Paul Marks reports:
Google, Facebook and the pressure group Privacy International this week welcomed the raft of civil liberties measures announced by the UK’s incoming Conservative-Liberal coalition government. But some of the plans could founder on the rocks of what Privacy International calls the “real opposition”: not the Labour party, but an intransigent, security-obsessed civil service.
Facebook’s Richard Allan, a former Liberal Democrat MP steeped in the traditions of Westminster, predicts the real challenge to the surveillance state rollback will be national security-related pressure from civil servants:
“In meetings with ministers, they will always say they need to keep a record of everything that anyone has ever said on the internet because they once caught somebody that no-one knew about that way.”
“Labour is not the opposition,” agrees [Privacy International’s policy director Gus]Hosein. “The civil service is.”
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