(SMALL) VICTORY IN FREEDOM BILL
NO2ID has campaigned for years now against the police retention of DNA samples from the innocent, the culture of suspicion in criminal records checks, too easy access to details of your telephone and internet usage, and the widespread monitoring of road travel through a centralised database of number plate recognition records.
All these do seem to be addressed in the coalition’s new ‘Protection of Freedoms Bill’, so we can be pleased there are some signs we are being listened to.
However, the changes are very complicated and bureaucratic. The government is often content to tackle particular abuses in detail, rather than setting out broad principles or firm rules. The biggest changes are for DNA – advertised as ‘moving to the Scottish system’ in England and Wales, though that doesn’t seem completely accurate.
It may turn out that rather than a decisive turning of the tide, this Bill represents a temporary pause in the growth of the Database State. We will want to lobby Parliament on the detail. We will be pressing for greater, clearer changes than are currently on offer. And of course we will not stop our campaign for new law that will create direct rights for you to assert control over who uses personal information about you and how.
YOUR HELP NEEDED
To keep going NO2ID doesn’t just need willing campaigners, it also needs administration. Stephanie Munro ably handles most of the actual office paperwork. However we also need volunteers for Secretary (in charge of membership, affiliation and organisational formalities) and Treasurer (in charge of funds and fundraising).
The posts need not take huge amounts of time but they offer the satisfaction of ensuring the organisation can run smoothly. Please let us know if you would like to consider either role.
Contact Guy Herbert: firstname.lastname@example.org
What just happened?
Protection of Freedoms Bill published
The Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government has published the Protection of Freedoms Bill 2011
It takes 140 pages of legislation to undo some, but not all of the previous Labour government’s excessive and repressive Database State legislation.
This Bill needs your expert scrutiny, because there are crucial repeals and reforms which are missing from it and, on past performance, many backbench MPs (from all parties), are unlikely to bother to read, let alone understand, it all.
The Cabinet Office has set up a website where you can comment on each clause of this Bill:
There are some links to background impact assessments, etc. on this Home Office web page:
National Identity Register physical destruction of hard disks
The National Identity Scheme is now formally scrapped and the personal data of the few thousand people (most of whom were not ordinary members of the public) which was held on the centralised biometric database National Identity Register has been publicly destroyed.
The destruction of the NIR has been carried out within two months of Royal Assent of the Identity Documents Bill. Around 500 hard disk drives and 100 back up tapes containing the details of 15,000 holders have been magnetically wiped and shredded in line with Cabinet Office rules and will soon be incinerated.
There is even a Home Office video of this destruction
In response, Andrew Watson of NO2ID in East Anglia published this video about decommissioning anti-ID-card campaign materials:
The Census: Sunday March 27th 2011
Sunday March 27th 2011 is Census Day, now rapidly approaching.
The census is in fact so useless for government planning that even Whitehall has noticed, and it being a bit late to cancel, the present coalition government is suggesting it will be the last.
The Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, said last summer:
‘There are, I believe, ways of doing this which will provide better, quicker information, more frequently and cheaper.’
NO2ID will be asking for all the raw census data to be destroyed, to stop it being shared for other uses, and will strongly suggest that people only fill in the minimal information, not answering any voluntary questions. The total cost of the census to the taxpayer is estimated at over £450 million.
The Office of National Statistics is preparing a big propaganda campaign starting with TV adverts to be aired on the 21st of February and also using social networking tools like Twitter.
Some newspapers and broadcasters will therefore be desperate for alternative views. It should be an opportunity for NO2ID supporters to explain the big risks to privacy and security from this census, as against a very small value to government planning.
This year’s list of questions is the longest and most intrusive to date.
Census 2011 Questions for England and Wales
Unlike in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the absolute confidentiality of personal information is no longer guaranteed by law in England and Wales. This was changed by the last government in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, s39:
Raw census data may be acquired by the police, the intelligence agencies, immigration authorities, tax inspectors, DWP investigators, foreign governments or private sector or academic ‘approved researchers’, etc.
There is more ethnic profiling than before. In Scotland, the census is asking about both ‘Gypsies / Travellers’ and ‘Polish’ ethnic backgrounds. Unlike the questions on religion, these ethnic ones are mandatory, with a fine of up to £1000 and a criminal record for failing to answer. (Despite there being over 390,000 self-declared Jedi recorded on the last 2001 census, more than the number of professed Sikhs or Jews, there is no tick-box for Jedi.)
You now, for the first time, are expected to state your employer’s name, their main activity, their address, and the location you work at, including postal address and post code. This applies to everyone, whether they work for Tesco, for the intelligence services, or are witnesses fleeing organised crime. How convenient for criminals and foreign governments to have all such information in one place…
According to the Privacy Impact Assessment (pdf),
the census data itself will be treated as RESTRICTED, and is going to be processed by 1300 temporary employees at an 800,000 square foot warehouse located on the corner of Marshall Stevens Way and Westinghouse Road, Trafford Park, Manchester M17 1QP
Some more background links to the Census 2011 can be found in the Spy Blog category archive:
‘ID’ in the news
Please email the Editors any relevant news reports: email@example.com
Airport face scanning robots switched off
Facial recognition scanners at Manchester Airport have been switched off after an incident in which the robot guard let a couple through the gate even though they had swapped passports.
An immigration officer stopped the couple after they got through the barrier.
Even under the ideal controlled conditions of an airport passport check, this facial biometric technology is still not reliable enough for mass transit or national scale identity projects.
Campaigners in Kent hit back at centralised medical database
Medical records computer database under fire from privacy campaigners
The lack of privacy and risks to the security of your medical records is an area of NO2ID campaigning, which has seen little difference so far, between the policies of current Government and the previous one.
James Baker Interviewed
James Baker our Local Groups Coordinator has been interviewed by Civility. Civility describe their campaign as a community of people dedicated to helping the UK become a shining beacon for civil liberties, rolling back excesses, through the creation of a spunky, effective public movement that helps people think about civil liberties and take action to defend and enhance them in the UK. You can read the interview here:
Tayside Police officer admits leaking sensitive data
‘A police officer has admitted leaking sensitive information to her lover who then tipped off a suspect in a criminal investigation.
Howie also admitted breaching the Data Protection Act by accessing police computer systems to uncover details of an ongoing police investigation into a counterfeiting operation.’
No matter how much ‘security vetting’ of personnel with access to sensitive state run computer databases, there will always be privileged insiders who can be exploited to illegally disclose the most sensitive data.
Immigration officer fired after putting wife on list of terrorists to stop her flying home
An immigration officer tried to rid himself of his wife by adding her name to a list of terrorist suspects. He used his access to security databases to include his wife on a watch list of people banned from boarding flights into Britain because their presence in the country is ‘not conducive to the public good’.
As a result the woman was unable for three years to return from Pakistan after travelling to the county to visit family. The tampering went undetected until the immigration officer was selected for promotion and his wife name was found on the suspects’ list during a vetting inquiry.
If an innocent person can be tagged as a terrorist suspect through a mistake or through malice, for 3 years without detection, then the failed management procedures and data quality cross checks, must also mean that real terrorist suspects are escaping detection nby this Database State system. What exactly has the Borders Agency done to physically or electronically prevent such abuse by privileged insiders from happening in the future?
Wikileaks: Meeting between Michael Chertoff & Jacqui Smith
The Daily Telegraph publication of a Wikileaks leaked US Diplomatic Cable from 2007 involving the then US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the (still current) Home Office security policy mandarin Charles Farr, is analysed on the NO2ID discussion forum:
‘Secretary Chertoff noted a vocal minority opposes ID cards.’
So much for the accuracy of US intelligence sources. Had nobody briefed him that by 2007, virtually all the opposition parties and the mainstream media were against the National Identity Scheme ?
Neither Chertoff nor Smith appear to have understood the mathematics of fingerprint biometric False Positives / False Negatives, but they still saw their pet schemes as somehow worth spending / wasting billions on.
LOCAL GROUPS NEWS
To see if there’s a group in your area check our list at
Or, if you’re interested in starting a group yourself, please contact James on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what’s involved and what we have in place to what we have in place to support coordinators and their groups.
Poster Competition Winners
Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry. All of the entries we received were of a high standard, but we have whittled them down and picked our four winning entries. We will shortly be getting these images printed and distributed subject to any copyright clearance. Meanwhile they have been hosted on our Flickr group for you to look at and share
1st Place: Gagged
This entry was submitted by Nick Hay of Archibald Ingall Stretton…
2nd Place: Nothing to hide
Also submitted by Nick Hay of Archibald Ingall Stretton…
3rd Place: Safe in their hands?
This entry was submitted by James Baker our campaigns manager
4th Place: We Campaign
This entry was submitted by Kathy from Camden & Islington NO2ID group.
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© NO2ID 2011
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