14 Jan. 2008


This does not sound good:
British security agencies have been in talks with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation over plans for a global database of major criminals and suspected terrorists, a UK police spokesman said.

The news comes after the FBI told The Guardian newspaper of its proposed "Server in the Sky" program, which would link the policing networks of the United States' allies in the so-called "war on terror".

The newspaper said Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand would all be involved.

The spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police said that discussions were at an early stage, and that Britain's Home Office (interior ministry) had also been involved, but declined to give further details on the programme, which may include exchanges of biometric information.

A spokesman for the Home Office also confirmed the discussions.
I see no reason at all why Australia would want to be involved in such a program.

The UK government has repeatedly lost confidential citizens' data, while the US government has repeatedly spied on its own citizens to compile massive databases of illegal data. There is no reason to suppose that either the US or UK governments can be trusted to maintain the confidentiality of any personal data supplied by our government.

And let's not pretend that "only criminals will be on the database", so innocent people have nothing to worry about. This is all about identifying suspect persons, and recent experience shows that anybody and everybody is suspect.

Back home, the Australian government still has a serious credibility problem of its own, having repeatedly failed to safeguard the civil rights of its own citizens over the past decade. True, we finally have a new government in place, but there are still no signs that anything has really changed (enquiries and accountability now please, Kevin).

Meanwhile, the latest attack on the Australian Embassy's host building in Kabul provides a perfect excuse for Rudd to pull out troops: if our NATO partners cannot provide adequate security, we should leave. It's not up to us to secure the country on our own, is it?

Let's start behaving like a responsible and self-sufficient nation, not a nation of militant toads.