Saturday, October 17, 2009

The lives of the other

"In recent years general concerns about privacy in Britain have been greatly inflamed by the disappearance of personal data and great rows over planned mega-databases. The public increasingly perceives information collected for official convenience as a malign intrusion. And fears of recreating The Lives of Others are all the greater when the others in question are also "the other" in cultural terms. Muslims read every day about western fighting in Muslim lands. This week they heard MI5's director trot out a less-than-reassuring reassurance on torture of mostly-Muslim terror suspects, and this morning they read that the foreign secretary has been covering up what the government knew in one such case. Already angered by the sense that the ordinary rules no longer protect them as they do everyone else, many more followers of Islam may be tempted to succumb to militant rage if they feel they have been singled out for special snooping. Surveillance aimed at gauging the extent of a problem could end up making it very much worse." —The Guardian

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