At some point in the next few hours, we’re likely to find out the shape of the next government. I deliberately avoided commenting on my political preferences in the run-up to the election, preferring to remain neutral. However, now that the votes are in, from a privacy, identity and consent perspective I’m hoping hard to see a Con-Lib alliance.
Purely taking these issues into account, the Liberal Democrats have a very attractive manifesto indeed. Whilst similar to the Conservatives in these areas, they have promised to go so far as scrapping biometric passports, which is an area on which the Tories have been mute. The two parties can coalesce around many sensible policies that include scrapping the National Identity Register and Contactpoint, enhancing or replacing current privacy and libel laws, protecting freedom of speech, and putting an end to the past 13 years’ relentless and ruthless accumulation of personal information.
Not that ending these projects will be the end of the issues: anyone who thinks that the UK can live without some form of population-scale authentication system – ideally not one provided by the State – is ignoring the realities of the Internet age. I fervently hope that a Con-Lib government would bring common sense coupled with a degree of humility and introspection, qualities that can only help to enhance the government’s attitudes towards privacy and consent.