I first registered the domain name for this website a few years ago, after seeing a report from Privacy International that showed the UK government's respect for the privacy of their citizens was on a par with oppressive regimes such as Russia and China. Today I see in the news that our government continues to emulate these less-than-admirable role models in preparation for the 2012 Olympics.
To quote today's edition of The London Paper, "Police have been given 'Chinese-style' powers to stop protesters during the London 2012 Olympics."
The world looked on with scorn and anger last year as China viciously suppressed any attempts by protesters to call attention to their infamously-poor human rights record while the Olympics media circus was in town. The dislike of oppressive regimes for the spotlight of publicity is proverbial, and people in countries that believe in freedom of speech were appalled by the way China 'managed' (or beat up and arrested, depending on which reporter you talk to) the press, and the people who wanted to protest in front of those press, while that spotlight was turned on them.
And yet, one year later, we find ourselves in a country which clearly isn't one of those that values freedom of speech. Just as I saw on Privacy International's chilling map in 2006, we are actually living in one of those oppressive regimes that we thought were always 'somewhere else'... a place where the government passes laws to make sure that the police can be used to stop the public from expressing their dissent... a police state.