I know many of my liberty-minded friends have little time for Liberty (fka the National Council for Civil Liberties). At times in its history it has been little better than a leftist front falsely associating highly illiberal people with the idea of freedom. Sometimes, however, it gets it right and though sometimes I have to hold my nose to be so, I am a member.
The Government plans to instruct private companies to collect and store our "communications data". That means records of emails, web activity, texts and phone calls - for the entire population. The reasons for storing the data are very broadly defined. Access could be granted to hundreds of public bodies for reasons that have nothing to do with fighting crime.
This amounts to mass, blanket surveillance of the population - outsourced to the private sector.
Yes, the Snooper's Charter - seen off during the last Labour government - is back. Compare and contrast the government's stance on our privacy with its approach to its own - as witness the dishonestly-named Justice and Security Bill which will create secret trials in the land of habeas corpus and Magna Carta.
I now have to ask myself what exactly is the point of the Conservative Party? It, and its coalition partners, promised they would roll back Labour's assault on civil liberty. These latest proposals suggest otherwise.