Sir David Omand GCB is a visiting professor at King’s College London. He became in 2002 the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, responsible to the Prime Minister for the professional health of the intelligence community, national counter-terrorism strategy and “homeland security”. He was Permanent Secretary of the Home Office from 1997 to 2000, and before that Director of GCHQ. Previously, in the Ministry of Defence he served as Deputy Under Secretary of State for Policy, Principal Private Secretary to the Defence Secretary.
The ECJ’s ruling on the data retention directive is a landmark victory in the battle against unjustified state surveillance – but it comes too late to safeguard our basic freedoms.
The almost exclusive focus on the NSA obscures the degree to which surveillance has become integrated into almost every level of government. For most of us, the first point of contact with the surveillance state isn’t the NSA – it’s the local police department.
Governments ask conformity in exchange for safety. It is a transaction we cannot accept.
Harper Reed helped Barack Obama get re-elected, is a staunch defender of Internet freedom and believes that the whole discussion about data protection is completely overblown. He talked to Max Tholl about why we sell our privacy, the good intentions of the NSA and how Europe is hurting itself by overprotecting data.