Those of you who have read my earlier posts, will know that that I have previously experienced my phone calls being intercepted. (Those of you who are not up to speed, should know that this was because of who I knew, rather than what I did. Read the posts and it will make more sense.) Today, the technology is so sophisticated that your chance of realising your phone is tapped or hacked is virtually zero.
The same is true of emails and internet activities. Or is it? Not long ago, it suddenly dawned on me that my computer started to 'misbehave' at very specific moments. When I analysed these, a common thread emerged. Wondering if it was just my computer playing up, I asked a couple of people to repeat the actions I had been having trouble with. Guess what? Correct!
Now we all know that we are monitored continuously every time we log onto the internet; with tracking cookies and other means of data gathering. It's one of the things, unfortunately, that we have to put up with. Put all the barriers and safeguards in place that your internet security package offers and your computer runs at the speed of an old Amstrad. But what we don't accept (why should we, unless we are trainee underwear bombers?) is that the state can anonymously keep track of everything we do or say.
In one form or another, it's been going on for ages. This week, however, the Queen's Speech declared that her government (Conservatives & Lib Dems) planned to legalise it. There will, of course, be all sorts of safeguards, so 99% of citizens have nothing to worry about! That's ok then. Give it a little time for everybody to forget about it and we could privatise it. Raise a few much needed millions for the Treasury. Maybe, with the right tax breaks, we could persuade a big pharmaceutical company or Microsoft to invent a chip that would monitor what we are thinking. Pop along to your local health centre for the ten minute procedure. Promote it as a health monitoring device, that automatically tracks your heart function, cholesterol levels, PSA etc. You get the idea. Much easier than phone tapping and email interception! (If anyone uses this as a commercial proposition or plot for a book, I would like due recognition of my idea.)
The problem is, who is actually 'monitoring' us? GCHQ, NSA or someone else? When my own phone was tapped and my office bugged, I automatically assumed it was 'one of ours'. And I have continued to think that until I started writing this. Then I remembered an odd telephone call I received around the same time. The caller introduced himself, referred to a particular commercial venture I was involved with and asked if I could send him more details. Perhaps a meeting, if he was interested. I of course said yes. When I mentioned this the next day to my associate (who was also a member of the UK security services) I was advised not to send the information and to avoid further contact with this individual.
A member of a well-known UK business family, he apparently had connections with another security service and was known to my associate. I was not told which one, but by a process of deduction have concluded that it was probably Mossad. As the commercial venture I referred to was still in its infancy and known to only a handful of people, I never discovered how he had found out about it. Perhaps it wasn't 'one of ours' that was keeping tabs on me. But on balance of probability, I think it was.