Britain is a surveillance state, the worst in the democratic West. In a short period of time, it has amassed a rather sordid history of citizen surveillance – and it continues to be unlawful. Last September’s damning judgement of British security operations against its own people saw the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rule that the government had unlawfully obtained data from communications companies and didn’t put in place safeguards around how it did it. But what does the state really know about us and what about the future?
Under Theresa May in the Home Office, the surveillance state became ever more paranoid. It became the most extreme surveillance architecture ever devised in the West – and still is. And it’s getting worse.
They wanted it all – compromising (naked usually) images of you, your family and friends, what subscriptions you have, sexual orientation and preferences and with whom, earnings, expenditure and on what – places you visit, dates you went there, what you did when you were there.
The state is so out of control its own security services were diverted away from external threats towards us – law-abiding citizens. It was not long ago that MI5 and GCHQ were accused of infecting domestic civilian equipment with viruses so they could turn on TV’s and mobile devices at will in people’s homes, they recorded conversations and took photos, hacked into iOS, Apple systems and Android equipment, encryption was circumvented even when it was specifically outlawed. Britain’s spy agencies worked with the American CIA and created more than 1,000 viruses and other types of malware to gain access to everyday items and either monitor or steal data. It is not known exactly how much information the state has gathered about its people.
Scale of Data
The police can now find out any information it wants from any government agency – and there are 25 of them and they collect from dozens of others. For instance, the Ministry for Justice (one of the 25) has thirty-three government agencies reporting to it. They include the courts and tribunals, prisons and probation, family justice and so on. There are another 20 non-ministerial departments, with yet more agencies.