U.K. gov’t departments are SECRETLY MONITORING critics on social media and BLACKLISTING them
By Laura Harris // Dec 18, 2023

At least 15 departments in the British government have been actively monitoring the social media activities of potential critics, creating "secret files" to block them from speaking at government-organized conferences and events.

The Observer disclosed that several government departments in the United Kingdom have instructed officials to scrutinize the Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts of those perceived as government critics. They are also advised to perform Google searches using specific terms like their names alongside "criticism of government or prime minister." These departments include the following:

  • Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
  • Department for Education (DfE)

According to a probe done by human rights experts at law firm Leigh Day, the DCMS reportedly tasked employees with creating "a minimum of five to 10 pages of secret files" of government critics in the past three to five years.

In September, meanwhile, the DfE attempted to cancel invitations for three early childhood education experts due to their perceived criticism of government policies. The department allegedly instructed staff that it would be "inappropriate" to allow someone critical of its policies to speak at their events. (Related: British government caught surveilling social media presence of school staff members.)

Further investigations have now shown that this practice extends beyond the Department for Education, encompassing multiple government departments. Those identified as overly critical were reportedly blacklisted and barred from participating in government-organized conferences or events.

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"Secret files" of alleged government critics trigger backlash

The monitoring of social media activities has sparked concerns about its legality, with claims that it may breach data protection laws and potentially violate equality and human rights legislation.

Tessa Gregory, a partner at Leigh Day who is pursuing legal action against the government on behalf of at least two experts, emphasized the potential widespread impact of these hidden checks. She argued that such practices are not only dangerous but likely unlawful.

“This is likely to have impacted large numbers of individuals, many of whom won't know civil servants hold secret files on them," Gregory said. "Such practices are extremely dangerous,"

Similarly, chemical weapons Dan Kaszeta – an expert who was disinvited from a defense conference due to critical social media posts – highlighting the shocking extent of this practice. He initiated legal action, prompting a review that led to the withdrawal of guidelines by 15 British government departments in August.

"I don’t have a duty of impartiality. Nor should I," Kaszeta said. "Trying to extend the civil service code to me because I was merely going to talk to an audience with a handful of civil servants is utterly wrong. I’m not a revolutionary Trotskyite."

Privacy International, a campaign group investigating government social media monitoring, argued that actively searching for negative information in this manner constitutes directed surveillance.

"If the government is blacklisting people for using their right to free expression in a very valid way then that is very dangerous. Making a concerted effort to search for negative information in this way is directed surveillance," said Caroline Wilson Palow, legal director at Privacy International.

Visit Watched.news for more stories about government surveillance.

Watch this video about privacy and online surveillance.

This video is from the Daily Videos channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Voters demand investigation of social media platforms.

Ukraine calls for more social media censorship of “disinformation.”

Democrats call for precrime social media spying legislation – they want to analyze your Facebook and Twitter activity to see if you’re a POTENTIAL mass shooter.

National Intelligence director SUED over social media censorship.

Panic-stricken Russians share videos, pictures of massive “NUCLEAR MUSHROOM” on social media.

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