Friday 25 October 2013

Kofi Annan, the NSA and GCHQ – maybe this time

NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts it said in the Guardian yesterday and in every other newspaper.

That comes as news to most of us.

But then we remember: "News that Kofi Annan and other senior UN figures may have been routinely bugged by US or British security services has caused a huge political row around the world. But it will also have caused alarm among other people in the public eye who deal with sensitive information - or anyone, indeed, who values their privacy" – that's from the BBC News website, 2 March 2004, 9½ years ago.

It didn't cause "a huge political row around the world" then.

Maybe this time. Maybe the penny is beginning to drop.

Individuals complaining about invasions of their privacy have little traction.

With companies, it's different. Once they realise that it is questionable whether any of their dealings can be conducted in confidence they will take action. And unlike individuals, they have money and lobbying power and politicians listen to them.

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