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SOVEREIGN MAN

Vicious and Voracious Violation of Volition

Please begrudge me the quote from V for Vendetta,  but I’m really starting to worry about what’s going on in the United Kingdom.

On Wednesday I wrote about the UK’s “Interception Modernisation Programme.” New rules under the program require wireless companies and internet service providers to archive phone records, web history, and emails for a period of 12 months, and to make that data available to 600+ government agencies without a warrant.

Naturally, the erosion of privacy was absolutely shocking, and I was sickened… at least until the next day when I read an even more disturbing story, also out of the UK.

Now the British government has announced that it is going to maintain DNA profiles of innocent people for ‘only’ six years. 

You see, this is actually a shift in policy. Since being established in 1995, the government has built up it’s “National DNA Database” to over 4.7 million people, and it grows by 30,000 per month. This is about 7.6% of the population. Oh yeah, and it costs British taxpayers about $100 million/year.

How did the database get so large? The UK’s Criminal Justice Act of 2003 authorized DNA samples to be taken by police on everyone they arrest or detain… you don’t even have to be charged with a crime.

Without any consent whatsoever, police can take oral swabs, footwear impressions, fingerprints, and in some cases blood, urine, semen, and dental impressions.

Until now, the British government has maintained DNA profiles indefinitely, even for people who had been found innocent and released from police custody without ever having been charged. 

In a historic case, the European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that Britain’s policy of keeping the DNA data indefinitely was a clear violation of human rights… so on Wednesday, the British government announced that it would discard innocents’ DNA profiles after 6 years.

The great irony with both the DNA compromise and the Interception Modernisation Programme is that they were announced right around the same time that European leaders were collectively celebrating the end of communist tyranny and the secret police.

Naturally, the British government doesn’t consider keeping DNA records to be remotely totalitarian; rather, authorities maintain that the information helps the war on crime and terrorism.

According to the government’s statistics, 6,504 rape and murder crime scenes over the last 8-years have had DNA evidence matching a profile in the national database.  Apparently this is supposed to make people rest easy.

Personally, I’m left wondering about the other 4.7 million DNA profiles that weren’t involved in these crimes. I’m also left wondering how many of the 6,504 profile matches just coincidentally happened to be near the crime scene but were not involved with any criminal act…?

The scariest part is the following line I copied from the government’s website– 
“Maintaining and developing the [DNA] database is one of the government’s top priorities.”

I almost passed out when I read it.

Yes, I recognize that there are people out there who believe that, “hey, if you have nothing to hide, why are you so concerned about the government monitoring your emails or maintaining your DNA records?”

This ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ argument is flawed for two key reasons.

First, it means that the individual agrees to a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ paradigm; in this case, you may have nothing to hide, but you are agreeing that the government will assume your guilt until it goes through your private affairs to prove innocence.

Second, it is the mother of slippery slopes. In a span of three days, the British government has announced its electronic surveillance program, and now an insipid response to the European Court of Human Rights for its DNA database standards.

What will it be tomorrow for the Brits– a national ID card? Oh wait, that’s in the works already.

Look, I’m an incredibly positive and optimistic person, but these clowns are really going down a dangerous path… rather than spend an entire letter decrying the British government’s complete disregard for civil liberties, however, I will leave you with a few suggestions.

If you’re looking for privacy, stick to smaller countries that would never cough up so much money for complicated DNA databases. Panama comes to mind. Croatia. The Philippines. Chile. Moldova. Tanzania. Ecuador. Mongolia. Uruguay. 

I will be discussing these in more detail, and next week try to write something up about PGP and email security as I promised on Wednesday.

Of course, I’d like to hear from you about your own experiences.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Scott

    Simon,

    With regard to the UK’s DNA database, this is nothing new, especially here in the United States. We have the DNA database and it was originally designed to keep track of “violent” offenders. Then it was expanded to include all felonies. Now it has expanded to misdemeanors, including DUI’s. The general public is functioning on the premise that police officers, district attorneys, and judges are honest, forthright individuals who will use this information responsibly. Not the case. The majority of counties in California maintain a conviction rate of 98% which is impossible as not everyone arrested is guilty of a crime. Provide the government with DNA and it will be expanded and abused. I have witnessed it first hand when I was in law school.

    Best,

    Scott Wininger

  • Aruna Auld

    The same thing is happening here in the states, and is in fact probably worst than UK. If are smart and educated enough to know first you cannot always listen to everything that going on, yes be smart and beware of your surrounding. But you walk in a lot of fear that creates fear for others to panic. We has people cannot run and hide, you have to take and fight. Living in small countries is not the best answer or soultion. Please do not attack my nation UK ANYMORE. Yes we do have stupid people in leaderships who have made mockery of our system and nation,it will work itself out. Do something with your nation who is a mess example Obama insteading of tell people to live somewhere else to hide.

    • Jay

      Don’t be an idiot, mate. He’s not attacking the UK (and I’m British, born and bred, just FYI); he’s simply reporting facts.

  • Edward Xie

    On a previous matter, here’s an excellent update written in Investors Business Daily just a few days ago on Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE financing):

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Private-Share-Market-May-ibd-335154849.html?x=0

  • Tim

    Add Costa Rica to the list of countries with no spying program. They have great education and health care and NO ARMY!

    Excellent news letters.

    Tim-

  • Clarity2009

    What about the Aussies? They certainly have their fair share of big government, but seem to have a much more common sense view of personal privacy and the free world. Will they just be the last big domino to fall, or will they be the firewall of liberty?

    • Marquelle

      Forget it, Australia plays a major role in the problem as a member of the ECHELON signals intelligence network along with the USA, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

  • frankania

    You forgot MEXICO. Here we are pretty much left alone by govt. They being inept and laid back, helps immensely. Come on down!

  • Sarah Voter

    Simon, it’s happening in the USA as well but at the local level. I was detained a few years ago for a supposed traffic violation and released, never charged. Later, upon applying for a professional license having moved to another state, I was questioned as to why my fingerprints were found on a database. I found an attorney who sent a letter to the state questioning why I was on a database. No information was ever received. I still had to give an explanation to the licensing board but why should it have come to them in the first place? I should add that I know it was this specific incidence as it was dated and numbered in the initial questioning letter. I have several licenses in various states and at one time interviewed w/ the CIA and FBI – NEVER have I been questioned nor found for that activity, but a traffic non-violation?

    This is but one of many reasons why I am actively preparing to move out of the USA.

  • Gary Moore

    I live in the UK Simon and am aware of the everyday erosion of our civil liberties. It is wrong on so many levels but I believe it is a precursor to what will follow on a larger scale in America. Given a lack of money I am stuck in this country but perhaps one day it will become the same everywhere.

  • terricasey

    is there a specific reason argentina is not on your list at the end of the article?

  • Adrian

    Begrudge you as I may
    But since it is November
    On that 5th night and day
    We must surely remember

  • William Riggs

    At $100 million per year for 14 years, I get $1,400,000,000 for 6,504 crimes solved. That is only $215,252 per crime. Think of the police force they could have hired and trained for half the money.

    History is littered with civilizations that eventually collapse under their own weight because of such stupidity. The time will come for the UK and for the USA. Perhaps Casey is smart to buy a ranch and go back to basics.

  • http://RickMoses.com Richard C. Moses, Jr.

    Regarding your letter, “Vicious and Voracious Violation of Volition”: The clarity of your moral perspective on these matters is astonishing. Thank you for what you do. May God continue to bless you with wisdom and give you the strength to keep doing what you’re doing.
    Best Wishes,

    Richard C. Moses, Jr.

    • http://RickMoses.com Richard C. Moses, Jr.

      Not at all.

  • Clement

    Thanks Simon for the email.

    I want you to take a trip to papua new guinea(PNG) and see the opportunities here; and the safest place to live in peace. we have many nationalities doing business here. I have a couple of islands in on new britain for lease or purchase by anybody who wish to live in peace and in harmony with nature.
    we are only 1.5 hours flight down to cairns in australia and 4 hours to philipines, 6 hours to singapore and 7 hours to japan and hong kong.

    Keep this informative newsletter coming.

    clement

    • Roland

      For Clement,

      Please email me regarding Papua New Guinea. This country has come to my attention recently regarding my relocation investigation efforts. I love the access to S.E. Asia countries from a possible base in PNG. Tell me more about these islands you speak of. Any good surf spots there?

      Also, Simon- very interested in Malayasia as well. Anxiously awaiting a report, but realize you can’t be in 10 places at once- although you make outstanding effort!

      Sorry to hear of your motorbike accident recently. Hard to believe, but I read in a Thai newspaper Phuket averaged 30,000 motorbike accidents/YEAR , in Phuket ALONE! I saw plenty of ‘blood in the streets’ during my 8 month stay there just recently. Being a motorbike rider myself, w/many bikes owned in my past, I was priding myself that I can handle. Oops, I went down- big time! Woke up in the hospital- fractured shoulder, broken toe, nose, jaw, black eyes, skin shredding. Looked like I got the shit beat outta me at a Thai kickboxing fight!

      So.. hope you are O.K. now! I am, but with a few more scar ‘tattoos’ and loss of pride. Lesson learned while traveling- ALWAYS keep your guard up!

      Roland

  • http://dorianenterprizes.com/ Steve Kusaba

    I have experienced first hand things that were unbelievable in regards to the lengths that a government would go to get their way and “Paint the situation.” One of the things that I worry about is the degree to which the smaller countries could eventually be just gobbled up by the larger ones via direct or indirect tactical means. Seeing the privacy provisions eroding in so many countries and continuing control of money transfers out of the U.S. and how they strong arm all countries in regards to their policies the question is which would be more dangerous, being far away with a marching army coming in, or perhaps the big country using the police and military apparatus of the small country to do their bidding or just staying in the belly of the beast itself and hoping to go under the radar? These are not safe times given how convoluted the issues have become. Most people are not aware of the similarity of the Bush and Obama administration when it comes to the Slavish worship of the big banks and big government.

    In stock markets the market can always create a situation that makes your trading tactic not work. I fear that trying to project the future political implications of various places might be just as difficult as well. I think your method of keeping a foot in many places and being nimble is about the most accurate that a person could be. The things covered here are very topical and important.

  • Dave Blanco

    Let’s not forget that DNA evidence can now be fabricated.

    “‘You can just engineer a crime scene,’ Nucleix founder Dan Frumkin told The New York Times.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=lab-creates-fake-dna-evidence-2009-08-18

  • J Guasilas

    Yes, this has been in the pipes for a while. The next project is called E-Borders, The plan is that anybody travelling out of the UK will have to register before travelling, give their itinerary, and, apparently explain how their ticket was paid for. Sweet. Interestingly, when it was first revealed by the daily telegraph, a conservative paper, one could have expected an editoril commenting on the idea, but no, nothing.
    Adolf Blair and Josef Brown have between them bust the country and managed to implement most of George Orwell’s worst nightmares, obviously without anybody being bothered about it. A pity.

  • Rothbardian

    Here, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the police are conducting a search of about 6000 private residences (without a warrant!) looking for clues to help them solve the “mystery” about the disappearance of a 17 year old girl who went missing on Sept. 14/09.

    The police are so pathetic and so desperate that they are resorting to a “guilty to proven innocent’ tactic is horrifying to say the least. Even more so, the fact that hardly anybody in the media or public is objecting to this type of rogue tactic doesn’t bode well for the future.

    The homeowners are free to refuse the search but that will probably make them suspicious in the eyes of the police…and, of course, nobody wants to be seen as an impediment to an investigation if they really have nothing to “hide”.

    News article: http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2009/11/09/11685996.html

    Background news articles: http://search.torontosun.com/?sen=site&dom=torontosun&lang=en&ie=UTF-8&q=Mariam+Makhniashvili

  • John Munn

    It is hard to believe that the ONE Country(USA) that many Fled to, for all the “SOVEREIGN” reasons, has finally contracted the “desease” from whence they came( Eastern & western Europe).We have been eroding from within for at least45 years. The social revolution started in local Gov, Then primary schools, & greatly expanded into the University/ college level, followed by National politics.In most countries, change is always propagated thru the young University students. The “idealism” is full of FIRE. With them come the so called “working class’ & etc.& on it grows.In the USA, ” Vietnam Protesters” were the first time in modern USA that shocked the Nation. Today most of the so called ‘Patriots of Liberty” & Berkley, & Woodstock, & Draft evaders, Are now Directing Traffic in the entire Lower & upper Education, as well as Local & National Givernment. The “organizers” have organized the entire middle & lower income class of the USA by “DEMONIZING” the one system that gave SOVEREIGN INDIVIDUALS the hope of self empowerment & monetary success to live the well advertised ‘AMERICAN DREAM”. More boats & planes came to the shores of the USA than anywhere else in the UNIVERSE. Fast forward to 2008, & you find that the Socialists Revolution found a carismatic, educated in liberalism/law(Harvard),and experienced in the street politics of Chicago, that could represent total neutrality to the red/blue split in America & be EXTREMELY popular with the lower middle class that is not making $25million in “bonus”. Perfect for the demonizing of the “Upper Class”.So, lets “shoot” the Geese that are paying the larger share of the Dream & now we can take over the “Plantation” & everyone will get a CHANGE in lifes booty!! This has happened under all of our watch, because we allowed these Tyrants to “DISMANTLE” the yellow brick road” called the CONSTITUTION. We allowed the teachers, Unions,politicians et al, to sware on the Constitution & protect the Constitution for ‘Themselves & have slowly dismantled our Sovereignty. No one called them OUT. Simon: Our respected friend Porter Stansberry wrote a recent article: The usa is now a Communist Country. We are foolowing the “communist Manifesto”. I can tell you that the only way to stop this dangerous path, is to yank all the idiots out of DC, & go back to the the basic roots that got the USA to being the country that many admired. Aside from many faults, the USA has been a Beacon of Hope as well as a very genorous nation. All are trying to “dethrone” the USA. It is human nature!! Now that we have Dismantled the Constitution & no one is “accountable” we have the Revolution of Change. No questions were asked what kind of change?? So, Simon, this is a ship without a rudder. I understand why Doug C, Steve S,Porter S, Bill B, etc have their 400 club & Oxford Club, etc to be able to practice what they believe.La Estancia, Rancho Santana, Gran Pacifica, et.becomes a place of pur serenity & “sovereignty. The question is how long before some “despot” thinks he/she needs a piece of their pie. No despot works he/she takes(Roman Empire to Hugo chavez). I think your idea of a small country is great, but I would suggest that we should have your friends come together & put a “world financial portfolio” that allows “sovereign” individuals to live anyplace but have their portfolio in a safe financial haven. This way you have access to your safe money while you might have to vacate a country that is now unsafe. ie;USA.Maybe we can talk to Mr. Branson(Virgin Air) about his Island in the Bahamas about a SOVEREIGN ISLAND. We can very easily buy one from The Bahamian Gov. since there are 700 islands in the chain & they don’t have the money to properly Govern.That group lives on Graft, so I sure the would give up the Independence of the Island. I am serious about this concept, because I was organizing such a group when the bottom fell out on Housing.I was a large investor in my Son in laws Developments in N.E. Fl, & we both lost Mucho Dinero when buyers did not come to the closings.Only in America can you walk away from your responsibility( No accountability). I was planning to build a community on Eluthera, but I found that dealing with Totalitarians is not feasable. Therefore the SOVEREIGN ISLAND. I guarantee I could fill the ship with people of all ages. My three daughters & families are ready. They do not see their dream in the USA. Thanks for your messages, and yes Panama, Argentina,Mexico, Natal, Br., Uruguay. I must tell you that I think estern Hemisphere is the strongest of all in natural resources & culture. I was Born in Cuba, brought up in Brasil, College in the USA, 5yrs in USAF, 20yrs Sears Hdq,remainder as entrepeneur!! So, Mr. Sovereign Man, keep truckin & don’t worry about DNA, cause the DNA of Totalitarianism like oall the other ‘isms” will continue. I say lets get like thinking people together,(founders of n.America) & be the founders of the SOVEREIGN ISLAND!! Thanks for your communique y mucha suerte! Juanito

    • http://rauschenbach.us Möpsi

      John, +1 on the idea of a group expatriation plan or intentional community. That is the style of immigration that made America, and solves the issues of loneliness, like-mindedness, teamwork, etc.

      Islands by definition are resource-constrained. It gives almost everyone leverage over you, just when you are trying to eke out a greater degree of self-reliance. And that also drives up the cost of nearly everything. Maybe nanotech can turn that around? In the meanwhile, I would feel better in a community surrounded by farmland and forest (direct access to cash & barter markets), with access to average priced gas and within an hour of an international airport, because that better addresses all possible outcomes.

      I have lived on a farm, and have been reading intentional community newsletters for the past 8 years (ranging from the Amish 100+ year old “The Budget” published from authors in 20+ countries, to “hippie retard” newsletters as my one friend puts it, with rare successes inbetween like Bill Mollison and his spawn of promising permaculture communities).

      So, I’ve sorta been there, done that, and not looking to fail a 2nd time, or fail like the 97% of others that take a serious shot at the problem. I could also drag a few families along… all those spectators that have been marvelling at my spectacular failures to date. Some spotted success inbetween though… I have invested in a 75,000 gallon cistern, and I have a nice nuke-proof retreat in the midwest USA with organic gardens, year-round gardeners for free, and 350 tons of dirt overhead the nice rock apartments, which gets charged $250/year in property tax, which was a nice miracle to pull off for a property capitalized with a half-million bucks (hint: some counties don’t tax unfinished structures). But, I’d trade in that bug-out plan in a heartbeat for something overseas, beautiful and permanent, that involved like-minded others.

      Simon knows this about me, and we’ll work on getting something organized when the time is right, if enough others signal interest.

  • barrie whitehead

    for excellent eye care ritnam gimbel hospital on asok rd is probably the best in bangkok.complete eye test (2 hours) 3 doctors cost about 35 dollars.no appointment needed ,very good service

  • Karla

    6 years to hold the innocents DNA. lol what a joke, we all know that this is a cooling off period and people will forget after 6 years and they will continue to hold the database and make it bigger and better.

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