COLETTE Douglas-Home is right to rail against Westminster's continuing plans to spy on all our web activity ("We would be fools not to fight this snoops' charter", The Herald, April 3).

It is important to be clear just how intrusive the proposal is. The Government seeks to hide the true scope of the data that would be collected by pretending that there is some distinction between "traffic data" and "content" on the web. It is an entirely false proposition. Knowing the address of a website that someone has visited allows the content to be viewed.

People seeking information about rape crisis centres, medical symptoms, pregnancy, paternity or abortion services, divorce lawyers, or anything else that might be sensitive in their personal context, would be faced with the knowledge that myriad state workers would be able to infer very private information. And it is not just the state.

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After the revelations of the Leveson inquiry, nobody could credibly suggest that such data would not filter through to tabloid newspapers on an industrial scale.

In this time of austerity, with beloved public services being cut, high-salaried civil servants are being paid to find a way to squander billions of pounds on this unjustifiable, immoral and unwanted scheme. The Home Office is a cancer at the heart of the British state and needs to be cut out entirely.

Dr Geraint Bevan,

NO2ID Scotland,

3e Grovepark Gardens, Glasgow.

Secular safeguards

ALAN Clayton writes (Letters, April 3): "There is in current secular liberalism more than a reflection of the threatening and brutally intolerant fascism which so terrified my parents and grandparents."

I take the project of secular liberalism to be as follows: to resist or unpick laws and practices which make everyone live according to some people's religion, where the things that the religion forbids are good or at least harmless; and at the same time to leave everyone free to follow his or her religion, if any, in their own lives so long as no harm is caused to others.

Is that really "threatening and intolerant fascism"?

Paul Brownsey,

19 Larchfield Road,

Bearsden.