Researched by Edward Martin and Ashley McLoud
In a further escalation of the attack on democratic rights, the Labour government of the UK is proposing a huge increase in state surveillance. It is implementing new measures under the pretext of the “war on terror” to intrude ever deeper into the private lives of people who are viewed as potential criminals rather than citizens. There are plans to force all companies to hand over their data to one central “super” database so that government agencies will no longer need to submit requests to individual companies. As things stand, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) introduced in 2004 allows hundreds of public bodies to monitor communications without a court warrant. The government is also putting pressure on organizations besides the police and security services to make more use of spying powers. The authors submit that the unprecedented infringements that the Labour government and its European counterparts have implemented and are proposing are not motivated by a fear of “terrorism.” Instead, the authors suggest that, as the political representatives of big business and the super-rich, they are conscious that they cannot secure a popular mandate for policies based on militarism, colonial conquest and the systematic destruction of the living standards of millions of people and are preparing other means for their enforcement.
“Britain: Labour government proposes huge increase in state surveillance” Paul Stuart and Paul Mitchell World Socialist Website, 30 August 2008 http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/aug2008/spy-a30.shtml