Articles by Paul Bernal
Lecturer in Information Technology, Intellectual Property and Media Law at the University of East Anglia Law School. Tweeter, blogger, Wolves fan, and occasional poet. I blog mostly on issues connected with privacy, human rights and the internet, but also occasional political stuff, child rights stuff – and even a few bits of personal stuff.
Racist or authoritarian?
“We should be thinking far more carefully about the implications of bills like this – both in terms of the messages they send out and in terms of their impact in the real world.” Paul Bernal argues that the impact of the Immigration Bill could be both racist and authoritarian.
Dear Rachel Reeves…
“Having read the interview with you in the Guardian, I find myself compelled to write a response. I don’t usually do things like this – but I had been feeling so much more positive about Labour since the party conference, and in one fell swoop you’ve destroyed that positivity…” Paul Bernal writes an open letter to Rachel Reeves.
‘Hard working people’ doesn’t work for me…
“There are few expressions that annoy me more than ‘hard working people’ – and few that we hear more in the current political climate. There are so many things wrong with it that it’s hard to know where to start…” As the Conservative Party gathers in Manchester, Paul Bernal takes issue with their conference theme.
10 things I want to hear at the Labour Conference
“That time of year is coming when once again I dare to hope that Labour will become I party I can support again. It’s a hope that is pretty forlorn, and has been for many years, but I seem to be unable to stop myself from dreaming of the possibilities.” Paul Bernal sets out 10 things that he hopes to hear at Labour Conference.
Four fears for authoritarians
“We need to see this bigger picture – and resist this drive for control. Some of the elements may seem eminently reasonable – most notably the porn-filters and the desire to root out abusive tweeters – but we need to understand the bigger picture too.” Paul Bernal warns of the slippery slope to undermining freedom.
There’s been a bit of a media onslaught from David Cameron about his ‘war on porn’ over the weekend. Some of the messages given out have been very welcome – but some are contradictory and others make very little sense when examined closely. The latest pronouncement, as presented to/by the BBC, says “Online pornography to […]
The Falkirk row doesn’t look at all comfortable for Ed Miliband and Labour. Accusation and counter-accusation, a crucial resignation and now the police involved – but more important, perhaps, that the details, it asks huge questions about the current and future direction of Labour. Are they, as some sections of the media would have it, […]
To some people, the PRISM revelations have been deeply shocking. The idea that the authorities could be spying on pretty much all our activities on the internet was something that they had never really believed – indeed, they had thought that those of us who had been going on about this kind of thing were, […]
” I, for one, am hoping that freedom wins out, and that suppression and oppression are not the main victors.” Paul Bernal reflects on how governments are increasingly blaming social media for their loss of control - but that restricting freedom is not the answer.
“What we need isn’t the clumsy bludgeon of universal surveillance – we need the sharp rapier of targeted and intelligent surveillance.” Paul Bernal explains why the tragic and hideous events of Woolwich do not make the case for the Snoopers’ Charter - indeed, precisely the opposite.
The hideous events in Woolwich are already provoking a huge amount of reaction – strong, intense, often very passionate reaction. Understandably so. I don’t want to go into that, for a whole lot of reasons. One reaction, however, I think we need to be very wary of: allowing our shock and horror at the events […]
I’ve just come out of the inaugural event of the LSE’s new Institute of Public Affairs – ‘who owns the ‘One Nation’ and what does it stand for?’ It was a debate of sorts – between Michael Gove and Lord Glasman – ably chaired by the excellent Conor Gearty. Both Glasman and Gove spoke eloquently, […]
There’s a story doing the rounds this morning about student-staff contact hours at universities. “Survey shows university teaching hours have barely increased as fees rise by £8,000″…says the Guardian. I can see this has already produced a few reactions – I just thought I’d add my tuppence worth (given that it’s all about value for […]
There’s been a lot of discussion about benefits over the last few years – and in particular, how the Labour Party, or any other ‘progressive’ party, should deal with them in times of austerity. With Liam Byrne as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions it has been hard to differentiate between Labour and […]
The sorry tale of Paris Brown, who stood down as Kent’s Youth Police and Crime Commissioner even before she took office, has already been talked and written about a great deal. I don’t want to add much, just to comment a little on the implications of it for what we loosely describe as ‘free speech’. It’s […]
The latest proposal for ‘food stamps’ has aroused a good deal of anger. It’s a policy that is divisive, depressing and hideous in many ways – Suzanne Moore’s article in the Guardian is one of the many excellent pieces written about it. She hits at the heart of the problem: ‘Repeat after me: austerity removes autonomy’. That’s particularly […]
The Communications Data Bill – more commonly (and fairly accurately) known as the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ is due to re-emerge at any moment. We have been expecting it for some time – and yet have seen nothing official, and there has been no sign of a proper public consultation on the subject. That, to me, is […]
I’m angry. I haven’t been this angry for some time. The trigger for this anger was the appalling behaviour of the Labour Party, led by Ed Miliband and Liam Byrne, in allowing the fast tracking of the bill enabling the retrospective rewriting of the Workfare rules, but in truth this anger has been growing for […]