Recently released court documents suggest that UK intelligence authorities have been illegally spying on a campaign group known as Privacy International. The group is regarded as an NGO that frequently campaigns against corporate surveillance and an overreaching state. Privacy International refer to themselves as a human rights organization and so it's odd to them that they would be targeted by an intelligence agency that's been tasked with national security responsibilities.
The documents allege that the UK's intelligence agency known as MI5 had captured and read private data that was a part of its spying efforts that collect massive amounts of personal and private date from the public.
they aren't alone either, it's alleged that other agencies such as MI6 and GCHQ had conducted similar unlawful spying activities as well.
When the public finds out that they are being spied on in a such a manner, we are told repeatedly that it's for our own good and that it promotes safety for us all, but you cannot promote safety whilst eroding personal liberty. Too frequently we have discovered that innocent people have been unjustly targeted by the state in these sort of unnecessary phishing expeditions.
Millions of people worldwide, not only in the US, have had their personal privacy invaded by various government agencies and to what end? The billion-dollar spying apparatus that different governments have become too accustomed to seemingly abusing, hasn't proven to be very effective in drastically reducing terror, if any, has it? However, according to UK authorities they claim that it has helped them to foil numerous terror plots. But who knows to what extent their overall anti-terror efforts might be fueling more of the same problem—blowback. Intelligence authorities suggest that their spying defends our freedom but you cannot violate my freedom and then tell me it's for my own good; the individual will be the judge of that.
Earlier this month, the European Court of Human Rights also concluded that the UK government had violated the human rights of people in the country, specifically their right to privacy and freedom of expression.
Critics of the spying and those targeted by the spying have asked the government to investigate the matter further and potentially make changes to current laws that might address some of the problem. The government, they say, shouldn't spy on people when they have no lawful warrant or justification to be investigating that person.
Is the spying really aimed at combating terror? One previous report on NSA spying in the U.S. suggests that their surveillance efforts are geared toward trying to achieve political goals for the state, rather than trying to keep people safe. This includes reports from one whistleblower which alleged that the NSA has spied on and targeted high-level judicial officials and political officials, along with banking firms, anti-war groups, major companies, and others.
What if the spying isn't really about safety and it's truly more about control? It's a heavy price to pay, to erode freedom and personal liberty for so many, and we need to ask ourselves if its worth it.