Chinese spy balloons and social media snooping are reasons to get 'our knickers in a twist' – Scotsman comment

Thankfully, physicist Brian Cox has put paid to suggestions that aliens are among us – the Scotsman hadn’t, ahem, ruled it out, but only because a top US general hadn’t either – by pointing out an advanced civilisation capable of travelling across the galaxy unobserved by human scientists probably wouldn’t have launched a fleet of “easily detectable balloons” on arrival.

There was further reassurance, of a sort, from Kim Darroch, former UK ambassador to the US, who said people should “sleep easy in their beds” despite the prospect of Chinese, not alien, spy balloons overhead.

The UK, he said, had “enough capability” to deal with such surveillance although whether the armed forces possessed “a watertight capability as the Prime Minister says” he wasn’t so sure. But besides, Darroch said “an awful lot of that goes on everywhere” and has been “going on for years” so “we shouldn't be panicking about it”.

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Air Chief Marshal Michael Graydon added to the general message of ‘get a grip, Britain’, by saying more information was needed about the balloons' capabilities “before we get our knickers too much in the twist”. Hear, hear. At The Scotsman, we generally like our knickers to be in the appropriate angle of twist, based on a reasoned assessment of the circumstances.

The idea that we are being routinely spied upon from the skies, adding to concerns about TikTok and other Chinese tech, is perhaps ‘somewhat worrying’. But given social media companies and Google sometimes seem to know more about us than our families or even ourselves, it appears we’re quite relaxed about various ‘Big Brothers’ watching over us. The question is, should we be?



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