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Despite Snowden May won’t take no for any answer over mass surveillance

The security services are getting desperate. Over the last 4 years they, and their political figurehead May, have tried time and time again to push mass surveillance through Parliament. Whenever a security scare arises or a trial of alleged terrorists or belated arrests over a drugs scandal, the cry is always foisted on the public that what we need is a comprehensive snoopers’ charter which will record all the communications of all the citizens in the UK.

No mention of the fact that they have already been doing this for over a decade through GCHQ’s Tempora and Bullrun programmes as Snowden revealed, and what they desperately want now is to legitimize their illegal activities. No mention that they already infiltrating our smartphones via the Dreamy Smurf programme which can turn them on even when we’ve switched them off. No mention that Nosey Smurf can turn on the microphone in a mobile remotely to listen in to our conversations, nor of Tracker Smurf which can track our location in real time.

A taste of how urgently GCHQ and MI5 are demanding parliamentary cover was shown a few months ago when May rammed emergency data retention legislation through the Commons in a single day, thus preventing proper debate and scrutiny – even though there was in fact no emergency! Now we see there is yet another concerted push to get this past the parliamentary barrier. May devoted most of her speech to it at the Tory party conference last week, and today the director general of the National Crime Agency throws in his penn’orth by assuring us that the security and police services cannot do their job without these new powers (or rather, old powers made legitimate).

We all agree that what is needed is a system that protects the public whilst having minimal impact on citizens’ privacy. What we’ve got however is the opposite: a system that doesn’t protect us, but is highly intrusive. We collect far more information than we can possibly sensibly use, and often fail, both in the US and in the UK, to use even the information we do obtain. Before 9/11 the US NSA monitored traffic through the al-Qaeda communications hub in the Yemen, but failed to pass it on to the FBI. The CIA also knew that two of the hijackers were in the US prior to 9/11, but failed to warn the FBI. In the UK the 7/7 bombers were known to the intelligence agencies, but the security and police forces failed to act on the information effectively.

When the whistleblower Snowden revealed the hitherto unknown huge extent of routine surveillance, it is extraordinary that the response was not a chastened apology to the public for systematically deceiving them for years, but rather an absurd: ‘We may collect the data but we don’t look at it, or if we look at it we don’t remember it, or if we do remember it, we don’t use it’! The truth is, the security services are more interested in protecting the system than the public.

One Comment

  1. jeffrey davies says:

    how like that film has britain come it seems next they be watching you in your own home through your fibre optics it seems we all becoming that bad man jeff3

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