The recent revelations exposed by Edward Snowden about the NSA’s PRISM scheme may have shocked many people. Sadly they did not shock me. What the NSA decides to do is its own business, but the revelations that GCHQ is engaged in a mass wiretapping scheme of its own show that the UK government is either complicit in a surveillance society or utterly clueless.
William Hague’s claim that “If you are innocent you have nothing to fear” is the kind of thing that comes straight out of 1984, Fahrenheit 451 or other works of that ilk. Of course, the news that Ian Livingston, the BT CEO and exec who authorised the illegal and secret tests of Phorm’s technology on over 20,000 BT Internet customers is now to work as a government advisor shows that if you’re the right kind of criminal, you can get a job in high places. The Spectator asks some questions that Mr Hague needed to answer in the House of Commons.
Mr Hague’s performance in the House of Commons was defensive and evasive, refusing to give straight answers to straight questions. If Mr Hague and Theresa May are so keen on everyone’s activities being monitored and recorded, I have a challenge for them. Let us see the following information published and independently audited:
- Full publication of all their e-mails, in their home and work capacities
- Full publication of all their internet activity in their home and work capacities
- Full publication of all of telephone calls in their home and work capacities
- Full publication of all of their journeys as identified by their mobile phones checking in
All with no redaction.
If William Hague and Theresa May meet this challenge, perhaps they will see just what is happening to the very people they are supposed to serve. Of course, just like Jack Straw they won’t respond.
MI5 are reported as being very concerned as to the legality of GCHQ’s actions.
Having campaigned against a surveillance societ, one very simple question comes to mind.
Zoe O’Connell asks it best in her post “Was the Communications Data Bill just a cover for Prism Data?”
During my time campaigning against illegal monitoring I was accused of various things including being a luddite and wearing a tinfoil hat. Those critics need to review their stances, for they are subject to the same monitoring that the entire UK is.
William Hague and Theresa May need to realise that there is a difference between intelligence work in the pursuit of terrorists and protecting the country and wholesale monitoring of the population.
Is it too much to desire a government which isn’t obsessed with monitoring everything we do?