Just being associated with somebody that criticizes mass surveillance programs can now get you detained in the United Kingdom. We recently saw this when David Miranda, who is apparently the lover of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, was detained by British police for nine hours at London’s Heathrow airport.
Greenwald is The Guardian reporter whom Edward Snowden turned his files on the NSA over to. The stories Greenwald has written about the files have embarrassed both the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ. Now, authorities have apparently figured out a way to strike back and violate a man’s rights.
Searching for Data About Surveillance
Authorities stopped Miranda yesterday and confiscated all of the electronics that he was carrying (which the DHS can also now do in the US’ ‘Constitution free zones’ that Anthony Gucciardi broke earlier this year).
A laptop, memory sticks, DVDs, a digital camera, a phone, and even a video game console were taken. It is obvious that the officials were looking for data about the NSA and the stories that Greenwald is writing about it. Perhaps they were looking for Greenwald’s next big scoop.
Miranda was apparently flying from Berlin to his home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In Berlin, he had visited Laura Poitras, a filmmaker who worked with The Guardian. It is obvious that secret agents were following Miranda and tipped off British authorities that he’d be flying through Heathrow.
The authorities used Schedule 7 of the British Terrorism Act to stop and detain Miranda, which is the ‘law’ that lets police stop and detain anybody in an airport that they believe to be a terrorist. Miranda was held for around nine hours; The Guardian noted that the average suspect detained is held for around one hour.
It looks like authorities in Britain aren’t just targeting journalists like the Obama Justice Department. They’re now going after journalists’ loved ones as well.
It seems that there is no longer a right to travel freely between nations for law abiding citizens that are known critics of the surveillance state. Police are now doing the bidding of the security services.
Miranda’s detention is really bothersome because it indicates that Scotland Yard now works for GCHQ rather than the British people. Resources that could have been used to detect real terrorists were wasted trying to silence a man whose crime was to be connected with a critic of surveillance.
The intimidation didn’t work; an outraged Greenwald immediately reported it to his coworkers, who quickly wrote it up. One has to wonder what outrageous action security officials will take next to silence their critics.