Britain’s spy agencies have emerged as the primary beneficiaries of the government’s spending review, netting a 3 per cent increase above inflation increase in spending – despite recent snooping concerns raised by revelations surrounding US monitoring of UK communications.
The extra spending for the year 2015-16 has been prioritised amidst fears of an increase in the threat posed by terrorism, further boosting the combined £1.9bn budget of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
Foreign secretary William Hague said: “we should have nothing but pride” in the “intelligence-sharing relationship between Britain and the United States”.
Internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee took a different view however, telling The Times that we need less, not more, snooping: “In the Middle East, people have been given access to the internet but they have been snooped on and then they have been jailed.
“Obviously, it can be easy for people in the West to say, ‘oh, those nasty governments should not be allowed access to spy’. But it’s clear that developed nations are seriously spying on the internet.”
He continued: “Information on the web can be really important in peoples’ survival.
“Teenagers who are unsure about their sexuality who need to contact others, or people being abused trying to find helplines . . . there are things that happen on the net that are very intimate, which people are going to be loathe to do if they feel there’s somebody looking over their shoulder.”