Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

UK government denies internet/phone surveillance proposal a return to ‘bad old days’ of Labour rule

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Image

LONDON, April 3, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pundits and party members alike are blasting UK government plans to institute total surveillance of all internet and telephone use in “real time,” in the name of fighting terrorism.

The Sunday Times reported this week, that under legislation to be announced in next month’s Queen’s Speech, internet companies will be instructed to install hardware allowing government security agencies to see “on demand” any phone call, text message and email sent, and any website viewed by users.
             
Home Secretary Theresa May defended the proposal, saying it does not mean the creation of a “big government database.”

“Currently online communication by criminals can’t always be tracked,” May said. “That’s why the Government is proposing to help the police stay one step ahead of the criminals.

“No one is going to be looking through ordinary people’s emails or Facebook posts. Only suspected terrorists, paedophiles or serious criminals will be investigated.”

A previous attempt to create such legislation was abandoned by the former Labour government after a massive public outcry. Despite this, and warnings by political commentators that it will be a vote killer in the upcoming election, David Cameron’s coalition government is defending the decision. Both Cameron’s Conservative Party and Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats opposed the Labour government’s plans at the time.

In 2009 Cameron made a speech at Imperial College, London denouncing Labour for running a “surveillance state” and “pulling more and more people into the clutches of state data capture.”

At that time, the future prime minister said, “The action we take to rein in Labour’s control state and confront Labour’s surveillance state will help rebalance power in one direction by enhancing personal freedom and limiting the state’s power over us.”

But this week, Cameron defended the new plans, decrying the “misinformation” in the media. He denied that the proposal is a means to allow government to read people’s emails.

“Let’s be absolutely clear, this is not what the last government proposed and we opposed…This is not about extending the reach of the state into people’s data; it’s about trying to keep up with modern technology.

“But we should remember that this sort of data, used at the moment, through the proper processes, is absolutely vital in stopping serious crime and some of the most serious terrorist incidents that could kill people in our country, so it’s essential we get this right.

“Yes to keeping up with modern technology. No to a snoopers’ charter.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the BBC, “I’m absolutely clear… we will not return to the bad old days under the Labour Party.

“This will be an open, consultative and properly scrutinised process.” Clegg said the “highest possible safeguards” will be in place to ensure the privacy of citizens, but refused to say what, exactly, those would be.

Current legal powers may need to be updated, Clegg said, to “keep pace with the use of new technology.”

Under the current system, police can demand the release of records of phone calls made from any cell phone, including details of who has made a call, where and to whom it was made and the time the call was made. Clegg said that the law does not cover the use of new technologies that power services like Skype.

“We have to confront as a Government it is now possible to communicate with each other using different routes and we do need to update the means and powers that already exist on the statute books to reflect that change in technology,” Clegg said.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the government had botched the announcement on this sensitive issue.

“It is unclear what they are proposing,” Miliband said. “It is unclear what it means for people. It is always going to lead to fears about general browsing of people’s emails unless they are clear about their proposals, clear about what they would mean, clear about how they are changing the law.”

Gerald Warner, a former senior policy advisor to the Conservative Party, told LifeSiteNews.com that the proposals are typical of a Conservative Party that has abandoned its small-c conservative principles and its base support.

Warner called it “the most Orwellian intrusion into citizens’ lives that could be imagined.”

“How, after this, can David Cameron’s government ever again condemn the Chinese authorities for media and internet snooping?”

“The hypocrisy is breathtaking,” Warner added. “Even by the weasel standards of politicians this reversal of policy is beneath contempt.”

Warner called the current government, and the Conservative Party leadership in general, a “clique of millionaires,” accusing them of contempt of “British tradition, culture and now liberties.”

FREE pro-life and pro-family news.

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most. Subscribe today. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

Advertisement
Featured Image
Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

, , ,

Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook