Socialist Party
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5 June 2013

Crackdown on democratic rights

Derek McMillan

For the first time ever, Britain's home secretary Theresa May revealed on 2 June that since 2010, nearly 5,700 separate articles and websites have been taken off the internet by the UK government.

The excuse for this is the war on terror. So any website thought to be encouraging terrorism (or supporting animal rights, apparently!) can be taken down by the government.

At the same time the government has utilised the revulsion following the Woolwich killing to seek to read all your emails and mine.

Privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch says police already have the ability under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to demand communications data - "who sent what to whom from where and when" - from internet and phone companies on terror and serious crime suspects.

494,078 such requests were made by police and security services in 2011 alone.

Experts have pointed out that increased draconian powers will actually make it harder to combat terrorism because the police will have to wade through oceans of information to find what they actually need to know. This suggests that the 'war on terror' is a smokescreen.

The government wants to use the horror and fear of terror attacks to gather more authoritarian powers.

These could be used to clamp down on opposition to the cuts. As ever the trade union movement and the left will be among the targets of any clampdown. The government know who their real enemies are.