Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lib Dems to launch attack on "surveillance society''

Good news in the Independent this morning: the Liberal Democrats are going to launch an attack on Britain's "surveillance society'' at our Conference in Brighton next month.

This is good news, firstly, because we are clearly in the right. The newspaper lists some of the areas of concern that the Lib Dems will highlight:
  • The CCTV cameras that have sprouted up in every town and some villages, at a ratio of one for every 16 people, making Britain the most "watched" country on the planet.
  • The DNA database, "the largest in the world", which has data on 140,000 innocent people, with a disproportionate number from ethnic minorities.
  • The Information Commissioner, who has no power to restrict "data mining" and data processing requests by government agencies and reports to ministers rather than Parliament.
  • Requests for communications traffic data by the police and other investigative authorities which topped 439,000 between January 2005 and April 2006.
  • Intercept warrants, which exceeded 2,240 in the 16 months to April 2006 under laws making the UK alone among democratic nations to have warrants granted by ministers.
It is also good news because it will help to differentiate us from the other parties. With Gordon Brown's emphasis on Unionism in Scotland and fighting terrorism at Westminster, we have to be wary of taking up positions from which it is impossible to attack the government.

Finally, it is good news because it may help to put the Conservatives on the spot. There is no doubt that many Tory front-benchers have libertarian instincts. There is little doubt that many Tory members do not share them.

1 comment:

James Graham said...

Steady - this almost sounds like a core vote strategy. I thought the Lib Dem PTB forbade such a thing on the basis that it might result in more troublesome activists? ;)