UK Liberty

Home Office gave illegal instructions to immigration officials

Posted in law and order by ukliberty on September 30, 2008

The BBC:

The [Ghurkas] regiment moved its main base from Hong Kong to the UK in 1997 and the government had argued that Gurkhas discharged before that date were unlikely to have strong residential ties with the UK.

That meant those who wanted to settle in the UK had to apply for British residence and could be refused and deported.

The judgement could affect some 2,000 former Gurkhas who retired before 1997.

The judge, Mr Justice Blake, said the Gurkhas’ long service, conspicuous acts of bravery and loyalty to the Crown all pointed to a “moral debt of honour” and gratitude felt by British people.

He ruled that instructions given by the Home Office to immigration officials were unlawful and needed urgent revision. …

Update

The judgement is available from Bailii.

In my judgment, for all these reasons I conclude that there is substance in the Claimants’ second ground for attack on the operative policy. Transparency and clarity are significant requirements of instructions to immigration and entry clearance officers that are published to the world at large, generate expectations of fair treatment and bind appellate bodies in the performance of their statutory functions. The policy under challenge in this case either irrationally excluded material and potentially decisive considerations that the context and the stated purpose of the policy indicate should have been included; alternatively, it was so ambiguous as to the expression of its scope as to mislead applicants, entry clearance officers and immigration judges alike as to what was a sufficient reason to substantiate a discretionary claim to settlement here.

Irony

Posted in law and order by ukliberty on September 30, 2008

The Sunday Times:

ILLEGAL immigrants have worked as guards for a government body responsible for defending Britain’s borders.

Seven security personnel were found to be carrying forged documents, according to disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.

One has since been arrested, five have resigned and the other is on maternity leave, while her immigration status is investigated. They were working for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which had responsibilities for border security until April.

This is not the first time HMRC has been caught using illegal immigrants. Previous Freedom of Information Act requests by The Sunday Times established that in April 2005 10 cleaners employed by a contractor to clean HMRC’s offices were found to be carrying forged documents. The cleaners are also believed to have worked in border control offices.

Watching the watchmen for Freedom not Fear

Posted in surveillance society by ukliberty on September 30, 2008

Open Rights Group:

Happy-snappers unite! We need as many people as possible to take photos of stuff that embodies the database state, and the UK’s world-famous surveillance society (wake up! You’ve just walked into it).

On 11 October, No2ID and the Open Rights Group will make a live collage of the images you’ve taken in a prominent location in London (to be confirmed), to celebrate Freedom Not Fear Day 2008.

I like this one.

Phorm testing begins today – now you can consent

Posted in accountability, surveillance society by ukliberty on September 30, 2008

Yes, unlike the previous two trials, which were run without consent or knowledge of BT subscribers, Phorm / BT have decided to run an opt-in trial, starting from today and lasting four weeks: Guardian, BBC, Times, Telegraph.

Becky of the Open Rights Group has posted 4 good reasons not to take part in the BT Webwise trial.

Nick Bohm of the FIPR says Phorm commits a number of fouls, Phorm / BT obviously prefer a legal analysis that concludes there is a less of a problem.

But this bit from the Phorm / BT blog is nice:

An extensive article, “The Law of Phorm,” was published today by Struan Robertson, a technology lawyer and editor of legal site Out-Law.com.

It’s a very thorough, realistic and ultimately positive assessment of Phorm’s system from an informed legal perspective. The Phorm technology underpins Webwise (www.webwise.com, http://www.bt.com/webwise), a new set of consumer features set to launch in the UK.

Unlike other analyses, the author focuses on the fact that there is no consumer harm, hence no realistic prospect of prosecution under RIPA (or anything else) including DPA, PECR and the Fraud Act.

Of course, that there is no realistic prospect of prosecution (or indeed civil action) does not mean that Phorm / BT has done nothing unlawful, does it?

It is however nice to know that Phorm / BT seems to agree with the following update to Robertson’s analysis:

Some readers have asked for my opinion on BT’s trial of Phorm, a trial that ran without user consent. Did it breach RIPA? Personally, I think that it probably did.

Also,

But I doubt the question will ever come before a court. The Home Office has already indicated that it does not intend to take action. I expect that is because it views the trial as an isolated incident. It would only take action if it believed that Phorm would normally operate without consent.

That is like saying the police shouldn’t prosecute a murderer if he does it just the once.

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