UK Home Secretary auditions for a Python sketch: "UK does not undertake mass surveillance"

UK Home Secretary Theresa May stood before Parliament on Wednesday, and, with a straight face, said: "The UK does not undertake mass surveillance. We have not, and we do not, undertake mass surveillance, and that is not what the Investigatory Powers Bill is about."

It's hard to explain the profundity of Ms May's lie without violating Godwin's Law with parallels to Herr Goebbels and his "big lie."

The UK spy agency GCHQ's stated goal is "dominance" of the Internet, and to that end, they've wiretapped the major transoceanic fibre links that pass through the UK, as well as others around the world. They collect license plate-based and mobile-phone-based movement data on the whole population. They spy on Members of Parliament.

UK spies maintain "bulk personal data sets" which they can secretly, warrantlessly harvest from medical, employment, tax, and other records.

The new Snooper's Charter, which Ms May continues to insist is called the "Investigatory Powers Bill" expands the scope of this surveillance, increasing the number of agencies that are allowed to spy, and what they can spy on.

Ms May either doesn't know what "mass surveillance" means, or she has perjured herself to Parliament.

"When the target is overseas, bulk interception is obviously one of the key means, and indeed it may be the only means by which it's possible to obtain communications," she said.

Strasburger asked for an "operational case" to demonstrate why bulk interception could be required. "I think there a number of reasons why it is important to have these various bulk powers," said May, but didn't provide any specific examples. She said she would provide more evidence to the committee in writing.

'The UK Does Not Undertake Mass Surveillance,' Says UK Home Secretary
[Joseph Cox/Motherboard]

(Image: Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary, at 'The Pioneers: Police and Crime Commissioners, one year on', Policy Exchange, CC-BY)