I have received a number of emails about the government’s plan to monitor the emails and website visits of every citizen. My first reaction to the headline news was “No”. I want to see our civil liberties protected and extended, and think the state already has too much power.
The government is rowing back a bit, and now claiming that before the state could read our emails or have access to our computer use of websites it would need to obtain a warrant from a judge. It would need to show evidence why it was suspicous about our conduct, and be investigating a possible crime. I have no wish to stand in the way of a proper terrorist or other serious criminal investigation, where the state has to persuade an independent person of their need for access. Indeed, that is a power they have already.
I do not think I can decide how I will vote until I see the detail of the government’s proposals. My advice to the government is publish what you think you need, and describe carefully how it differs from present arrangements and why any change is needed. There is no appetite for a large extension of state surveillance of millions of innocent people. I will not vote for state surveillance through state access to all our electronic communications.