Things have been moving quite quickly since yesterday’s post., the substance of which the ‘Guardian’s’ Henry Potter would appear to agree with when he says; “Privacy from state snooping is the defining quality of any true democracy”. Not so David Cameron who today was still defending plans to create secret courts and “to extend powers to monitor the public’s emails, phone calls and social media communications, saying the government needed to take every step to keep the country safe.” Still, fortunately, a democracy of sorts is still functioning in the United Kingdom and in today’s ‘Independent’ we can read that the government, for the time being at least, has sounded the retreat on its digital “Big brother” plan.
Of course, as they say in Germany, “Aufgeschoben ist nicht auf aufgehoben” (meaning roughly that the final decision has only be deferred) and it is too early to be totally reassured by Nick Pickles’s; “This is a victory for everyone who cares not only about privacy, but living in a country where the Government does not put every one of its citizens under surveillance.” Yes, it is a victory, but it is important to remain vigilant vis-a-vis these licensed vigilantes., even if, further reassurance might be found in what Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat MP, said when he contended that because of the government’s inept behaviour any future legislation “will be scrutinised in incredible detail.”
Of course, with leaked documents revealing that MPs have already been misled on key issues, such scrutinising is not just important, it is crucial. After all, there is even evidence out there that they will resort to deceit to attack that privacy that is central to our freedom, for they know that without it, they can impose their will on us as they please. They know that we will have no protection against their coercion. It goes without saying, that this is a very important battle that is being fought out in the United Kingdom
Moreover, even if Google is already systematically gathering our personal information anyway, it is still a battle that is worth fighting for, who knows, the battle itself might become a consciousness raising activity that will lead to long overdue questions being asked about the real nature of “Big Brother Blighty”.