Friday, 30 April 2010

Privacy

It is fascinating to watch the severe case of schizophrenia that affects British society.

One can rarely find such example of split personality (and the necessary dose of paranoia) as the recent debacle around the rights to privacy.

In the same country, where the so-called anti-terrorism legislation has brought astounding Stalinist levels of unprecedented monitoring of people and their communications, never before seen electronic surveillance and various laws that would make Orwell shout 'told you so!', well, we have deep concerns for the rights to privacy of... animals.

Recently an academic has kicked up dust clouds about the rights of animals to privacy and pointed out how unethical and immoral it is to film them without their knowledge.

His parallels with humans are touching and, well, touchingly hilarious. The 'case' he makes has received enough attention to make it onto BBC News.

While I am truly horrified :-) of just how immoral let's say David Attenborough's camera crew may be with their filming of some nest without the animals' knowledge, it is fascinating to me at least how such debate in public forum can take place in a society that is monitoring its members in every possible way.

While recently the angry author of an angry Twitter post was held under the Terror Act, we are worrying about the rights to privacy of... animals...

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Censorship statistics

Google, after quite a run-in with China, published the statistics on so-called data requests from governments and censorship requests (basically requests to remove certain data).

China's statistics have not been published, as these are 'state secrets' (undoubtedly would lead the list).

The top country, quite interestingly, is Brasil, followed by the USA (no surprise there) - but then the dubious honour of being third on this orwellian list is, as some may guess, the UK.

At the moment, a total of 40 governments use data requests and censorship, compared to a mere four governments 8 years ago.

We all followed and had the 'pleasure' of seeing how freedom of thought and speech in the UK have been increasingly constrained, mostly thanks to the all-encompassing anti-terrorism legislation.

It is therefore quite an honour to have the formet citadel of freedom and democracy as third on the list. It would have not taken the bronze medal, though if China had been on the list at No. 1 undoubtedly...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Naivety

Recently the Nobel laureate writer, Herta Muller has made a few harsh and accurate statements about former and current Romania, its integration into the EU and the naivety of the West when handled the former communist country.

The writer, born in Romania and, after many years of persecution from the Securitate, emigrated to the West, has upset some...

Clearly, as she stated that the integration of Romania into the EU was premature and the 'West' was naive to think that this country has changed in terms of who holds the key power. She pointed out the facts about the former Communist Party and secret police officials holding political and financial power positions in Romania (goes very well with the BBC figure on 80% of top Romanians being former key people of the Communist Regime).

She stated, again astutely and accurately, that Romania represents now a second life of the communist dictatorship, but this time it's without ideology. This statement can be fully understood by those who know or have seen the current Romanian everyday realities across all layers of society.

Of course, the upset is voiced by some because, well, she emigrated and now she 'betrays' the country. Really? Stating a few painfully obvious facts that anybody with open eyes can see and has seen during the past 20 years is hardly a betrayal of her former homeland.

Former Communist Party figures, now all part of the vast Mafia in Romania, together with named agents of the Securitate, do hold and will hold all the key positions in political power circles, business and even administrative realm.

The old network has become the new network, as she put it, without ideology and without socialism this time.

The naivety of the 'West' has been painfully apparent during the Regime, and now it just takes new forms... after all, EU officials truly believe that Romania is capable of, as she put it, 'purification'. Which, of course, is a delusion.

Personally, I am glad that we have such high-profile emigrants who can call a spade a spade. Maybe some in the 'West' understand that apart from the surface and the mechanics, nothing truly has changed.