10.3 Are our freedoms being eroded by the war on terror?
Writer and columnist Henry Porter is an active campaigner on civil rights issues. He argues – in particular contrast to Richard Mottram – that new legislation and the introduction of new surveillance techniques are indeed endangering the privacy of British citizens and threatening civil liberties. In a piece for The Observer entitled ‘Why I Told Parliament: you’ve failed us on liberty’, he argues that we are currently seeing not only the most serious attack on personal freedom and privacy ever mounted in peacetime, but also the advent of the ‘database state’. On this basis, he advocates the introduction of a new Bill of Rights. Few of the threats he identifies are linked purely with the ‘terror laws’ he mentions in the summary, but a range of other measures are also linked with the security issue and the restrictions of personal freedoms introduced in order to prevent terrorist activity.
Activity 46 Why I told Parliament: You’ve failed us on liberty
Please readnow. You should make sure you understand why he sees such a ‘shocking loss of rights in Britain’ and can identify the range of factors that seem to be responsible for this disquieting turn of events.
We have also conducted an interview with Henry Porter, and his responses can be heard in the audio you will listen to later this section.