This is the quote,
“Law-abiding” citizens have “nothing to fear” from the British intelligence services, the foreign secretary says.
I was going to tweet a response to this but it would have been longer than 140 characters. I’ve seen some people say ‘why is everyone upset about the surveillance, surely we need to protect ourselves’ or words to that effect. The view that it’s okay for your own government to spy on you, and in this day and age even Facebook knows what we’re doing.
There problem here is that I’m (ultimately) in control of how much I tell Facebook, for example. The clearest example I can give of that is I don’t use the check-in feature, and I don’t post on Twitter or Facebook if I’m going to be out of the house for a few days. I’m not in control of what phone companies decide to pass on to the government about me.
So here’s the real crux. It’s only okay for your government to spy on you without transparency when they are a) beyond reproach and b) immune to fuck-ups.
However, since governments are made up of people, and a percentage of people will always be corrupt and not above reproach, and another percentage will always fuck-up, it is not okay for the government to collect data on all it’s citizens. There will always be someone prepared to put themselves and money before your safety, there will always be someone who’s not diligent enough to protect you properly. We should make sure we don’t, as a country, allow people to simply gather as much intelligence as they like, in the hope that they can take care of it properly.
They can’t. Innocent people will suffer, because there’s not a year goes by in this country without a miscarriage of justice.