17 February 2017


Among a long list of problem areas identified by David Anderson QC in relation to proposed counter-extremism legislation, he mentions

the extent to which police, public authorities, informers and other members of the public will be encouraged to scrutinise the political and religious views expressed by other adults and children ...

[and] whether surveillance and investigatory powers (tailing, bugging, undercover police operations, CHIS, interception warrants, searches of communications data) may be used for the purposes of determining whether a person has engaged in, or been exposed to, extremist activity, in person or over the internet ...
Which raises the following question with regard to those who, while having nothing to do with promoting violence, disseminate views which the government dislikes:
— how much tailing, bugging, covert ops, hacking of emails and web activity, etc is already taking place?

* For those unfamiliar with the concept of CHIS (covert human intelligence sources), see this Home Office document. Page 11 gives a couple of examples.