How Not to Defend Freedom

In the United Kingdom there are three main security services that seek to defend our security and safety thus, they say defending our freedom and democracy. These are MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. They have apparently “disrupted” 34 “terror plots” in the past eight years and they have sought to justify some of the means they have used in this defensive work they undertake.

The most controversial means is they gathering of information from our phones and emails and similar electronic communication. If the internet had not been invented people (whether good or evil) would communicate by telephone, letter and word of mouth. The internet has added another easy means of communication. If there wasd no internet the security services would not open and record every letter written, neither would they tap every telephone call, but the internet enables them to do these things as far as internet communications are concerned.

Living in a free society and a democratic society requires courage. There will always be people who are evil and seek to overthrow democracy and freedom for their own interests. The essence of freedom is that to enjoy it you must be brave and not frightened by threats that may exist but take sensible precautions to eliminate those threats. Those precautions cannot include activiyies that prevent our society from being free.

It may be that the security services do not spend their time in listening to our private conversations or reading our private emails but they do collect them and potentially, can do so, if they determine it right for them so to do.

I am very uncomfortable about this. I do not think that we as citizens should give unbounded trust to any institution, whether they are political parties, governments or security services. I think that none of these institutions have earned more than a limited degree of trust from them.

Further, it seems to me that there is one matter which all the enquiries and discussions about the security services spying on their employers have missed. There are, of course, evil people everywhere, and there must be some in politics and in the security services. Should these evil people evr obtain power the security services will be able to provide them with details of all those who love freedom and democracy. This possibility is just as dangerous to our nation as the possibility of a terrorist attack.

We should be brave and combat criminal activity by traditional means which draw a better balance between security and freedom, even if that would mean that a security might be a little more at risk.

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