Spying on Schoolgirls

GCHQ2

I was disappointed that the family lawyer acting for the families of the three schoolgirls who recently traveled to support ISIS in Syria should have appeared on TV yesterday to place the blame on the Security Services. The accusation was that it was the spies’ fault for not monitoring the girls’ twitter accounts and acting to stop them running away.

Well there are two points about this. First of all, the security services have got better things to do than spy on 3 schoolgirls. Make no mistake, there are really serious threats within the UK that demand far more serious attention than the schoolgirl whims apparent in this case. It is a question of resources, and personally I would prefer the authorities concentrated on stopping a home-grown terrorist outrage in a shopping centre than waste time by acting in loco parentis for a small group of kids in Bethnal Green.

Secondly, the case illustrates the real dichotomy presented for a liberal democracy such as ours. There is real pressure from within the liberal establishment for constraints on the extent of surveillance and intrusion into our lives, and yet here we are with a media implying that it was wrong that the state didn’t spy on three schoolgirls who presented no immediate threat to the communitiy. Well, come on, which is it to be?

There are other issues in this case which I will wrap up in a larger post coming soon. In the meantime eat up and ruminate a little.