Overall, the report’s good news. I think that people are becoming increasingly concerned about the way in which the state accumulates and retains personal information on their lives and the report reflects that.
I’m glad that the Conservatives are alive to the Government’s excessive surveillance and data gathering, and their pledge to scrap the National Identity Database is particularly encouraging. That’s the sort of firm commitment Big Brother Watch intends to hold the next government to.
But the report says nothing about the worrying problem of excessive CCTV recording and chooses to limit rather than remove powers to monitor citizens through data chips in rubbish bins and other household goods.
It makes it clear that the Conservatives would stop the retention of DNA of most, but not all, suspects in new offences, but makes no provision for a timetable for the removal from the DNA database of the details of innocent people who have already had their DNA taken from them.
Also, West Wing devotees will know the dangers of the “process story”, the questioning of how an organisation managed to clash two policy announcements rather than managing to coordinate them properly. Grieve’s work is receiving second billing to the CSJ’s Welfare Report today – and surely the Conservative Party knew that it was coming...
I’m going to the Grieve launch today and will update this post afterwards.UPDATE Nothing much to add from the launch. Grieve expressed proper opposition to the most recent vetting plans, which aren't covered in the Report. He was an assured master of his brief in a way one might wish all ministers and shadow ministers to be. But no promises on, e.g., vetoing the collection of e-mails. So - it's steady as she goes from the Shadow Cabinet on this issue for the moment.