The Ethical, Psychological, and Social Implications of Mass Surveillance

In 2013, the whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the British spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), tapped fibre-optic cables for access to our personal communications (including emails, Facebook posts, internet histories, and phone calls), and then shared this information with the National Security Agency (NSA), the major spy agency in the US. The Snowden…View Post

Religious Freedom Does Not Justify Male Circumcision

The Icelandic government has proposed a law that would ban male circumcision for non-medical reasons and this has, understandably, sparked outrage and opposition from the Jewish and Muslim communities that traditionally carry out the practice. Anti-male circumcision groups, such as Men Do Complain, are calling for a ban on ‘ritual’ male circumcision in the UK. The…View Post

Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill: A Threat to Freedom

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill 2013-14 has been described by Lord Taylor of Holbeach as “compatible with the Convention rights” – those guaranteed in the European Convention on Human Rights. The irony is that this Bill, sponsored by the Home Secretary Theresa May, could actually threaten our basic freedoms. Freedom of movement, freedom of…View Post

Two Vital Reasons to Support Immigration

Contrary to the paranoia expressed by anti-immigration groups such as Migrant Watch UK, there are good reasons to support immigration in the UK. One reason is based on libertarian principles. The other reason is based on utilitarian considerations – the economic benefits that immigrants can stimulate. One of our basic freedoms is freedom of movement.…View Post

Sovereignty Over One’s Mind and Body: The Most Fundamental Human Right

Having control of one’s body and one’s mind – also called self-ownership – is, I believe, the most basic human right anyone can have. Mill summed up it nicely in On Liberty: “Over one’s mind and over one’s body the individual is sovereign” – although he did (rightly so) allow for exceptions involving actions which…View Post