At least, so you could be forgiven for believing. Taking photos of buses can get you in some trouble these days. Perhaps now the British government would think twice about stepping in to prevent their own tourists from suffering judicial heavy-handedness. Even snapping a bobby in London could land you up to 10 years, under Section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. You can see how important that “Counter” part in the title was felt to be; if they’d left it out you’d never be quite sure which way to interpret the act. Fortunately there are still some people willing to stand up for common sense. Nevertheless, the UK government policy seems clear. Whilst UK citizens have to accept being the people most spied upon by their government, the latter is taking every advantage to make sure the cameras only point one way. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
The war against file-sharing that currently rages primarily over the Internet will ultimately be lost. That’s my prediction. I can’t support this argument with any authority, being no expert in the fields of law, politics or technology, but instead make my statement on the basis of many years’ observation from the wilderness. But the trends all point to this being the case. File-sharing has become a mainstay of this new generation, a fact which has forced most corporations and organisations to rethink their strategies and come up with ways to stem the tide. We have already seen many changes in this direction, such as the explosion of digital content that is now available online from legitimate sources. But in addition to this carrot, the war is also being waged with a stick, as organisations set out to have legislation passed to clamp down on file-sharing activities, and new technologies are created to lock down digital content and prevent its spread. So what will the future bring?
It’s been a full month since I last posted anything, which is a little too infrequent even for my liking. A combination of holidays, downtime and general idleness is to blame, but there are a few posts in the draft box which never quite got finished, and maybe one or two new things will crop up in the coming days. Also going to give the WPPA plugin a bigger trial and add a few more photos from around and abouts.
In the meantime, here’s something that’s been bugging me for a while. According to the UK’s highway code, and possibly many others, a vehicle overtaking a cyclist should allow the same distance as when overtaking a car, given the possibility that the cyclist might fall over, estimated at 2.0m or some such. But doesn’t that leave many cycle paths in the country technically in breach of this convention?
As part of the British government’s scheme to tackle sex offenders, Home Secretary John Reid is introducing a raft of new measures for the further protection of children from known paedophiles. Dubbed “Sarah’s Law”, after Sarah Payne who was murdered in 2000 by a repeat offender. Fears that the law would provide powers akin to those in the United States guaranteed by “Megan’s Law”, which had the potential to drive sex offenders underground, have been assuaged by the limited scope of its provisions. The new measures include a voluntary drug treatment, often cited as ‘chemical sterilisation’ in the media, as well as allowing parents to register their concern with the police should anyone be in a position to have unsupervised access to their children.
Yet these measures principally concern the prospect of repeat offences. The cases which sparked such legislation being called for in the first place so incensed the public on account of their being committed by known paedophiles. These measures, however, do not offer much in the way of dealing with the prevention of first time sex offences relating to children. Indeed, as others have said, these measures would also have done nothing to prevent Sarah Payne’s murder by a stranger, the very case which provoked calls for a change in the law.
Any attempt to the tackle the issue of paedophilia must of course require some heavy and uncomfortable acknowledgements on society’s part. Paedophilia is contrary to the social and cultural mores of the country, yet in a population of millions it must be accepted that there is a statistical probability for some individuals to have tendencies deemed unacceptable in their community. If this fact is not accepted, the problem can never be dealt with. ‘Voluntary sterilisation’ goes some way to offering a solution for those affected, to get their own issues under control. It was not a million years ago that homosexuality was deemed anti-social and indeed illegal; its suppression did not lead to its eradication, however. Whilst there is no intention for ethical comparison here, the fact is that paedophilia must firstly be given due acknowledgement if it is to be properly understood and neutralised. That is not to suggest there can be a cureall solution. But the focus can be shifted, from preventing reoffenders striking again, to suppressing potential offenders in the first instance.