Talking on BBC News about UK Government mass surveillance proposal

One Response to “Talking on BBC News about UK Government mass surveillance proposal”

  1. Anon E. Mouse says:

    Heather, great to see you give such a robust argument to the somewhat predictable story being peddled. If I may be so bold, I’d like to offer you a few thoughts in case you are invited back to the BBC to comment on further developments:-

    1. “Terrorists and Paedophiles” seem to be the “hot buttons” that Ministers use every time they are arguing for something that they know is contentious. Is it worth reminding the viewers of this fact, or of asking what % of the population Ministers feel fall into either category (If our population is 60,000,000, then 0.01% = 6000 people. How many terrorists does the Government think are operating in the UK?) Is it also worth pointing out that if the costs are true (£2 Billion) then to catch the theoretical 6000 “bad people” we would be spending an average of £333,333 to catch *each bad person*. Do these numbers really stack up? [I am not suggesting that this sum of money is appropriate, just that there may be better ways to spend it]. What % of existing activity under existing legislation is used to track these two criminal activities, as opposed to *other* types of activity?

    2. Track Record – if we were to take the known, participants in, say, the 7/7 attacks in London, can the Government show how the proposed changes would have caught those individuals *before* they attacked? [ To my knowledge the govt only had film footage of the activists scoping targets in London and that only made sense after the fact ].

    3. Presumed Innocence – the UK legal system is supposed to operate on the basis of presumed innocence – the Crown has to prove guilt (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) to secure a conviction. Surely, a national dragnet to monitor all phone calls, all emails, all web site access moves us beyond that “innocent until proven guilty” and takes us to “Potentially guilty until checked and given the all-clear”???

    4. Misuse and Abuse – We’ve seen from FOI answers that councils have used RIPA to spy on parents suspected of busting school catchment areas [that’s real terrorism, that is!] but what about the stories that don’t come to light? What about those in authority [who could operate without warrants under the new proposals] spying on neighbours? The daughter’s new boyfriend? The wife’s boss?

    5. What’s Next? Do we go to some kind of statistical analysis engine [like insurance companies use] to compute the percentage probability that you’re a terrorist? How far away is “Minority Report”?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    6. What’s the point? If the “fear of terrorism” results in a nation subjecting it’s citizens to this level of monitoring and subjugation, haven’t the terrorists won? Won’t we be living in a police state? Where does the point of balance lie? What’s enough?

    7. Who is this for? I’d hope the correct answer to this question is “the tax-payers and citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. Question is: do we want it? On some topics [such as the national budget, for example] it makes sense to have a government advise us in terms of what we can and can’t afford to do. But something like this, which is more about social justice, should surely be subject to greater voter/taxpayer scrutiny. So bearing in mind the previous labour government tried for a national database and were defeated, precisely what mandate does the current government believe that they have to do this, given that they’ve already seen the majority of people oppose it? [ Why does this feel a lot like European Integration all over again? Wanted by the bankers and the elite, and ends up costing Joe Taxpayer a fortune in net contributions every year]???

    I wish you well in any future invitations to speak on national media.

    Thank you, again, for putting up such a spirited defense on the BBC earlier today.

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