Several Paris suspects were identified by the French and Belgian intelligence services as people of interest and subsequently radicals years before the attacks. David Cameron said that in the last year alone, the British intelligence service has foiled seven Isil attacks on British soil. Lee Rigby's killers were identified by the intelligence service as extremists.
The above demonstrate that our intelligence service's methods are working. It, also, raises questions as to why people who were identified as extremists were allowed to continue and perform their attacks instead of being prevented. Why were they not constantly monitored and tracked? It, always, comes back to the same answer; not enough people to process existing data, to continuously track known suspects, connect the dots and prevent attacks before they happen.
The Surveillance Bill, more aptly known as the Snoopers' Charter is not the solution to this and it cannot be used as an excuse to erode our freedoms from within. We cannot allow the abhorrent, terrorist actions of the few to alter our way of life, dismantle our right to privacy and take further steps towards an authoritarian state in the name of a mythical beast called national security. Especially when it will not make us safer.
By all means, allow the intelligence service to access encrypted communications of suspects already identified as extremists, following judicial approval. In addition to this, increase the safety checks done by internal auditors to ensure such power is not misused. It is coincidentally scary how accurate the latest Bond film, Spectre, was in showing what can be done with access to all of this information.
Keeping everyone's online history for a year and passing that to the intelligence service will not make us safer. It will only be a matter of time, until such information is misused and abused.
Providing such data to the intelligence service will only increase the number of potential suspects they have to track. In a department of already stretched resources, adding more workload will not help and will become counter-productive as key information may be missed, amidst an ocean of irrelevant alerts.
The Prime Minister's announcement of increased spending on intelligence services to recruit more people is an extremely welcome step in the right direction. It is unfortunate, as most of this administration's decisions are, that it is done as a tactical response that hasn't been thought through well enough. Who will act on the intelligence provided by the additional 2000 intelligence officers, if the police numbers are cut? Who will provide the support on the ground if the police are losing front-line staff to achieve Osborne's ideological budget cuts?
The worst of all is that in the name of national security, the Snoopers' Charter will be pushed through. It is ironic that the Bill put forward by the Government to protect us from Isil's extremists, will achieve exactly what the extremists want. It will erode our core values, our right to privacy, our civil liberties, all in the name of national security. It will move us even closer to a Big Brother, authoritarian state.
In times like these, we need to stand up and show that we will not be intimidated by such atrocious acts. The cost to our civil liberties is not worth the price paid, especially when we will not be any safer with it.