Friday, December 05, 2008

Latest from NO2ID

Hidden away in new legislation proposed within the Queen’s Speech this week is the appalling, but not unforseen, unbridled increase in data sharing.

In the depths of the Coroners and Justice Bill - the way controversial pieces of legislation are always quietly levered in - are measures to exercise sharing of data without Parliamentary debate. These powers follow the Thomas/Walport Data Sharing Review paper which recommended "that where there is a genuine case for removing or modifying an existing legal barrier to data sharing, a new statutory fast-track procedure should be created".

Jack Straw went on to say that this will "simplify the data protection framework and remove any unnecessary obstacles to data sharing".

As NO2ID states this would “allow the government effectively to set aside not just the Data Protection Act and data protection principles when it suits, but the much more fundamental protections of Articles 6 and 8 of the ECHR/HRA, of common law confidentiality and of ultra vires.

This goes far beyond data protection into administrative and constitutional law. Rather than protecting our personal information as it should, the government is cutting away safeguards for its own data-trafficking convenience. This bill as it stands smashes the rule of law and builds the database state in its place. We need to do everything we can to stop these powers being passed otherwise it really could mean the end of privacy as we know it."

These powers will completely strip away our data protection rights for the sake of fast tracking procedures that, until now, have contained checks and balances to protect ordinary, innocent people. At a stroke it will introduce a no-holes-barred database surveillance state.

Following the European Court of Human Rights ruling that the retention of the DNA records of innocents, or those who have been convicted of minor offences be outlawed, last night’s BBC News piece on the subject ended on a unhelpful counter note implicating that the continued retention of all DNA records might be beneficial, without which the conviction of Ipswich mass murderer Steve Wright, might not have been possible had not his DNA been retained on the database following a minor theft many years previously. Staffordshire’s Chief Constable was also expressing concerns that the court’s rulings would take away an important tool available to the police.

And that's the basis of the argument always dangled in front of us when yet more of our rights and privacy is being stripped away - the convenience in apprehending crime and terrorism. So our rights of Habeus Corpus are replaced with those of Napoleonic law - everyone is potentially guilty until innocence is proven. And the reason for all of this? The perceived threat from a world of lawless individuals, terrorists and organised crime. Yes, such threats always lurk somewhere in any society, but the most dangerous elements of it, today, seem to lie within our own governments, the executors of that unseen hand, the New World Order cabal whose sole aim is to incarcerate us all.

Police powers are getting totally out of control, aided and abetted with the affirmative nod and a wink from government. Initiatives such as those contained within the Coroners and Justice Bill must be opposed and curtailed.

Still on the subject, only yesterday came the news that musicians and performers in London will soon be required to complete and hand over an eight page form in which they must detail all of their personal information and ethnicity. Failure to comply could well mean the loss of their licence and therefore livlihood.

Then in Wednesday's Mail Online comes the news that state officials are to be empowered to demand an individual's identity at any time - yet another goody announced in the Queen's speech, the debate of which was conveniently over-shadowed by the furore over Damian Green's warrantless arrest. (Connect the dots together and could the Green debacle have also been used as a shield to deflect debate on the controversial legislation in the speech?)

The compulsory need to show one's ID is usually reserved for times of war and were last used when Britain was fighting Germany. Who is the enemy this time? Us!

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