British police and security services already have some of the most powerful surveillance laws in the world, with weak judicial oversight and little criticism on privacy issues from a public that generally trusts its government and Civil Service.
Surveillance cameras are everywhere, especially in cities, and there are relatively few restrictions on the mass collection of telephone and internet data by the government.
All of which raises the uncomfortable question of what more can be done to prevent the kind of terrorist attack that killed seven people in central London over the weekend.
.. Despite the huge armed presence in public spaces and new detention and surveillance powers, the impact has been limited, and, if anything, it may be further alienating already marginalized communities.
.. “It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence,” she said, and make young people “understand that our values, pluralistic British values, are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.”
.. For the last decade, he said, the British have promoted a policy of getting Muslim communities to cooperate with security forces, “which is pretty much the opposite of the French approach.”
Mrs. May is acknowledging that “the communities are not so good at policing themselves,” Mr. Heisbourg said.
.. “You can’t eradicate the internet,” he said. “These people have not gone away but gone to a different platform, one much more difficult for intelligence agencies to monitor.”
.. On Sunday, Mrs. May’s successor as home secretary, Amber Rudd, said that technology companies could do “so much more” to restrict extremism online.
.. she also said that social media giants should limit end-to-end encryption, which many extremist groups use to plot attacks.
.. the British government passed some of the most far-reaching legislation in the world, giving law enforcement agencies widespread powers to monitor both internet and phone traffic. Britain currently has access to the metadata of online communications without a warrant, but not to the content of individual messages.
.. “In terms of surveillance power, Britain is already better equipped than any other European country,” said Mr. Neumann of King’s College London. “There is no real judicial oversight
.. “The British have no trouble listening in to anyone’s phone or going into anyone’s house,” he said. “But the government uses those powers very carefully, which shows how the unspoken consensus here works,” he added, noting that the country has no written Constitution.
.. Anjem Choudary, a lawyer who managed to avoid breaking the law while spending nearly two decades preaching jihadist views. He was convicted in 2016, only when film emerged of him pledging allegiance to the Islamic State
.. “He was a real life radical preacher who recruited people face to face,” he said, “and much more important for jihad in Britain than Twitter or Facebook.”
.. “Choudary was for years the single person most responsible for Islamist recruiting and propaganda, but he wasn’t charged until 2015, when May had been home secretary for five years,” Mr. Neumann said.