Phil (I think we're familiar now), being Phil, is apparently well aware that safeguards are needed in that regard before people can truly trust the state to use such tools responsibly.
As this particular libertarian has mentioned previously, the only real issue with such technology is the human propensity to abuse it. Listen, I'm no luddite, nor do I believe is Alex Deane who excoriated Philikins (too familiar?) at the IEA, or the No2ID contingent who were equally surprised at his unexpected stance on the night. I'm sure they accept that, for example, CCTV has a valid place in modern society - in fact, I know the latter do as I asked them - but that the accompanying control just isn't currently satisfactory.
As I sipped my tax-funded tea (as promised, I didn't have a choccie biccie mostly because it wasn't offered ... cuts, eh?) I hope I made clear - unaccustomed to sober debate as I am - that the biggest fear is mission creep.
You know, that horrible feeling that we've been duped into a quite revolting restriction of liberty on a false premise.
Like this, for example.
A grandmother has been jailed for five years for possessing a "family heirloom" World War II pistol.Just to clear something up for the cynical. The reason that Cochrane would have pleaded guilty is that there is, officially, no defence as the law currently stands. Possession is possession and that's that.
Gail Cochrane, 53, had kept the gun for 29 years following the death of her father, who had been in the Royal Navy.
Police found the weapon, a Browning self-loading pistol, during a search of her home in Dundee while looking for her son.
She admitted illegal possession of the firearm, an offence with a minimum five-year jail term under Scots law.
Cochrane told the High Court in Edinburgh that she had never contemplated she might be committing a crime by keeping the gun or that she might need to get a licence for the weapon.
She said: "I thought it was just a war trophy."
Now, we have seen this before with a guy called Paul Clarke. However, the differences in Clarke's case are twofold. Firstly, he managed to escape the mandatory 5 year prison sentence, and secondly, he was only arrested In the first place because he attempted to hand the weapon in.
Yet Gail Cochrane is now behind bars for not only not knowing that she had committed an offence, but also for not trotting down the police station with her family keepsake, which could have resulted in the same zero-tolerance 'possession' charge anyway if Clarke's experience is to be taken as a guide. What's more, her ignorance of the need to declare her serviceman father's weapon was used against her.
Judge Lady Smith said: "I am not satisfied that a reasonable explanation has been put forward for not handing this gun into the authorities throughout the 29-year period she says she has had it in her possession."Now, Jack of Kent was calmness personified during the Paul Clarke affair and offered many sceptical insights into how such a prosecution could be justified, so hopefully he will lend his expertise to this case too.
Especially since there is no suggestion that the weapon was ever going to be used.
She said she believed it was a real gun, but had no ammunition for it.You see, this is the problem. A law brought in to punish dangerous gangsters and criminals has been applied, apparently without common sense, to jail a grandmother for 5 years.
The weapon was sent for examination by firearms experts who concluded that it was a Czech-made pistol dating back to about 1927.
I'm sure if JoK casts his legal eye over the case he will pull out something which isn't evident from the bald reportage from the BBC, but this woman is clearly no Griselda Blanco, so one must presently conclude that mission creep has again come into play, and that a law intended for the dangerous and inexcusable has been turned on an unfortunate, and seemingly innocent, member of the public.
There are many sides to the crime and punishment coin. This case, yet again, proves that before any measures are proposed, promoted, or wildly encouraged, let alone implemented, all unintended consequences should be fully explored to avoid the public feeling that they have lost their own liberties as a result.