Investigatory Powers

What is Drip and how, precisely, will it help the government ruin your life?

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What is Drip and how, precisely, will it help the government ruin your life?

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill is the most tedious outrage ever, right down to the dreary acronym. But oh, the horrors it will bring …
Dripping tap

The drip bill … Cameron, Clegg and Miliband are backing a bill too boring for human beings to comprehend or care about. Photograph: Comstock/Getty Images

David Cameron cares about your safety. It’s all he ever thinks about. It’s his passion. He’s passionate about it. Every time David Cameron thinks about how safe he’d like to keep you, passion overcomes him and he has to have a lie down. With his eyes shut. A bit like he’s having a nap and doesn’t care about your safety at all.

Right now he’s so committed to keeping you safe, he’s rushing something called the Drip bill through the House of Commons. Drip stands for Data Retention and Investigatory Powers and critics are calling it yet another erosion of civil liberties and … see, I’ve lost you because it’s just so bloody boring. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I hear about some fresh internet privacy outrage my brain enters screensaver mode and displays that looped news footage of mumblin’ Edward Snowden and I automatically nod off only to be awoken shortly afterwards by the sound of my forehead colliding sharply with the table.

The cross-party line is that the Drip bill will make life harder for terrorists and paedophiles, coincidentally the only two sectors of society less popular than politicians. The only thing worse than a paedophile or a terrorist is a paedophile terrorist, and it won’t be long till they’re dangling that threat over our heads, introducing fresh legislation to thwart Carlos the Savile.

Of course, all this stuff about keeping tabs on child molesters is a bit rich coming from an establishment that apparently can’t keep hold of an accusatory dossier for five minutes without accidentally ripping it up and eating the shreds, so they’ve cleverly headed off charges of hypocrisy by making the bill too boring for human beings to comprehend or care about.

Drip is the most tedious outrage ever, right down to the dreary acronym, which is why they’ll get away with shoving it through the Commons. Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are in cahoots with Cameron on this. All three men are, I assume, pretending to have read and understood the bill, which seems unlikely given its dry impenetrability. Siri would fall asleep halfway through. You could swap it with the technical specifications documentation for a Netgear AV 500 Powerline Adapter and no one would notice.

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