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Clarke examines ‘Big Brother’ laws

Clarke examines ‘Big Brother’ laws

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has hinted that the Government could review laws if they are deemed to violate the privacy of citizens.

Mr Clarke said all states have "a natural tendency to accumulate more power than they need and to impose more restrictions than are strictly and sensibly necessary".

He added that the Government was now examining its counter-terrorism laws, and accused the previous Labour government of getting the balance between the need for information and protecting people's privacy wrong.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has already expressed his doubts and questioned whether the new laws are justified or even being used as intended.

Warnings that Britain is "sleepwalking into a surveillance society" are "no less cogent" in 2010 than they were four years ago, a report found.

Mr Clarke said there would be a "lot less ill-considered laws" if scrutiny of how they are being used in practice was brought in.

"It becomes important every now and again to check that process, go back to first principles, and actually to make sure the balance of principles is corrected again," he said.

He was speaking at the launch of five years of celebrations in Runnymede, Surrey, to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta which began the process that would define the limits of what the state can and cannot do.

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