BBC Question Time: Mehdi Hasan Delivers Cutting Riposte To Calls For More Surveillance


Mehdi Hasan has eloquently countered calls for an increase in surveillance after the terror attacks in Paris, arguing: "That's what the terrorists want."

The Al Jazeera journalist appeared on BBC Question Time on Thursday in a special debate on Britain's next steps in the wake of the attacks on the French capital last week.

Hasan used a question around how Britain might best prevent a similar attack occurring here to attack those arguing that government surveillance must now increase.

He said: “France expanded their surveillance powers last December and the Charlie Hebdo attacks happened the following month.

"They expanded their powers in July, after Charlie Hebdo, and these attacks happened in November.

"Please let’s not assume that mass surveillance powers are some sort of magic bullet.

"Some of the most repressive countries on earth with some of the most powerful security services: Saudi, Iran, China, Russia have had mass casualty terrorist attacks on their soil.

"This is not some sort of silver bullet. Every time there’s a terrorist attack we increase our surveillance powers, we get more counter terror laws, we don’t care about civil liberties.

"That’s what the terrorists want, they want to turn open societies into closed societies."

The Investigatory Powers Bill, which is also dubbed the 'Snooper's Charter', is a far-reaching piece of surveillance legislation.

Hasan's appearance on Question Time was met with wide approval from people on social media, who said they agreed with many of his views on possible increased intervention in Syria by Western nations.

Since last Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, which caused the deaths of at least 129 people, there has been increased focus on the government's powers to track people's online date and to intercept information.

Home Secretary Theresa May's Investigatory Powers Bill is currently being pushed through parliament. Under the proposed new spying laws, details of people's online activity will be stored for 12 months.

The bill will require firms to store web users' activity, including being on social media, for one year.

May has been forced to defend the bill in the past, pledging that spies will be given the powers to look through someone's internet history.

The draft document will be looked at by both Houses of Parliament before the final bill is voted on next year.

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