Tories vow to fight for privacy

By Ian Dunt

The Conservatives have pledged to tackle the rise of the surveillance state by scrapping ID cards and CentrePoint.

In a major announcement designed to assure civil libertarians of the party’s commitment to the issue, the party policy paper, set to be presented by shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieves today, will confirm that the ID cards central register will be scrapped together with the cards themselves.

The move will please campaigners, who have long warned that the national identity register poses as much a threat as the cards.

It will also be seen as a clear move to confirm the Tory commitment to civil liberties. David Cameron’s clear disagreement with former shadow home secretary David Davis over his unprecedented by-election on 42-day detention led some to perceive the Tory leader as slight on the issue.

Contactpoint, which also faces the axe, holds the details of 11 million children and young people.

The party will also move to limit the storage of innocent people’s DNA.

A recent European court of human rights ruling found current practise – where anyone charged with a crime has their details kept regardless of later acquittal – to be illegal.

The government will soon be publishing its own plans for reforming the system, although early signs that many innocent people will have their details kept for years frustrated campaigners.