Murdoch’s nemesis to address Brighton audience about internet bugging threat

The Labour MP who wrote a book attacking media tycoon Rupert Murdoch will speak about widespread surveillance in Brighton tomorrow (Tuesday 24 September).

Tom Watson will take part in a public meeting along with a Brighton-based expert, Javier Ruiz, the campaigns director of the Open Rights Group.

The pair will be joined by Paul Johnson, deputy editor of The Guardian, and Nick Pickles, the executive director of Big Brother Watch.

They will discuss internet surveillance and the potential threat that it poses to democracy and the economy.

Although it is a fringe event during the Labour Party conference, it is open to the public and will take place outside the secure zone for delegates.

The organisers are even laying on free drinks for the event, entitled Prism and Mass Surveillance: a Threat to Democracy and Economic Welfare?

Prism is a mass electronic surveillance data mining program which has been operated by the United States National Security Agency since 2007.

The organisers said: “Mass internet surveillance is now an undisputed fact.

“Its defenders tell us that it is necessary to protect us from terrorists, criminals and rogue states.

“But the Snowden revelations show that we face unaccountable indiscriminate surveillance of internet users on a global scale.

“This attack on privacy has potential devastating implications for our understanding of democracy.

“It’s not just the foundations of democracy that are under attack.

“Recent revelations of a systematic weakening of encryption systems by US and UK security agencies undermine fundamental internet security.

“These are the basics of trust on the internet. They are the reason we trust our bank, our credit card payments or virtual private networks not to leak this information to criminals, blackmailers or governments.

“The real impact will not just be about state security. It may be about economics and the opportunities for increased wellbeing presented by the internet.”

Mr Watson, the Labour MP for West Bromwich East, played a key role in exposing phone hacking at the defunct News of the World newspaper.

He wrote a book last year, Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.

The event is from 5pm to 7pm tomorrow (Tuesday 24 September) at the Thistle Hotel, in King’s Road, on Brighton seafront.


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