Thursday, 30 October 2008

Gordon Brown's terror claims are 'bunkum' says GCHQ expert

In today's Telegraph:

Speaking at an IT security conference in Wales, Mr Mattinson, a former senior official at the Cabinet Office who now advises GCHQ's Communications-Electronics Security Group, rubbished ministers' claims that the multi-billion pound scheme would enhance national security.

Mr Mattinson is not the first figure from Britain's intelligence community to reject Government claims for ID cards. Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has also questioned their value in fighting terrorism.

Thanks to Val.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Taking Liberties at the British Library

Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain's freedoms and rights 31 October 2008 – 1 March 2009

The British Library will be holding a free exhibition, 'Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s freedoms and rights', uncovering the roots of British democracy over a period of more than 900 years.

The exhibition will include:

  • iconic documents that paved the way for liberty and democracy, many of them rarely displayed, from Magna Carta to the Good Friday Agreement
  • computer interactives that compare your views on liberty and freedom with everyone else's
  • a series of outstanding events with top speakers who address today's hottest political debates, such as human rights, ID cards, and detention without charge
  • learning workshops on history and citizenship

One of the iconic documents, the Magna Carta, can be see using the British Library's Magna Carta Viewer here.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Birmingham NO2ID October Meeting

The next NO2ID Birmingham meeting will be on Tuesday 28 October at 7:30pm. As usual, we'll be meeting in the Boardroom at Bennett's Bar.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

ID cards plan in crisis as the ‘guinea pigs’ revolt

Toby Helm writes in The Observer:

Plans to build support for identity cards by introducing them among ‘guinea pig’ groups, such as airport staff and students, are in crisis after 10,000 airline pilots vowed to take legal action to block them and opposition swept through Britain’s universities and councils.

In a move that could wreck the government’s strategy for a phased introduction beginning next year, the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said it would seek a judicial review rather than see its members forced to adopt ID cards at a time when pilots are already exhaustively vetted.

Balpa’s vehement opposition is a hammer blow for the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, who had hoped to win the wider public over to ID cards by demonstrating that they were crucial to anti-terrorism policies. She intends to introduce them among groups "who operate in positions of trust in our society".

Monday, 13 October 2008

NO2ID General Secretary on the database state

NO2ID General Secretary Guy Herbert talking about the database state at the UKIP Conference.

Part One

Click here for part two.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The all-seeing state is about to end privacy as we know it

Jenni Russell writes in the Guardian:

The shocking element to the new plan is that the authorities want their own database only because they find the current limitations frustrating. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act rules, the 700 or so bodies already licensed to watch us must make a certified request to phone or internet firms for individual records. More than 500,000 such requests were made last year. But the companies are reluctant to hang on to the data, and the security services would find a single, accessible database so much more convenient.

Stop and consider this for a moment. Think about how happy any of us would be to have our lives laid out to official view. All our weaknesses, our private fears and interests, would be exposed. Our web searches are guides to what is going on in our minds. A married man might spend a lot of time on porn websites; a successful manager might be researching depression; a businessman might be looking up bankruptcy law.

We all have a gulf between who we really are and the face we present to the world. Suddenly that barrier will be taken away. Would a protester at the Kingsnorth power station feel quite so confident in facing the police if she knew that the minute she was arrested, the police could find out that she'd just spent a week looking at abortion on the web? Would a rebel politician stand up against the prime minister if he knew security services had access to the 100 text messages a week he exchanged with a woman who wasn't his wife? It isn't just the certainty that such data would be used against people that is a deterrent, it's the fear. As the realisation of this power grew, we would gradually start living in the prison of our minds.