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Election an opportunity to win back privacy says Clegg

March 18, 2010 6:56 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

In his speech to Privacy International to mark their 20th Anniversary, Nick Clegg will say:

"Labour has spent 13 years trampling over people's privacy. From allowing children's fingerprints to be taken at school without their parents' consent; to making us a world leader in CCTV; to wasting vast sums of taxpayers' money on giant databases that hoard our personal details. And now we hear that ministers want pensioners to swap their bus passes for ID cards.

"The Government's staggering record on losing private data - leaving it in pub car parks and on commuter trains - just makes matters worse.

"And there's an even bigger issue at stake: Labour's flagrant disregard for our privacy flies in the face of hard won British liberty. It betrays a deep distrust of the British people, as well as an obsession with controlling every aspect of everyday life from Whitehall.

"Those same reflexes underpin this Government's obsession with law-making. Since 1997 they have flooded the statute books with nearly 4,300 new ways of making us criminals. Some of them are completely bizarre, like 'disturbing a pack of eggs when directed not to by an authorised officer', and 'causing a nuclear explosion', as if we needed a new law for that.

"And where do all these new laws get us? Only one in a hundred crimes ends in a conviction in court.

"The Conservatives talk a good game on privacy, but scratch beneath the surface and it's clear they can't be trusted to roll back Labour's surveillance state. Just look at their plans to make it even easier for the police to watch and record people getting on with their daily lives, all in the name of cutting red tape.

"Only the Liberal Democrats will bring an end to the endless snooping on innocent people."