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As the political parties jostle for position ahead of election year we’re seeing some interesting ideas being aired as well as some absurd ones. In particular, the one raised by Yvette Cooper on 2nd March caught our eye. Previously responsible for Home Information Packs, another government scheme decried by industry insiders that wasted millions, Yvette Cooper attempted to resurrect the “Snooper’s Charter” with this; “The police and security services have been under pressure to explain why they didn’t know more about the murderers of Drummer Lee Rigby, and why more is not being done to disrupt the use of the internet by violent extremists looking to radicalise young people”.

The Register: Yvette Cooper for reform on state surveillance

The death of a soldier at the hands of extremists on an ordinary street is of course terrible and outrageous but besmirching his memory for political capital is disgraceful. Increasing government surveillance powers has absolutely nothing to do with that death.

The Guardian said of the perpetrators: “They had been known to MI5 and the police for eight years but had been assessed as peripheral figures and thus not subjected to a full-scale investigation.”

Pause there: the police had the data. It was not necessary to “disrupt” the communications of every citizen. There was no shortage of information. Perhaps someone made an assessment of the data which proved incorrect; more likely it actually is impossible to prevent all crimes being committed.

We already lead the world in the number of cameras trained upon us. Post-Snowden we know that government agencies have access to mobile phone data, Internet traffic and webcam images. As a citizenry we must stand up to the absurd argument that “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”. We need more oversight of existing government powers to intercept internet traffic, not less.

Have your say!

What is your view on Labour’s plans to resurrect the “Snoopers Charter”? Do you think they are clutching at straws in a bid to pass this bill, or do you think there’s a need for the government to implement such measures? Let us know your thoughts below.

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