link to briefings documents at magnacartaplus.org
 

Magna Carta Plus News

back to magnacartaplus.org index page
orientation to the news at MagnaCartaPlus.org

short briefing dcuments at MagnaCartaPlus.org

This page provides occasional items, linked to the original articles, as we attempt to keep up with the rapidly changing situation on civil liberties.
Archive of old news service:
2002 - 2004

1st Jan to 9th Sept 2005

Google
 
Web magnacartaplus.org

The National Staff Dismissal Register

Yet more guilt by accusation in Britain. From the BBC:

To critics it sounds like a scenario from some Orwellian nightmare.

An online database of workers accused of theft and dishonesty, regardless of whether they have been convicted of any crime, which bosses can access when vetting potential employees.

But this is no dystopian fantasy. Later this month, the National Staff Dismissal Register (NSDR) is expected to go live.

Organisers say that major companies including Harrods, Selfridges and Reed Managed Services have already signed up to the scheme. By the end of May they will be able to check whether candidates for jobs have faced allegations of stealing, forgery, fraud, damaging company property or causing a loss to their employers and suppliers.

Workers sacked for these offences will be included on the register, regardless of whether police had enough evidence to convict them. Also on the list will be employees who resigned before they could face disciplinary proceedings at work.

And who’s behind this? The AABC, a group set up under a partnership between the Home Office and the British Retail Consortium:

The register is an initiative of Action Against Business Crime (AABC), which was established as a joint venture between the Home Office and the British Retail Consortium “to set up and maintain business crime reduction partnerships”.

To be fair to the Home Office they say they’ve stopped funding this group.

NIS briefing document updated again

Posted by James Hammerton @ 8:59 pm on 10 March, 2008.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, the database state.
Edit This Permalink to this article

Now the government has published its revised delivery plan for the National Identity Scheme, I’ve updated the briefing document to reflect the changes.

Roundup: Britain’s National Identity Scheme

Posted by James Hammerton @ 10:08 pm on 7 February, 2008.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, the database state.
Edit This Permalink to this article

To catch-up on a backlog of material I’m doing a number of roundups. This one is on stories related to Britain’s National Identity Scheme over the last few months.
(more…)

Online tax return system considered too risky for the famous

Posted by James Hammerton @ 10:15 pm on 26 January, 2008.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, the database state.
Edit This Permalink to this article

[Hat tip: Samizdata and Tim Worstall]

From a report in the Telegraph:

The security of the online computer system used by more than three million people to file tax returns is in doubt after HM Revenue and Customs admitted it was not secure enough to be used by MPs, celebrities and the Royal Family.

Thousands of “high profile” people have been secretly barred from using the online tax return system amid concerns that their confidential details would be put at risk.

And:

From this year, anyone wishing to file a self-assessment tax return after October will have to do so online or face stiff penalties.

However, HMRC has a list of those excluded from the new rules who must send hard copies of returns for “security reasons”.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to use the electronic system to make the Jan 31 deadline this week.

Tax records contain bank details, national insurance numbers, salary and details on investments and savings - all valuable to fraudsters.

On Friday, senior accountants said they had concerns over the security of the system - apparently confirmed by the Revenue’s secret policy.

Mike Warburton, of the accountants Grant Thornton, said: “Either the Revenue have a system which can guarantee confidentiality for all or they should defer plans to force online filing. It is extraordinary that MPs and others can enjoy higher security.”

Mark Wallace, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “This double standard is unacceptable. If the online system is not secure enough for MPs, why should ordinary taxpayers have to put up with it?”

This is of course the same HMRC who lost 25 million child benefit records. Why should anyone, famous or otherwise, trust these people or their online system to keep their personal data safe?

What’s going on with Britain’s National Identity Scheme?

Posted by James Hammerton @ 10:23 pm on 25 January, 2008.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, the database state.
Edit This Permalink to this article

Recently there have been a number of headlines related to Britain’s National Identity Scheme, apparently due to the Tories obtaining leaked Home Office documents relating to the scheme. The headlines concerned have suggested both delays, the possibility of the scheme being shelved and possible extensions to the scheme. Below are some examples:

So what is going on? Has the scheme been delayed? Has it been extended? Will it be shelved?
(more…)

Happy 2008!

Posted by James Hammerton @ 6:42 pm on 5 January, 2008.
Categories privacy and surveillance, political liberties, British politics, the database state.
Edit This Permalink to this article

So a new year is now upon us.

Looking back I think one of they key developments of 2007 in Britain has been the increased awareness of the dangers of the database state, in the wake of numerous stories about how various departments of the British government have lost personal data, had it stolen and/or seriously mishandled it (e.g. sending unencrypted CDs through the post). The government has shown, beyond reasonable doubt to many people, that they cannot be trusted with our personal data.

As a consequence recent opinion polls have been showing a majority of people are now opposed to the national identity scheme. Given that this scheme involves collecting and sharing personal data on a far wider scale than is done currently, it is only logical to expect even more scope for the loss/abuse of personal data arising from the scheme. This point now seems to have penetrated the public consciousness. This development could spell the end of the identity scheme and make it harder for the government to pursue other schemes that involve collecting and sharing vast amounts of personal data. I hope it does.

On the civil liberties front more generally, there are of course many more developments that need to be fought, such as the extension of pre-charge detention and other draconian measures. For the first time, it seems to me that the public are becoming aware of the dangers of what’s happening. Hopefully this will help to prevent further losses of liberty and further erosion of the rule of law.

The British government’s record on keeping personal data safe

Posted by James Hammerton @ 10:14 pm on 21 November, 2007.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, the database state, accountability.
Edit This Permalink to this article

In light of the recent loss of CDs containing the personal details of 25 million people by HM Revenue and Customs, it seems appropriate to summarise this government’s recent record on losing personal data and identity documents:

Note that this is a topic I have covered before, the following list summarises the events previously reported:

Clearly, the government cannot be trusted with our personal data.

Finally, a comprehensive list of data abuse stories (including commercial cases) can be found at UK Liberty’s data abuse page.

NO2ID calls in “refuse to register” pledge.

Posted by James Hammerton @ 10:01 pm on 19 November, 2007.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, the database state.
Edit This Permalink to this article

Some time back, NO2ID ran a pledge for people to refuse to register for the national identity card and to pay £10 to a legal defence fund, assuming 10,000 others would join in. In the event, 11,361 people signed the pledge (1,361 over target).

Now, NO2ID are calling in this pledge. They argue now is the right time thus:

The Identity Cards Act 2006 is now law, and - despite growing opposition, significant delays and rising costs - the new Prime Minister shows no sign of calling a halt to the National Identity Scheme. In 2008, the government intends to pilot fingerprinting and to issue the first ‘biometric residence visas’ to non-EU foreign nationals as a precursor to registering British Citizens.

The legal powers to do these all these things will shortly begin to be applied. Now is the time to call in the legal defence fund part of the pledge.

If anyone wishes to contribute to this fund, whether or not they signed the pledge, there is a paypal button on the page linked to above, near the bottom (the one in the sidebar is for a general donation to NO2ID - the one at the bottom is specifically for the legal defence fund). Alternatively, NO2ID advices:

Please send your donation, by cheque made payable to ‘NO2ID’ to:

NO2ID (Legal Defence Fund)
Box 412
19-21 Crawford Street
London W1H 1PJ

Gordon Brown and civil liberties

Last week, at the University of Westminster, Gordon Brown gave us a speech on liberty and what it means for Britain. I have responded to this speech below. Quotations from the speech are indented.

Addressing these issues is a challenge for all who believe in liberty, regardless of political party. Men and women are Conservative or Labour, Liberal Democrat or of some other party - or of no political allegiance. But we are first of all citizens of our country with a shared history and a common destiny.

And I believe that together we can chart a better way forward. In particular, I believe that by applying our enduring ideals to new challenges we can start immediately to make changes in our constitution and laws to safeguard and extend the liberties of our citizens:

* respecting and extending freedom of assembly, new rights for the public expression of dissent;
* respecting freedom to organise and petition, new freedoms that guarantee the independence of non-governmental organisations;
* respecting freedoms for our press, the removal of barriers to investigative journalism;
* respecting the public right to know, new rights to access public information where previously it has been withheld;
* respecting privacy in the home, new rights against arbitrary intrusion;
* in a world of new technology, new rights to protect your private information;
* and respecting the need for freedom from arbitrary treatment, new provision for independent judicial scrutiny and open parliamentary oversight.

Note here how Mr Brown is talking about giving us “new” rights to express dissent, “new” protections of privacy and “new” rights against arbitrary intrusion. The main reason we need “new” protections is precisely because this government has trashed many of the old ones!

(more…)

School uses RFID chips in uniforms to track pupils

Posted by James Hammerton @ 9:21 pm on 22 October, 2007.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, the database state.
Edit This Permalink to this article

A school in Doncaster seems willing to introduce its pupils to a world where all their movements are tracked. From the Register (again!):

A school in Doncaster is piloting a monitoring system designed to keep tabs on pupils by tracking radio chips in their uniforms.

According to the Doncaster Free Press, Hungerhill School is testing RFID tracking and data collection on 10 pupils within the school. It’s been developed by local company Darnbro Ltd, which says it is ready to launch the product into the £300m school uniform market.

« Previous PageNext Page »

email feedback@magnacartaplus.org

© magnacartaplus.org2008, 2007, 2006 [1 December]

variable words
prints as variable A4 pages (on my printer and set-up)

abstracts of documents on magnacartaplus.org UK Acts of Parliament click for news from magnacartaplus.org orientation to magnacartaplus.org orientation button links to other relevant sites links

Powered by WordPress