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Protection of Freedoms Bill

Part of Resource Extraction (Transparency and Reporting) – in the House of Commons at 7:57 pm on 1st March 2011.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat, Carshalton and Wallington 7:57 pm, 1st March 2011

Of course we must. Whenever a massive database is introduced, there is significant potential for errors such as mismatches to be hidden in it. I hope that the Committee stage will provide scope for further examination of the details relating to the database. I am thinking particularly of the retention of children’s DNA. In its briefing, Liberty expressed concern about the fact that a child who was caught shoplifting at the age of 10 and again at the age of 12 would remain on the database for the rest of his or her life. If Liberty’s understanding is correct, that makes me extremely uncomfortable.

I am pleased that children will no longer be fingerprinted in schools. I am astonished that schools have never been required to seek permission for that from parents. As for the regulation of surveillance and CCTV, my experience is similar to that of the right hon. Member for Blackburn and others who have spoken today. The most frequent request that I have received as a Member of Parliament has been for additional CCTV systems, but many people have approached me expressing concern about, for instance, the fact that CCTV cameras were pointing straight through their front windows, or their bedroom windows, from premises opposite. I believe that better regulation could solve the problems that have been reported to me, and I therefore welcome the proposals in the Bill.