The government now plans to introduce a database to track every email, text message and phone call made by anyone in the UK in order to ‘combat terrorism’. This is because terrorists used it to plan attacks. They also use speech, to one another. Will this soon be monitored too?
On Question Time, renowned hawk Geoff Hoon went further to justify his colleagues’ plans. Not monitoring it would be “giving a licence to terrorists to kill people”. I’m pretty sure an email didn’t fly the planes into the WTC, but I may be wrong. Police and security services already have powers to monitor phone traffic, but this is on a case-by-case basis, and not a wholesale right to watch every single communication we all send and receive. It makes the ID card scheme, when the government has already proven itself to be far less than competent in managing our personal data, look like a molehill.
Responding to Lib Dem MP Julia Goldsworthy who likened it to “something I would expect to read in [George Orwell’s book] 1984”, and asked “How much more control can they have? How far is he prepared to go to undermine civil liberties?”, he continued: “To stop terrorists killing people in our society, quite a long way actually.” Seemingly, by any means neccessary. “If they are going to use the internet to communicate with each other and we don’t have the power to deal with that, then you are giving a licence to terrorists to kill people.” Hardly. Why don’t we just lock everyone up and then no one will be able to kill anyone.
Thankfully, the bill has now been put back to 2009, when hopefully, given the reaction of pilots and students to the first wave of ‘voluntary’ ID cards, it will be defeated in both the house and the Lords. It really isn’t hard to understand that this sort of invasion of our human rights to free discussion and being innocent until proven guilt are being undermined.
Leaving the last line to Hoon: “The biggest civil liberty of all is not to be killed by a terrorist.”
Clearly bigger than every other one, in Labour’s eyes.