Protection of Freedoms Act is a landmark achievement in fight for civil liberties – Jo

Jo Swinson MP for East Dunbartonshire applauded a landmark move to roll back Labour’s surveillance state that became law yesterday.

In Scotland the Protection of Freedoms Act will:

  • Stop councils from snooping on people, checking their bins or school catchment area
  • Reduces the maximum period of pre-charge detention from 28 to 14 days
  • Delete historical convictions for men who have had consensual gay sex with someone who was over 16

Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for this piece of legislation, proposing a “Freedom Bill” more than four years ago when Nick Clegg was the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesman.

Commenting, Jo Swinson said:

“This is a milestone in the fight to gain back our civil liberties. Under Labour, our civil liberties were steadily eroded by an increasingly over-bearing security state.

“Liberal Democrats have done the right thing by ending these shameful practices with the Protection of Freedoms Act. It builds on the scrapping of the ID card scheme and the destruction of the National Identity Register and is a leap forward in bringing Labour’s surveillance state to an end.

“This Act will stop councils from putting CCTV cameras everywhere to snoop on residents without good reason, ending Labour’s laws that allowed them to spy on us whenever they wanted.


  1. Britain has 1% of the world’s population but a fifth of the world’s CCTV cameras.
  1. 28 days is longest period of pre-charge detention of any comparable democracy, in the USA it is 2 days, in Ireland it is 7 days, in Canada 1 day and in Italy 4 days
  1. Conservative Gosport Council in Hampshire admitted to using digital cameras and binoculars to spy on people walking their dogs, while Poole Borough Council in Dorset admitted to spying on a family for two weeks to find out if they were lying about living in a school catchment area.

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