For Five Eyes Only

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For Five Eyes Only
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How the UK is disregarding democracy in a bid for data domination.
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and it
was not
OK yeah it's very strange to be standing up here because I sort of feel like we're in 1 room but I was sitting there and with the had headphones on I felt really far away from the speakers and now I feel really sorry for you can hardly see you and that's I say that technology and being in the same room together still gives us a sense of distance um
but anyway and I hope that the words will connect us so I'm doing a very old style of presentation no charts um no images just um pule spoken word and the 4 5 eyes only that the name my talk when I was a child growing up in Kenya Britain was the halos place of yearly family visits where everything worked well and life seemed safer better freer my grandfather would often take me to Speakers Corner in London emphasizing anybody could stand up and say anything that he always told me this is the freest country in the world i believed him the way some religious people do the doctrines that been brought up here in repeated over and over the the the concept of habitually accepted but they have no true hold within they do not power the mind or fill the heart they come and because they don't stem from a deep personal understanding of the ideas that spreads to one's thoughts and actions this may be 1 of the strange ironies of being in a democracy 1 takes freedom for granted yeah most of us only treated become aware of our freedom if it's encroached or if we have a chance to be somewhere that offers a contrast so marked it we can't help reconsidering our conceptions entirely my perception of the UK as a free and democratic society began altering when I came to live in Germany and then changed even more after the Snowden revelations while in Germany I began to consider for the 1st time if a country can be truly democratic with a monarch as head of state if the parliament can be representative of the people when 1 house the lord's is unelected if it's fair that the acting Prime Minister can call the next election any time as long
as it is it will be allotted 5 year term within the allotted 5 year term if an electoral system in which there is no proportional representation can truly refract the will of the people which Snowden's disclosures these reflections widened the freest country in the
world would surely have a constitution a clear enshrinement of its people's rights the freest country in the world wouldn't have press censorship the like the notices that a government could issue hotshot hush up reporting on a story it found threatening the freest country would not have CCTV in schools including in classrooms and in the toilets the freest country would not electronically stored citizens and tired medical histories in a central database and allow pharmaceutical companies or university research departments to pay and access that information the freest country in the world would not allow spy agencies access to the private lives of every citizen without due cause all legal process intelligence services play a vital role in keeping citizens safe and work must necessarily be somewhat obscure however in the UK the agencies operate behind an impermeable wall and they dislike it if anyone so much as attempts to approach the wall let alone tries to peak over it in the late 19 seventies to journalists Duncan Campbell and Crispin Aubrey revealed to the British public for the 1st time the existence of Government communication Headquarters gchq and its intelligence collection capacities the story titled the eavesdroppers claim that gchq along with the United States National Security Agency NSA was operating a massive global electronic surveillance network from locations around Britain independent of parliamentary accountability or any public scrutiny the if that sounds like deja
vu wait for the next bit the British government did all it could to discredit those exposing the truth and protect those who were implicated by ed Genesis journalists were prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act in a famous case which was marked by shocking instances of the state attempting to influence the verdict including by that in jury members today the Guardian newspaper is facing a criminal investigation 1st publication of Snowden's leaks both parties did accused of harming national security that convenient cover deployed by governments when no other justification exists few such
orange Britain has a reputation as the mother of democracy the Magna Carta of 1215 and the UK seventeenth-century bill of rights are considered milestones in international development of human rights but it also played an outstanding role in resisting the Nazis during the 2nd World War yet 4 years now but it has been topping the list of the world's most surveil societies a report by Privacy International identified the country as a place of endemic surveillance a distinction also awarded to Russia and China the the report also had written as the worst EU country in terms of the protection of individual privacy the UK has the most CCTV cameras per head of any country in the world you can find them all rather they can find you on public transport on busses trains and increasingly even in taxis they can follow you in walls parks health centers restaurants James banks and probably down the street where you live some of them even have wipers so they can ensure clear images when it rains because the temp amount of mental British whether certainly shouldn't interfere with the essential task of monitoring people going about their everyday business conservative
estimates from 2013 suggest there's 1 CCT TV camera for every 14 people why research on surveillance and secondary schools found an average of 1 camera for every 5 people's in a country where this kind of everyday public scrutiny is
standard the prime of spy agencies is inevitably less of a big deal it's no coincidence that NSA and gchq have managed to be most successful in the UK the elsewhere in the US in Germany for example people are affronted by the infringement of their privacy through digital surveillance even though they cannot directly see or feel the violations the very idea of being closely watched is deeply disturbing for the citizens but the brits are used to eyes everywhere plans to the 5 million odd CC temp kept TV cameras scattered throughout their land they have not reacted strongly to the Snowden revelations partly because they already so used to being watched similarly the British government so accustomed to surveilling its citizens barely remarked on the revelations 4 months except to insist that its intelligence agencies was subject to rigorous oversight and operated within the law by contrast the US government is properly engaged with the issue of Obama's non-speech on form for orders shortcomings at least acknowledged that changes need to be made David Cameron meanwhile has expressed his satisfaction that the British public is unmoved his word by the Snowden revelations I think the public reaction has not been 1 of shock horror he said is being much more 1 of intelligence agencies carry out intelligence work good he also added I wouldn't current the newspapers that are endlessly dallying in this to think before they act because we are in severe danger of making ourselves less safe as a result the I
recently told to a German writer has been very aware and critical of surveillance since 9 11 Ousterhout she had come to be so engaged with the issue and she said it was because she was immediately alert to the encroachment on civil liberties implicit in greater surveillance she had a thorough education in human rights and the principles underpinning German democracy and when confronted with the reality contradicting that there was no way she could sit back and quietly ignore it I began to think back on
my own education the I recall many lessons admittedly enjoyable ones on on UVA his 6 wives and the divine right of kings my own rights I have no memory of learning by either at my primary school a bastion of Britishness in Kenya or at the 2nd schools I attended in the UK suddenly I was taught about the French Revolution the 1848 revolutions the 2 world wars these events are loaded with lessons and freedom and oppression and the necessity of speaking truth to power we the a more student might have tried to find out more for ourselves and make connections with the present day but I was a more credulous kind of people I assumed I was being taught what I'm most needed to know the and I was ready to believe what I was told Of course there was inevitably some study of different British administrations and the odd act of Parliament but I didn't get any overall picture of the evolution of British democracy or its present day workings this seems shocking to me now a gross negligence on the part of the state not to educate citizens about their rights is to disenfranchise them only societies people by individuals who have an active evolving understanding of freedom can hope to be truly democratic the In fact learning about democracy and human rights did not actually become a compulsory part of the UK is national curriculum until 2002 which is just after I graduated from University before then it's possible that in some schools thank you especially enlightened teachers students were learning about these things but it's also likely that I wasn't the only 1 who came to the british system with gaps in my knowledge since 2002 young people have to do a subject called citizenship where they learn amongst other things about fairness and justice the role of parliament and government and the rights and duties of citizens I can any hope many
of the students are sharper than I was and pick up on the discrepancy between what they're learning and the cameras hanging in the corners of the classrooms for those who didn't have the benefit of learning their rights in school or who learned for God or simply interested in refreshing themselves on these essential facts getting information from the UK government is not simple the new main government
website www . gov dot UK of with a list of of over 30 topics under the heading your rights and the law it's quite revealing that 1st on the list is consumer rights of consumption it would seem is the most important form of participation in British society it the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression not even listed under the government's assessment of your rights and the law notice anything useful come up if you enter those terms in the site search facility buried somewhere in the middle of the list is the topic of the Data Protection Act which gives a need summary of how your personal data must be handled by organizations without explicitly asserting that you have a right to privacy indeed UK law has not traditionally had a free-standing right to privacy although there are a number of laws protecting it in different contexts it's a strange society indeed with CCTV cameras are by legal requirement announced everywhere with signs proclaiming for your security while information on people's rights is kept concealed presumably that is for your security to is like a perverse
game of hide-and-seek between state and citizens and brings to mind a comment by Nick pickles former director of the Privacy campaign Big Brother Watch in modern Britain there are people in positions of responsibility the seem to think 1984 was an instruction manual indeed the doublespeak all well-described could just as easily applied to the UK now ignorance is strand freedom is slavery these could be the slogans of the current government the UK
has no written constitution instead an arcane hodgepodge of treaties common-law acts of parliament EU law and royal prerogatives underwrites UK democracy but the rights of British citizens as of all citizens who part of the EU are beautifully and simply enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights with since 2 thousand is enforced in the UK through the Human Rights Act this act is frequently misunderstood and rep misrepresented in the British press with suggestions that undermines British law and parliamentary sovereignty the the current story government wanted to remove all mention of the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights from the citizenship syllabus from this year they also wanted to change the universal language of human rights so that in the UK young people would instead learn about their precious liberties as this by addressing the fundamentals up in different words they might diminish people's claim to them thankfully the Tories didn't manage to put push through these reforms but they have promised as there would be a huge favor to scrap the Human Rights Act if they win the next election this would leave British citizens completely exposed again because the European Convention on Human Rights could no longer be directly enforced in the UK since the dismantling of the British
Empire in the 19 fifties and 19 sixties struggle to accept it's less prominent role on the world stage the special relationship with the US has been 1 way for the small island to punch above its weight and Britain continues to have some influence and former colonies through the Commonwealth
the European Union is probably the alliance that most booths Britain's global status as well as having huge national advantages and yet it's the 1 analyze the country seems most willing to disregard probably because the EU has standards of democratic accountability that the UK is reluctant to adopt the UK is much keener on its role in another far less accountable alliance called 5 our eyes and intelligence-sharing cooperation between Australia Canada New Zealand the UK and the US according to the intercept the new site launched by Grant Glenn Greenwald and others the operations of 5 eyes of unknown even to most members of the national governments involve of involved countries and he is a quote taken from an NSA top-secret file leaked by Snowden for a variety of reasons are intelligence relationships are rarely disrupted by foreign political perturbations international or domestic 1st we are helping our partners address critical intelligent shortfalls just as they are assisting us 2nd in many of our foreign partners capitals few senior officials outside of the defense intelligence apparatuses are waiting to any signals intelligence connection to the US and NSA it surveillance offers a way to have
untrammeled power and inference again the global reach of gchq represents a cloud to Britain no longer has in any field except perhaps the financial services in London and were role just waiting for that bubble to burst again the UK seems eager to be the world leader in mass surveillance as if this will give the small island the kind of inference it had in its big empire days but now as then every conquest had its cost the price of the UK surveillance drive is the highest 1 of all impoverishment mental emotional and spiritual of its own civil society as the sanitary example in a recent report published about the
work culture at the cross project currently you were where were he currently Europe's largest construction site this rail link will eventually provide a high-speed east-west link between London and its outskirts to get the job done safely on time and with a healthy financial position on completion those across trails words cross earlier site workers under constant surveillance there's report describes this approach as the negative spike culture West supervisors or watch people who may be in danger photograph or video it and then e-mail it around the workers were routinely asked to report anything they may see wrong have become too afraid to speak up even if they are injured for fear they may be blamed regardless of the circumstances if nothing changes the whole of the UK might 1 day 1 a lot along the lines of this construction site there are and always have been strong currents of resistance against the heavy hand of the British state brave individuals and organizations that continue to challenge the status quo and often through the courts sometimes successfully the action of a few even amidst the inaction of many still always masses but the majority whatever they're doing or not is finally the most decisive the polls for the upcoming European elections indicate increased support for right-wing parties across the EU the such nationalist appeals of finding resonance because more people feel a loss of autonomy there's a sense that if we win should back some power from over there the result will be an automatic expansion of our own capacities for self determination Europe is becoming the
scapegoat for people's personal and national frustrations more breadth than never intend to vote for UKIP a eurosceptic right wing party which then join a surge support for a new party not seen in the UK since the 2nd World War such policies do not come to the fore out of the blue both of them I
usually the knee-jerk reaction of assistance citizenry that is gradually come to feel cynical about the establishment and on her the anti EU rhetoric carelessly force-fed for decades to the British people through a mix of half-hearted truth and deliberate misinformation is backfiring badly for all the EU's flaws it's institutions have proved greater than the sum of its parts time and again decisions in Europe has forced Member States to raise their game the EU court ruling against indiscriminate dated retention is a recent powerful example In the surveillance context it represents 1 of the strongest positions on data freedom to be taken by any political body since the Snowden revelations the the EU is more synonymous with dismantling borders national trade fiscal but in fact it also stands for keeping direct the most important boundary of all it the personal border the fundamental line of privacy between the individual and to the other b that state corporation or lover it gives me hope that the surveillance state in Britain may eventually be reined in if the country doesn't 1st pull out of the EU following the referendum the Tories have recklessly promised if they returned to power next year many German words have made their way unchanged into the English language some of the most commonly used ones tend to be of a slightly negative nature like angst blitz and cup port I want to adopt another German expression into English or interfere I'll literally translated it is under 4 eyes what that means of course is keeping things between the 2 of us keeping them private the British people like citizens everywhere deserve to be left under 4 eyes not kept under 5 eyes thank you
thank you thank questions if you have a yeah little I like to ask a personal question of what was the reason you that brought aucune on your own stage wide if you stand up what made you speak up for peace and love against civilians
group and Friday good question and well I was I haven't always been a political person I'm am I writing my fiction has always been political um but I was very shocked by this notion of relations I sort of felt as a personal affront and um in particular last year when I was asked assigned UTC's open letter to medical and the way that she frame to the argument the way that she identified this as an assault on our liberties and as a diminution of democracy um really sort of brought the that the point home to me in in a completely new way I'm and then I got involved with the rights against massive in this initiative um that which I initiated with 6 other writers and we wrote the appeal of the road that which by the way I would love it if you all went and signed on changed all rights against mass surveillance and in the
formulation we came up with in 1 sense in particular we sums it went up for me as a person under surveillance is no longer free a society under surveillance is no longer democracy I think that's a really that process we honed my thinking and many feel that more passionate about this issue and I suppose I'm fortunate in that I have a platform as a writer and so I can use it to speak and I think fiction can't always carry the burden of your political convictions and it doesn't
need to and it's very nice to have an opportunity to talk about things that matter to you in a different context you know questions anyone
the thank you very much for the excellent talk um my Mossadegh I'm working for a balloon based foreign policy think tank called the SWB germs will probably them uh could comment and a question the commentators con you anymore on that so I'm afraid and then is a better no and no no OK from so what do we do the the the the and we and so it was a personal problem it's better not the and always look a them a quick comment on the question that the comment is um as far as I know the situation in France is much better
then in in the UK but we have little information about that too but some so what I see is that at least of the 3 biggest states in Europe it's 2 of them uh having civilians in a way so it's only Germany's so I'm a bit a bit I'm frustrated about of what could be that the future of you know being against variance in Europe when 2 of the biggest states so we have this problem and my
question is and is not only the Tories being in the government it's um the liberals as well so um do you see any support of liberals or any other UK party the for your and the againsts muscle variance thank you
great questions I'm I'm going on to the 2nd 1 1st and the whole of the British political establishment has actually been somehow party to be um the current state of affairs in the UK that the different Labour the Conservatives um have in in their own ways through the different administrations contributed to the to the massive into the CCTV cameras the surveillance of the the lack of regulatory framework go against the spy agency so I don't have much open them um Nick Clegg unfortunately has also you know prove himself to be a bit of a um a lame duck arm although they are now making sounds and sort of saying yes they they want things to be reviewed they want some change but I my present feeling is that the British establishment but this was Tudjman is very conservative as a whole they don't want change because they're all they've all got their hands dirty and they just don't that they also like the powder gchq has so I don't really see a lot coming from there from unfortunately I wasn't Strasbourg a few weeks ago uh and with the in a Manasseh to
meet Martin Schulz the EU president to resent our appeal to him and M. up what I was there I had I had some of the of the the sort of concern you expressed that people feel that um
Germany and the UK are somehow both blocking you know progress simply through inaction because it doesn't take decisions that sort of just sitting and waiting and the UK because it's a positive pretends and delays in procrastinators dolls and delays things that way I do think that I do have more hope in Germany I must say because I feel that um there are the Green Party has been very outspoken I think they're SPD people when the SPD also very committed Martin Schulz and is 1 of them and by let's another thing if you're voting in the EU elections with whichever European country evident from please you can make a difference with with what parts you vote for the left at the European um uh and the institutions they have really committed to taking on this issue and so your votes to really make a difference that I do believe that Martin Joos becomes the next and Commissioner and he will we forge ahead on this issue and and I think a German citizen
some very engaged with this issue and can influence the government and um I think we shouldn't forget I keep using this quote and but to me it sort of really sums up our power thing we forgot power citizens we are all
the Arsenal of Democracy as Roosevelt said that we need to speak out we need to resist and we need to say that we need it now government see that I'm not going to get away with ignoring us um because you know if we let our rights go now all it's very hard to grant them back In a
founder question we have time for 1 last question the history to all the people that have a question because of the was the last 1 hike of ICAM from Poland uh there are a several things happening in Poland so that there were several debates about networks censorship and that civilians that we want to civil society with strong words from the Polish Prime Minister saying that however we do we do not agree with some content on the Internet which we have no um right to censor itself uh so some of not that bad
everywhere that's that's yeah continuity and that useful but um I'm engaged in this debate and I'm running there were so cryptic party I'm going trying to be active in in different areas and the question that I get most often from people that are not a DP engage in this in this topic so after an hour of explaining how to use PGP out you store how to cover your tracks and how to try to keep your privacy of the questions I get this
why life privacy is important of obviously I'm able to respond to that to 2 to people but what I feel and what I thought about when I heard that you're you're you're writers to write fiction uh is that we need good arguments and for that we need good stories that showcase the that precedes important that censorship is the dangers that what you said that so that people under surveillance are not free anymore and and that would be my appeal of I don't know you are to the the writer community and
the question is do you see the possibility to yeah writers more involved in writing such stories in showcasing that this is important privacy is important that censorship is a problem etc. etc. think thank you very much and I agree with you that stories of the things that somehow most touch us and stay with us and instructors without seeming to instruct us um and they're already right is addressing I mean Dave Eggers book around the circle which came out in the US last year deals with this and the extraordinary thing when we did this right again mass against masturbators appeal was that we reached out to writers um to to sign in so many of them immediately you know were ready to sign and was so happy that something was being done and I think that's because as observers of society and and as as people who go kind of very deep into how people are thinking and feeling was Well perhaps somehow more sensitive to this more quickly and then then I'll be with is because we're what we're curious and we look harder and as writers and the thing is in have in a sense you can't nobody likes to be told what to write or what to create and I think it's a sense more of an yeah people will do it as as and how and when it feels as into them and sometimes also I think we we want to write stories that take us away from the the awfulness of what's around we want to escape and we want we we need stories that give us visions of another kind of world where there is no surveillance and so it's a very difficult question but I have no doubt that there will be more of this in in all kind of artistic endeavors and just because we we all feel implicated by we all feel this weight on us and and um fans and air and we will want to express that at some point thank you all very much for being here was a pleasure
sharing this time with you and it is not