What do China, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK have in common? They’re all among countries with the worst rating for privacy protection as established by the international watchdog group Privacy International.
Privacy International researches indicators of citizen privacy around the world and ranks countries into seven bands, ranging from "consistently upholds human rights standards" to "endemic surveillance" societies. In the 2006 survey, Great Britain fell into the bottom category, along with notorious human rights offenders like China. Let’s say it again: the UK is ranked as an ENDEMIC SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY.
Recent developments such as legislation to obligate storage of phone records and extend government access to them is just the latest tightening of the screws on a society that already has far more spy cameras than anywhere else in the "free" Western world. It is up to the British people to put this chilling trend onto the table when an election is finally called — because neither Labour nor Tory politicians can be expected to do it.
With Big Health rapidly emerging as a major vector for the extension of government control over citizens so that "health" as well as security arguments can be used to extend controls even further, this is a political issue which can’t wait. Speak up now. The rights to privacy, freedom of movement and freedom of speech without government recording: these are fundamental rights and a British inheritance that people must demand.
Politicians must see that their electoral success depends on their willingness to uphold these traditions. If change does not come soon, arguments about security will be used to assure that you, and your children and grandchildren, shall live in an utterly demoralised and unfree country. This is what we are becoming and we are frighteningly far along the way. Those who do not prove in a time of crisis that they have the capacity to reinvigorate their democracy will lose that democracy.