Sunday, 3 May 2009

Labour carry on snooping

According to The Register and The Sunday Times, beleagured Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has already started building a vast snooping network to monitor all UK Internet usage, even though she pretended to abandon such a plan just days ago.

It's hardly shocking - we know this Government is hardly a libertarian one, and that it usually stretches to granting freedoms and human rights - and abandoning draconium plans - only when it really doesn't have any choice. Liberty Director Shami Chakrabati, for example, speaking in today's Observer, said: "This is not a privacy-friendly Home Office. Any developments in this area are because the Home Office has been dragged here by the European Court of Human Rights."

But even I have to admit it's rare for the Government to say one thing (we aren't going to monitor all Internet usage) and do exactly the opposite (yes we are, and we've already awarded the contracts to enable us to do so).

I suppose Jacqui just made a rational calculation: 'We've already awarded the contracts to do this, and our friends in business won't let us back down. But the public just won't put up with this level of intrusion - so if I say we're doing it, on top of the porn and expenses scandals, I'll be sacked. If I just lie - and say we're not doing it after all, I might not be found out, and if I am, at least I'll have had another couple of weeks on a minister's salary...'

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