ur govt 5uXX0r

8:48 am Web, Stupidity, Politics

It’s reassuring to think that the people who run the country have the slightest idea what they’re doing. Or it would be, if the thought wasn’t so patently ludicrous. In particular, you’d like to think that the Home Office, the largest government department and probably the one with the most direct impact on our lives, would manage to be at least slightly competent. That’s been looking like an increasingly unrealistic hope for some time, what with all the full prisons, missing prisoners, non-deported offenders and all the rest of it.

What’s called for in situations like these is some sort of non-controversial new policy initiative that everyone can get behind, nodding wisely and saying things like, “That John Reid’s clearly not a complete buffoon after all.” Something to do with childrens’ safety would, you’d think, be a good bet. And apparently today is European Safer Internet Day, so something to do with children and the internet would fit the bill perfectly.

But guess what? Even with all those ducks in a row aligned to millimetric accuracy, the Government has managed not only to fail to hit the target but has managed to shoot itself squarely in the foot. The wizard wheeze that it’s come up with is a proposal that convicted sex offenders should be forced to register their email addresses on the Sex Offenders Register. And not just email addresses either - no, John Reid has said that he wants to make them submit their chatroom names too. This, apparently, will “prevent them approaching children on the internet”. Once equipped with this vital information, the police will be able to “monitor their activities”, we’re told.

Well, I hardly know where to start. It’s one of those ideas that’s so monumentally wrongheaded that it’s difficult to see a toehold with which to start scaling its sheer cliffs of daftness. The range of things that whoever came up with this appears to have totally failed to grasp is astounding in its breadth. Surely someone in the Home Office knows that email addresses are easier to change than underpants? As for chatroom names, they redefine the concept “disposable”. Do they seriously think that a convicted paedophile is going to furnish them with a list of all their email addresses and chatroom names and then carry on using them?

I wait with bated breath to see what wonders the Home Office will come up with next. They’re going to have to go some to beat this one.

3 Responses
  1. Steve :

    Date: February 7, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

    You’re right of course. I heard this, mentally sighed, and carried on sorting my muesli. I don’t know what’s worse, the policy, the journalism, or the idea that the great unwashed should take it at face value and carry on with their lives. Guilty as charged!

  2. Andy Armstrong :

    Date: February 26, 2007 @ 5:15 pm

    Not to mention the fact that the chatroom nickname namespace is hardly canonical. What happens to the innocent kids who happen to register with a different site using one of the registered names?

    “Oh yeah - we know who “DirtyOldMan12″ is - let’s trace his IP address and release his address to the Daily Mail”.

  3. Tom :

    Date: February 27, 2007 @ 8:40 am

    To be fair the daily mail readers are going to stone the parents not the kids so the kids will remain innocent.

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