...we are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.
David Cameron, UK Prime MinisterIn response, I wrote to my MP. I encourage those of you from the UK to do the same.
Dear Duncan Hames, I write to you today to express my concerns regarding statements made by the prime minister with respect to restricting access to "social media". It should be fairly obvious when the chinese regime are praising our censorship plans that they are ill thought through and should be scrapped. However obvious I feel that I must still enumerate the ways that this plan is wrong on many levels. Firstly, your prime minister seems unable to distinguish between the medium and the message. As we move more and more into the digital age more and more communication will take new forms, these new forms will replace more traditional forms of communication in society. To seek to control over some forms of commutation is modern equivalent of the government seeking to control the ability for its citizens to write to newspapers or talk in the street. Secondly, the idea of the government silencing it's citizens from communicating with one another is chilling. While I can understand that some speech may be criminal by it's content, woe befall any government who tries to pre-emptively stop such speech, as these very same controls can be used, and abused, to control its citizens. Thirdly, the prime minister is seeking to put restrictions on people that have not been convicted of a crime (he said, I quote, "when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality", but that is a matter for the courts not the "[the government,] the Police, the intelligence services and industry" to decide.) What safeguards are being proposed that I, a law abiding citizen, may not also be restricted from communication? Fourthly, and ironically, your prime minister is suggesting restricting the primary ability for communication with wider society by those individuals who he claims live outside of our society. Finally, I do not understand your prime minister's desire to push for further attention grabbing legislation when our police force can already wield the RIP Act to gather evidence from these new forms of communication. While I may not agree with the RIP Act, let our police forces use these powers to full effect before granting them new ones. As a member of your constituency I ask you to ensure that your prime minister is questioned about such blatant flaws in his proposals in parliment. Thanking you in advance for your help in this matter Yours sincerely, Mark FowlerThose wanting to do more could do a lot worse than set up a regular donation to the Open Rights Group.