Tuesday, 18 October 2011

U.K government to discuss 'cyber anti-terrorism' measures

There is currently an article lurking on the BBC located here that leaders and industry experts from around the globe will be holding a conference on the current state of cyber terrorism and ways to combat it.

Now much like the leaders who will be convening, I believe there are some legitimate concerns about potential threats on the web. What concerns me are the comments by Mr Hague. The BBC article states that:

"Ahead of the summit, Mr Hague said the internet was revolutionising people's lives but required a "global co-ordinated response" to ensure its transformative power was fully exploited and channelled in the right direction."

Now I may well be reading into this too much, but what exactly is the right direction? And will it infringe upon the law abiding citizens rights in the world of cyberspace? I suppose only time will tell, but as is fairly typical I imagine that government agencies will be able to read whatever you've posted for the last few years on social networking sites and arrest you if they believe that you are a terrorist.
Perhaps most worryingly is the line toward the top of the article that reads: "The UK now regards the threat from cyber warfare as seriously as that from international terrorism, while a recent report warned that extremists were increasingly turning to social media to recruit followers and plan attacks."

I understand there is a legitimate threat, but where does the threat end and our rights begin?

 I suppose the final paragraph sums it up really:
"The threat is rising exponentially from states and from criminal networks in what they do in cyberspace.
"This has to be addressed. What is unacceptable in the physical world is also unacceptable in cyberspace."

The problem is, many physical world crimes are impossible in cyberspace and will likely have very heavy punitive measures for relatively ridiculous crimes. Don't be surprised if some day you get a knock on your door because you posted some silly comments about how you dislike the government on facebook, this would not happen if you happened to say you thought the current politicians are full of bollocks in a conversation in a pub however. It's my opinion that officials are being overly heavy handed with relatively petty crimes and vice-versa for the more serious crimes online.

Take for example this man: Sean Duffy . Whilst he was indeed an idiot for trolling a facebook memorial, surely the correct measure is to ban his facebook account and potentially remove his ability to access the web via court order, 18 months in jail is very serious and will effect this man for the rest of his life, he'll have difficulty finding a job in the future. This sort of punishment rarely occurs if people speak their mind in the real world.

Make of it all what you will however.

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