William Hague admitted authorising the accessing of personal records by the secret services “hundreds” of times each year.
But that isn’t a fraction of the scandal.
The intelligence agencies in the US and Britain have made a systematic attempt to spy on everyone’s electronic information.
British spy centre, GCHQ, has had access to a US programme called Prism.
This lets agents monitor people’s communications through companies such as Apple, Facebook and Skype.
Emails, photos and videos all have been accessed by British spooks.
American Edward Snowden, who revealed the programme, is now on the run from the US authorities.
British and US politicians claim they are working within the law—this is part of the problem, they mostly were.
Their desire to control more of people’s lives is unsurprising.
Western governments have attacked civil liberties in the name of protecting democracy.
One bizarre response to the current scandal has been the resuscitation of the Tories’ snooper’s charter to make it easier to spy on email legally.
Fortunately, the government and corporate urge to control is less effective than they believe.
Indeed the revelations may add to the anger against the system that they want to protect.