There has been a lot of talk about spying recently: America spying on its own citizens, Britain using the American spy network to spy on its own citizens, every country spying on every other country. It all kicked off because of “whistle blower” Edward Snowden who said “US agencies gathered and shared phone and web data with its allies”. In a nutshell, anyone's phone calls and emails might be “monitored”.
The most surprising thing about this for me is that anyone is surprised. When I first started using computer networks back in the early 1980s, everyone thought governments did this. It became common to add a “signature” to all your message board posts and emails containing keywords such as terrorist, bomb, drugs, CIA, etc. The idea was that it would make the monitoring job impossible because too many messages contained the keywords they were looking for.
Skip forward 30 years and suddenly everyone is surprised this is going on. Yesterday, William Hague said very publicly:
“UK and US citizens should be confident their intelligence agencies operate within the law”
I.e. it does go on, it's legal, and it is going to continue. It's thoroughly immoral of course, and is unlikely to be useful anyway. If MI6 think they are going to “intercept” a message in clear text saying:
“We now have the explosives and will blow up X at time Y to punish Z”
then they are living in cloud cuckoo land.