Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Conservatives And The Surveillance State

Dominic Grieve the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, has outlined plans to reduce the role of surveillance by the state. This is just what I want to be hearing from opposition parties, given we've had 10 years of silly laws that have no regard to fairness, legality, common-sense or that little thing called privacy.

Some of the Tories policies are perfectly credible and I would imagine easy to implement. The problem with these proposals is what it's always been, they want us to trust that they will not be temped by the power the surveillance state presents. When those buzz words "terrorism" and "public interest" are like a trump cards for anything and databases are a quick fix for everything, they the Tories unlike Labour won't be temped.

They include the proposal for a British Bill of Rights they've previously mentioned, which will protect personal privacy, it's effectiveness of course will be determined by how it's implemented. Oddly for something so monumental though, information is sadly lacking. I hope it won't end up like Jack Straw's Bill of Conditional Rights and Many Responsibilities.

Yet regardless of the Tories policy, I can't help but feel uneasy, this is an easy stick to beat New Labour with, as perfectly illustrated by the documentation released along side this speech, it's like shooting ducks in a barrow. Will they really do it? I'm not so sure, yet the balance needs to be readdressed. Which is something that does work in the Tories favour, we know New Labour won't do it.

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