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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

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Big Brother is watching your car journeys

Big Brother Watch, via a FOI request made by HMP Britain, have found that 7.6 billion journeys have been logged by Britain’s Automated Number Plate Recognition camera network. In response to a question about how long the data is retained for the reply stated:

ANPR read data is stored only for as long as is operationally necessary and not routinely more than two years.

Be careful what you tweet in jest or frustration

Posted by James Hammerton @ 5:39 pm on 6 June, 2010.
Categories freedom of speech, British politics, culture of suspicion.
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David Mery reports on the case of Paul Chambers who tweeted “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!” in frustration at the possible disruption to his travel plans. This resulted in him being fined £1000.

The EU want to keep a record of every internet search - Big Brother Watch

Big Brother Watch reports:

As reported on the Register, more than 300 MEPs in the European Parliament are set to lobby the EU to keep a log of every internet search made in Europe, under the dubious logic of cracking-down on paedophilia.

Don’t leave your car window open…

…in case it gets removed by the police and they demand £150 for its return.

If I tried to do what the police did here, it’d be regarded as theft now matter how insecure the car was. Which begs the question: Why should it not be regarded as theft when the police do it?

How the NHS built a DNA database by confusing information capture and retention

Posted by James Hammerton @ 5:15 pm on .
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics.
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David Mery explains how the NHS has built up a DNA database of newborn children by confusing the issue of (and consent for) taking samples of blood for medical tests with the issue of subsequent long-term retention of those samples.

Guardian: Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims’ every move

The Guardian reports:

Counterterrorism police have targeted hundreds of surveillance cameras on two Muslim areas of Birmingham, enabling them to track the precise movements of people entering and leaving the neighbourhoods.

The project has principally been sold to locals as an attempt to combat antisocial behaviour, vehicle crime and drug dealing in the area. But the cameras have been paid for by a £3m grant from a government fund, the Terrorism and Allied Matters Fund, which is administered by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

About 150 automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras have been installed in Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook in recent months. Birmingham’s two predominantly Muslim suburbs will be covered by three times more ANPR cameras than are used to monitor the entire city centre. They include about 40 cameras classed as “covert”, meaning they have been concealed from public view.

Coalition performs u-turn on the Summary Care Record

See this report from Big Brother Watch and this article from Heresy Corner.

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