I've got in a bit of a scrap defending Jill Saward over at Libcon, although the discussion has led me to raise a point about one of the pro Liberty arguments currently being bandied about.
A major argument against state databases, CCTV and the like is that it creates an infrastructure of repression, a set of tools that might allow a future government to do certain sinister things. The other major argument, applying specifically to databases is that the data might be stolen and used once again for sinister things.
My problem is that I don't think that this argument is always valid. In order to make their case against the database state, the liberty lobby need to demonstrate situations where a future government might be able to abuse government data. It needs to demonstrate that if the data held by the state is stolen that it could be put to dangerous use.
A big problem here is that while we are told that we are sleepwalking into an Orwellian nightmare, few people ever take the time to demonstrate how it might happen. Simply put, we need fewer speeches about the Magna Carta and grand notions of Liberty and more clear demonstrations of what the clear and present dangers actually are.