"The vast majority of your fellow citizens believe we live in a free country, where we are free to express our views, free to demonstrate against the government, free to read others’ opinions in a free press, protected by a robust framework of rights. And they’re right."
UPDATE: 1 down, 645 to go
Now I'm really angry. Get your arses over to Tom Harris's blog and tear him a new one.
Let me quote from the 2006/2007 report by Privacy International just to jog his memory a little.
The UK is now joint 1st place as the most surveilled country in the world, alongside Russia, China, Singapore and Malaysia.
Click the link below for detailed report.
World leading surveillance schemes
Lack of accountability and data breach disclosure law
Commissioner has few powers
Interception of communications is authorised by politician, evidence not used in court, and oversight is by commissioner who reports only once a year upon reviewing a subset of applications
Hundreds of thousands of requests from government agencies to telecommunications providers for traffic data
Data retention scheme took a significant step forward with the quiet changes based on EU law
Plans are emerging regarding surveillance of communications networks for the protection of copyrighted content
Despite data breaches, 'joined-up government' initiatives continue
Identity scheme still planned to be the most invasive in the world, highly centralised and biometrics-driven; plan to issue all foreigners with cards in 2008 are continuing
E-borders plans include increased data collection on travellers
England & Wales
Inherited constitutional and statutory protections from UK Government and many of the policies
National policies are not judged, e.g. Communications surveillance, border and trans-border issues
Councils continue to spread surveillance policies, including RFID, CCTV, ID and data sharing, road user tracking
Few democratic safeguards at local government level, even though local government may be more accountable to electorate because of smaller numbers, decisions do not appear to be informed by research, prototyping
Inherited constitutional and statutory protections from UK Government and only some of the policies
National policies are not judged, e.g. Communications surveillance, border and trans-border issues
Stronger protections on civil liberties
DNA database is not as open to abuse as policy in England and Wales
Identity policy is showing possibility of avoiding mistakes of UK Government
Scottish government appears more responsive and open to informed debate than local governments in England
Then we have the databases. UKLiberty tells us these are just the major ones, there are loads more public sector databases:
ContactPoint is to record our interactions with state agencies from the day we are born until we are 18;
the National Identity Register takes over at 18 15 and 9 months (even earlier if the child is given a passport), recording our names, addresses, and so on, as well as every interaction that requires us to prove our identity (from collecting a parcel at the Post Office to getting a new job to using non-emergency health care to crossing international borders) - also we will each be assigned an identity number, which will be used as an index in other databases (that is, if I am 10365 in the NIR, someone could draw together all the data on 10365 from all the other databases to find out everything about me - precedent suggests this isn't a good idea);
the Department for Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study links tax, social security, benefit, pension, ISA, TESSA, PEP information with names and addresses;
the Intercept Modernisation Programme is to record every detail of our communications (except for the content, probably only because this would be practically impossible), who we talk to, when, for how long, and using what (see Article 5 European Data Retention Directive);
the ANPR is to record all our vehicle journeys nationally and the PNR (see also this and this) is to record all our international journeys (currently its just journeys by air);
the NHS medical records database, with our names, addresses, medical issues, health care workers etc;
the CRB database and the Independent Safeguarding Authority database, which not only have details of our proven convictions (which I have no problem with) but also unsubstantiated allegations;
the National DNA Database, which is recording the DNA of not only convicted criminals and suspects, but also innocent people including volunteers and witnesses, along with other details.
All adding up to an almost complete picture of our lives - and all for our own good, of course.
(Please see also Joining the Dots.)
In the years 2009 and 2010 all the major government IT projects will see the completion of some, and limited roll out of others but they all come together in 2010.Immigration Passport Service interrogation centresThe upgraded National DNA Database 2010,The upgraded National Fingerprint Database 2009,The Children's Fingerprint Database 2009,The upgraded Police National Computer 2009,All e-Passports 2009,The National Number Plate Recognition System project 2009,Employment systems 2009,The enhanced Police National Computer/Interpol link system 2009,MI5's Scope project 2010,The Home Office C-Nomis project 2009,The Children's Register Contactpoint 2009,Terminal 5 at Heathrow 2008,Phase II Home Information PackS 2008,The e-borders system 2009,The DWP Customer Information system 2009,The NHS NPfIT 2010,The European SEPA (Single European Payment Area) project 2009/2010and many more unnamed or secret projectsThis all happens at the same time as the final ratification of the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty 2009 (after they have forced Ireland to vote again), just before the European Parliament Elections 2009
Then we can look at a list of only some of the 26,000 new draconian laws and 3000 new criminal offences introduced during the past 11 years.
You tell us what kind of Britain is Brown and the EU building. Remember that all of this has been done with the collusion and agreement of the Conservative and LibDem Parties who in the main voted for the legislation listed below.
A summary of the principal legislative sources of the erosion of rights and freedoms in Britain becomes cumulatively chilling.
This entirely excludes all of the procedural shifts which facilitate the huge expansion of CCTV. I have avoided entering commentary on the shift in the Zeitgeist and the obfuscation which has permitted a general public acceptance (and even support)of such cumulative repression.
Further commentary can be found with the intelligent use of Search engines. Preferably other than Google if you want to keep your browsing habits untracked.
Do not forget that the information collection for marketing purposes by Corporate institutions, whether Google or Tesco, is a further part of the erosion of the liberty of action with unseen monitoring or intervention.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC ORDER ACT 1994Abolishes a suspect's right to silence (by permitting Courts and Juries to draw inference from a suspect's refusal to disclose matters to the Police at the time of arrest.
POLICE ACT 1997Allows the police to break into property and install electronic surveillance.The chief constable can make such authorisations.
The occupier of the property need not be under suspicion of a crime. The decisions can be taken without a warrant. (Sections 91 to 108)
CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1998First facilitation of ASBO's and the conception of causing Harassment, which makes everyday perfectly legal activities illegal for the target subject.
Distress or Alarm. Introduction of Parenting Orders and Curfews on Offenders released on Licence.
IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM ACT 1999Among other matters, facilitating the establishment of Detention Centres.
TERRORISM ACT 2000Definition of "terrorism" close to catch-all..The government can proscribe organisations or persons without having to prove that they have committed any offence.REGULATION OF INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT 2000Authorises Surveillance and disclosure of Communications largely without warrant.Authorities able to do so range from any Police Force to include any Local Authority and the FSA. (now extended to over 700 organisations).FOOTBALL (DISORDER) ACT 2000Enables courts to place banning orders on people, prohibiting them from travelling when a football match is on, without proving they committed an offence.
Allows the police to prevent a person without a banning order from leaving the country if the police have "reasonable grounds" for believing the person may cause trouble at a football match.HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE ACT 2001Enables the Health Secretary to authorise disclosure of confidential patient information to anyone he chooses if he believes it is in the public interest or will improve patient care.
ANTI-TERRORISM, CRIME AND SECURITY ACT 2001Allows government departments and public bodies to disclose confidential information to police forces for the purposes of investigations of any crime anywhere in the world.
Permits the Home Secretary to certify any foreigner as an "international terrorist" if he/she decides that they are a risk to national security.
Terrorism is defined as in the Terrorism Act 2000.Section 29 prevents courts from challenging the detention of foreigners under sections 21 – 26,.
SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD ACT 2001Officials authorised by local councils and the Department of Work and Pensions can demand that banks, credit card companies, utility companies, any company providing financial services and phone companies hand over any data they think is necessary for the purposes of preventing or detecting benefit fraud, without a warrant.
These officials can also demand that telecommunications companies tell them who owns a particular account, when given only a number or electronic address associated with the account, again without a warrant.THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002Under this Act, the Criminal Assets Recovery Agency is set up and in Part 5, it is given the power to seize a person's assets via civil procedures in court. (now updated to allow police to seize assets and bank accounts BEFORE charge or conviction).
This law applies civil proceedings to a dispute between the state and an individual, with the state as the adjudicator.ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR ACT 2003Extends the thinking behind ASBOS and includes premises closure,obligations on landlords, parenting orders, dispersal of groups, public assemblies (the 1986 Public Order definition of an assembly reduced from 20 to 2).EXTRADITION ACT 2003Part 2 - unratified treaty with USA. No prima facie evidence required for extraditions from the UK to the USA, but still required for USA to UK extraditions.
Part 1 of the Act implements the similar European Arrest Warrant extraditions.
There is no requirement for evidence to be heard before a UK Court.Also refer to the Home Office website.THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 2003Facilitates the elimination of Juries from complex fraud cases.Removes "double jeopardy". Permits hearsay evidence.
THE CIVIL CONTINGENCIES ACT 2004Authorises any cabinet minister to make "emergency regulations" Emergency regulations may make any provision that can be made by Royal Prerogative or Act of Parliament.....
the FIRST of the real shifts towards Enabling Act thinking.THE PREVENTION OF TERRORISM ACT 2005Under this Act, the government can impose "control orders" on anyone they suspect might be involved in "terrorism-related" activity.
The person subjected to a control order does not get a trial, is not charged with anything, and may have the evidence or accusations against them withheld from them or their lawyers.
Terrorism is defined as in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000THE SERIOUS ORGANISED CRIME AND POLICE ACT 2005 Sets up the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
All offences, no matter how trivial, are now arrestable, granting powers to obtain DNA, intimate samples, fingerprints and photographs of those arrested, to be retained on file regardless of whether the suspect is charged with or convicted of an offence. (Don't discard your cigarette butt).
Protesters, even a single protester, must apply at least 24 hours (and more normally 6 days) in advance for a permit to protest within 1km of Parliament, or any other designated place.LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY REFORM ACT 2006Originally drafted in terms which would have made this an Enabling Act, the diluted text with some safeguards introduced remains the second part of Enabling Act thinking.
By this, Ministers can, with minimal Parliamentary scrutiny, modify and enact regulations, interpretations, resources targeting and law.IMMIGRATION, ASYLUM AND NATIONALITY ACT 2006Further powers tor restrict the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers.
Sections 56 and 57 modify the British Nationality Act (1981) to permit the Home Secretary to deprive a person of citizenship or the right of abode.TERRORISM ACT 2006Further clarification of offences of glorification etc.Extends detention period. (currently 28 days, government planning further attempt at 42 days).
IDENTITY CARDS ACT 2006Well publicised. Read and weep.
I could go on, and on, there is just so much more, but for now it is clear that Tom Harris has trouble taking it all in. If I began to start listing all the abuses of the above legislation, being used for purposes other than it was designed then this posting would be so long......I could mention the Orwellian Newspeak introduced by NuLabour, I could mention the Targeted Messaging and propaganda, I could mention the perpetual war against an ever changing enemy, I could mention the big brother TV Licencing warning ads, I could mention that every Government department now encourages you to shop your neighbour, I could mention government sponsored health facists telling us what to eat and drink, how to live, I could mentioned a lost count of bans for things from fox hunting to smoking, I could mention local authorities using children to spy on parents, I could mention that we may no longer simply live by the rule of law, but by legislation for everything we do, legislation for everything we cannot do, and legislation for what we might do. No longer free thought, the state will do that for you.
So, Mr Tom Harris MP, when you look at what you have done and 1984 just what is it that you do not understand. Are you are so far removed from reality that you cannot see what harm you do.
If you read the book 30 years ago, and as you claim remember the ending, hear well the voices of the people, for they are speaking to you now, and they speak in anger.
No matter how you want to phrase it, YOU DO WORK FOR US, and you will listen
Massive hat tip to LPUK and IANPJ