This briefing paper traces the emerging shape of security and surveillance in Britain under the Coronavirus pandemic, and warns about organisations exploiting it to build on existing counter terrorism infrastructure, to further infiltrate public health and more aspects of private life.
The paper emphasises that new Coronavirus laws risk normalising ‘exceptional’ powers, and could reshape surveillance and policing for the long term, and deeply tie them to the public sector.
“Exploiting a Pandemic: The Security Industry’s Race to Infiltrate Public Health” , outlines the following key concerns:
- Aspects of a proposed centralised contact tracing system will be outsourced to known rights abusers, such as Serco and G4S, and third party firms like Palantir, which has been solicited in US police raids on migrant communities;
- Right-wing groups such as Policy Exchange and the Henry Jackson Society are trying to weave their toxic securitised approaches into the realm of public health for material and political profit;
- PREVENT purveyors are trying to remain relevant through attempts to embed the policy into the home, while hinting at online surveillance to close down digital spaces of organising;
- The CCE’s latest trick to criminalise “conspiracy theories” as a new kind of “extremism” underlines its true purpose to control discourse and thought, as well as silence criticism of the government.
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)