A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I Spy On Britannia---The EU is Handed Control of our Privacy

Teresa May Sells Us Out
The EU was handed sweeping rights to spy on British citizens. Teresa May, UK Home Secretary spoke before the House of Commons to let them know that Britain had decided to adopt the very Orwellian European Investigation Order. Did Britain decide this?  No one came to my door to ask me if this is what I wanted. No one asked the British people if that's what they wanted. Oh, wait, there are no referendums on bills like these that won't really affect us.

The Tories had promised that they would do away with draconian interventionist policies of the EU, and try to win back some of the rights they had lost to the EU. But now with the Lib Dems clinging to their coattails and Clegg ever keen to hand over more power to Brussels, it is looking bleak indeed. Who is really running the country? It is not David Cameron. So much for "voting for change".

The European Investigation Order means that any police force from any European Union country can come into Great Britain and spy on its citizens. They can bug your phone, spy on your house, demand to see your personal papers and take you back for questioning and/or prosecution to their countries without the British government being able to do anything about it. The argument that May and her cronies used was that it would be reciprocal. That is, the the British could do the same and enter other countries looking for criminals.  This EIO is to be part of the EAW (European Arrest Warrant) which allows police to extradite UK citizens to their countries for prosecution. The problem with the latter is that tiny misdemeanors are also being used to track down people including petty thefts (cupboard doors, piglets). People are actually being  extradited, kept in prison for months in foreign prisons awaiting trials sometimes without proper time to even prepare a defense. Basic rights to fair trials are often violated.

The difficulty is that  corruption  is rife in many of the European Union member countries. We are handing our lives over to some governments that do not hold the same sense of  government, values and representation that we attempt to uphold (and that's obviously in jeopardy).

So now, we don't just have to worry about our council spying on us, and people watching us on camera all day and night long....we have to worry about  the police in Estonia or Bulgaria listening to our conversations with Aunt Hattie in Pittsburgh. I can see them now, with their midnight pastries and steaming hot coffee from their run to the Tartu or Bobol Dov  "Dunkin' Donuts"....two or three policemen listening in to hear if  Aunt Hattie's recipe for spinach lasagna would be better with ricotta or mozarella.  It's ricotta, boys.( And if it isn't, don't arrest me.)