Prior to becoming PM Cameron said…
“If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state.”
In opposition the liberal Conservatives were hardline in opposing New Labour’s surveillance state. David Cameron gave speeches attacking it:
…stopping the state from exerting too much power over us demands another big change. This Government is running not just a control state, but a surveillance state. In 2007, Privacy International ranked Britain’s privacy protections joint 43rd out of 47 countries surveyed – with the worst record in Europe, and only marginally better than Russia and China. Faced with any problem, any crisis – given any excuse – Labour grasp for more information, pulling more and more people into the clutches of state data capture… And the Government doesn’t want to stop with the basic information. They want the most complex, important, personal information there is… Scare tactics to herd more disempowered citizens into the clutches of officialdom, as people surrender more and more information about their lives, giving the state more and more power over their lives. If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state.
Dave’s government is now proposing to allow the security services to monitor every single email, Facebook status update, text and tweet. This is such an about turn, which will ramp up the surveillance state so much, that one wonders if it is deliberately being set out to be defeated. The Coalition Agreement promised “We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason”, libertarian Tories and the LibDem left will surely form a parliamentary coalition against it which a cynical opposition will surely join. The more Machiavellian-minded might suspect that the purpose of the proposal is for it to be dropped and thereby demonstrate that the government is listening to its backbenchers. Surely when we already have Google already monitoring everything, we hardly need the state to get in the game…
So Dave has finally done it, he is actually lifted a government policy from the first episode of the Thick of It with the creation of the Snooper Force, or is that Sponge Avengers? However noble the pursuit of hunting scroungers, the end does not justify the means. The government trawling any private data should immediately start to ring alarm bells.
Just months ago Dave and Nick were singing from a very different hymn sheet at their infamous Rose Garden press conference. What did they offer?
“…a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government and roll back state intrusion.”
It seems like only an election ago that Clegg and Cameron were promising to end ID cards and the enchroachments of the database state. Where does snooping on innocent people’s credit card transactions fit into that?
In a gaffe worthy of Nicola Murray and the DoSaC team from the The Thick of It, the stasi-esque titled Identity Minister, Meg Hillier, turned up to an ID card unveiling in Liverpool without her ID card. As the Liverpool Post reports:
The former journalist and mother patted herself down and checked her handbag for the missing card before putting the slip-up down to the demands of looking after her baby. She then posed in front of the city’s landmark Liver Buildings alongside the vast River Mersey without her card.
What a fantastic advertisement for those simple and effective cards that make life and travel so much easier. Hillier was there to encourage residents of the North West to take up the scheme but in one cock-up has summed up just how pointless it is. This non-entity Minister should lose her job as well as her identity card.
The process is different to that required for merely identifying fingerprints – NO2ID intend to be able to reproduce Jacqui’s fingerprints. They tell Guido they are pretty confident as to the quality of the result.
The picture above shows the glass sitting on top of the speech she has just delivered assuring us that biometric data will be secure. See also here and here for more details on the hunt for Jacqui’s fingerprints…
*On legal advice the NO2ID campaign plans to return the glass tomorrow to the speech venue.