Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The "snooper's charter" wouldn't have helped

The British political establishment is crudely using the Woolwich murder in an effort to revive the "snooper's charter", a plan to tap and store everyone's phone calls and internet traffic "just in case". They say it would have prevented the attack and will keep people safe from terrorism. But it seems the security services disagree:

A Conservative-backed plan to allow police and the security services unprecedented access to people’s internet communications would not have helped prevent the murder of Lee Rigby, M15 officers have indicated.

Senior security sources have told The Independent that attempts to cite last Wednesday’s killing as a reason to push forward with the controversial “snooper’s charter” was a “cheap argument”.

The remarks will be seen as a rebuke to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who suggested at the weekend that the Draft Communications Bill was “essential for the intelligence agencies” to combat the threat of terrorism.

Rather than a useful tool, this is just a naked power grab, an attempt to roll back hard-won rights. They should not be allowed to get away with it.