purpose of political debate is to change the prevailing notions of consent.

EDIT: I've just read this back and realised that talking about Locke and the declaration of independence makes me sound like a pompous arse. Sorry.

My point is that consent is understood to be distinct from assent. Assent involves an active approval for something whereas consent merely involves accepting that permission exists for that thing. Consent is assumed to exist on an issue or a law until political debate or circumstance forces a country to assent to change.

Hopefully that's slightly more clear.

Edited 2016-11-24 03:06 UTC

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