Leading article: An intrusion too far

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The Independent Online

The campaign to pass a new law empowering women to find out whether the men they are dating on the internet have violent backgrounds gains momentum today, as the former minister Hazel Blears and the father of murder victim Clare Wood launch their demand for the passage of what is being called "Clare's Law". The Home Secretary, Teresa May, has already let it be known that she looks with favour on the broad idea.

Realistic measures to the stop the routine violence to which far too many women are subjected by their partners deserve the support of every right-thinking person. The problem with "Clare's Law" is that the proposed national database of violent men is bound to be incomplete and may even be misleading, giving many women a false sense of security about potential partners who lack records of violence.

At the same time the proposed law constitutes a blatant intrusion into people's privacy, further eroding our civil liberties and strengthening what is already a formidable surveillance culture in this country. The Home Secretary should think again before lending these proposals her support.