THE News International empire’s phone hacking and spying, and the way that it sought to regulate the government and bend the police force to its will, has been and is the subject of a number of public inquiries.
These seem to be laying the ground not for the breaking up of the press monopolies and the media groups, or action over police corruption and the government’s secret relations with the media bosses, but for an imposition of state regulation over the media that will be used to prevent journalists from uncovering the secrets of the rich.
In fact, the spying activities of the Murdoch empire are small-time compared to the Blair-Brown government plans, that the Tory-led coalition have taken over, for a universal spying system on all the electronic media that tens of millions use in the UK. They plan to put the entire nation under surveillance – for 24 hours a day.
The fact is that the state has learnt from the Murdoch experience, and also from the way that ‘social media’ networks have been used in a revolutionary way to mobilise millions in the Arab Spring, thousands during last summer’s youth riots and the youth mobilisations in the USA.
At the same time as the press’s freedom to snoop on the ruling classes is to be curbed, the government and the state now plan to impose the complete surveillance of all electronic media, e-mails, texts, websites, mobile phones and faxes.
The Home Office stated yesterday that new laws to allow this universal monitoring, far surpassing anything that takes place in Stalinist Russia and China, will be brought in ‘as soon as parliamentary time allows’.
The statement was made despite the furore over plans to allow GCHQ ‘real time’ access to communications, that is access as the material is being sent.
Home Secretary Theresa May said that ‘real time’ access is needed to ensure that communication using social media and internet phone services such as Skype can be recorded as they are being used.
The attempts by the last Labour government to create a giant central database containing all UK web and telephone use were dropped after huge opposition, including from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
The fact that the coalition has adopted these same measures proves that such universal spying systems are an objective need of the modern capitalist ruling classes. They rule in a situation of acute capitalist crisis when millions of people can suddenly be spurred into action by the crisis, and therefore need to be monitored minute by minute. They are the enemy and have to be carefully watched!
This means that to keep pace with a revolutionary situation and keep up with the latest revolutionary developments GCHQ is to have access to data as it happens, without a warrant.
One side-effect, according to Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, is that ‘this additional data will be a honey pot as it will reveal the browsing habits of celebrities, politicians, etc’, creating a general all-embracing Murdoch-style surveillance, with all of the potential for state and secret police blackmail.
Even some Tories have difficulty swallowing these openly police state measures. David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, commented ‘The new law does not focus on terrorists or criminals.
It would instead allow civil servants to monitor every innocent, ordinary person in Britain, and all without a warrant.’
The only remedy for this situation, where the decaying capitalist system cannot survive without a twenty four-hour surveillance of tens of millions, is a socialist revolution to put bankrupt capitalism out of business, and bring in a workers government and socialism under which the people will be free from class oppression.