I was drawn to ask a Defence Question and quizzed the Government on their secretive 77th Brigade. During the pandemic, the government set up several secretive Whitehall units under the guise of monitoring Covid disinformation. It’s subsequently become clear that the remit of these units went well beyond this, logging the social media posts of journalists, campaigners, politicians (including myself), and members of the public.
The Government has put out contradictory statements about whether or not this particular unit has collected information on British citizens. So I asked the Defence Secretary to clarify the situation. The answer I got sounded like a yes; although he seemed to imply in his answer that myself and other colleagues are state actors. Either way, this is a misuse of resources for authoritarian ends. In a democracy, politicians, the press and the public should all be free to scrutinise and criticise the government without their speech being monitored in government reports, falsely smeared as ‘misinformation’, or otherwise suppressed or censored online.