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Outrage in the US and EU over total surveillance: why not in the UK?

The different reaction of politicians and public in the US and EU compared with the UK over the mass surveillance revelations is astonishing. Legislation is being drafted at this very moment in the US curtailing the powers of the NSA and the EU is already cracking down hard on US data surveillance.

In the UK, after a persistent and well-documented campaign by the Guardian, the only concession is a minuscule tweak in the work programme of the secret PM-appointed Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to give an appearance of taking on board public concerns, but in reality offering a sop via a pre-cooked committee which will get nowhere.

We have been informed that the government’s own National Security Council was never briefed about Prism or Tempora, and that parliament’s own committee scrutinising the Home Office’s Communications Bill was never told that GCHQ was already using mass surveillance technologies far beyond those envisaged in the Bill. In other words the Home Secretary and MI5 and GCHQ were deliberately deceiving the parliamentary accountability in order to keep their secrets hidden for themselves.

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