Saturday, June 01, 2013

Just when you think it can't get much worse

It's not like everything is rosy, here in the Coalition-powered UK. But somehow I've not been able to summon the energy to write about it.

Then something happens that seems too incredible, too wrong-headed, too cynically dishonest to let pass. And sometimes - like buses - more than one comes along at the same time. Like now, in fact!

First two fanatics decide to kill a soldier on the streets of Britain. Islam, apparently, demanded it. Or not - more mainstream Islamic voices quickly disowned and condemned the action. So far so bad.

Then "the voices" started. If only we knew who everyone was emailing, phoning and texting, we could have stopped the murder. The police, said the voices, need more powers. Bring back the snoopers' charter, or Interception "modernisation" Programme, or (better make it sound harmless) Communications Data Bill! It seems that not every communication on the Internet is being monitored by the authorities. And it seems this is a bad thing.

The Tories tried to expand the already huge amount of surveillance back in 2008 and 2009, but after a backlash, the Lib Dems forced them to ditch the plan. Now, the plans are back. And the whole project is still as unnecessary as it ever was. The main problem in tracking down terror plots and terrorists on the internet seem to be too information to sift through. And adding more will hardly make the job easier. We'll just have more stories like "they should have known" and "the authorities were told" and "they ignored the evidence". And, as a side effect, privacy will be more and more eroded.

The dishonesty of pretending that the two misguided muslims could have been stopped if only the department of pre-crime had access to every communication in the UK is staggering. It's just not very surprising any more.

But just when you thought you'd seen it all, another sorry story leaks out, seeping from the heart of government...

No comments: