#1 By: Cory Doctorow, October 17th, 2013 12:29
#2 By: xzzy, October 17th, 2013 12:37
Those are some pretty strong words.
US government is really going to have to step up their game if they want to out-evil the British government this time.
#3 By: Jason Lane, October 17th, 2013 12:41
What the same D Cameron that has just sold our power grid off to the Chinese, with no discussion. Well Mr Weasel I sincerely hope that the Guardian can come up with some dirt on you, it's bound to be there. Then we can bury you nice a deep.
#4 By: Boundegar, October 17th, 2013 12:49
When the government threatens to have you investigated...
Investigated, ooo scary! Back in the good old days they would threaten to have journalists pulled inside-out with fishhooky things and then fed to stoats. Investigated. Hah!
#5 By: Prentiz, October 17th, 2013 12:59
So, its claimed the Guardian send the details of every UK intelligence agent to a US newspaper by Fedex, potentially for financial gain. If that were a UK based multinational company, selling its customer records to overseas spammers, BoingBoing would be horrified. Except in this case, instead of spam text messages and marketing calls, many of the people identified risk being killed. But hey y'know, government is bad, and spies are bad - so who cares? Even the suggestion that the accusation is investigated is portrayed as a gross abuse of the Guardian. Maybe the claims aren't true - and certainly anyone involved must be presumed innocent - but this is potentially a really serious crime that deserves to be properly investigated. There's no reason why newspapers should be any more exempt from data protection law than anyone other company.
#6 By: Paul Davis, October 17th, 2013 13:10
The Guardian is owned by a non-profit foundation, just so you know. It doesn't do stuff for "financial gain" unless you mean that to cover "remaining able to cover matters of importance to an informed citizenry".
#7 By: Prentiz, October 17th, 2013 13:30
HI Paul - I'm certainly aware that the Guardian is owned by a (off-shore, tax-efficient) non-profit. That just means there are no shareholders to worry about - but do you seriously think that means no-one there has financial targets to meet? If anything, the newspaper's continuing financial losses will be increasing pressure on the editorial staff to break even so they can avoid further job losses. Even Alan Rusbridger has "volunteered" to reduce his salary as editor from £471,000 pa to a mere £395,000 as a result of the paper's trouble making money.
#8 By: rocketpj, October 17th, 2013 13:35
Investigated by the Prime Minister in a speech? Wouldn't actual, you know, investigative type services do that? And wouldn't they actually do the investigation first, so as not to give the subjects an opportunity to destroy evidence?
No, when a politician makes a speech attacking a press outlet and threatening 'investigation', whilst making wild accusations (no reason to think they are not pure BS) - that is not a reasonable call for further exploration. That is demagoguery, appealing to the 25% of the population who are instinctively authoritarian in nature - the Tory base and its rich supporters.
Burn the heretics, for they threaten all that is good - which to the government and Cameron is themselves.
#9 By: IMB, October 17th, 2013 13:37
Who exactly was at risk of being killed? As to the investigation, didn't they want the Guardian to destroy computers, you know, without any type of investigation, trial or proof of what the computers contained? Didn't they shakedown Greenwald's partner forcing him to hand over private stuff without any real cause other than guilt by association?
#10 By: wysinwyg, October 17th, 2013 13:43
I kind of doubt it since this is SOP for multinational companies.
The trick is that authoritarian governments that don't want their grip on power to slip at all have this unfortunate tendency to label any embarrassing disclosure as "a really serious crime that deserves to be properly investigated" for the express purpose of suppressing journalistic investigations of government wrongdoing.
Do you honestly not see the importance of adversarial journalism to the health of a democratic society?
#11 By: SpeedRacer, October 17th, 2013 13:46
Except for one thing. A government official, going about their official duties, should have NO RIGHT to the expectation of privacy. If you grant this to the government, then you have removed any chance of transparency.
Yes. Government spies spying on their own citizens is BAD. Ask the east germans about the Stazi. Ask the russians about the kgb. Yes, it is a completely different class of crime from a corporation selling and trading in my data.
#12 By: Prentiz, October 17th, 2013 13:50
So I should be able to have the names and addresses of any police officer? Rubbish - of course there's still a reasonable expectation of privacy for personal information - and that's particularly the case if it puts people in danger.
#13 By: wysinwyg, October 17th, 2013 13:57
Sure. Is there any reason to think that any of the information in question was made public? If not that particular argument would seem to be moot.
#14 By: Prentiz, October 17th, 2013 14:02
Time to check our facts for a second. He didn't make a speech. He didn't even call for an investigation. He was asked during PMQs by Liam Fox "
May we have a full and transparent assessment of whether The
Guardian’s involvement in the Snowden affair has damaged Britain’s
national security? Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is bizarre
that from some the hacking of a celebrity phone demands a prosecution,
whereas leaving the British people and their security personnel more
vulnerable is seen as opening a debate?"
To which he replied:
I commend my right hon. Friend for raising the issue. I think the
plain fact is that what has happened has damaged national security,
and in many ways The Guardian itself admitted that when, having been
asked politely by my national security adviser and Cabinet Secretary
to destroy the files that it had, it went ahead and destroyed those
files. It knows that what it is dealing with is dangerous for national
security. I think that it is up to Select Committees in the House to
examine the issue if they wish to do so, and to make further
So whilst you might well disagree with his assessment of whether the Guardian damaged national security, he doesn't even call for an investigation. All he says is that select committees can look into the issue if it wishes. Which is an inarguabe statement of fact and something pretty much outside his control. This is a blinking long way from instructing the Home Secretary to ask the Metropolitan Police to launch an investigation or something similar.
I'm slightly at a loss as to how a comparatively mild answer, that many will see as a brush off, can get turned into Cameron vowing vengeance. It's cobblers.
#15 By: Peregrinus Phoenix, October 17th, 2013 14:11
Cameron and his govt are a weird bunch. I don't rate the alternative either. I don't like politicians.
Cameron attacks the weak, grandstanding and puffing away like a good PR chappy.
Just an example that raised my eyebrows - If I go into government care when I'm older, any equity value in my home will be used to offset the cost. That sounds sensible, a re-distribution of wealth - but coming from a right wing government?
They're idiots masquerading as fools.
The question of who they serve is sadly obvious - the concentrators of power, the rich, the military. This is a real old-fashioned government.
#16 By: Karl Schulte, October 17th, 2013 14:40
Politically the UK is a much underrated scary place.
#17 By: toyg, October 17th, 2013 14:48
There is no dirt on Cameron or Osborne -- they lived such privileged lives, they never actually had to get their hands dirty with anything at all.
The worst it could come out is that he shagged his sister in law (which was sort-of hinted by that picture of him snoozing on her bed right before her wedding), or some other silly sexcapade nobody cares about, these days. Until he's finally crushed under a sound electoral defeat, he has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be as evil as he wants; he's grabbed that chance with both hands three years ago, and just won't let it go.
#18 By: unshaved2013, October 17th, 2013 14:48
Ever. Since Thatcher. Major. Sob...
#19 By: toyg, October 17th, 2013 14:50
If you really believe that, I have a couple of Renaissance bridges to sell you.
#20 By: toyg, October 17th, 2013 15:05
Yeah, and if it were Nelson faxing the planning of Trafalgar to Bonaparte, the Pope would be rubbing his hands. That analogy is faker than a Rolex bought in Camden.
many of the people identified risk being killed.
By whom, the ones more likely to monitor any US communication - aka their allied US spies? Or are you saying Fedex is an eeeevil corp full of irreducible Soviet moles and incorruptible Islamist sleeper-cells?
There's no reason why newspapers should be any more exempt from data protection law than anyone other company.
Except there is, it's called freedom of the press as enshrined in the US Constitution and a few other constitutional documents around Europe. Something which unfortunately never really existed in the UK; the best we got is a sort of hands-off policy by subsequent Monarchs. I'm sure you know this, and the thought probably gets you a raging authoritarian boner the size of Queen Elizabeth's Tower.
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