Stop the Snooper’s Charter
By Neil Moore
Powers for the police to access everyone’s web browsing histories and to hack into phones are to be expanded under the latest version of the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ legislation published by Tory Home Secretary Theresa May. When the ‘Investigatory Powers Bill’ was first published last year it faced massive outrage from civil liberties groups as a gross infringement on people’s privacy and legalised snooping.
May has since claimed that she has taken into account these criticisms and is presenting a revised bill, still legalising massive state bugging – collecting information on every telephone call, e-mail, and every website we visit. The only ‘safeguard’ in this new bill is that security services and police will have to get a judge’s permission before accessing communications data – something that should not prove too difficult.
The Snooper’s Charter is an attempt to put mass surveillance on a legal footing – to put into law the right of the state to monitor and hack into every phone, tablet and computer in the country. It even goes as far as to legalise the use of already existing facilities on these devices that enable them to be hacked and taken over by security services wishing to record sound or video off our devices.
The idea that mass surveillance is a key weapon in the ‘war against terror’ is a lie. In fact experts and whistle-blowers, such as Edward Snowden, have pointed out the sheer volume of collecting billions of calls and messages by the spies makes it near impossible to find terrorists or to prevent attacks.
Socialists must oppose these invasive and repressive measures. In reality, this is state manoeuvring to assert political control. It is not coincidental that the government is ramping up surveillance, along with new anti-trade union laws, while internationally movements are developing to challenge austerity and the political status quo. We should take inspiration from the mass protests which prevented the EU signing up to the ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’, another attempt to limit freedom of communication.