Privacy: War on Terror Weakens Laws

The International Commission of Jurists, the Geneva based NGO, has produced a report, following a three year global study on the effects of the “War on Terror”, on law and human rights.

Unsurprisingly the results are very damning, with Justice Arthur Chaskalson, the Chair of the Panel stating that:

In the course of this inquiry, we have been shocked by the extent of the damage done over the past seven years by excessive or abusive counter-terrorism measures in a wide range of countries around the world. Many governments, ignoring the lessons of history, have allowed themselves to be rushed into hasty responses to terrorism that have undermined cherished values and violated human rights. The result is a serious threat to the integrity of the international human rights legal framework,

These worlds echo those of the Chair of the House of Lords Report into Privacy, Lord Goodlad, who stated that ““The UK now has more CCTV cameras and a bigger National DNA Database than any other country. There can be no justification for this gradual but incessant creep towards every detail about us being recorded and pored over by the state”

The words of the  ICJ are again mirrored by those of the former head of MI5, Dame Stella Rimington, who stated that:  “[The Government]…attempt to pass laws which interfere with people’s privacy…..It would be better that the Government recognised that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, precisely one of the objects of terrorism: that we live in fear and under a police state.”

With major agencies and bodies,  from Liberty and  Amnesty International to MI5 and the House of Lords, stating that the government has overstepped the mark with regards to privacy. When is enough enough?

What needs to happen before the course of action is changed?

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