In our election manifesto, Big Brother Watch calls for 'a commitment to exercise the British opt-out of the European Arrest Warrant on 1st June 2014'.
Our reason for including this as one of the 30 key pledges, is that we are increasingly concerned about foreign countries being able to hold sway over our liberty and privacy, seemingly without much accountability. As the Gary McKinnon case showed - in cases of extradition, more often than not the person and the issue get ignored and the case becomes a political football.
So we are very concerned by this morning's revelations about a potential increase in the powers afforded by both the European Arrest Warrant and European Evidence Warrant; as the Daily Telegraph explains:
The European Union has put forward a proposal for a continent-wide search warrant, which could be issued in any state, and which would be binding on all police forces.
Under the proposals, authorities in countries such as Poland would be given the power to demand that British police seize the bank account details of a suspect living in this country.
Warrants could also be issued which would force police to intercept phone calls, set up CCTV surveillance, monitor bank accounts, and even demand body samples such as fingerprints or DNA.
It would even allow magistrates or judges in one EU state to authorise searches of a person's property in another state, and seizure of evidence.
This is a very dangerous escalation in EU surveillance powers that needs to be stopped - and the privacy implications properly discussed - before it is too late. Tragically, the minutes of a parliamentary committee show that BBW's old bête noire, Home office minister Meg Hillier, has backed the new proposal, saying:
"We would in principle support a new and comprehensive instrument based on mutual recognition that covers all types of evidence."
By Dylan Sharpe