Monday, October 31, 2005

The Terrorism Bill 2005: A threat to blogs/websites?

Update: I got it wrong on the committee stage of the bill. The committee stage of this bill takes place over 2 days, the 2nd and 3rd of November. See this link. Sorry for the mistake.

I confess to having taken my off the ball on this one. I didn't realise the Terrorism Bill 2005 (yes another one!) was in parliament until I heard about the 2nd reading and then was slow off the mark to write about it... have berated the British blogosphere for failing to cover/analyse the Terrorism Bill 2005, which, in addition to enabling 90 days detention of terrorist suspects without charge, they argue threatens websites, bloggers and libraries due to the:

  • vaguely defined offences of "inciting or glorifying" terrorism and distributing a terrorist publication, combined with
  • the power of a police constable, acting on his own opinion that the publication is "terrorism-related", to issue a notice to a publisher to remove or modify an article within 2 days or be deemed to have endorsed the article, thus rendering you unable to raise the defence that it was provided only in the course of providing an electronic service, you didn't know it was terrorism related AND you did not endorse it.
More detail can be found here and at the Magna Carta Plus weblog. Note that the committee stage of this bill will be over on Wednesday 2nd November. Time to make use of WriteToThem...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

New "refuse" pledge setup by No2ID

Following on from the earlier 'refuse' and 'resist' pledges, No2ID have set up a new 'refuse' pledge. As with the first one, pledgers pledge to refuse to register for a card/on the database and to donate £10 to a legal defence fund. This time the aim is to get 15,000 signatures by January 8th 2006. The first one achieved its target of 10,000 signatures by the 18th of July and totalled over 11,368 signatures by the time it closed on the 9th October.

British residents who oppose the cards and have not yet signed a pledge are invited to sign either the 'resist' pledge or the second 'refuse' pledge (this one aimed at those who feel unable to run the risks associated with refusing). But please do not sign more than one pledge!

(See also here).

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

My views on the free market

Jon P writing at the Liberty Cadre, gives a plug to the Magna Carta Plus News blog (thanks Jon!), and he also writes:

One of its contributors is James Hammerton, whom I have come across while perusing a few Libertarian Alliance documents. He is a sort of civil libertarian leftie, opposed to the free market but wants freedom in pretty much everything else...
I suspect he's probably read my critique of libertarianism, I recall someone in the Libertarian Alliance expressed interest in it some time back. I wrote the essay about a decade or so ago. At the time, I would happily have described myself as a Green, having been in the Edinburgh University Green Society throughout my undergraduate days and then its equivalent at Birmingham University during my PhD. As I recall, I wrote the critique during the early days of my PhD, but note my PhD had nothing to do with it! It was written in my spare time.

Anyway since then my views have changed quite a lot. I wouldn't describe myself as a Green now. Re-reading the essay has reminded me by just how much my views have changed. Basically I want to see the state shrunk, and I'm generally in favour of free trade, my reading having convinced me that its generally beneficial.

However I don't believe in cutting the state back to a "nightwatchman" state the way some libertarians do. For example, I support the idea of a citizen's wage, plus I think action is needed to wean the world economy off oil and onto something both less environmentally harmful and less dependent on unstable middle eastern governments. So whilst I might be opposed to total laissez-faire, I do wish to see much freer markets and a much smaller state than we currently have.

Maybe a followup to my critique, considering it in the light of my current views, is in order....