Theresa May Re-Commits To Screwing The Internet In First Post-Election Address

By James O Malley on at

Good news! The disaster that is Brexit could be mitigated by the election results.

Bad news... er, Theresa May has promised very specifically that she still has authoritarian dreams of controlling the internet.

In her first address outside Downing Street today following her disastrous night, she said this, in reference to what her new government (whether coalition or minority) will do:

"It will work to keep our nation safe and secure, by delivering the change that I set out following the appalling attacks in Manchester and London. Cracking down on the ideology of Islamist extremism and all those who support it, and giving the police and the authorities they need to keep our country safe."

In other words, she's referring to the comments she made following the London Bridge attack, when she said:

"We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online."

"We need to deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online", she also added.

In other words, though the legislature and the government might be about to look rather different, it appears that the assault on our digital rights is due to continue unabated.

The expectation is therefore that she will continue to advocate for, for example, legislating to weaken encryption, ostensibly in the name of stopping terrorism. Of course, this would be a hideous idea, for all the reasons we set out here. But in short: It's technically illiterate and would actually make things easier for terrorists and hackers.

(And for what it's worth, Labour isn't much better - like the Tories, when the Investigatory Powers Act was passed last year, which enables bulk-collection of our internet data, the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs voted for it, just like their Tory colleagues.)

Obviously at this point it isn't clear how long Theresa May or any new government will actually last. But what is clear is this: While Corbyn might have changed the rules about how to win elections, the same old, annoying, digital rights debate is going to persist for some time yet.

Read More: The London Bridge Attack is Proof We DON'T Need New Internet Surveillance Laws.