What a hoo-ha about bugger all. ‘Surveillance Dave’ going back on his pre-election verbiage about civil liberties, according to that horrible combination of the opportunistic Left and the mad Right. As ever, the facts…
You will recall that Mr Cragsbury is a civil libertarian, so I am prepared for the odd crim to go free rather than impose serious curtailment to the rights of all. Some of my history on this issue is here, here, here, here and here. The state should never be given carte blanche or too much power. Hence, I was very against NuLab’s mad previous proposals for the Government to bug our email traffic at will and hold the data themselves. The current proposals are in fact very different.
For many many years, the Government has been allowed to listen to our telephone calls. They do this by requiring the telcom industry to hold data on when, where and from/to whom all our calls are made for a period of time, so that if they believe we are baddies doing bad things, they can check this info and then using that go (secretly) to court to get a legal order empowering them to then bug our calls. Very, very few of these legal orders are granted. Very, very few of us are ever bugged. This process is for suspected serious crims, terrorists, foreign intelligence agents etc. You and I need worry not.
Anyhoo, the volume of calls over the internet is exploding. And right now, the security services have very limited ways to investigate this, for example Islamic extremists in the UK on Skype chatting to their masters in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan etc.
Thus, all the Government wants to do is extend their existing powers on telephone calls to internet activity and most especially internet calls. Not an issue than we good people need worry about much but of course a wonderful hobby horse for the Dark Lord Dacre and all his malign minions to rant about in The Daily Hate, and perfect fodder for all good bandwagon hunting Lefties who want scare mongering and negative coverage of the Coalition.