Woke up this morning and found myself dead… Well, more to the point, my Internet connection dead. So being a Nymphobyte - someone feverously attracted to a reliable high bandwidth connection - there was little else to do than ponder the state of broadband in Ireland. Options are limited in the land currently home to the so called ‘Pariahs’ of Europe. Just make our broadband better and we’ll vote Yes! to Lisbon II and even Lisbon III ‘The Search for Spock’. Until then, you’re better off sending your packets of data back and forth via carrier pigeon rather than trying to connect via the empty promises of the current providers.
At least things aren’t as bad as in Sweden, oft thought of as land of the liberal and freedom loving Swedes, where their elected leaders are trying to sell them down the river - forcing a copy of all networked communications to be forwarded on the government so that they can, presumably, check for things like terrorists trying to share the latest episode of Desperate Housewives over Bittorrent. Sweden is now being mentioned in the same breath as China and Saudi Arabia with respect to Internet Freedom. According to an Information Age article at http://www.information-age.com/home/information-age-today/443366/sweden-to-snoop-on-all-international-phone-and-email-traffic.thtml (link no longer available) even Google, not known to be adverse to collecting data on people, has been heavily critical of the crippling legislation. Blogger Oscar Swartz has a rallying mayday call on his site. Yes, that’s right, even the Scandinavians have given up on civil rights - now we know the world is doomed! They’re kind of like a civil liberties version of those budgies that used to warn of noxious fumes down the mine shafts in the old days - once they go tits up then you know the game is over.
Nope, freedom is not on the menu anywhere this week. An article in The Economist took stock of the scale of civil liberties that have been eroded under the Labour government and the relative apathy that this has been met with by the people. Gordon Brown, despite the having the popularity of Brian Cowan at a Eurocrat orgy, has even managed to push through legislation in Parliament to the effect that one can now be detained for 45 days at a go without charge. That’s over 6 weeks! You could miss the whole European championships if you’re unlucky enough! Which might suit you if you’re a Portuguese or Croatian fan, after their sides painful exists. But 6 weeks! Perhaps Gordon just has a secret repressed side that he didn’t know about - which is subconsciously upset that Ireland is now seen as more Eurosceptic than Britain. Forty five days isn’t so bad though. After all, Tony Blair wanted to lock ‘em up for 90 days without charge. Why not go the whole hog and just lock people up at birth? It saves all that awkward decision making and you wouldn’t even need National Identity Cards anymore. Mind you, who needs ID cards when everyone one has already gotten their own copy of secret government dossiers that they picked up on the Tube on the way to work. Now there’s a government I wouldn’t trust mind my dog for the weekend, never mind my confidential information. And I don’t even own a dog…
It’s been a tough week all right. It’s hard to know how to stay on top of things. My great plan is to do away with RSS feeds and subscriptions and just diff the Internet each morning before going to work. If there was some interesting news found it could be managed using git and deltas emailed to friends to keep them informed. Sure, it would be a lot of data to contend with, but there would be some scant satisfaction knowing that it would make those draconian Swedish government servers that spy on their citizens work that little bit harder!