Ashdown: state surveillance plans counter coalition agreement

Public Servant reports:

State surveillance plans, which have been labelled as a ‘snoopers’ charter’, are disproportionate, breach principles and go against what was promised in the coalition agreement, Liberal Democrat peer Paddy Ashdown has warned.

Lord Ashdown, a former Lib Dem leader, said his party recognised the need for government to intercept private communications when it was “necessary for national security”.

But writing in The Times, he said this right was only justified when it was applied to an individual and “based on specific evidence”. He said the government could not treat “us as a nation of suspects”, adding that the right to intercept communications could not be justified “on the ground that the information gathered might be useful to the state at some unspecified date in the future”.

“The government’s new proposals to extend the retention of email, social media, websites and internet phone records breach these basic principles; they are disproportionate and seek a generalised extension of state monitoring that applies to everyone, rather than to individuals,” he said.