A Warning about the Snoopers Charter

Forget her passage on the Desert Island Disks, Theresa May had made the headlines lately.

As Home Secretary, Mrs. May have proposed that police and security services will get new powers as the UK faces a terror threat « perhaps greater than it has ever been ».

She also says in a that the  »UK is engaged in a struggle that will go on for many years ».

A panoply of measures was then put on the table from  »counter-radicalization measures » to  »forcing firms to hand details to police identifying who was using a computer or mobile phone at a given time. »

There is no doubt that everyone wants to live in a safe society. But as Benjamin Franklin said centuries ago: Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

This is exactly the main problem with these measures, their powers are so immense and the wording is so imprecise that they are easily be overused for purposes other than  »terrorism ». In the US, the NSA  »snooping » case was important in this regard, because it leaded to assumptions that these agencies are beyond the law. It’s very difficult to even know anything about their budgets and operations because it’s classified.

The  »permanent » aspect of these measures also makes it make look like something straight out of a George Orwell book.

It’s not the realm of conspiracy theorists to think that these powers will be sooner or later abused because those working in intelligence are human after all. It could be tempting for only one person to use this data to make damage to a person or an organisation they don’t like. Even if you have  »nothing to hide », this organisation or person could perhaps be you.

Any conservative, liberal or libertarian in Britain, should be wary of these measures, and especially considering that very few people in the mainstream political parties are against those measures.

To see someone like Ed Miliband who is keen on criticizing almost everything the coalition government does having lukewarm opposition to these measures, make it even more chilling.