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UK government monitored tweets from high profile journalists and politicians that criticized Covid policy

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According to reports compiled by digital privacy and rights activists, the UK is another country where the government secretly monitored citizens critical of the Covid restrictions.

Read the report here.

Under the title, “Ministry of Truth: The secretive government units spying on your speech,” Big Brother Watch details how the UK government hired contractors to flag tweets showing suspicion about whether the approach to the pandemic was the right one.

The purpose was to put together a list of tweets by well-known figures, including academics, politicians, activists and journalists and place them in Twitter’s Covid-specific terms of service “misinformation” category.

The UK government and its contractors flagged tweets from high profile journalists and politicians and put them in a “Covid-19 Mis/Disinformation” ToS report. The purpose of the report appears to allow the government to compile lists of potential Twitter ToS violations.

Among those targeted were MP David Davis and journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer (for criticizing government modeling), three Tory MPs for joining Parler, Julia Hartley-Brewer for criticizing lockdowns, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Silkie Carlo, Mark Johnson (Big Brother Watch) and Adam Brooks (pub landlord and political commentator, targeted for criticizing vaccine passports),” the report revealed.

The UK government also considered flagging Toby Young posts to Twitter while Peter Hitchens and Daily Mail journalist Ross Clark were targeted for criticizing lockdowns, just as Keir Starmer, Andy Burnham, MP Chris Green were targeted for criticizing tiered regulations and local lockdowns. Starmer is the leader of the Labour Party and Andy Burnham is the Mayor of Manchester.

Pages 19-20 show journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer being targeted for criticizing lockdowns.
Pages 21-24 shows Julia Hartley-Brewer, Silkie Carlo, Mark Johnson (Big Brother Watch), Adam Brooks (pub landlord and political commentator), being targeted for criticizing vaccine passports.
The UK government considered flagging Toby Young tweets to Twitter multiple times. Pages 27-28.
Pages 40-41 show or describe Peter Hitchens and Daily Mail journalist Ross Clark being targeted for criticizing lockdowns.
Pages 43-45 show or describe Keir Starmer, Andy Burnham, MP Chris Green being targeted for criticizing tiered regulations and local lockdowns.

It seems that unlike, say, in the US, where the collusion and surveillance were more general, in the UK, the focus – at least according to evidence now coming to light – was on potential “opinion-makers,” or at least seen as capable of swaying the stance of the general public, that the authorities appear to have desperately wanted to toe its line on Covid.

That’s not to say that “regular” people were off the hook.

Doing the work were a variety of units, some of which got the backing of the 77th Brigade, otherwise involved in “information” warfare. The investigation and the resulting report draws from testimony of a whistleblower from this army outfit, the point of whose revelations is that top generals effectively lied, when they said the British public was not being spied on by its military.

Big Brother writes that the whistleblower “lifts the lid on the ‘sentiment analysis’ the 77th Brigade conducted, looking at how people viewed the government’s handling of the pandemic.”

In addition, the report is based on a number of freedom of information requests.

According to all this, the involvement was pretty extensive: the Counter Disinformation Unit (covering government response from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, as well as the Rapid Response Unit in the Cabinet Office). And then there’s Foreign Office’s Government Information Cell, and the Research, Intelligence and Communications Unit in the Home Office.

“This is an alarming case of mission creep, where public money and even military power have been misused to monitor academics, journalists, campaigners and members of parliament who criticized the government, particularly during the pandemic,” said Big Brother Watch Director Silkie Carlo.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

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