Security Theatre and You

January 28th, 2011 § 0 comments


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The government have decided that they are still allowed to bypass the legal system (albeit to a slightly less egregious extent than has been tolerated in recent years) if they want to restrict someone’s rights and freedoms but don’t have enough evidence to secure a conviction. Aside from the fact that the plans are still a serious violation of the EU Convention on Human Rights[1], we’re being asked to believe that the state genuinely needs to be granted these powers in order to protect our safety. They do not, however, add any detail on the magical abilities which allow them to know when a person is plotting an attack, but simultaneously prevent them from bringing a case to court under any of the various “conspiracy to commit…” laws. At this point, we’d be doing just as well with an anti-tiger anti-terrorist rock.

On a vaguely related note, it is, at least, good to see some security officials doing their job properly. Only a few days ago, a rifle was found destined for a plane at Gatwick airport. Admittedly it was less than 10cm long, cast from plastic resin, completely non-functional, impossible to mistake for a genuine weapon, and attached to an action figure, but this did not prevent the gallant public protector from sending the passenger back through the airport (brandishing the item considered too dangerous to allow on the plane) to post it home. They slept soundly that night, safe in the knowledge of their job and civic duty well done, I’m sure.

[1] Well, they would be if the convention didn’t have get-out clauses you could drive a bus through. In any case, I’m pretty sure the spirit of the law granting ‘freedom of assembly and association’ is violated if you’re putting restrictions on people for reasons like this:

Security chiefs say the power is an essential tool in cases where there is intelligence that someone is involved in extremism but has not yet committed a crime, such as someone associating with known plotters.

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