Monday, January 02, 2006

War on civil liberties continues

Marcel Berlins is not optimistic about the prospect for civil liberties during 2006 and the continued "war" on terror:

Who would have thought, only a few years ago, that our much maligned conservative, allegedly out-of-touch, government-lackey judiciary would be the main defenders of our liberties and the rule of law against an executive (Labour, what's more) hell-bent on destroying them? The most recent bit of appalling legislation, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, was used to convict Maya Evans, who, near the Cenotaph, read out the names of British soldiers who died in Iraq. This, asserts Lord Falconer, the lord chancellor, is in no way a restriction of freedom of expression... Yesterday another immensely objectionable part of the same act came into force, in effect allowing the police to arrest without warrant anyone for any offence, however trivial, and as a result to be entitled to keep their DNA samples, fingerprints or photographs for evermore, whether or not they are ever charged or convicted. Many more such outrageous ideas will be thought up in 2006; some, regrettably, will become law.

All I would add is that the Lords have also been stout defenders of freedom; just maybe, 2006 will be the year that their colleagues in the Commons finally wake up and become equally steadfast in the cause of liberty.

1 comment:

Dan Lockton said...

It's the "many more such outrageous ideas will be thought up" bit which rings so true: at some point, we seem to have crossed a line in the UK where all possible "power-enabling" uses of technology _must_ be put into practice - from cameras recording every car journey and keeping the details (forever?) in a database, to the possibility of merging all the various ID databases, to this DNA issue. It's almost as if certain politicians (or their policy advisors) have just discovered that data can be logged, and are drunk with the possibilities. "Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial". I despair.