It seemed then that the internet might be a liberalising influence, giving the individual more power relative to the State. To an extent this proved true. [...]
Public fear of terrorism gave governments the support needed to tighten systems of social control and supervision. [...]
The British Government took advantage of this opportunity to impose new methods of control that could not have been put through Parliament in normal circumstances. In particular, the Home Office, under authoritarian Home Secretaries, introduced Bills that it had wanted for a long time. The whole balance between the citizen and the State was altered in favour of the State.[...]
In the history of Britain there have been many periods when liberty was threatened. The immediate threat is a government with a lust for control, with little respect for liberty or for the House of Commons, but enjoying the opportunity of using new technologies for social control.
It is against this backdrop that the Open Rights Group was set up to campaign for digital liberty in the UK, and I am honoured to be part of its Advisory Council.
If you want to join us in campaigning to keep computers and the net as tools of freedom and not coercion, you can sign up here.