>>"If that's what you really believe, perhaps you can explain why ACPO Ltd were recently exposed as having been running undercover police for several years infiltrating perfectly legitimate peaceful protest organisations. While "resources are tight".
>>That surely wouldn't have happened "without due cause" would it?
>>Well it did, and the copper in one particular case finally decided there wasn't due cause, and when he did so the show trial of a few dozen innocent people had to be abandoned before it started.
Surely the point there was that among the organisations he was getting information, there were members who did actually do things which were illegal, even if it seems that generally the worst was things like violent protests.
Clearly, there's a whole grey area about people acting as agents provocateurs, but it does seem like he was doing rather more in his years undercover than just hanging out with one group who occasionally protested outside power stations.
And on the practical side (again, leaving aside the 'Man Who Was Thursday' angle), if he and hence the state had feelers in all kinds of protest groups /but those groups carried on existing, and seemingly doing largely what they would have done anyway/, how crushing *was* the boot of Big Brother actually being?
Maybe the point of the infiltration was to try and make sure that there would be advance notice if things started getting a bit too heavy?
If there is the potential for one or other protest group to get a bit crazy, having some kind of idea what's going on isn't necessarily hideously oppressive.
At first glance, it looks like a huge amount of money to spend on undercover police, but just stopping and thinking about it, if they could give information about likely trouble at one or other demonstration that's more accurate than the police would have otherwise, there's at least the *potential* for getting police numbers right, and either saving money by not having too many, or preventing small disturbances escalating into a riot, so it might not be quite as daft/wasteful/oppressive as it would at first appear.
The tricky thing is in that kind of logic is knowing what would have happened with different police numbers at a given event.
If it seems that numbers were about right - fewer police and little trouble, or more police who manage to contain a decent amount of troublemaking, that could be seen as evidence in favour of undercover work.
If there's a report of likely trouble but then nothing happens when there are lots of police drafted in, it's easy to think that was disaster averted and people changing plans due to the police presence, rather than bum information, and see it as evidence in favour of undercover work.
Likewise, if there are reports suggesting little trouble but it does happen, that could be taken as evidence suggesting that /more/ undercover work is needed.
Once started, it's easy for someone convinced it's a good idea to see little reason to change their mind, whatever happens.
But ultimately, how far does my right to privacy go?
Does it seriously extend to cover all my activities, even those undertaken with large numbers of other people, and even when some of my actions or their actions may go beyond what's legal?