sexta-feira, 18 de junho de 2010
Big Brother Watch 18th June 2010
This week, two of the most intrusive and opaque Government systems in the UK have been the subject of excellent investigations that expose the scale and underlying dangers of our surveillance state. The first was a lengthy but excellent review of the Summary Care Record system conducted by UCL, which revealed that not only had millions of people had an electronic file of their medical records created without their knowledge, but also that the data on the SCR is often inaccurate and mistrusted by medical staff. In our response to the UCL report, we warned that there were "serious and potentially irrevocable tensions" in the NHS IT system that "pose a real danger to patients."
The second piece of research came from a freedom of information request and revealed that the National Policing Improvement Agency have logged 7.6 billion journeys on the Automatic Numberplate Recognition (ANPR) camera database. This dizzying figure shows that not only are we being regularly tracked in our cars, but also that the data is being retained without due cause.
In both cases, the situation with regards to these enormous databases is worse than originally thought. In both cases the new Government has made encouraging noises but shown very little action. These latest revelations help build pressure on these intrusive schemes, but Big Brother Watch will continue to push for greater transparency and greater privacy.
Keeping track of body scanners
As we wrote this week, there are just three days left to submit a response to the Government's consultation on airport full body scanners. We have written our submission (available to read here), but we encourage anyone who feels these scanners are excessive, intrusive and expensive to do the same.
We have also started a running log of which airports across the globe have installed body scanners. We want this to become the definitive list so that people who would prefer not to be exposed in the departure lounge can avoid these airports. If you can see any missing, please do contribute in the comments and we'll add your addition (with a credit!).
Blogs of the week
Celebrating the humble plastic bag - uproar in in Birmingham over the installation of £3m worth of cameras forces the police to go hi-tech and place bin bags over the cameras
School uniform diktats skirt the issue - a school in Harrogate decides to ban their pupils from wearing skirts, playing right into the 'she was asking for it' non-defence
Privacy piggies keep on squealing - more Labour MPs moaning about the £30 they misguidedly spent proving the ID card was a good idea. Time they all stopped complaining...
Daily Mail - Dozens of CCTV cameras which 'targeted Muslims' mothballed after civil liberties complaints
Dylan Sharpe, campaign director of Big Brother Watch, said the money would have been better spent on putting policemen on the streets.
'This fiasco is sadly representative of Britain’s surveillance state,' he said. 'The authorities in Birmingham have placed an enormous number of cameras in a very small area, failed to ask local councillors and residents if they actually wanted this surveillance, and wasted £3 million of taxpayers' money in the process.
The Westmorland Gazette - 'Sinister' car park checks scheme planned by police
But Alex Deane, director of the UK’s Big Brother Watch, said: “This is potentially a very serious infringement of drivers’ privacy and rights in Kendal.
“There’s no way to guarantee that the data will be kept securely once it’s given. People get sucked in to these schemes because they’re convenient, and then find their private data is being used for purposes they’d never even dreamed of.”
Daily Mail - So will vetting scheme be scaled back or not? Tory-LibDem farce as ministers mix their messages
Computer Weekly - Report to reveal danger to patients posed by NHS IT database?
Daily Telegraph - Anti-paedophile database halted weeks before launch for 'commonsense' reasons
Civil liberties campaigners welcomed the news. Dylan Sharpe, the Campaign Director for Big Brother Watch, said: “While the new Government’s tackling of vetting and barring is welcome, this cannot be just a temporary halt.
“The scheme is an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy that is doing serious harm to the relationship between children and adults.’’ Mr Sharpe added: “A review is not a solution – the vetting and barring scheme should be scrapped.’’
Daily Mail - Vetting plans for parents are scaled down by ministers
LBC 97.3FM - Dylan Sharpe interviewed by James Whale on vetting and barring
The Independent - Tipping point: The throwaway society
Ways to help Big Brother Watch
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