David participated in the ‘Scrambling for Safety’ Conference, hosted by the London School of Economics, which featured a debate on the government’s recent proposals to hugely extend the internet surveillance powers of the intelligence services.
The conference was organised by a number of civil liberties groups, including Privacy International and Big Brother Watch and, in addition to David, was attended by MPs Dr Julian Huppert and Tom Brake (both Lib Dems); Shami Chakrabarti- director of Liberty; academics including Dr Ross Anderson of Cambridge University’s computer science department; and Sir Chris Fox, the former Chief Police Officer.
David spoke strongly against the so-called “Snooper’s Charter”, stating that it would create a “nation of suspects” in which the innocent would be hit hard by further intrusions into their privacy, whilst the dangerous individuals supposedly targeted by the extension of surveillance powers would easily evade detection. The proposals were, he said, the product of ministerial ignorance of both technology and the terrorist threat facing the United Kingdom.
David further made clear that he did not believe such fundamental civil liberties issues were a party-political matter, and that far from attempting to extend and “modernise” our laws, we should be rolling back the already excessive levels of surveillance allowed by, for example, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and the Data Retention Directive.
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