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Britain now the most invasive surveillance state


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Via Right to privacy broken by a quarter of UK’s public databases, says report | The Guardian, we learn that “Britain is now the most invasive surveillance state and the worst at protecting privacy of any western democracy”: A quarter of all the largest public-sector database projects, including the ID cards register, are fundamentally flawed and clearly breach European data protection and rights laws, according to a report published today. Claiming to be the most comprehensive map so far of […]

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Government abandons data-sharing scheme – Telegraph


The Government has been forced into an embarrassing U-turn over plans to share vast amounts of private data about individuals. Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, is to shelve proposals which critics said would have led to patients’ confidential medical records being passed to third parties. A spokesman for Mr Straw said the “strength of feeling” against the plans had persuaded him to rethink. The proposals will be dropped entirely from the Coroners and Justice Bill, and a new attempt will […]

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Road speed limit cut to 50mph


THE government is to cut the national speed limit from 60mph to 50mph on most of Britain’s roads, enforced by a new generation of average speed cameras. The reduction , to be imposed as early as next year, will affect two thirds of the country’s road network. Drivers will still be able to reach 70mph on motorways and dual carriageways and 60mph on the safest A roads. via Road speed limit cut to 50mph . But the safest speed for […]

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Revealed: police databank on thousands of protesters


Police are targeting thousands of political campaigners in surveillance operations and storing their details on a database for at least seven years, an investigation by the Guardian can reveal. Photographs, names and video footage of people attending protests are routinely obtained by surveillance units and stored on an “intelligence system”. The Metropolitan police, which has pioneered surveillance at demonstrations and advises other forces on the tactic, stores details of protesters on Crimint, the general database used daily by all police […]

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BBC NEWS | Politics | ID card ‘flash and dash’ warning


Toby Stevens, of the Enterprise Privacy Group, believes a shortage of fingerprint scanners could lead to an explosion in “flash and dash” fraud. And that, he says, could scupper the scheme before it gets off the ground. The Home Office has said it will set up a hotline for traders concerned about the authenticity of ID cards. via BBC NEWS | Politics | ID card ‘flash and dash’ warning.

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The Economist’s attitude to liberty today


A mob of Britain’s finest eccentrics will gather in central London on February 28th. Their ranks will include outspoken novelists, radical lawyers and fed-up judges. David Davis, an unusual MP who left the shadow cabinet to wage guerrilla war from the backbenches, will be there; so will Shami Chakrabarti, the relentless head of Liberty, a pressure group. Several of those attending can sometimes seem pious; but in a stubborn, deeply English way, many are rather magnificent. The occasion is the […]

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Convention on Modern Liberty: “What we have lost”


From the Convention’s “Abolition of Freedom Act 2009”: One of the problems with the erosion of liberty in Britain over the last decade was that the public failed to pay attention to what was happening in Parliament. Laws that fundamentally challenged our traditions of rights and liberty and flew in the face of the Human Rights Act (“HRA”) were passed with relatively little debate. Few grasped the impact they would have on our society and Ministers were able to brush […]

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Fight against terror ‘spells end of privacy’


How I look forward to The Convention on Modern Liberty: Sir David Omand, the former Whitehall security and intelligence co-ordinator, sets out a blueprint for the way the state will mine data – including travel information, phone records and emails – held by public and private bodies and admits: “Finding out other people’s secrets is going to involve breaking everyday moral rules.” via Fight against terror ‘spells end of privacy’ | UK news | The Guardian . Sir David’s IPPR […]

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Modern Liberty


Via Spy chief: We risk a police state – Telegraph: Dame Stella [Rimington, ex-head of MI5,] accused ministers of interfering with people’s privacy and playing straight into the hands of terrorists. “Since I have retired I feel more at liberty to be against certain decisions of the Government, especially the attempt to pass laws which interfere with people’s privacy,” Dame Stella said in an interview with a Spanish newspaper. “It would be better that the Government recognised that there are […]

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Newspeak 2009


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The Centre for Policy Studies has released The 2009 Lexicon, A guide to contemporary Newspeak.  Some random examples: Dialogue (meaningful): the pretence of genuine two-way conversation. Equality: sameness. Absence of diversity. Joined-up government: excuse for cross-departmental initiatives which will centralise and increase government intrusion into everyday life. Radical (of reform): minor technical/organisational adjustment. And so on. It is recommended reading and yet, rather like the cartoon Dilbert, overdoing it might be unwise.

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