Today should see the publication of Gordon Brown's alleged "National Security Strategy", which he signaled last summer and autumn, you know, the one which was supposed to have been published by Christmas.
See previous Spy Blog articles:
- Gordon Brown's NuLabour "National Security Committee" - a Soviet style KGB or a US style NSC ?
- Countering terrorism with more quangos - more detail of Gordon Brown's security statement
Since we, along with the rest of the public, are never actually consulted about such things, we have little expectation that this document will actually do anything to make us any more secure, or that the the resources available to the Government will actually be directed into the proper areas.
We expect the Strategy, to appoint a National Security Council, as Yet Another Talking Shop, loosely based on the system which the USA has had since 1948, to advise their President on general National Security Strategy policies, and for it to develop its own bureaucratic empire of Special Advisors and Committees etc, all of whom will need to travel in secret luxury to "consult", with their counterparts in foreign countries.
Just as worrying is the media spin and briefing ahead of this official announcement which seems to show that vaguely unnamed "security agencies", are attempting to make an even greater mockery of the Data Protection Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, by doing away with the need for them to proportionately target their quests for data from mass surveillance systems like the London Oyster Card travel smartcard scheme or for "CCTV" in general.
The Observer MI5 seeks powers to trawl records in new terror hunt
Daily Telegraph 'Free CCTV film access for security services'
This is sort of speculative data trawling fundamentally wrong and technologically a waste of money. Such generalised, secret, unaccountable mass data trawling, which puts the privacy and potentially the security of individual innocent members of the public at risk, from lazy, incompetent or corrupt insiders who have access to such snooping systems must not be allowed to happen
There is no scientific evidence that effective "future horizon scanning for threats" is even vaguely technically possible, given the vast amount of data which is currently being generated.
The officials and politicians and lobbyists who are pressing for such a further extension of the UK mass surveillance society should have the courage to put forward their case, backed by evidence, openly in public. If they cannot do that, then there is every chance that they are deluded or are deliberately lying about how effective such snooping will be, and the risks that their new systems pose to the liberty, freedom and security of innocent individuals.
We await the publication of this Strategy with fear and foreboding.