Teaching Civil Liberties in Volatile Times

We live in an interesting time where surveillance paranoia and Orwellian dystopian nightmares seem to be coming true.
Edward Snowden informed the general populace of the extent to which governments spy on their citizens, often through 'special relationships' which create legal loopholes around the principle of a right to privacy. The mass sharing of intimate and private celebrity videos and photos through 4chan, Gawker and other sites, Theresa May's Investigatory Powers Bill,   the sharing of the Panama Papers, drone warfare and the Internet of Things show how relentless the march of technology has been but at great cost to our liberties.

As our relationship with technology has becomes more complex the likelihood of exploitation has grown greatly. As teachers we need to inform our children of the dangers that exist in the virtual world. A lot of us do this through e-safety lessons and embedding e-safety week into our curriculum but with emerging technologies we need to consider aspects that we haven't even thought of. For example the use of personal drones with recording facilities allows anyone with the kit to make recordings without the permission of the people, however more worrying is the systematic processes by which the government is taking information without our permission through the use of 'disruptive communication' (i.e. spying and media tapping). With the Investigatory Powers Bill, the British public may have just apathetically allowed their privacy, liberty and freedoms to slip away. In real terms we may just have condemned us all and our future generations to virtual psychological imprisonment and enslavement.
The right to exist freely is a human right but as governments challenge this by seeking to control and spy upon their citizens not only do we need to make our pupils aware of dangers from outsiders but also the more insidious dangers from within. We need to ensure that whilst they have a level of trust for those in authority they are prepared to question and think about the angles and perspectives which those in positions of authority may be pushing.