Today disturbing new figures have renewed accusations that Britain has turned into a surveillance society, raising more concerns over increasing levels of police surveillance powers.
The data obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by the campaign group Big Brother Watch, shows that Scotland Yard have increased the number of yearly requests to access telephone and postal records, gaining more access than ever before to citizens private landline phone calls, mobile calls and letters sent through the post.
The figures show that:
In 2009 Met police made over 51,000 requests to access personal communications data.
In 2010 that figure jumped to 56,000.
And in 2011 almost 57,000 requests were made.
The figures for last year have not yet been released.
The high number of requests is concerning.
Esher and Walton Conservative MP Dominic Raab said: “Intrusive surveillance should be limited to tackling terrorism and serious crime, not snooping on ordinary citizens.”
Scotland Yard have denied the accusation of snooping, defending the amount of privacy intrusions they make stating it’s essential for public safety and is mainly used “where there is an imminent life at risk”, such as murders, finding missing people and kidnaps.
Security minister James Brokenshire MP said: “This legislation is vital to help catch paedophiles, terrorists and other serious criminals.”
So far this year, the UK has seen the level of surveillance increase dramatically, with the introduction of new laws that protect the police from misusing and abusing their access to CCTV cameras, the systematic bar-coding of our children through the DNA database and the British governments willingness to make our data available to the CIA.
Of course, this is just the top of the iceberg and the surveillance state goes much deeper.
With unmanned aerial drones in the sky, CCTV cameras that have been repeatedly proven to be an ineffective crime prevention tool, the use of immoral and unethical laws such as RIPA that allow authorities to install CCTV cameras in the home, and the admission by a former government information commissioner that the UK has become a surveillance society, Great Britain truly is the most surveilled nation in the world with its citizens becoming the guinea pigs for governments and corporations to test new invasive powers and technology that restrict our freedom.