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Tom Watson slams mass social media surveillance

Tom Watson launched a broadside yesterday against widespread government snooping on millions of people who use Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Mr Watson declared that continuous mass surveillance of the social media of every Britishcitizen was “incompatible with basic human rights.”

The West Bromwich MP put down a Commons early day motion (EDM) expressing “great concern” at the extent of mass surveillance by the counter-terrorism arm of the government’s GCHQ spy centre.

Mr Watson appealed to fellow MPs of all parties to sign his EDM and force a vote in Parliament to stop “industrial scale” snooping by the state.

His initiative was quickly embraced by campaign group Liberty and the Open Rights Group.

The MP’s motion challenges GCHQ’s claim that it can carry on snooping on people without a warrant because the data is mediated by a computer server outside Britain — in the US.

Mr Watson condemned the “startling” suggestion by the boss of GCHQ that mass surveillance is allowed under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act passed in the year 2000.

“This legislation was passed before Facebook was even invented,” pointed out Mr Watson.

He demanded that Tory Home Secretary Theresa May bring forward new laws to end such practices.

“There is growing concern among members of all parties at Westminster that the activities of GCHQ have gone beyond their democratic authority,” he said.

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