Home Secretary: UK needs capability to defend its citizens
Theresa May gives annual Lord Mayor's Defence and Security Lecture
The world is a dangerous place and the UK must maintain its capability to defend its citizens in the digital age, Home Secretary Theresa May said yesterday.
Speaking at the annual Lord Mayor’s Defence and Security Lecture in London, she spoke of the threat the country faces, including from British people returning home from the conflict in Syria.
But the Home Secretary said that threat – whether from terrorism or organised crime – is changing fast and the UK needs the capabilities to defend its interests and protect its citizens.
And she said it was important to talk about the balance between privacy and security “in the full context of the threats we face” rather than “in a strange vacuum as if the debate was entirely academic”.
Threats to UK
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
The terrorist threats to this country and our interests are changing faster than at any time since 9/11. We continue to face possible attacks by al Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But we face further threats from Syria and now from Iraq where al Qaida, ISIL and others have created a safe haven with substantial resources including advanced technology and weapons.
They are on the doorstep on Europe, just a few hours flying time from London, and they want to attack us – not just in Syria or Iraq but here in Britain.
The Home Secretary told the event at Mansion House that it is important to be clear about the UK’s capabilities and the challenges faced in maintaining them in a digital age.
We are living more of our lives online, using an array of new technology. This is hugely liberating and a great opportunity for economic growth, but this technology has become essential not just to the likes of you and me but to organised criminals and terrorists.
Far from having some fictitious mastery over all this technology we, in democratic states, face the significant risk of being caught out by it.
Governments have always reserved the power to monitor communications and to collect data about communications when it is necessary and proportionate to do so.
It is much harder now – there is more data, we do not own it and we can no longer always obtain it. I know some people will say ‘hurrah for that’ – but the result is that we are in danger of making the internet an ungoverned, ungovernable space, a safe haven for terrorism and criminality.
The Home Secretary described loss of capability as “the great danger we face”.
The real problem is not that we have built an over-mighty state but that the state is finding it harder to fulfil its most basic duty, which is to protect the public.
That is why I have said before and I will go on saying that we need to make changes to the law to maintain the capabilities we need.
Yes, we have to make sure that the capabilities can only be used with the right authorisation and with appropriate oversight. But this is quite simply a question of life and death, a matter of national security.
We must keep on making the case until we get the changes we need.
Latest News from
Terms of reference for independent review of Prevent announced16/09/2019 14:48:00
The terms of reference setting out the purpose and structure of the independent review have been published today.
1.5 million people apply to the EU Settlement Scheme13/09/2019 11:10:00
Latest published statistics show that there were almost 300,000 applications to the scheme in the month of August.
Code your way to a career change – software development apprenticeship opportunities11/09/2019 11:10:00
Blog posted by: Sharon Briscoe, 10 September 2019 – Categories: apprenticeship, Recruitment, software development.
Expansion of the shortage of occupation list10/09/2019 11:10:00
The shortage of occupation list was yesterday expanded to include a range of skilled occupations, following changes to the Immigration Rules.
Home Secretary at Police Superintendents' Association09/09/2019 15:20:00
Home Secretary Priti Patel spoke at the Police Superintendents' Association annual conference 2019
Manchester English language test scammers have sentences increased06/09/2019 15:20:00
Muhammad Bilal and Mehboob Jilani ran colleges where non-EEA nationals could take an English language test as part of making UK visa applications.
National campaign to recruit 20,000 police officers launches today05/09/2019 16:48:00
Up to 6,000 officers to be recruited in the first year backed by £750 million of government funding, following commitment to increase police over next 3 years.
Government announces immigration plans for no deal Brexit05/09/2019 15:20:00
If there's a no deal Brexit, border controls will be introduced to make it harder for criminals to enter the UK.