The Miranda effect: Rescuing human rights from the surveillance state

Source: Middle East Eye/ AFP

Source: Middle East Eye/ AFP

A very rare turn happened in the UK courts this week – the Master of the Rolls sat at the front bench of the highest body of redress the nation’s sovereignty affords and held that a piece of UK legislation was incompatible with our human rights.

Except it was caveated – in the very least for the case of journalistic material.

A couple of years ago, the NSA files, a series of secret NSA documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden, set the Western powers that be into a world-spinning panic. The said documents shed light on exactly what our privacy was worth, implicating the UK as well as the US spy agencies in unlawful surveillance activities.

What was in the public interest was hailed to be the guard dog of national security, therefore publishing them was deemed by the government to be a potential act of terrorism. This is why David Miranda was stopped. He was carrying the encrypted files to assist the journalistic activity of Glenn Greenwald, who had received them from Snowden.

The released files sparked public debate and brought forward legislative change, arguably changing the world and rescuing our civil liberties before they were catapulted into the stratosphere. So could an indirect consequence of Miranda’s detention be another last-minute reprieve for our human rights?

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