Sunday, 25 January 2009

Civil Liberties (and lack of them) update

First of all, I got this from NO2ID a few days ago (with a few bits deleted):


Hi everyone,

The government is trying to remove all limits on the use of our private
information by officials. This means taking your information from
anywhere and passing it anywhere they like - including medical records,
financial records, communications data, ID information.

The Database State is now a direct threat, not a theory.

Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, due for its first debate
in the Commons on Monday 26th January, would convert the Data
Protection Act into its exact opposite. It would allow ministers to
make 'Information Sharing Orders', that can alter any Act of Parliament
and cancel all rules of confidentiality in order to allow information
obtained for one purpose to be used for another.

This single clause is as grave a threat to privacy as the entire ID Scheme.

Combine it with the index to your life formed by the planned National
Identity Register and everything recorded about you anywhere could be
accessible to any official body.

Quite apart from the powers in the Identity Cards Act, if Information
Sharing Orders come to pass, they could (for example) immediately be
used to suck up material such as tax records or electoral registers to
build an early version of the National Identity Register.

But the powers would apply to any information, not just official
information. They would permit data trafficking between government
agencies and private companies - and even with foreign governments.


We need you to do three things:

1) Please ask everyone in your group and/or on your mailing list to write straight away IN THEIR OWN WORDS to their MP via - do it this weekend, if not before. The Bill is being rushed through Parliament, even as we write.

Get everyone to ask their MP to read Part 8 (clauses 151 - 154) of the
Coroners and Justice Bill, and to oppose the massive enabling powers in
the "Information sharing" clause. The Bill contains a number of
controversial provisions, but to the casual reader it appears mainly to
be about reforming inquests and sentencing. It is due its Second
Reading in the Commons on 26th January 2009.

Request your MP demand that the clause be given proper Parliamentary
scrutiny. This is something that will affect every single one of their
constituents, unlike the rest of the Bill. There is a grave danger that
the government will set a timetable that will cut off debate before
these proposals - which are at the end of the Bill - are discussed.

2) Write letters to your local papers. Also, put out a group press
release saying you have written to your local MP (once you have!) and
pointing out that this will affect every one of his or her
constituents. Highlight the fact that the information sharing powers in
this Bill are overwhelmingly unpopular.

A YouGov poll in the Sunday Times on 18th January (details here: shows that the public opposes these new powers by a factor of 3 to 1 *against* - 65% of people asked said they would give government "too
much power", only 19% thought not.

The government can't pretend a popular mandate for what it is doing.
And it is a mechanism designed to by-pass Parliament in future. It is
being done only for the convenience of the bureaucrats.

3) Tell as many people and other groups (local political parties, union
branches, the WI, churches, mosques, temples, etc.) as you can. And
find out more yourself. We have created a new page on the website
dedicated to 'data sharing' which contains links to the key documents
and a brief explanation of each.

Please read it, and pass on this link:

Let your friends, family, colleagues and anyone who might share our
concerns know that the battle for their privacy is happening NOW. The
more people we reach, the more we hope will act.

We really can't afford not to win. Good luck!

Matilda Mitford NO2ID Local Groups Coordinator
Phil Booth NO2ID National Coordinator

This sort of activity by the Government makes me think that, whatever the result of the next General Election, they deserve to lose it. It has come to a pretty pass when the Conservatives, who oversaw repeated attacks on our civil liberties during the Thatcher/Major years, can now pose as the pro-civil liberty party. However, NuLab seem to think campaigning on 'security' is a way of saving themselves at the next General Election. The trouble for NuLab is, the more they campaign on 'security', the less secure people appear to feel. Repeated data loss scandals cannot have helped public confidence ('is that a computer disc I see on a train seat in front of me?).

Magna Carta: Did she die in vain? (to quote Tony Hancock)

It would also appear that appealing to the Government to defend civil rights will not get very far, however erudite such appeals may be, as Tom Holland's is:

Golden thread, national myth: Those behind the new Labour revolution are beginning to realise that to discard our heritage is also to betray the origins of many of our liberties. The question is how to interpret the meanings of those liberties for modern political life
Tom Holland, New Statesman, 18 December 2008

The makers of The Devil's Whore, Channel 4’s recently screened extravaganza set against the backdrop of the English Civil War, must have been especially excited by the arrest of Damian Green. Certainly, it is hard to know what more the Metropolitan Police could have done, short of donning floppy lace collars and pursuing parliamentarians across Marston Moor, to highlight the topicality of the drama’s themes. The centrepiece of the first episode was the notorious attempt by Charles I to seize five troublesome members from the very Parliament House itself.

"All my birds have flown," intoned the actor Peter Capaldi, looking resplendent in a flowing Cavalier wig - for Charles, who was always a stickler for good manners, no matter what his other faults, had naturally made sure to enter the chamber without a hat. The police who arrested Damian Green seem not to have been quite so sensitive to protocol. No wonder that leading Conservatives, scarcely able to believe their luck, should have hurried to anoint their immigration spokesman a martyr for liberty, a hero in the grand tradition of John Lilburne and John Pym. "This," warned Michael Howard portentously, "is the sort of thing that led to the start of the Civil War."

A bit rich, it might have been thought, coming from a man whose tenure as home secretary had suggested that he would rather have relished the reintroduction of the pillory. And yet, instead of laughing at Howard's analogy, commentators gave it so much airtime that now, several weeks on, it has become a virtual given. MPs in particular have shown themselves to be hugely keen on it - and on the left as well as the right. Perhaps this is not wholly surprising. Principle is invariably the stronger when fused with self-regard. That parliament is the guarantor of British liberties, and that an assault upon its privileges is an assault upon all the British people: here are presumptions fit to energise any member, Labour no less than Tory. A respect for history does not have to be the mark of a Conservative, after all - a truth so self-evident that already, well before the fingering of the Ashford One, it was serving to generate improbable alliances across the party divide.

Prior to Green's arrest, the single most bizarre political event of the year was surely David Davis's forcing of a by- election in his own constituency of Haltemprice and Howden, in protest against what he saw as the government's infringement of civil liberties - a démarche enthusiastically backed by none other than that old leveller, Tony Benn. Both men, attempting to explain what appeared to many a thoroughly quixotic venture, made great play with abstract nouns - "freedoms", "rights", and so on - and yet it was evident that their truest inspiration derived not from political theory, but from their understanding of Britain's past.

Just as the revolutionaries during the Civil Wars, even as they set about turning the world upside down, had claimed to be fighting in defence of their country's ancient laws, so too did Davis and Benn. "This Sunday," Davis announced in his resignation speech, "is the anniversary of Magna Carta, a document that guarantees the fundamental element of British freedom, habeas corpus." Parliament, by tamely kowtowing to the 42-day detention plan, had shown itself to be not the defender of British liberty, but rather its jailer. As Benn, shaking his head more in sorrow than in anger, put it: "I never thought I would be in the House of Commons on the day Magna Carta was repealed."

In January 2006, in a speech to the Fabian Society, Gordon Brown, then chancellor of the exchequer, had spelled out in language no less emotive than Benn’s what he saw as the essence of the country he would soon be leading. There was, he argued, “a golden thread which runs through British history” – and where did the thread begin, if not “that long ago day in Runnymede”? And who better to continue weaving it – by implication – than the Honourable Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath? Two years on, even as civil liberties campaigners continue to cast him as King John redivivus, the Prime Minister surely retains the invincible conviction that if anyone is the true defender of Magna Carta, it is himself.

All of which might seem to suggest, with both supporters and opponents of the government's anti-terrorism legislation busy laying claim to the legacy of Runnymede, that one side must have it badly wrong. But this is not necessarily so - it is well to remember that Magna Carta has always been hedged by ambiguity. Indeed, that seems to have been precisely what enabled it to be sealed in the first place: the ability of both the king and his enemies to find in it what they pleased. "No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined," declared its most famous chapter, ". . . except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land." A teasingly Delphic statement: does the second clause serve to buttress or to qualify the first? It is not entirely clear. Either it is freedom from the oppression of unjust legislation that is being prescribed, or else it is freedom under the law, a subtly different thing, because laws may always be changed. The tension between these two interpretations has persisted ever since the tents were first packed away at Runnymede - nor, evidently, has it been settled now. The "golden thread" of British liberty remains what it has always been: a thing of glittering and tantalising ambivalence.

All of which, to many, has long been a source of frustration. What value the mystique of Magna Carta and its centuries-old inheritance, when it is capable of being interpreted in such mutually opposed ways? Yet it is possible to argue that what it may lack in clarity it more than makes up for as a myth. If it is true, as the political historian Benedict Anderson argued, that a nation is an "imagined community", then what gives shape to a nation's collective imaginings is inevitably what most effectively reflects the widest possible spectrum of its people's principles and beliefs.

That is why the most potent national myths of all have invariably been those most susceptible to multiple readings - and most capable of evolving in response to change. For that, the surest evidence this year lay not in Britain, but across the Atlantic, in another democracy with an enduring taste for self-mythologisation: the United States of America.

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer." So spoke President-elect Barack Obama in his victory speech. A politician of the centre left, the son of a Kenyan goat farmer, an African American, he signalled, with his very opening sentence, that he was subscribing to the time-honoured narrative which had always served to burnish his country's elevated sense of itself. Unsurprisingly, among those hostile to the very notion of the nation state, and to the United States in particular, this served to raise the odd eyebrow. Writing in the New Statesman in November, John Pilger complained that Obama's oratory was nothing more than the honeyed expression of the "brainwashing placed on most Americans from a tender age: that theirs is the most superior society in the world". Even blunter was Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's second-in-command. The president-elect, he sneered, was like a "house slave". Rather than labouring in the cause of a universal caliphate, as his Muslim heritage might have inspired him to do, Obama had instead bought into the per nicious ideology of those slave-owning hypocrites, the Founding Fathers. Black he might be - but he was no less the white man's stooge for that.

A bleak and bitter assessment. No doubt, as Obama himself has wryly acknowledged, he is indeed doomed to disappoint. And yet one can acknowledge as much while still recognising in his invocation of the venerable archetypes of American patriotism something nobler than a betrayal of the colour of his skin. After all, far from
casting a veil over slavery, he opted, in his very first speech as president-elect, to make it the climax of his address.

The historical narrative Obama delivered that night, rich with allusions to Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and the Gettysburg Address, could hardly be reckoned to have redounded un ambiguously to his country's credit: for the achievements that it chronicled would never have been necessary without America's original sin. Yet the speech, far from subverting the founding myths of American democracy, served ultimately to buttress them: for a myth is hardly diminished, and may even be enhanced, by being framed as a tragedy. "That's the true genius of America, that America can change. Our union can be perfected." Here were convictions as old as the Republic itself, and yet, coming from Obama, they hinted at darkness as well as light: of how America, having originally betrayed her own noblest ideals, must continue with her quest for expiation.

It goes without saying that there are many Americans - white, patriotic, moose-hunting Americans - who viscerally disagree with this reworking of their nation's founding story. That, however, is precisely the measure of the narrative's astounding potency: that it can serve to stir the souls of both Sarah Palin and Barack Obama, Republican and Democrat, evangelical and liberal. Even beyond the limits of the party system, on the radical fringes of which both Pilger, and possibly even Ayman al-Zawahiri, would presumably approve, the paradigms of American history have maintained something of their implacable grip. When Gil Scott-Heron, that bard of black militancy, eviscerated American mythology in his classic song "Winter in America", his anger was all the more savage for being blended with such evident disappointment. The constitution, in Scott-Heron's reading of American history, has never amounted to anything - and yet it remains, for all that, "a noble piece of paper". Winter in America it might be - and yet always there is the ghost of the summer that should have been.

The role given to Britain in this American master-narrative has usually been an inglorious one. What King John was to Magna Carta, George III was to the constitution of the United States. Yet it is telling that Scott-Heron, in the very opening line of his great song, should have chosen to name-check the Pilgrim Fathers. If it was colonists from Britain who brought both land-hunger and slavery to the New World, then so, too, did they bring what would end up as the ideals of the infant Republic. An interpretation of Magna Carta which saw it as "such a fellow, that he will have no sovereign" served as no less of an inspiration to the Thirteen Colonies than it would to rebels against absolutism during the British Civil Wars and the Glorious Revolution. What should lie embedded within the Fifth Amendment to the US constitution, that "noble piece of paper", is the most celebrated of Magna Carta's chapters: a guarantee that "no person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law". Woven into the very fabric of American history, then, is that very same "golden thread" which Gordon Brown, in his speech to the Fabian Society, had identified as British: the "golden thread" of liberty.

No wonder the soon-to-be prime minister showed himself to be not a little jealous of Yankee grandstanding. “Even before America made it its own,” he protested plaintively in the same Fabian Society speech, “I think Britain can lay claim to the idea of liberty.” The speech itself, with its tortured analysis of “Britishness” and its proposal for a national “British Day”, was almost universally derided as a floundering expedient, a desperate ploy to stop Brown’s fellow Scots from leaving the United Kingdom, and radical Islamists from blowing themselves up on Tube trains. Yet, in truth, there was a sadness about it, and a sense of loneliness which marked it out as the very opposite of cynical. Brown’s tone was that of a man labouring to jerry-build a Skoda, who suddenly realises he has had a Rolls-Royce sitting mothballed in his garage all along.

For almost a decade, the government in which he was such a dominant figure had been promoting a vision of Britain as a blissed-out, baggage-free place, one far too hip to bother with anything so terminally un-Cool Britannia as the past. If that attitude presented new Labour with some fairly obvious targets - fox-hunting, Black Rod, and the like - it also obliged them to trash the Labour Party's own heritage. It was not only Clause Four that had been cheerfully junked. So, too, was the venerable narrative that had enabled an old romantic such as Tony Benn to believe himself the heir of Wat Tyler, the Diggers and the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Heroes of the common people such figures may have been, but they were dead, they were white, they were European, and they were mostly male. Certainly, to the Young Turks of new Labour, it appeared hard to imagine anything less expressive of cosmopolitanism or diversity than Our Island Story. Only Gordon Brown seems to have paused, to have had second thoughts, to have wondered, in his customarily earnest way, whether there was not possibly the risk of losing something important along the way.

And he was right to wonder - as the campaign against his own anti-terror legislation, ironically enough, has served to suggest. After all, despite the best efforts of Davis and Benn, the person who has most tirelessly invoked Magna Carta over the past few years is decidedly not an Anglo-Saxon male. It is pushing things, perhaps, to cast Shami Chakrabarti as the British Barack Obama; and yet there is no question that, just like Obama, she is invoking themes and narratives that have hitherto tended to be seen as hideously white. It was the failure of our history to reflect today's multicultural reality that originally persuaded the government to brand Britain as a "young country" - as though the thousand years and more that have passed since its constituent kingdoms were first established could simply be magicked away. Chakrabarti's term of office at Liberty has served to emphasise just how otiose the whole manoeuvre was. By praising the "golden thread" of the nation's inheritance in terms that would embarrass many a white liberal, she and her fellow campaigners for civil liberties have disinterred a venerable historical narrative, one that sees the flow of our traditions much as Wordsworth did, as "the Flood of British freedom". In doing so, they are illustrating once again what has always been the key to understanding radicalism in this country: that it looks for inspiration not in the future, but in the past. As another poet, even greater than Wordsworth, once put it: "I did but prompt the age to quit their cloggs/By the known rules of antient libertie."

Evidently, we live in a sceptical, deconstructive age. The identification of Britain’s evolution with the march of enlightenment – what Herbert Butterfield, back in 1931, termed “the Whig interpretation of history” – has long fallen from academic favour. Meanwhile, in universities and secondary schools, the teaching of history is becoming ever more modular and fragmented, while in primary schools, if the government’s senior education adviser Sir Jim Rose has his way, the subject will soon cease to be a distinctive field of study at all. And yet, against the odds, 2008 should be remembered as the year in which Our Island Story made a spectacular comeback: not as a fantasy of the heritage industry, but rather as a storm-centre of political life; not as a triumphalist narrative, but as one shaded by disappointment no less than achievement; not as a thing uncontested, but as the very stuff of urgent, furious debate. A story, in short, that might well merit a measure of reconstruction.

Come the New Year, the government will announce its decision on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport. If, as expected, expansion is given the green light, a whole village will need to be obliterated: not only houses, but pubs, a school and a church dating back to the Domesday Book. Such is progress, perhaps; and yet not even the most rabid enthusiast for air travel would argue that the whole of Britain be concreted over, that the entire country be transformed into a mere transit hub with shops. Yet that is what we may well end up inhabiting, should we forget the history that has shaped us, the narratives, the themes and, yes, the myths as well.

We live in an age when the issues that have shaped the grand sweep of Britain's past - issues of security and personal freedom, of identity and dissidence - are coming back into ever more pressing focus, of no less interest to the terrorist suspect banged up in Belmarsh than to the Eurosceptic brandishing a Union Jack.

To let the memories of Our Island Story fade is not to give a vote of confidence to a progressive and multicultural future, but to diminish it. To paraphrase 1066 and All That - it risks seeing more than History come to a.

Tom Holland's "Millennium: the End of the World and the Forging of Christendom" is published by Little, Brown (£25)

Indeed, the evidence that the Government wants to move headlong towards a 'National Security' state, and to get its Big Business buddies to join in:

Private firm may track all email and calls: 'Hellhouse' of personal data will be created, warns former DPP
Alan Travis and Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, Wednesday 31 December 2008

The private sector will be asked to manage and run a communications database that will keep track of everyone's calls, emails, texts and internet use under a key option contained in a consultation paper to be published next month by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary.

A cabinet decision to put the management of the multibillion pound database of all UK communications traffic into private hands would be accompanied by tougher legal safeguards to guarantee against leaks and accidental data losses.

But in his strongest criticism yet of the superdatabase, Sir Ken Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, who has firsthand experience of working with intelligence and law enforcement agencies, told the Guardian such assurances would prove worthless in the long run and warned it would prove a "hellhouse" of personal private information.

"Authorisations for access might be written into statute. The most senior ministers and officials might be designated as scrutineers. But none of this means anything," said Macdonald. "All history tells us that reassurances like these are worthless in the long run. In the first security crisis the locks would loosen."

The home secretary postponed the introduction of legislation to set up the superdatabase in October and instead said she would publish a consultation paper in the new year setting out the proposal and the safeguards needed to protect civil liberties. She has emphasised that communications data, which gives the police the identity and location of the caller, texter or web surfer but not the content, has been used as important evidence in 95% of serious crime cases and almost all security service operations since 2004 including the Soham and 21/7 bombing cases.

Until now most communications traffic data has been held by phone companies and internet service providers for billing purposes but the growth of broadband phone services, chatrooms and anonymous online identities mean that is no longer the case.

The Home Office's interception modernisation programme, which is working on the superdatabase proposal, argues that it is no longer good enough for communications companies to be left to retrieve such data when requested by the police and intelligence services. A Home Office spokeswoman said last night the changes were needed so law enforcement agencies could maintain their ability to tackle serious crime and terrorism.

Senior Whitehall officials responsible for planning for a new database say there is a significant difference between having access to "communications data" - names and addresses of emails or telephone numbers, for example - and the actual contents of the communications. "We have been very clear that there are no plans for a database containing any content of emails, texts or conversations," the spokeswoman said.

External estimates of the cost of the superdatabase have been put as high as £12bn, twice the cost of the ID cards scheme, and the consultation paper, to be published towards the end of next month, will include an option of putting it into the hands of the private sector in an effort to cut costs. But such a decision is likely to fuel civil liberties concerns over data losses and leaks. Macdonald, who left his post as DPP in October, told the Guardian: "The tendency of the state to seek ever more powers of surveillance over its citizens may be driven by protective zeal. But the notion of total security is a paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. We must avoid surrendering our freedom as autonomous human beings to such an ugly future. We should make judgments that are compatible with our status as free people."

Maintaining the capacity to intercept suspicious communications was critical in an increasingly complex world, he said. "It is a process which can save lives and bring criminals to justice. But no other country is considering such a drastic step. This database would be an unimaginable hell-house of personal private information," he said. "It would be a complete readout of every citizen's life in the most intimate and demeaning detail. No government of any colour is to be trusted with such a roadmap to our souls."

The moment there was a security crisis the temptation for more commonplace access would be irresistible, he said.

Other critics of the plan point to the problems of keeping the database secure, both from the point of view of the technology and of deliberate leaks. The problem would be compounded if private companies manage the system. "If there is a breach of security in that database it would be utterly devastating," one said.

Not surprisingly, the EU is getting in on the act as well:

Police set to step up hacking of home PCs
David Leppard, The Sunday Times, January 4, 2009

THE Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant.

The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives “a coach and horses” through privacy laws.

The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room.

Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.

Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone’s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.

A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he “believes” that it is “proportionate” and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime — defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years.

However, opposition MPs and civil liberties groups say that the broadening of such intrusive surveillance powers should be regulated by a new act of parliament and court warrants.

They point out that in contrast to the legal safeguards for searching a suspect’s home, police undertaking a remote search do not need to apply to a magistrates’ court for a warrant.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, the human rights group, said she would challenge the legal basis of the move. “These are very intrusive powers – as intrusive as someone busting down your door and coming into your home,” she said.

“The public will want this to be controlled by new legislation and judicial authorisation. Without those safeguards it’s a devastating blow to any notion of personal privacy.”

She said the move had parallels with the warrantless police search of the House of Commons office of Damian Green, the Tory MP: “It’s like giving police the power to do a Damian Green every day but to do it without anyone even knowing you were doing it.”

Richard Clayton, a researcher at Cambridge University’s computer laboratory, said that remote searches had been possible since 1994, although they were very rare. An amendment to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 made hacking legal if it was authorised and carried out by the state.

He said the authorities could break into a suspect’s home or office and insert a “key-logging” device into an individual’s computer. This would collect and, if necessary, transmit details of all the suspect’s keystrokes. “It’s just like putting a secret camera in someone’s living room,” he said.

Police might also send an e-mail to a suspect’s computer. The message would include an attachment that contained a virus or “malware”. If the attachment was opened, the remote search facility would be covertly activated. Alternatively, police could park outside a suspect’s home and hack into his or her hard drive using the wireless network.

Police say that such methods are necessary to investigate suspects who use cyberspace to carry out crimes. These include paedophiles, internet fraudsters, identity thieves and terrorists.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said such intrusive surveillance was closely regulated under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. A spokesman said police were already carrying out a small number of these operations which were among 194 clandestine searches last year of people’s homes, offices and hotel bedrooms.

“To be a valid authorisation, the officer giving it must believe that when it is given it is necessary to prevent or detect serious crime and [the] action is proportionate to what it seeks to achieve,” Acpo said.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, agreed that the development may benefit law enforcement. But he added: “The exercise of such intrusive powers raises serious privacy issues. The government must explain how they would work in practice and what safeguards will be in place to prevent abuse.”

The Home Office said it was working with other EU states to develop details of the proposals.

Also visit the Democracy Movement's blog for further info.

I do not know, apart from public outrage, if anything can be done to stop these moves towards a 'National Security' state. I hope the whole ID Card circus can be stopped before the next General Election. I have a feeling that, particularly in the current economic climate, the sheer cost of the scheme will force the Government to abandon it. That is my hope. My big fear is that if ID cards were to be up and running in time for the next Government, it would be kept by the incoming administration- the temptations of power and all that...

I'm working the day it takes place, but on February 28th, I would encourage people to go to the Convention on Modern Liberty if they possible can. I don't think it will have all the answers, but it might just be the start of something worthwhile.

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