Friday, March 06, 2009

Latest from NO2ID

Commentary on each of these news items is my own and not that of the NO2ID group’s latest newsletter.

With the Coroners and Justice Bill currently being debated in Parliament, one of the greatest threats to our personal privacy is at stake and is embodied in Clause 152 which, if passed, would allow the unmitigated sharing of all of our personal data, not only among government departments and agencies, but also by the private sector and across national boundaries. This proposed legislation will completely destroy the Data Protection Act and must be stopped. The prospect is appalling and I urge everyone reading this to contact their MP and/or write to their newspaper alerting others to this nightmarish prospect. Such proposed legislation, rarely, if ever, gets reported on mainstream TV news channels and by the time you eventually hear of it yet another loss to your personal rights and freedoms has been enacted and it’s too late!

Privacy International have communicated their concerns over Clause 152 to Jack Straw saying that “This new power is wothout precedent and carries significant implications for data protection and for the rights of individuals”.

The Convention on Modern Liberty held a conference in London at the end of last month which brought together civil liberties groups and others concerned over the abuse to our personal rights in the UK. Among the speakers were author Philip Pullman who said "A nation whose laws express fear and suspicion cannot sustain delight for very long; joy does not flourish in the garden of anxiety". Also present was the eminent lawyer Lord Bingham summed up the conference proceedings by saying "A candle may today be lit or re-lit in Britain, which we may fervently hope shall never be put out."

We stand at a very dangerous crossroads. To allow any further inroads into our liberties will herald our incarceration into a dark Orwellian police state. I would urge readers to watch Michael Radford’s film ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ and try to imagine a future like the one portrayed in the movie, adjusting the setting to that of the first decade of the 21st century. That prospect is a lot nearer that you think and will become reality if we don’t try to stop it!

More local councils pass anti-ID motions. Worcester County Council and Wyre Forest Council have joined the ranks of local government opposed to co-operating with the national identity card scheme - but only if such opposition wasn't unlawful. The sentiments are good, but non-compliance will be regarded unlawful if the government has its way, I suspect. That leaves it to us to become non-compliant which would no doubt face us with a jail sentence. But, if like the opposition to Thatcher’s council tax, we all made a sufficiently large enough stink, government would have a problem.

In another privacy-busting ploy, suggestion is being made to parents of independent schools to have their child ‘shielded’. ‘Sheilding’, which is part of government’s new ContactPoint database is viewed by many to be more of an endangerment to children than a protecting measure which is its officially stated aim. Containing a whole range of a child’s personal details, the system could easily be abused and allow those details to be accessed by the wrong type of people. Again, security is being touted as the driving reason for parents to engage their children into the scheme, whereas the complete opposite is more likely. It’s all about having us all fully accounted for in every aspect of our lives by state and corporate interests from cradle to grave.

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