Following revelations that GCHQ has been obtaining covert intelligence data from the US National Security Agency (NSA) to circumvent legal restrictions on their activities, William Hague has moved to reassure us that law abiding citizens have “nothing to fear”.
A welcome reassurance from Comrade Hague. I can’t help but think that he’s not the first politician to use that phrase though. Which other prolific collectors and keepers of intelligence about their citizens said much the same thing?
If you have nothing to hide then you haven’t been living your life properly. The state needs to know the bare minimum about its citizens to be able to provide essential services and anything else they want to know they can ask for so you can tell them to bugger off.
If you trust the current government not to abuse its ability to spy on its citizens (although god knows why you would) then how do you know you will trust the next government? Or the one after that? It wasn’t that long ago that the British government tried to give itself the power to lock up any citizen for three months without charge on suspicion of terrorism, the legal definition of which is so loose as to allow a lawful protest to be classed as an act of terrorism.
Wee Willy Vague can say what he like but we all have something to hide and we all have something to fear.