The Secretive Government Units Spying on Your Speech

Big Brother Watch launched the Ministry of Truth report on 30 Jan 2023, 6-7.30 pm. Speakers include David Davis MP, Gavin Millar KC, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Prof. Carl Heneghan.

Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson

Last summer, we worked with Big Brother Watch to determine the extent of the government’s spying activities. As a result, Carl sent Freedom of Information requests to The Rapid Response Unit and the Counter Disinformation Unit (see the report for context). 

The Rapid Response Unit (RRU) is part of the Cabinet Office and was tasked with “tackling a range of harmful narratives online” during the pandemic, “from purported ‘experts’ issuing dangerous misinformation to criminal fraudsters running phishing scams”.

The Counter Disinformation Unit (CDU) was tasked to monitor what it deems to be disinformation and flag content to social media companies, sitting inside the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. (…)

Apparently, the government also used an Army Intelligence Unit called 77 Brigade, almost certainly a cover name for spooks who did some of the spying. If this is real and they are or were serving in HM Forces, they need reminding that obeying an unlawful order is no defence.

All for seeking evidence-based answers to policies enacted on a few people’s opinions, models or very poor quality evidence.

But now we find some of the attacks, the censorship and the smears might have been orchestrated at the heart of the government through its active surveillance. With this latest revelation, the concerted nature of the attacks makes sense.

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