Seeing the spy chiefs' questions in front of a Parliamentary Select Committee threw up one clear question for me: was this really a proper public inquiry into the outrageous bugging of heads of states around the globe, or was it a cynical PR exercise?
It's a matter of supreme irony that The Daily Mail choose the same week in which they condemned the Royal Charter on Press Regulation as censorship, to invoke the language of McCarthy against a fellow newspaper.
It's not often that top spooks emerge from the shadows, and on those rare occasions when they do, they tend to choose their words very, very carefully. That's why we need to be just as careful when we examine what they say...
First published on RT Op-Edge. The disparity in response to Edward Snowden's disclosures within the USA and the UK is astonishing. In the face of ri...
We need a much larger, open public debate to determine the balance between security and liberty in a digital age. But too many sensible opponents are disposed to calling surveillance measures 'Orwellian'... regular refrain to our most celebrated dystopian nightmare is not helpful.
Miranda's arrest and Rusbridger's revelations should alarm those members of public who still believe that the British government acts in the best interests of democracy and freedom. It is evident that, in the words of Kirsty Hughes of Index on Censorship, "it seems that the UK government is using, and quite likely misusing, laws to intimidate journalists and silence its critics".
Why are the British press largely keeping Snowden's leaks at arm's length? It's impossible to give a comprehensive answer to this question, but here are a few suggestions.
Attempts have been made to place Snowden's actions and predicament in the context of history, with comparisons to other whistle-blowers and truth-tellers. I want to argue that he can also be viewed as part of a long line of outcast agitators: Edward Snowden is a pirate.
It's perhaps appropriate that the biggest news this month, a month that marks the 110th anniversary of the birth of George Orwell, is a story about privacy. What would Orwell, whose dystopian novel 1984 painted a nightmare vision of a society under constant surveillance, have to say about the current scandal engulfing the U.S. and British security services?
To some people, US whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor but to me he is a human rights hero. At great personal risk, motivated by idealism and democratic values, he has exposed the mass invasion of privacy worldwide by US and UK spy agencies.
The government spies on us: cue horror and massive public outrage. But is all of this really that surprising? After all, we expect our government to spy on foreigners who plot ill-will towards the nation, so why shouldn't we bear the same burdens as the rest of the world?
These are early days in an argument that may well rumble on for months, even years. Indeed, the trade-off between security-driven rules and individual liberty will, and should, be something that we never stop debating. What this poll suggests is that neither side has a clear lead.
In the same way that President Obama signed the invidious NDAA on 31 December last year, despite his previous protestations about using his veto, it appears the US government has sneaked/snuck through (please delete as appropriate, depending on how you pronounce 'tomato') yet another draconian law during the festive season, which apparently further erodes the US constitution and the civil rights of all Americans.
Yesterday, browsing the BBC website, knowing it was April Fool's Day, an article caught my eye that I couldn't believe would ever be possibly true. In it, I read that under a new legislation set to be announced soon, the government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK.