- The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.
- Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.
- Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.
- Further regulation of CCTV.
- Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.
Glad to see so many suggestions have been taken up from our Database State report. There is nothing detailed in the agreement on the NHS, but I expect the two parties will also scrap the National Programme for IT for the cost savings alone.
"Ending" the storage of Internet and e-mail records will not be possible given the Data Retention Directive that the previous government pushed through in Brussels. However, the Directive is currently being reviewed, so I do hope the UK will be demanding that it be scrapped. Until then, the government could use secondary legislation to reduce the length of time data is stored to six months; stop the "voluntary" storage by ISPs of lists of websites visited by their customers; and seriously reduce the number of government agencies with access to this data. My chapter on regulation of converged communications surveillance contains a number of further suggestions.
I spoke at a College of Law event on Monday on surveillance, alongside an extremely senior police officer with responsibility for CCTV. In his opinion, the £500m+ of public money spent on cameras in the UK since the early 1990s has given a very poor return. Politically, however, it would be difficult to remove existing systems. My suggestion is that all cameras should be subject to a regular value-for-money test. Those not having a significant impact on crime should be automatically removed.