Vladimir Putin is poster boy for satirical anti-UK Snoopers’ Charter campaign

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By Thomas Connelly on

Russian President is joined by political leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping appearing to endorse controversial bill


Free speech campaigners are using the images of controversial world political leaders to draw the UK public’s attention to the government’s proposed snoopers’ charter.

A coalition of rights groups — including Liberty and Open Rights Group — called “Don’t Spy On Us” have created a tongue in cheek poster campaign flagging up what they see as the potentially intrusive nature of the government’s Investigatory Powers Bill. The contentious anti-terrorism measure due to come in before the end of this year will give a broad range of public bodies unfettered access to personal information and data such as phone records and internet browsing history.

Using a headshot of outspoken Russian President Vladimir Putin, the civil liberties coalition overlaid text that reads: “A government that spies on its citizens. What’s not to like?” In another — released earlier this week — Chinese president Xi Jinping can be seen behind text that reads: “Well done, Britain! No one monitors their people quite like you.”

The images, which have been circulated widely across social media (presumably not China), even made their way onto public billboards in London (pictured above) and on full pages of both The Telegraph and The Guardian (pictured below).

Further posters which are yet to be released include North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Legal Cheek is fairly sure that these are just the type of guys to see the funny side of their images being used by the “Don’t Spy On Us” campaign.

Speaking to Legal Cheek earlier today, Jo Glanville, director of English Pen, part of the Don’t Spy On Us coalition, said:

Under this bill, the police and government agencies will have unprecedented powers here in the UK; this gives justification to other regimes around the world to do the same. If we do it, then we can’t criticise other regimes for doing it as well. To have Putin or Mugabe stare out of the newspaper at you is a powerful way to convey this very serious consequence of the bill.

Late last month leading human rights charity Liberty fired a shot at the government’s new spying bill, this time in the form of a candid camera-inspired film. The short clip showed comedian Olivia Lee — of Channel 4’s Balls of Steel fame — approaching unsuspecting members of the public, and asking to have a browse through their mobile phones.

Met with a fair amount of funny looks — and on one occasion “a go f*ck yourself” — Liberty used the comedian’s on-street antics to flag up the contentious effects of the government’s new snoopers’ charter.