Apparently Downing Street has decided that the best way to deal with the (real or imagined) birth of radicalised British Muslims from the womb of the Syrian conflict is to go full surveillance like the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) and record everyone’s phone calls, texts and internet usage. Time to put away the porn, kids; you’re in for a lonely night.
While limited – and targeted – surveillance is arguably needed to seek and destroy the nation’s ill-wishers and maintain a free, democratic society (or whatever passes for that these days), we’re not sure that a drunken, private phone conversation you had with the dial tone almost two years ago should be recorded and held against you in a court of law. There’s no doubt the court of public opinion will go into denouncement overdrive if this new legislation is passed, just as it did (and still is doing) when the NSA’s broad domestic surveillance activities were outed last year, but we think everything that needs to be said on this topic already has been in this (shamelessly modified) speech by Kirk Lazarus, everyone’s favourite Tropic Thunder character:
‘Hat’s off for going there, especially knowing how public opinion is about that stuff… You serious, you don’t know? Everybody knows you never go full surveillance. Check it out: Andy Coulson, News of the World, looked surveillance, acted surveillance, not full surveillance. Watched celebrities, published stories. Illegal, sure. Not full surveillance…. You went full surveillance, man. Never go full surveillance. You don’t buy that, ask the NSA, 2013, Edward Snowden. Remember? Went full surveillance, went home empty-handed.’