Privacy: online surveillance

There have been lots of reports about the police conducting mass surveillance on UK citizens – it has been defended as a way to prevent criminal activity. For example: UK police might want to monitor telephone calls and online traffic to a young persons’ drugs advice website. This would help the police to find out more about which drugs are being used on the street and to gain information about dealers and supply chains. They would not be targeting users of the advice centre. Despite this, the concern is that data from an advice line which promises confidentiality to users would now be shared with the police. In this debate, students will discuss whether the police should be allowed to collect data on UK citizens to prevent terrorism and criminal activity.