New ‘Reclaim your DNA website’ welcomed by human rights and race equality

According to Black Mental Health:

A new ‘Reclaim your DNA’ website aimed at helping innocent people contact the police to seek destruction of their DNA and database records has been launched today.

This new online resource offers guidance for the hundreds of thousands of innocent people whose genetic profiles are currently being held of the criminal database.

Welcomed by race equality and human rights groups, this new campaign tool is backed by a coalition of civil rights groups who have condemned the Government for dragging its feet in removing innocent people from the National DNA database.

The website was developed by GeneWatch UK, NO2ID AND Open Rights Group (ORG). It is also supported by Action on Rights for Children (ARCH), Black Mental Health UK and Privacy International.

Byers urges scrapping of ID card plan

Gaby Hinsliff and Toby Helm write on the front page of the Observer:

The climbdown [on MP’s expenses] came as Stephen Byers, a former cabinet minister, called on Brown to scrap ID cards and the replacement of the Trident missile programme because of the recession, warning that it would be a “fraud on the electorate” if all the parties were not open about cutbacks needed to balance Britain’s books. His words reflect a growing divide in cabinet over whether ministers should now admit that specific major programmes will have to be axed after the election, with the business secretary, Peter Mandelson, pushing for what would be a major change of strategy and Brown resisting.

Byers has long supported both identity cards and the nuclear deterrent but said he could not justify to vulnerable constituents the respective £5bn and £70bn bills when basic public services were threatened by the economic crisis.

Every phone call, email or website visit ‘to be monitored’

Tom Whitehead writes in the Daily Telegraph:

Every phone call, email or website visit will be monitored by the state under plans to be unveiled next week.

The proposals will give police and security services the power to snoop on every single communication made by the public with the data then likely to be stored in an enormous national database.

Some details of the consultation, likely to be unveiled on Monday, are emerging:

The consultation is expected to include three options on how the “traffic” information is then stored: a “super database” held by the Government, a database held and run by a quango or private company at arms’ length, or an order to communication providers to store every detail in their own systems, which can then be accessed by the security services is necessary.

Any fool can raise a tax. But it takes a gutless one to splurge it on this stuff

Independent commentators and politicians from the SNP, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats all identify Database State projects as primary candidates for post-budget public spending cuts.

STV reports an exchange in the Scottish Parliament between Scottish Labour leader in Holyrood Iain Gray and First Minister Alex Salmond, SNP:

Mr Gray challenged him to follow the lead set by the Labour Government at Westminster, who were committed to safeguarding front-line services and to five per cent spending increases for local health services and a four per cent rise for schools.

The First Minister replied that he would not have spent billions on Trident nuclear submarines and £5billion on ID cards, two Labour initiatives.

Writing in the Guardian, Simon Jenkins lists government projects that could be cut to reduce the deficit:

These are paltry sums compared with those devoured by the crocodiles. The NHS computer system, which nobody wants, is lost to audit somewhere north of £12.7bn. The project has seen suppliers come and go for years and is now out of control. It is merely a way for the NHS headquarters to mop up the extra sums that Blair and Brown boasted in 2000 that they would spend on health – and found it could not be spent. There is no reason for a single ward to go unstaffed or a single operation to be delayed as long as the NHS spends money like this.

The Home Office’s “war on terror” ID cards continue to wander through the Whitehall undergrowth, gorging between £5bn and £19bn, according to estimate. The Trident submarine replacements are so far put at £20bn, plus £180m a year just to run. Brown’s beloved aircraft carriers are postponed, but will apparently come in cheap, at a minimum of £3.9bn for two. The first three of Jack Straw’s Titan prisons are budgeted at £2.3bn. In prisons there are no economies of scale.

He concludes:

I calculate that the six prestige projects listed above, none of which are economically productive, cost more in total than the revenue of all this week’s tax increases for the next three years. The astonishing truth is that ministers are more scared of upsetting the IOC than the IMF.

Interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme, David Cameron commits a Conservative government to cancelling both National Identity Cards and the Contactpoint database.

Vince Cable, writing in the Independent, disagrees with the Tories on several policies, but agrees about the National Identity Scheme:

This is a time for grown-up debate. The deficit is too big and the public is too cynical of politicians to be taken in by vague, unspecific, promises. The only way forward is to identify, explicitly, areas of government activity which will have to be cut right back. My party has already identified several specific cuts – like the ID card scheme; the NHS IT project; “baby bonds”; refusing unlimited taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power. We believe that there now has to be a serious debate about how to scale back the reach of tax credits; ballooning public sector pension commitments, especially to “fat cats” (like MPs); gross military overstretch; the promise of access to universities for half of all young people; and much else.