Thursday, May 08, 2008

One Nation Under Guard

I went to the Cans Festival in Leake Street under Waterloo Station this weekend, and felt I had to post the following from the catalogue (badly credited but I thin it's by Henry Porter):

In 2008 Britain is enjoying the most serious attack on personal freedom and privacy ever mounted during peacetime. Technological advances and changes to common law are threatening liberties we have held sacred for centuries, all of which is being met with barely a murmur of disapproval. Apparently if you've done nothing wrong then you've got nothing to hide, but if you've got nothing to hide then surely there's something wrong with you?

There are over 4.2 million CCTV cameras in the UK, more than one for every 14 people.

Over 600 agencies are now authorised to access personal records such as details of phone calls, emails and websites visited. These agencies include groups such as Local Authorities, the Charity Commission and the Marine and Coastguard Agency.

In the year 2006/07 there were over 32,000 such interceptions. Less than 20,000 of these were by law enforcement agencies.

All journeys undertaken on motorways and through town centres in the UK are recorded by the network of automatic number-plate recognition cameras with information retained for two years.

The National DNA Database permanently holds the DNA details of nearly 4 million individuals - proportionally the largest in the world.

40% of black men in the UK have their DNA recorded on the database, compared to 13% of Asian men, and 9% of white men.

You do not need to be charged with a crime to have your DNA recorded and it is an offence to refuse to do so.

The National Identity Register is being formed as part of the ID card scheme and will form an audit trail every time you interact with the state, such as apply for benefits, use NHS services or enrol in education.

The register will eventually contain information such as your medical records, school reports, and employment history. Information that the government has already announced it will sell to commercial companies.

Laws introduced because of terrorism mean you can currently be detained without charge for 28 days. The Government wants to increase this to 42 days. Essentially abolishing the right to trial by jury (habeous corpus) has been the foundation of British law since l215AD.

Under section 44 of the Terrorism Act over 75,000 people were subjected to a "stop and search" last year in London alone. Less than 1% were arrested, the majority of these were for crimes unrelated to terrorism.

'It is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could some day facilitate a police state'

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