“no means of communication [the government] cannot read”

[Editor’s warning: there is a YouTube video with moderate male nudity at the end of this post.  It fairly describes the state of mind which today’s news produces in me.]

The KBC (Kremlin Broadcasting Corporation) reports tonight the following news.  I republish it in full below.  Given the circumstances, I think republishing in full is warranted:

Vladimir Putin has promised a “comprehensive piece of legislation” to close the “safe spaces” used by suspected terrorists to communicate online with each other.

If he wins the election, Mr Putin said he would increase the authorities’ power to access both the details of communications and their content.

Mr Putin said the recent attacks in Paris showed the need for such a move.

He was “comfortable” it was appropriate in a “modern liberal oligarchy”.

Speaking at an event in East Ukraine, Mr Putin said he recognised such powers were “very intrusive” but he believed that they were justified to counter the growing threat to the Soviet Union [whoops! Slip of the editorial tongue, there] Russia, as long as proper legal safeguards were ignored.

Mr Putin’s government introduced emergency legislation last year to maintain internet and phone companies’ obligation to store their customers’ personal communications data and to give access to the police.

‘In extremis’

But an attempt to extend these powers to include internet browsing history and social media sites were dropped following opposition from Mr Putin’s business sponsors, who are quite in the habit of using Facebook Messenger to transfer large amounts of money around the globe.

Nevertheless, Mr Putin said the government had acted to safeguard powers for so-called communications data, which refers to the details of when and how people have contacted each other but not the content of messages.

He said legislation would be needed to allow for “more modern forms of communication”, such as telepathy and the reading of minds by machine.

He went on to say he would also legislate in the “more contentious” area of the content of these online communications.

There should be no “means of communication” which “we cannot read”, he said.

No means of communication which the government cannot read?

None at all?

Really not?

Lordy!

Thank goodness, meanwhile, we British live in a modern liberal democracy!!!

The kind of place where our governments regularly neglect to read lots and lots of stuff – in particular laws on human rights; reports with evidence-based analyses of dire living conditions for many of our subjects; national statistics on the disabled, unemployed and working-poor, which otherwise would make for pretty uncomfortable reading; and the ever-increasing mound of newspaper stories which point to an ever-increasing talent for political incompetence.

Oh but … that’s not what Putin [whoops! Another slip of the editorial tongue …] Cameron meant when he talked about the things his new government’d be needing to read – once re-elected in May of this year.

If only he really did want to read half of the stuff which surely must land on his desk.

The problem isn’t that the government, its ministerial departments and security agencies various can’t read everything there is to read.

The problem, in policy-making and terrorism both, is that they don’t know how to make sense of everything they’ve already got their blessed access to – never mind all the rest they’re now itching to get their fingers on.

Darn it!  I do feel a hangover coming on already … don’t you?

 

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