We are constantly monitored, CCTV, speed cameras, red light cameras, phone hacking, wire tapping, e-mail monitoring, text snooping... and yet the Government need to know more about us.
Enter the human manifestation of mass surveillance, the Spycop.
Yesterday I saw the protest outside Cardiff Central Police Station where song, speeches and poems, (one poem involving a goat – well, this is Wales after all) were shared.
The protest was completely peaceful and despite the seriousness of the allegations and deep understanding the damage spycops breed, spirits were high and voices strong.
I was handed a flyer at the gathering that spelt out exactly why everyone was there:
The groups infiltrated were not Al-Quida or IS collaborators but instead peaceful movements. Amongst those monitored were anti-capitalists, anarchists, environmentalists and animal rights activists.
The Spycop comes with all the already well known problems of mass surveillance but with one key difference. How is the human Spycop held accountable for their actions? They have fabricated identities and work their way into becoming a friend, someone you would not expect to have to hold accountable.
In a statement to the Wales Online, the Metropolitan Police Spokesperson said “Preserving anonymity is vital” when referring to an undercover police officer. The irony in this cannot be understated. It is the public’s anonymity and privacy that has been breached.
Spycops do more than add to the already overwhelmingly large invasion of our personal lives but when discovered they undermine the trust we place in friendships.
Here are some photos I took from the event: