The Sunday Times today reports that the UK’s Home Office has adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to examine covertly people’s computer hard drives. As the newspaper comments “material gathered in this way incldues the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging”.
This, once again, raises huge questions about the changes that ICTs are introducing into the relationships between ‘states’ and ‘peoples’.
The article goes on to note that this is part of an EU wide initiative: “Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone’s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned”.
We should engage in active debate about the morality and ethics of such interventions. Are claims about ‘international terrorism’ really sufficient to lead to such a fiundamental change into the state-individual relationship?
It is undoubtedly already safer to revert to pen and quill!