As published in the Daily Mail:
PM cities TV spies to justify Snooping
David Cameron yesterday cited the success of fictional television spies as a reason for reviving the controversial snoopers’ charter’.
The Prime Minister said he wanted to resurrect plans to allow the police and security services to eavesdrop on the public’s internet and mobile phone use.
The contentious legislation was dropped last year amid a storm of protest from civil liberties groups and the Liberal Democrats. But yesterday Mr Cameron – a fan of dramas such as Homeland and Spooks – told a parliamentary security committee that monitoring private information was essential to keep citizens safe from terrorist attack and serious criminals.
He said: In the most serious crimes [such as] child abduction, communications data… is absolutely vital – who called who and when, and where was the telephone at the time. Not the content, but the communications data.
I love watching crime dramas on the television. There’s hardly a crime drama where a crime is solved without using the data of a mobile communications device.’
But Tory MP David Davis, who has opposed the snoopers’ charter, said: Sadly, you can’t derive policy from watching fictional crime dramas on TV. Policy should be made using hard evidence, strong arguments and proper data, not the exploits of fictional crime fighters.’
Lib Dem chairman Tim Farron said: Serious policies should be based on evidence, and after to listening to experts, and not based on what you saw on Homeland.’
And Emma Carr, of Big Brother Watch, said the proposed snoopers’ charter would have put every citizen under surveillance in a way that the Home Office now acknowledges went too far’.