UK Liberty


Posted in database state, law and order, surveillance society by ukliberty on February 10, 2009

Phil Woolas (Minister of State (also in the Home Office), Home Office; Oldham East & Saddleworth, Labour) Link to this |Hansard source | Video match this

The hon. Gentleman says that we heard about the matter this weekend, but the programme referred to in the weekend press has been known about and debated in this House for four years. It is part of the shake-up of border controls. The introduction of e-Borders allows the Border and Immigration Agency to track movement in and out of the country, which is necessary to control our borders. It is, of course, done proportionately[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman dismisses my answer; I take it that he agrees with the hon. Gentleman for the front page , Chris Grayling, who is clearly more interested in scoring political points than he is in controlling our borders.

I can’t see how the blanket retention of all data relating to all journeys in and out of the UK can possibly be proportionate, particularly as the data they store now only leads to 0.0036% of travellers being arrested (no information on convictions, as per usual).  This is even lower than the proportion of people arrested (for any reason) after being searched under s44 Terrorism Act.

It’s a real shame someone has to be a ‘victim’ before they can challenge this sort of thing in court.  As it is, we have to wait until someone becomes a victim, they will spend several years battling it all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, which will probably find against it, and then the Government will procrastinate for months if not years about compliance with the ruling.

The Government has no mandate for this.  Only one fifth of the electorate voted for the party now in power.  And I don’t recall this being in its manifesto.


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