UK Secretary of State Theresa May -- part of a regime that presides over a spy service that claims the right to intercept all webmail, search and clicks; that spends hundreds of millions sabotaging Internet security; that dirty-tricks and psy-opses peaceful protest groups;
that launched illegal denial of service attacks
; that slurps up 200M SMS messages a day
; that uses Google cookies to follow people around the Web
; that targets NGOs and charities for deep surveillance
; that sent spies into World of Warcraft hunting jihadis
; that hacked a Belgian Internet exchange
; knowingly participated in illegal surveillance at the telcos' data-centers
; attacked Tor
; detained a journalist's boyfriend under anti-terror laws
; accepted £100M from foreign spies for help in spying on Britons
; tapped into undersea cables
; and more
-- insists that Britain is not a "surveillance state."
But, she says, there's all kinds of scary, scary terrorists out there. And she's foiling lots of terrorist plans. But she can't tell you about it, because that would be "cavalier and reckless." But we should trust her. And give her more powers to spy on us without a warrant.
As unbelievably stupid as this is, it at least beats last time, when the prime minister said TV crime dramas demonstrated the need for mass surveillance.
Surveillance powers were only ever used "when they are necessary and proportionate", she said.
But Mrs May warned that it would be "cavalier and reckless" to let the public know details of which terrorist plots had been thwarted by the security services.
"Considerable" threats to UK security were developing with the emergence of militant group Isis, the collapse of Syria, the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the "expanding scope" of cyber crime, the home secretary said.
She concluded by renewing a call to change the law to hand the security services more powers to scrutinise online communication - a bid that has previously been blocked by the Liberal Democrats.
"We have to make sure that the capabilities can only be used with the right authorisation and with appropriate oversight," she said.
Theresa May: There is no surveillance state
Last night’s kick-off event for the UK Walkaway tour was brilliant, thanks to the magic combination of the excellent Tim Harford, the excellent people of Oxford, and the excellent booksellers at Blackwells.
I’m in the UK for the British Walkaway tour, which kicks off tonight at 7PM in Oxford where I’ll be in conversation with Tim Harford at Blackwells.
I took great advantage of my 36 hour hiatus from the Walkaway tour, but I’m back at it today, with a 2PM appearance at Burbank’s Dark Delicacies, before I go straight to the airport to fly to the UK for my British tour.
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