London, Feb.23 (ANI): Former British Home Secretary David Blunkett, who introduced the idea of identity cards, will issue a stark warning to the Government that it is in danger of abusing its power by taking Britain towards a "Big Brother" state.
At the 21st annual law lecture in Essex University's Colchester campus, The Independent says Blunkett will urge ministers to rethink policy and counter criticism from civil liberties campaigners that Labour is creating a "surveillance society."
He will come out against the Government's controversial plan to set up a database holding details of telephone calls and emails and its proposal to allow public bodies to share personal data with each other.
His surprise intervention will be welcomed by campaign groups, who regard him as a hardliner because of his strong backing for a national ID card scheme and tough anti-terror laws.
The former home secretary will propose a U-turn on ID cards for British citizens, although he agrees with plans to make them compulsory for foreign nationals.
Instead, holding a passport would become compulsory for all British people, who could choose to "opt in" to the ID card scheme if they wished.
Blunkett will insist Labour has got the balance between liberty and security broadly right. But he will argue that it has unwittingly given ammunition to its critics by allowing legislation to be used for wider purposes than originally intended.
Blunkett will urge the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, to water down provisions in the Coroners and Justice Bill on data sharing between public bodies. He will argue that people's rights are already being breached - not by the Government but by "private enterprise surveillance and intrusion, coupled with data theft, fraud and information and data insecurity". He will call for the Information Commissioner to be given greater powers in these areas. (ANI)