“What happens to you here is forever.” ― George Orwell, 1984
It is with great dismay and fear that I write this post after having read an article in the Guardian that states that David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, has threatened the Guardian, and the UK media in general, with legal action if they continue publishing the Snowden leaks.
It’s easy to see why Cameron wants the Snowden story out of the way as his revelations are a massive embarrassment to the UK (and US) government, but at a time when Britain is clinging on to the remnants of democracy, this move from Cameron is extremely worrying.
The UK public are either unaware of the global impact that the NSA and GCHQ’s actions have and will cause or they simply don’t care. I refuse to believe that the people of this country don’t care about freedom of speech, privacy and basic human rights, so I will plump for the first option — they are unaware.
So why are they unaware? Simple… the only UK paper that is pushing the story is the very paper that uncovered it — The Guardian.
But why? UK papers are usually desperate to grab a piece of scandal and spice it up with their own flavour.
I can only draw two conclusions as to why the rest of the UK media have steered clear of getting involved in the Snowden leaks:
- They are jealous of the Guardian for having unearthed the story.
- They have been told not to get involved.
The first conclusion is highly unlikely for the reason mentioned above. It’s much more likely that the other papers have been warned off.
The Guardian is an unusual beast in British news publishing. It has always had a fairly neutral political stance, having been more focussed on fact than feeling, more concerned with actual news than political steering. In other words, it publishes the truth. Sadly, because of that, because it publishes actual news and not trashy celebrity stories, the majority of the UK public don’t read it and are therefore mostly unaware of the Snowden story… a very true story of a massive, UK and US government controlled spying network that infiltrates the privacy of the very people that are forced to read trashy celebrity stories!
Something is wrong here. Actually a lot is wrong here…
- No government has an ethical right, or probably a legal right, to snoop on innocent civilians with no just cause.
- No government should have the power to close or even threaten a newspaper for publishing the truth.
- No government should have the power to suppress freedom of speech.
And this is what frightens me, firstly as a human being with a family living in the UK and secondly as an employee of a company who is producing software that will eventually keep the public safe from this type of unsolicited snooping.
What happens next?
The end of truth via media suppression?
The end of security and privacy software via government order under the “War on Terror” trump card?
The end of democracy in the UK by issuing the death blow to freedom of speech?
Let’s hope Ghandi’s prediction comes true…
“Truth alone will endure; all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time.”