Monday, February 09, 2009

Latest from NO2ID

In its second reading in the House of Commons on 26th January Henry Bellingham (Conservative) made a very apt statement about the proposed Coroners and Justice Bill "The Bill contains some good ladders, but it has one appalling snake - it is a 50-ft python - in the form of the data protection proposals ... the proposals are very worrying, because they would undermine the whole essence of the data protection legislation." Precisely! As I pointed out in the last NO2ID update, this legislation wholly undermines any protection we may have under the Data Protection Act. See

Response following NO2ID’s request to ensure as many constituents urged their MPs to challenge the dreadful proposals embodied in the Coroners and Justice Bill has been very effective in bringing to the fore the iniquities of what this bill proposes. David Howarth (Lib Dem) wishes to have the bill struck off because of its enabling power to have any government department obtain personal information however it wishes. Dominic Grieve (Con), the new Shadow Secretary for Justice decried the unbridled data sharing that would result from the bill’s passing and demanded removal of the damning clause 152. The Chair of the Joint Committe on Human Rights, Andrew Dismore (Lab) also viewed the contentious clauses 151-154 with serious concern.

But even if the contentious parts of bill are defeated, this is only one of many others that seek to introduce such sweeping powers. The upcoming Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill and the Communications Data and the Interception Modernisation Programme, which are all set to violate our rights of privacy, have to be challenged. This battle will be ongoing and will require endless vigilance and challenge if we are to have the slightest hope of retaining respect and due privacy as citizens.

Privacy concerns have also been highlighted in a document recently published by Privacy International. In their report they illustrate the ways in which these powers could be used "Data on students' course attendance and library borrowing passed to immigration and security services in bulk; Information from party conference registrations passed on from police to government departments and electoral commission; Census data passed to government departments".

With the government’s plans for the ID Scheme proving problematic the Home Office is still intent on rolling out ID cards in several ‘beacon’ areas this year. Manchester is one of those locations and is being set up to ensure things run smoothly. Wishful thinking on the government’s part. As yet there is still no card reading equipment and all the while the general public are becoming increasingly hostile to the scheme. We must keep up the fight and kill this enormity before it kills us!

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