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What if your boss could check your internet browsing history?

August 7, 2015 3:53 PM
By Daisy Cooper in Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Snooper's CharterWhat if you became a criminal just because you attended a rock concert?

And what if a supermarket knew you were pregnant before you did (actually a true story)? And they could sell that information on?

Most people don't know that all three things are entirely possible thanks to the Conservative's Snoopers Charter, the SNP's use of facial recognition software and the power of supermarkets to track your changing shopping habits against your personal data.

Next May, the Police & Crime Commissioner elections will take place in England & Wales, on the same day as devolved elections. As Antony Hook notes, the entire United Kingdom will vote and as the first national election since the General Election it will be seen as a test of all parties one year into the new parliament.

The Commissioner sets policing strategy and holds chief officers to account. This includes how the force is:

Using surveillance and undercover officers;

Policing protests and demonstrations;

Ensuring that citizens from minority groups are treated fairly;

Deciding which types of offence to prioritise resources on.

We have the opportunity as Liberal Democrats to take a distinct approach from all the other parties.

The Conservatives, Labour and the SNP will battle it out to see who takes the toughest stance on law and order, inevitably demanding even greater surveillance powers to keep us safe from criminals.

It falls to us - as liberals - to warn of the dangerous excesses of the state, to warn that we are 'sleep-walking into 1984′.

It's liberals vs authoritarians.

We must fight the next national election on our turf - the Police and Crime Commissioner elections are about the fight for personal Liberty.

This is our election and we must define it on our terms now.

* Daisy Cooper came second in the contest to become Party President in 2014. She is on the party's Diversity Engagement Group though has put these questions to the Leadership candidates in a personal capacity. She was Chair of Campaigns for Norman Baker MP in 2015, and stood as a Parliamentary Candidate in 2010 and 2015.