Chris Huhne, Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary, this week launched a 20 point plan to reverse the government’s progressive invasion of individual freedom and privacy. Both Labour and conservative governments have progressively attacked and undermined the rights of the individual citizen and now the Liberal Democrats have published a “Freedom Bill”. This draft legislation will detail twenty measures including:
• Cut the maximum pre-charge detention period from 28 to 14 days
• Abolish the veto in the Freedom of Information Act that allows ministers to keep information secret
• Scrap the ID card scheme
• Remove all innocent people from the DNA database, except for those tried for a violent or sexual offence
• Stop councils and others snooping by restricting the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to serious and terrorist offences
• Scrap the ContactPoint database of all children in Britain.
The Bill was welcomed by Local Campaigner Dr Charles West.
“MPs seem too often to impose rules on the rest of the country and then exempt themselves”, said Dr West. “We have seen this with MPs’ expenses, and tax returns, and the ContactPoint database is yet another example. Every child in the country will be recorded on this database, with a few expetions such as the children of MPs. If it is not safe for MPs’ children then it is not safe for our children either.”
“Today Richard Thomas, the Information commissioner said that “creeping surveillance” in the public and private sectors had gone “too far, too fast” and risked undermining democracy.”
“Freedom is a precious thing. We should remember what Benjamin Franklin said over two hundred years ago ‘They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’