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UK Mass Surveillance Law has just passed the Parliament's Approval

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On 18/11/2016 at 2:41 AM, Murdoch said:

I guess it comes down to how much of a threat you perceive terrorism to be, personally I judge it to be almost a non-existent threat on a personal level. Beyond that, I'd say it's a miniscule threat to a functioning Western Democracy. And there's far better ways of dealing with the threat, than to start spying on your own citizens. It's a tired point (and many people have made it better than I can), but fixing Western Foreign policy would be the starting point. It amazes me, genuinely, how many people miss that blindingly obvious point, and would rather walk naked through airports than even consider "bombing countries back to the stoneage" installing a token democracy then fucking off, or arming rebels to incite regime change, dropping some bombs then leaving them to it, might come back to haunt us.

 

So, it's an easy question for me, giving up our rights for the "cause" of improved safety from the "terrorists" is a significantly greater threat to Western Democracy. And I seriously question the motives of those in charge that continue to use the overplayed threat of terrorism, to diminish those rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a lot of people fail to realise as well is that we are creating these tools that can get misused by a policeman checking on his ex or by  future government body that wants to install a dictatorship. Problem with this information is that once it is out there, it is out there. there is no going back from it. How long till a less than scrupulous government (let's say le pen in france) stats using these tools to prevent opposition members to gain political traction by exposing everything about them? You are giving away to those in power a very effective  mean for them to keep their power.


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52 minutes ago, Miguel Batista said:

What a lot of people fail to realise as well is that we are creating these tools that can get misused by a policeman checking on his ex or by  future government body that wants to install a dictatorship. Problem with this information is that once it is out there, it is out there. there is no going back from it. How long till a less than scrupulous government (let's say le pen in france) stats using these tools to prevent opposition members to gain political traction by exposing everything about them? You are giving away to those in power a very effective  mean for them to keep their power.

Honestly... democracies are inherently fragile. If you truly want to overthrow them, you can. It just takes the right group of people, some support in the right places, and the will to do it. You don't require these bunch of anti-privacy laws. The fact that some things are illegal doesn't mean you cannot do them.

 

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On 11/17/2016 at 8:16 AM, suicidalfranco said:

also, history repeating itself

-snip

I hope the UK enjoys a fascist/communist style totalitarian government.

 

Because that is what you now have. You (people of the UK) were warned when they took your firearms from you, you didn't listen, you were told that it wouldn't stop there, and it hasn't. You are now living in a police state, with zero capability of fighting back against the regime. Congratulations.

 

Try to organize protests? Not a chance, because they'll be watching, listening, and waiting to arrest you before it happens, try to get the media in with you? Not a chance, because they'll be watching, waiting, and listening to arrest the media alongside you (or just threaten them into silence). History has repeated itself so very many times now, and you still though you knew better.

 

You no longer have free speech, you no longer have any freedom beyond what they want you to think you have.


Computer's don't make errors. What they do, they do on purpose. By now your name and particulars have been fed into every laptop, desktop, mainframe and supermarket scanner that collectively make up the global information conspiracy, otherwise known as The Beast.

 

You just be careful. Computers have already beaten the Communists at chess. Next thing you know, they'll be beating humans.

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12 minutes ago, Trik'Stari said:

I hope the UK enjoys a fascist/communist style totalitarian government.

 

Because that is what you now have. You (people of the UK) were warned when they took your firearms from you, you didn't listen, you were told that it wouldn't stop there, and it hasn't. You are now living in a police state, with zero capability of fighting back against the regime. Congratulations.

 

Try to organize protests? Not a chance, because they'll be watching, listening, and waiting to arrest you before it happens, try to get the media in with you? Not a chance, because they'll be watching, waiting, and listening to arrest the media alongside you (or just threaten them into silence). History has repeated itself so very many times now, and you still though you knew better.

 

You no longer have free speech, you no longer have any freedom beyond what they want you to think you have.

Oh please... this silly fascination with firearms. As if a few pistols and shotguns are of any help against a professional fighting force driving around in MRAPs. Unless you can get your hands on heavy weaponry and sizable amounts of explosives - almost impossible without support from another state - , it's a hopeless afair.

 

Either way the main problem in 'rising up' is always overcoming the collective action problem. If you cannot do that, no amount of guns will help you. If you can, you won't need the guns, as most militaries / soldiers are rather hesitant in shooting large numbers of their fellow nationals.

Unless the government starts recruiting foreigners into the army and hiring large amounts of contractors/mercenaries (like some gulf states)... then it's time to worry.

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14 hours ago, Jovidah said:

Honestly... democracies are inherently fragile. If you truly want to overthrow them, you can. It just takes the right group of people, some support in the right places, and the will to do it. You don't require these bunch of anti-privacy laws. The fact that some things are illegal doesn't mean you cannot do them.

 

 

It's not about overthrowing democracy per se. It's the potential for control within the democratic system that concerns me, and it's a problem that has been known for hundreds if not thousands of years.

 

The problem with democracy is simple, if at any stage the minority of people control most of the wealth and resources, the majority can just band together to enact policy that shares the wealth. So if you have a system with high levels of inequality (which we do), you've got two options to keep the peace, you actively reduce the level of democracy afforded to most people, while weighting the influence of those that have wealth, while also increasing levels of policing. Or you can enact policy that actively reduces inequality.

 

Like the media has been used before, these sort of new tools will be increasingly useful if we go down route one. Not to overthrow democracy, but to shape opinion to control and to limit dissent.

 

The way I see it, we've been living in a plutocracy for a while now, yet look at Brexit, look at Trump, there are the signs of a mass movement against this. How is this going to play out, it's going to come to a head, sooner or later. If you could exert influence, if you had extortionate wealth, what policies would you want at this moment in time?

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30 minutes ago, Murdoch said:

 

It's not about overthrowing democracy per se. It's the potential for control within the democratic system that concerns me, and it's a problem that has been known for hundreds if not thousands of years.

I see your point...and while I think it's not entirely invalid, my problem is that there seems to be a false belief that these laws are somehow 'needed' to do these things. They're not. They're only needed to make it legal.

30 minutes ago, Murdoch said:

 

The problem with democracy is simple, if at any stage the minority of people control most of the wealth and resources, the majority can just band together to enact policy that shares the wealth. So if you have a system with high levels of inequality (which we do), you've got two options to keep the peace, you actively reduce the level of democracy afforded to most people, while weighting the influence of those that have wealth, while also increasing levels of policing. Or you can enact policy that actively reduces inequality.

Or you can focus on distracting people from the issues at hand (bread & games, or nationalism) or use the classic scapegoating (plenty of that going around right now). To be frank, the means of control often aren't really all that different between democracies and autocracies. You try to control the media narrative, try to placate unhappy groups (patronism parallels the taxcuts & tax breaks that are usually promised in elections), and try to arrest & frustrate people who try to bring down your government. The key is just to keep the large majority at least moderately happy and unbothered, so that any minority left over really has no viable means to challenge you. 

A lot of the 'new' populist movements aim at the exact same thing; why bother respecting the minorities if you can win the elections by running against them. 

30 minutes ago, Murdoch said:

 

Like the media has been used before, these sort of new tools will be increasingly useful if we go down route one. Not to overthrow democracy, but to shape opinion to control and to limit dissent.

 

The way I see it, we've been living in a plutocracy for a while now, yet look at Brexit, look at Trump, there are the signs of a mass movement against this. How is this going to play out, it's going to come to a head, sooner or later. If you could exert influence, if you had extortionate wealth, what policies would you want at this moment in time?

To be fair though, there are a lot of worrying developments in the media landscape right now. Traditionally the media have played sort of a 'referee'-role in democracies, trying to keep politics honest and protect the public interest. These days we see more and more 'media' that are more interested in their own profits and/or pushing private interests (of certain politics / countries), even if its contrary to public interest. There has been a veritable explosion of misinformation in the last decade, and more of it seems to take root than in the past. I think this is a far bigger threat. There's no need to control people who are simply too stupid or too misinformed to complain about what you're doing.

 

The problem is that you see politicians abusing this or working in tandem with these outlets, essentially breaking down the system from within, in the hopes of achieving power. While this might be opportune for select individuals, I don't see it benefiting democracy in the long run. However most of the people 'challenging the system' are very much insiders and a part of it.

But I think what I'm getting at is that the problem with democracy in its current day and age is not just at the top. The system is being wilfully frustrated and discredited, with honest media being deliberately delegitimized to make them indistinguishable from the corrupt ones. There are also a lot of attempts at outside That worries me far more than a few laws that determine what a government is legally allowed to do. If a corrupt government wants to do illegal things they usually don't let the law stop them.

 

Now what kind of policies I'd want if I was extremely rich? Honestly... I'm too much of a social scientist so I'd take the bigger picture in mind. But large inequality always spells disaster and leads to a variety of social problems, many of whom will also affect the rich. Think increased crime, political instability and even larger risk of civil war. 

The easiest way to control that however, is not repression. Outright repression often backfires and breeds more opposition. You're better off just 'bribing' people and giving small concessions.

 

To sum up; I don't necessarily disagree with you.  I just think whether or not a government has this law doesn't make too much of a difference. If you're worried about the control I think the media / internet (and it's more and more partisan nature) is a far bigger problem.

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44 minutes ago, Jovidah said:

I see your point...and while I think it's not entirely invalid, my problem is that there seems to be a false belief that these laws are somehow 'needed' to do these things. They're not. They're only needed to make it legal.

Uhm, this is getting a bit circular. My first posts in this thread stated how frustrated I was by the fact when these illegal programmes were exposed, that people's apathy on the subject just meant that legislation was quietly passed to legalise them. That was our cue to get them shut down. Had the public been totally outraged, which it ought to have been, these programmes would have died overnight.

 

58 minutes ago, Jovidah said:

Or you can focus on distracting people from the issues at hand (bread & games, or nationalism) or use the classic scapegoating (plenty of that going around right now). To be frank, the means of control often aren't really all that different between democracies and autocracies. You try to control the media narrative, try to placate unhappy groups (patronism parallels the taxcuts & tax breaks that are usually promised in elections), and try to arrest & frustrate people who try to bring down your government. The key is just to keep the large majority at least moderately happy and unbothered, so that any minority left over really has no viable means to challenge you. 

A lot of the 'new' populist movements aim at the exact same thing; why bother respecting the minorities if you can win the elections by running against them. 

To be fair though, there are a lot of worrying developments in the media landscape right now. Traditionally the media have played sort of a 'referee'-role in democracies, trying to keep politics honest and protect the public interest. These days we see more and more 'media' that are more interested in their own profits and/or pushing private interests (of certain politics / countries), even if its contrary to public interest. There has been a veritable explosion of misinformation in the last decade, and more of it seems to take root than in the past. I think this is a far bigger threat. There's no need to control people who are simply too stupid or too misinformed to complain about what you're doing.

The rest of your post seems to take the... "this law is inconsequential to the greater concern of Democracy going awry, and there is far more important actors at play" stance. Well sure, that's fair enough, this law in itself isn't going to make or break whether the UK exists as Orwell's 1984 or otherwise. I'd just say this law doesn't exist in a vacuum it's a symptom of a wider problem in my opinion. And we ignore it at our peril, death by 1000 cuts as they say.

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Well it's a fair point that we shouldn't ignore it. I just think the protection offered by the law is quite... overestimated. The best example to me is Nazi Germany. Pre-war Germany was actually one of the most legalized societies ever. Still didn't stop all that from happening. Laws were bent, laws were circumvented, or simply rewritten. In other cases things were simply being done off the books. The most ludicrous example is how an SS judge actually sued several death camp commandants, mostly on corruption charges.

 

I think the main thing keeping democracy going is the fact that people want to; the norms shared by many people within the system. As soon as those fade, I doubt the system is resilient enough to survive. Just look at how easy it has been historically to take down democracies. 

 

The general apathy to the disclosure of these things is sadly quite... normal. Welcome to the collective action problem. Even in dictatorships, you'll find the general majority not caring too much as long as it doesn't infringe too much on their ability to make a living, feed themselves and their children, and try to enjoy life.

 

The sad reality is that most people honestly don't give a damn about these kinds of things. If push comes to shove, most people don't give a damn about the politics either, until they start receiving the shitty end of the stick. Most people simply do not care. Especially when it's complicated material, so it's a lot easier to make them focus on hating simple stuff, like brown people. 

 

I mean just look at the current refugee policies for example. Over the last 10 years it has literally caused thousands of deaths. All in public view. Ever wondered why Syrian refugees pay big bucks to smugglers to get on dinky boats? Well simple... because the airports have been declared an extraterritorial zone, rendering it impossible to claim asylum on them. So even though they technically could fly, for even less money, and far safer, our governments  decided to create a legal loophole to prevent it. Resulting in loads of unnecessary deaths and a lot of blood on 'our'  hands. Yet almost no one cares.

As long as it has no noticable direct impact on people's lives, or on people within their imagined community / identity group, they don't give a rats ass. Some might pause... some might angrily share it on facebook. But in general, most people happily accept deaths of people they don't know.

 

Sorry if I'm so damn cynical. I don't have any solutions either. The more you learn about things, the more complicated they get, especially if you take both sides into account. After a while you just end up being dissapointed in everyone.

I honestly don't know where it's going either, but I doubt it's getting 'better'. All I'm seeing is negative development. But I find it really hard to determine who really has agency in the whole affair, and who to blame. It's only getting...messier.

 

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7 hours ago, Jovidah said:

Well it's a fair point that we shouldn't ignore it. I just think the protection offered by the law is quite... overestimated. The best example to me is Nazi Germany. Pre-war Germany was actually one of the most legalized societies ever. Still didn't stop all that from happening. Laws were bent, laws were circumvented, or simply rewritten. In other cases things were simply being done off the books. The most ludicrous example is how an SS judge actually sued several death camp commandants, mostly on corruption charges.

 

I think the main thing keeping democracy going is the fact that people want to; the norms shared by many people within the system. As soon as those fade, I doubt the system is resilient enough to survive. Just look at how easy it has been historically to take down democracies. 

 

The general apathy to the disclosure of these things is sadly quite... normal. Welcome to the collective action problem. Even in dictatorships, you'll find the general majority not caring too much as long as it doesn't infringe too much on their ability to make a living, feed themselves and their children, and try to enjoy life.

 

The sad reality is that most people honestly don't give a damn about these kinds of things. If push comes to shove, most people don't give a damn about the politics either, until they start receiving the shitty end of the stick. Most people simply do not care. Especially when it's complicated material, so it's a lot easier to make them focus on hating simple stuff, like brown people. 

 

I mean just look at the current refugee policies for example. Over the last 10 years it has literally caused thousands of deaths. All in public view. Ever wondered why Syrian refugees pay big bucks to smugglers to get on dinky boats? Well simple... because the airports have been declared an extraterritorial zone, rendering it impossible to claim asylum on them. So even though they technically could fly, for even less money, and far safer, our governments  decided to create a legal loophole to prevent it. Resulting in loads of unnecessary deaths and a lot of blood on 'our'  hands. Yet almost no one cares.

As long as it has no noticable direct impact on people's lives, or on people within their imagined community / identity group, they don't give a rats ass. Some might pause... some might angrily share it on facebook. But in general, most people happily accept deaths of people they don't know.

 

Sorry if I'm so damn cynical. I don't have any solutions either. The more you learn about things, the more complicated they get, especially if you take both sides into account. After a while you just end up being dissapointed in everyone.

I honestly don't know where it's going either, but I doubt it's getting 'better'. All I'm seeing is negative development. But I find it really hard to determine who really has agency in the whole affair, and who to blame. It's only getting...messier.

 

Thus the other downside of a Democracy or Republic, they are complex as they attempt to divide power in a fair manner. As with any over complex machine or program, the failure points are many. One of these failure points, ironically, lies with the populous. 

 

For the most part, people live in their own worlds. Whatever happens outside of their world does not, in their eyes, exist. By controlling the media, a government can ensure certain events don't enter their "world". The result being a few outliers scouring the wikileaks and the edges of the dark Web to know what's going on in the world around them. 


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On 22/11/2016 at 2:52 AM, Jovidah said:

Oh please... this silly fascination with firearms. As if a few pistols and shotguns are of any help against a professional fighting force driving around in MRAPs. Unless you can get your hands on heavy weaponry and sizable amounts of explosives - almost impossible without support from another state - , it's a hopeless afair.

 

Either way the main problem in 'rising up' is always overcoming the collective action problem. If you cannot do that, no amount of guns will help you. If you can, you won't need the guns, as most militaries / soldiers are rather hesitant in shooting large numbers of their fellow nationals.

Unless the government starts recruiting foreigners into the army and hiring large amounts of contractors/mercenaries (like some gulf states)... then it's time to worry.

  and training, and an airforce, and cruise missiles and a bunch of other stuff the professional military has that normal people don't. But sure, an AR 15 is going to kick down that government even though they can kill them from 20 Km high using a drone firing hellfire missiles.

 

Why do these topics always reach a point where a gun nut will come and talk on how the people in Europe cannot fight their government because of the lack of guns? it is tiring really.


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On 21/11/2016 at 3:52 PM, Prysin said:

no, YOU are fucked. The rest of the world isnt totally fucked yet.

Yet.. Soon™ 

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I don't care what any government surveys me for. I never hide anything from anybody. It's when money and corporations enter the equation that worries me. Especially when you've got a corporatocracy like ours where they own the government.


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Please explain to me why they food standards agency needs to know what porn I look at?  

 

To those saying they have nothing to hide, I'll remind you of Snowdons words;

 

"Saying you don't worry about privacy because you have nothing to hide,

Is like saying you don't worry about free speech if you have nothing to say."

 

 As soon as you start giving away rights, the rest will slip away afterwards. 

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On 11/21/2016 at 9:52 PM, Jovidah said:

Oh please... this silly fascination with firearms. As if a few pistols and shotguns are of any help against a professional fighting force driving around in MRAPs. Unless you can get your hands on heavy weaponry and sizable amounts of explosives - almost impossible without support from another state - , it's a hopeless afair.

 

Either way the main problem in 'rising up' is always overcoming the collective action problem. If you cannot do that, no amount of guns will help you. If you can, you won't need the guns, as most militaries / soldiers are rather hesitant in shooting large numbers of their fellow nationals.

Unless the government starts recruiting foreigners into the army and hiring large amounts of contractors/mercenaries (like some gulf states)... then it's time to worry.

You don't need heavy weapons and the like to stop people in MRAPS, you need patience and a good hunting rifle with a good scope, and plenty of patience. Sooner or later they have to get out of said vehicles.

 

The simple fact is, your government has zero reason to respect your opinion or desires, because "what are you gonna do about it? Stand outside our building with a sign?".

 

But by all means. Continue in the delusional state that your school system and state controlled media have forced into you.


Computer's don't make errors. What they do, they do on purpose. By now your name and particulars have been fed into every laptop, desktop, mainframe and supermarket scanner that collectively make up the global information conspiracy, otherwise known as The Beast.

 

You just be careful. Computers have already beaten the Communists at chess. Next thing you know, they'll be beating humans.

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11 minutes ago, Trik'Stari said:

You don't need heavy weapons and the like to stop people in MRAPS, you need patience and a good hunting rifle with a good scope, and plenty of patience. Sooner or later they have to get out of said vehicles.

 

The simple fact is, your government has zero reason to respect your opinion or desires, because "what are you gonna do about it? Stand outside our building with a sign?".

 

But by all means. Continue in the delusional state that your school system and state controlled media have forced into you.

The difference between the UK and the US, is that our police force isn't militarised (and by that I mean very few are armed to the teeth). The UK could overthrow the police pretty easily if required.

 

I think if the US or UK had to call on the full might of their military to quash an uprising, well it's pretty much GG for Western Democracy at that point.

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45 minutes ago, Murdoch said:

The difference between the UK and the US, is that our police force isn't militarised (and by that I mean very few are armed to the teeth). The UK could overthrow the police pretty easily if required.

 

I think if the US or UK had to call on the full might of their military to quash an uprising, well it's pretty much GG for Western Democracy at that point.

Just look at the riots we had a few years back. The police were overun. In one city, a crowd surrounded a police station.
 

Edit: Just want to clarify, I didn't support this damage in anyway. It was a fair cause and peaceful protest that thugs hijacked and used as an excuse to act like animals.


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On 27-11-2016 at 11:32 PM, Trik'Stari said:

You don't need heavy weapons and the like to stop people in MRAPS, you need patience and a good hunting rifle with a good scope, and plenty of patience. Sooner or later they have to get out of said vehicles.

 

The simple fact is, your government has zero reason to respect your opinion or desires, because "what are you gonna do about it? Stand outside our building with a sign?".

 

But by all means. Continue in the delusional state that your school system and state controlled media have forced into you.

I really think you're overestimating your odds. You're assuming you're the hunter. More likely you'd be in the position of hunted. Good luck trying to get the drop on people using thermal cameras, direction detectors for shots, UAVs flying overhead (again with thermal cams) and all the other gizmos. Why do you think the Taliban started using IEDs so much? Because they found out that a straight up fight with a western military is no fun.

 

But as a I said...more likely you'd be the hunted. In the past, people have thought they could win that as well. Think Waco, Ruby ridge. Never works out so well. At best you create a PR problem for the agencies involved.

And that's just bypassing the unconvenient problem that most 'armed civilians' really have no clue what they're doing, aren't trained snipers, and history shows they generally get their asses kicked.

 

Again...unless you're part of a big broad movement, you'd just be a loonatic with a gun who'd get taken down easily. Most likely at night, while asleep, or in some other fashion where you're caught with your pants down. 

By the time you're part of a broad movement, you don't need the guns. You have safety in numbers. The army isn't going to shoot large parts of its own population. Not when it's recruited from the same population.

Look for example what happened in Egypt, or the many revolutions in Eastern Europe both during communist rule (Prague) and when it crumbled. Their own soldiers wouldn't shoot their own people. Only when outside forces (Russians) came in, that changed.

Even in Syria, where the army cadres mostly consisted of loyalists, the army fractured and large parts ignored the orders. They've been very reliant upon foreign troops (shiite militias like Hezbollah, Afghani mercenaries).

 

As I said in an earlier post, it's time to worry when the government starts recruiting outside forces, foreign mercenaries and that sort of thing. They will have far less qualms about shooting unarmed protestors. For example at Tianmen square, China deliberately bussed in troops from other provinces to do the dirty work. In Bahrain, the minority Sunni government hires mercenaries (mostly Pakistanis) to fill their army and supress the shiite majority. It really only works when you have an ethnically divided country, with one group being the army and the other group being the victims. 

 

Ironically, what is needed the most to keep up any kind of resistance is a safe haven where troops can get supply, rest & refit. Pretty much every rebel group has this, and as soon as they lose it, they lose the fight. Taliban couldn't survive without support from Pakistan. IS couldn't have survived as long as it did without support from Turkey. FARC is really only coming to the negotiation table because support from Venezuala is waning. 

But where will the US rebels go? Walls work two ways, so if it ever gets built it'll be rather difficult to operate from Mexico. ;)

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All this reminds me of this book ...

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four


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37 minutes ago, SpaceGhostC2C said:

I guess that depends on the kind of porn? :P 

 

But don't worry about the long lists of agencies, it can always be simplified with a Ministry of Information...

How I get my sausages into my body is my business, nobody else's lol. 


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So when these departments have access to this information, what are they allowed to do with it? What can they prosecute for? It's all very vague, and South park-esque in delivery. 


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