Promising first comments on online snooping from Jeremy Browne

In his first interview since becoming a Home Office Minister, Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne has had some promising things to say about his attitude towards the Draft Communications Data Bill (aka snoopers’ charter):

Mr Browne said: “People can rest assured we will be very vigilant defenders of civil liberties.

“Our starting point, the reason I became a Liberal Democrat, and the reason many people joined the Liberal Democrats, is because they want people to be free and empowered and are suspicious of the state taking on excessive authority.”

He insisted the internet-surveillance plan, which is now being examined by a parliamentary committee, was not a “done deal”. He said: “If the die was cast, [the committee’s] work would be redundant. We need to look seriously at what their thoughts are.”…

“We want to make sure we have the tools necessary to protect the public, but it’s always worth remembering that the state is a servant of the people, not the other way round. What we have to do is ensure people are free from unnecessary or excessive interference in their lives.” He said that “overwhelming evidence” would have to be presented before the party backed any measure that eroded that freedom.

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