Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying

Privacy? Meh. PM thinks the man on the street is past all that


Recent disclosures over domestic surveillance and GCHQ spying on citizens aren't much of an issue to the public, according to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Speaking to Parliament on the government's National Security Strategy, the Prime Minister said that while the media has made a stink about Edward Snowden's disclosures on domestic spying and data mining programs, the general public is largely in favor of the government.

"My sense is that the pub reaction, as opposed to some of the media reaction is 'look, we have intelligence and security because it is a dangerous world and there are bad people that want to do terrible things to us, and we should support these intelligence services and the work they do," Cameron told Parliament,

"I think the public's reaction, what I have felt in terms of people's reactions, have been pretty robust."

The comments came amidst a discussion between the Prime Minister and a joint committee on on the National Security Strategy discussing both UK domestic security policy and strategy for handling international relations and external threats.

Domestic spying programs in the US and UK have been thrust into the spotlight in recent months amidst the continued flow of media leaks from Snowden, the former government IT contractor turned whistleblower and international fugitive.

Past leaks have focused on systems built largely by the NSA for use in investigating threats on US targets from both domestic and foreign terrorists. Over the course of the investigation, however, it has been revealed that the GCHQ has played a key role in both the construction and the use of the massive surveillance networks and databases.

Cameron scorned the press for its role in the continued leaks and suggested that even as word of new and more intrusive spying programs surfaces, the public is on board with the government and its surveillance schemes.

"I am worried at the damage Snowden has done to our security and I would urge the newspapers that are endlessly dallying in this to think before they act, because we are in severe danger of making ourselves less safe as a result," Cameron said.

"But I think the public reaction as I judge it has not been one of shock, horror. It has much more been 'intelligence agencies carry out intelligence work. Good'." ®

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