Monday, August 10, 2009

British government spies on half a million citizens

From Computer Weekly:

The government last year gave permission to intercept the phone calls, letters and e-mails of more than 500,000 citizens, its interception watchdog reports.

The annual report of interception of communications commissioner, Sir Paul Kennedy, showed the government's interception programme targets people in the UK and overseas.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: "It cannot be a justified response to the problems we face in this country that the state is spying on half a million people a year (one in 78 citizens). We have sleepwalked into a surveillance state but without adequate safeguards."

Kennedy justifies this extraordinary level of surveillance by talking about terrorism, murder and drug smuggling. But we know that these powers have been used for the pettiest offences - the BBC reminds us of some examples.

Well done to Chris for getting so much good publicity on this. Meanwhile, local councils should remember that they exist to do dull but worthy things like collecting rubbish and repairing potholes.

If you want to play at being a secret agent, apply to MI5.

No comments: