Mehdi Hasan has underlined how counter-productive tightening Government surveillance powers in the wake of terror attacks would ultimately be by pointing to the countries where surveillance is at its highest and terror attacks continue to take place.
The broadcaster and journalist appeared on the BBC’s Question Time panel a week after Paris was left reeling by terror attacks that killed 129 people and injured over 400.
Militants launched gun and bomb attacks in five locations in the French capital. The tragedy prompted calls to push through surveillance legislation under the Investigatory Powers Bill that would force internet companies to store information about customers’ browsing and social media habits and rules that could force companies to break their encryption.
The final bill is expected to be voted on next year.
Hasan rallied against calls for increased surveillance as a method of countering further attacks, warning that such restrictive measures would only play directly into the hands of terrorists.
He also highlighted how ineffective they have proved in countries including France.
“France expanded their surveillance powers last December and the Charlie Hebdo attacks happened the following month. They expanded their powers in July, after Charlie Hebdo, and these attacks happened in November," he said.
"Please let’s not assume that mass surveillance powers are some sort of magic bullet.
"Some of the most repressive countries on earth with some of the most powerful security services: Saudi, Iran, China, Russia have had mass casualty terrorist attacks on their soil. This is not some kind of silver bullet.
“That’s what the terrorists want. They want to turn open societies into closed societies.”
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