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Anorak | Julian Assange Vs Paul McMullan: Privacy For Paedos And How Tony Blair Liked To Watch Us On CCTV

Julian Assange Vs Paul McMullan: Privacy For Paedos And How Tony Blair Liked To Watch Us On CCTV

by | 2nd, December 2011

CAN Julian Assange be made to debate privacy with the NoTW’s former journalist Paul McMullan who told the Leveson Inquiry:

“In 21 years of invading people’s privacy, I’ve never actually come across anyone who’s been doing any good. Privacy is the space bad people need to do bad things. Privacy is for paedos. Fundamentally, nobody else needs it.”

Who do you think would win the debate?

Was McMullan right?  New Labour agreed with him. As Brendan O’Neill writes:

Under the New Labour government in particular, “privacy” became a dirty word. Indeed, the rallying cry of our Blairite rulers was “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” – an alarmingly Stalinist turn of phrase that has always stuck in my craw. What they meant was that only shifty people, only those with something horrible to hide, would ever dare to complain about official intrusions into private life. So as New Labour coated Britain with CCTV cameras, tried desperately to introduce ID cards, and interfered relentlessly into family life and the realm of parenting, anyone who kicked up a fuss and said “what about privacy?” was accused of having something to hide.

And that’s the thing with the “toxic” NoTW. They operated in a climate sanctioned by Blair’s Government. As the CCTV cameras went up, spooks spied on people for the country’s biggest-read tabloids – the one that backed Blair. The paper had deep links to the police. As we are left asking – as we have asked ever since the hacking story broke – who trained the spooks to spy on Milly Dowler and those celebs?

Julian Assange is no fan of privacy. Sure, he wanted on keep his address private (oh, the irony), but your work cabals and emails are fair game. He wants secrets made un-secret.

The Wikileaks’ founders latest release is, as Gawker notes,”a bunch of brochures and manuals they downloaded from public websites, and some stuff that theWall Street Journal published last month“.

Assange says of his so-called Spy Files, “a database of 287 documents relating to 160 surveillance companies which assist governments around the world”:

“Mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25 countries. This industry is, in practice, unregulated. Intelligence agencies, military forces and police authorities are able to silently, and on mass, and secretly intercept calls and take over computers without the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers. “

Is that new? No, says Gawker:

And the most interesting document, a “contract” between the French surveillance company Amesys and the Libyan government has been kicking around on the web for almost three months.

So. Where do we stand on privacy? Is it only for peados and people with something to hide? Is no-one exempt? As Assange’s Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig famously said in 2010:

I do not know who has given these documents to the media, but the purpose can only be one thing – trying to make Julian look bad.”

But, by McMullan’s terms, if he’s got nothing to hide, he need not worry.

So. Where do you stand on privacy? Is it an affront when your privacy is invaded, but juicy gossip when it’s someone else’s? And why do you think you have a right to know?



Posted: 2nd, December 2011 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink