On Monday David Cameron managed a rare political treble: he proposed a policy that is draconian, stupid and economically destructive.
The prime minister made comments widely interpreted as proposing a ban on end-to-end encryption in messages – the technology that protects online communications, shopping, banking, personal data and more.
“[I]n our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?”, the prime minister asked rhetorically.
To most people in a supposed liberal democracy, the answer would surely be “yes”: the right to privacy runs right in parallel to our right for free expression. If you can’t say something to a friend or family member without the fear the government, your neighbour or your boss will overhear, your free expression is deeply curtailed.
This means that even in principle Cameron’s approach is darkly paradoxical: the attack on Paris was an attack on free expression – but it’s the government that intends to land the killing blow.