An Open Letter to the LibDem Party Leadership!
Lynne Featherstone emailed the LibDem leadership yesterday evening trying to reassure us that they haven’t gone over to the Dark Side.
Lynne or whoever wrote the email in LDHQ said this:
Liberal Democrats have always been, and will continue to be, opposed to a centralised database that allows government to monitor your internet activity at will.
That is not going to happen under these proposals and never will happen in a government that includes me and the Liberal Democrats.
This is the same line that Nick Clegg used yesterday in this clip.
The party membership understand that you’re not going to have a centralised government database instead you are going to ask ISPs to collect data from third parties like Skype and Facebook, which under current rules they are not allowed to do unless they use the data for business reasons. Not to mention Conference voted on this a couple of weeks ago and part d) of the LibDem requirements says:
ensuring that service providers are not mandated by law to collect third-party communications data for non-business purposes by any method;
This is exactly what the proposals do as service providers don’t hold data about Skype and Facebook usage or any other third-party software used by users to communicate with one another.
Instead of creating one database you’re creating several databases. Then under the next Labour government the data will be centralised because we know how Labour love to centralise data and then lose data.
When the LibDems campaigned against Labour’s centralised database, I nor anyone else thought it was purely because the data was centralised. It was because that the specific data being collected shouldn’t be collected unless the police have evidence to suspect someone of serious crime. It didn’t matter whether it was centralised or there were several companies who kept different bits of the database.
I understand the data is there with all the different companies at any rate although not in the form that makes it easy to only see the communications data of the message without the content. The companies themselves are under strict rules of how to deal with this data. In order for you to allow ISPs to collect this data, you would have to relax those rules surely. Again, not good.
The reason I and many other LibDems oppose is:
a) This is an extensions of powers, powers which shouldn’t have been enacted in the first place.
b) You are creating infrastructure that doesn’t exist currently in order to spy on us. It doesn’t matter whether government has the data or private companies has the data. I’m a liberal and I’m suspicious of everyone whether it be government or private companies. You’re asking private companies to collect the data so that you can ask them “willy-nilly” about specific people. How is that significantly different to Labour’s plan of a centralised database?
This is considering that getting the Header information on the time, sender and receiver data away from the content of the message which many people do not believe to be possible. That goes against the briefing that says you are not after the content data just the communications data.
Please before the party gets into another tuition fees or NHS, and this is worse because its going against our party name, stop this in its tracks.