Following on from my post the other day about privacy and the notorious “back door”, I’m surprised Lord McNally has been taken in sufficiently to propose new privacy legislation to “clarify” the law and remove some of its dangerous and onerous aspects, to use his words. He obviously wants privacy protection watered down.
I explained yesterday at the Guardian’s Comment is Free why I think this contradicts his party’s stance on civil liberties and human rights in other fields, and why I’m opposed:
To understand what’s at stake here, we need to notice the types of cases that are actually causing concern in press circles. They aren’t those involving politics, corruption or public money. On the contrary, they more often involve celebrity, sport and sex … If it’s true that privacy law has begun to prevent such exposures then that should be reassuring rather than dangerous. The fact that it didn’t do so in Mosley’s case or John Terry’s ought to make people think before concluding that those stealthy privacy judges have gone too far.
Fans of the Human Rights Act used to berate the previous Labour government for any rhetoric suggesting it might row back on the Act to any extent – but it never actually amended it to weaken any of the rights in the way Lord McNally wants to do with privacy. Strange that a Liberal Democrat, so many of whom normally defend the HRA and judges unconditionally, should be so eager to check them in this instance. Are the tabloids in charge of the government?