Snooping side bar: a different form of outrage

I’ll blog more fully on the substantive issue later today, but for the moment here’s a sidebar to the government plans to snoop on more/the same/less online communication than currently.

The BBC report ends with this:

Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, said there “were a lot of dangerous people out there” and the police needed to lawfully “keep up with the massive flow of information out there on Facebook and the internet”.

“If it can prevent criminal activity and terrorism in an Olympic year then we should certainly be doing it,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

Cue minor outrage over this sort of dodgy argument.

Anthony Glees is no stranger to controversy, witness the reaction to some of his previous views:

[His] research as a whole, which was described by Universities UK as being built largely on “anecdotal evidence”, “appeared to be based on a collection of snippings from the internet with no quality control. (Times Higher Education Supplement, hat-tip Graham Linehan)

But this argument is extremely weak even by those standards. If, as is very likely, there is legislation in the Queen’s Speech, it won’t be become law and be implemented in time for the Olympics. Even if it is in force later in the year, a post-Olympics November or December is no more or less important that the November or December of any year.

In other words: forget the Olympics. Even a fig-leaf provides a better argument than a mention of the Olympics.


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