In the last few weeks EU and US talks have resulted in calls for internet providers to create a means for 'swift reporting' and removal of material that aims to incite hatred and terror - a 'reporting' mechanism which could be used to stifle legitimate, albeit often highly distasteful or offensive, speech without due process safeguards.
Placing an entire population under surveillance whilst failing to adequately resource not only the intelligence agencies but those tasked with holding them to account, is both an unacceptable intrusion of our freedoms and creates nothing more than a chilling effect on free expression for anyone communicating in, or with, the UK.
Reprieve recently filed a complaint with the UK government regarding BT's role in facilitating surveillance that leads to killing. BT has persistently refused to come clean on its collaboration with intelligence agencies. We can only hope that the UK government can get from BT the answers we deserve.
It is very difficult to interrogate the legality of a programme of surveillance, when the people having done it, refuse to acknowledge it happened. The UK programme, called 'TEMPORA' has been a bone of contention since the start of these proceedings. GCHQ refuses to acknowledge that it exists, despite tacitly acknowledging it exists, by defending the legal basis for its existence.
Last week the Home Secretary once again advanced the argument for granting the intelligence services new powers, reigniting the debate over the proper limits of state surveillance. It's a familiar contest made more important by the legacy of the Snowdon intelligence leaks, and more urgent by recent events Iraq.