Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday 28 March 2008

Latest news from NO2ID

According to a survey conducted by The British Computer Society among over 1,000 people, it was found that two-thirds of those asked had less confidence than previously in the ability of government institutions to correctly manage their data. Those who expressed this concern would now be very wary, if asked, to divulge their personal details to such government departments and would want much more information as to who would be accessing those details.

Staff working on the Home Affairs Committee’s ‘A Surveillance Society?’ inquiry last week scored an own goal when they were individually emailed the announcement of the final evidence session. The sender had forgotten to exclude the other recipients names and email addresses from the email header, with their full contact details available for all to see!

Fingerprinting all of those who enter the new Terminal 5 building at Heathrow has been suspended for the time being following a ruling from the Information Commissioner’s Office that the measure may be illegal. Domestic and international passengers transferring onto domestic flights at Heathrow were to be fingerprinted from the start of business on Thursday. However, since the opening of the new terminal yesterday turned out to be a complete disaster with check-in and luggage systems badly malfunctioning, it’s just as well. Knowing BAA’s incompetence, all of those thumb scans might have ended up posted on You Tube by now!

Nevertheless, BAA is pressing ahead with the photographing, or ‘biometric capture’ of all passengers passing through Terminal 5. Those who refuse will be denied access to their flights. Although BAA cites this as a requirement by the Department for Transport, when one ex-pat asked the DfT about this he was told that, in fact, the issue was the responsibility of the Border & Immigration Agency. After contacting them on the issue of compulsory biometric capture, BIA denied any involvement, re-directing the ex-pat back to the DfT! It seems that there is even more chaos attached to the new terminal apart from that which filled the headlines yesterday. Do you trust having your biometric mugshot being bandied around by these fools?

Since the first interviews have been conducted for new passport applicants last May, no fraudulent applications have been found so far. This goes a good way to admitting that the whole regime is not to detect fraud but to inconvenience ordinary people with wholly uneccessary intrusions into their lives.

Airport workers and members of Unite are protesting the imposition of ID cards upon their members and have met with the Home Office on the subject.

In another chapter of the ‘terrorist threat’ myth, MI5 are now requesting total access to commuters travel records under proposed new counter-terrorism powers.

Meanwhile the Joint Committee on Human Rights has warned that the British government has persistently failed to take data protection seriously.

If you are asked to give, what appears to be unecessarily probing personal information, fingerprinting or biometric capture in this country - right to your MP. Only by creating strong opposition to these intrusions will we re-gain any of our rights as citizens and expose this ‘terrorism’ myth that our government is using as a vehicle to incarcerate our lives for their advantage.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday 27 March 2008

Knocking your head against a brick wall

I received a predictable reply to my last letter from the Department of Health regarding water fluoridation.

My reply:

Dear Mr Demitris

Fluoridation of Water Supplies

Thank you for your further reply to my concerns over the fluoridation of our water supplies dated 14 March.

It appears from the tenor of your reply that the Government has for some time, set its mind upon a continued course of water fluoridation and is making the evidence fit that initiative. The last two sentences of the fourth paragraph of your letter, quote “It is true that the Government recognises the need to conduct further research into fluoridation’s health effects. However, this is to strengthen the evidence base on the effect of fluoridation on health, which the Government already believes to be safe” more or less confirms that impression.

I find this reminiscent of the way pharmaceutical companies boast the benefits of their drugs, making the results of research and tests fit those claims, while ignoring or marginalising any ill-effects that they may promote, examples of which have been legion over recent years.

You continue to cite the University of York’s findings upon which your Department and the Government put its faith, yet you have not addressed the critique of that research which I enclosed with my last letter, which highlighted the less than comprehensive nature of that research.

Clearly, the Government and Department of Health is locked in a rigid stance on this subject and doesn’t seemed prepared to, at least, consider the enormous amount of evidence that the fluoridation of our mains water appears contrary to our best interests, only a small amount of which I included with my previous letters.
Even the American Dental Association issued an emailed statement to its members last November that fluoridated water should not be mixed into formula or foods intended for babies aged 1 and younger and research by the Centers for Disease Control has shown that fluoride absorbs into tooth enamel topically, but its ingestion can cause adverse reactions. Also, the CDC has now admitted that enamel fluoride concentration is not inversely related to cavities.

Surely these admissions should cause your department to re-evaluate this subject in a more holistic manner.

As long as your position continues, I will continue to campaign against this adulteration of our drinking water and will fight tooth and nail against any change of policy my water provider, Southern Water, may make in deciding to fluoridate its water supplies and hope to see an end to this unnecessary and highly doubtful practice.

Yours sincerely

Friday, March 14, 2008

Latest from NO2ID

Although the media front is fairly silent on the ID Card issue at present following news reports of its unworkability and extreme cost, the government is, nevertheless, pressing ahead quietly with its implementation.

This is being done by stealth, first concentrating on youngsters applying for student grants or passports. From this coming November non-EEA foreign national students or those on a marriage visa, an ID card will be mandatory. Airside staff at Britain’s airports will also have to carry ID cards as from next year. Then it’s a case of young people being coerced into carrying ID cards, initially under a voluntary scheme, simply presented and with ‘benefits’ for those who comply. But, of course, once you divulge your vital statistics you are on the National Identity Register for life and subject to all of the penalties attached for those who do not continually keep the authorities informed to any change of personal details and circumstance.

It is this subtle coercive stance that the government is taking - hiding the true realities of being an ID card carrier and NIR enrolee - that is most insidious and we must be aware from now on of any intrusions the government will take in prising personal information out of us.

The latest news:
The government has been busy releasing a whole gamut of policy documents on ID cards, most of which are spun to bury the bad news. The spectre of ID cards is as bad as ever and no backward steps have been taken by them to dilute their effect upon our lives.

A report entitled 'Challenges and opportunities in identity assurance', authored by Sir James Crosby, former chief executive of banking group HOBS, has just been released. The report states that any national identity card scheme should be free to users, involve minimum amounts of information and not be promoted as an anti-crime initiative. It criticises the ‘uncoordinated’ way in which the government has rolled out the scheme. The report’s publication just happened to coincide with the government’s release of their ID scheme delivery plan, trumping the report. Although Crosby’s recommendations are less onerous than those of the government, they still represent an unnecessary intrusion into our lives, largely built on the back of the phony terrorism ruse.

The MoD has lost 11,000 ID cards over the last two years. Small by comparison to the 25 million records lost by HM Revenue & Customs, it still represents about 1 in 18 of all the armed forces.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, has gone to the extent of resurrecting a 319-year old law designed to protect freedom of speech to try to stop the publication of Home Office reports on the failing ID card scheme. This appears to be a desperate attempt to hide information that would greatly damage the credibility of the scheme.

Heathrow’s new Terminal 5, which is being officially opened today by the Queen, is to have mandatory fingerprinting for all boarding flights. I was fingerprinted and had my eyes photographed recently at the immigration desk at Minneapolis airport.

A computer repairman discovered confidential government CD hidden inside a notebook computer which had just been bought on eBay.

Don’t worry, one day all of our personal details will be blowing about in the wind for anyone who wants to borrow or steal our identities!

In response to my signing a petition for government to introduce a law to ban the micro-chipping of human beings in the UK, HMG has responded in a not very re-assuring way. “The Government is not aware of any organisation or individual that is planning to micro chip humans, and so although in principle the Government would be against this practice, it seems disproportionate to legislate to ban it”. So we can’t rule out mass micro-chipping of individuals in future!