UK Liberty

Mental Health Bill

Posted in law and order by ukliberty on April 8, 2007

Apparently it could infringe civil liberties.

I haven’t made time to read through it and any associated information.

I recommend the Mental Health Alliance’s website.

It’s only money

Posted in freedom of information by ukliberty on April 8, 2007

Suppose your manager asked you for the costs of commissioning a report or survey, and you replied that you didn’t have that information.

Do you think he’d be pleased that you couldn’t tell him how much of the company’s money you had spent?

The journalist Heather Brooke recently requested information from the Department for Constitutional Affairs relating to the costs of the survey that Frontier Economics did on the costs of complying with the Freedom of Information Act.

The response:

I refer to your emails of 8 March and 3 April requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act. You asked for “the detailed costs, both monetary and in terms of staff man-hours of

a. the survey commissioned by Frontier Economics
b. the drafting of the Regulations
c. the drafting and running of the public consultation
d. the drafting of new guidance related to the Regulations
e. the drafting of the supplementary paper to consult on the principle of amending the 2004 Regulations
f. the running of the consultation on the supplementary paper consultation.

I am writing to advise you that the information you requested was not recorded, therefore not held by the department.

Evidence, if you needed it, that

We the people of the United Kingdom, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this blank cheque.

Interesting probe from David Davis

Posted in law and order by ukliberty on April 8, 2007

David Davis

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the individuals arrested and detained since 1 August 2006 under the Terrorism Act 2006 for a period of up to and including 28 days have since been re-arrested.John Reid, Home Secretary

The statistics requested are not available as the police do not routinely collate information on re-arrests under terrorism legislation.

I wonder if David Davis asked this because he wanted to establish if there was a need for 90 day detention without charge.

If such information was routinely collated, and there were re-arrests, wouldn’t that support the case for 90 day detention?

Cradle to grave surveillance

Posted in database state, surveillance society by ukliberty on April 8, 2007

There is an article in today’s Sunday Telegraph entitled “Cradle to grave: How the state snoops on Britons from birth“, but in my opinion it doesn’t do the issue any justice.

It seems to me that a more interesting and in-depth read – albeit a little atypical of families in some respects – is “A week of life in the surveillance society, 2006”, which is part of the Report on the Surveillance Society (517Kb PDF) for the Information Commissioner by the Surveillance Studies Network.

Have a look at pages 49-63 (or 53-67 if you are using Acrobat), and perhaps pages 64-75 (or 68-79 in Acrobat) for a prediction how a week might look in 2016.

Reid it and weep

Posted in database state, surveillance society by ukliberty on April 8, 2007

The Telegraph:

The blunt Glaswegian voice of John Reid, the Home Secretary, is a formidable tool for bringing Labour rebels into line, but perhaps less suited to reassuring the public that a proposed network of talking CCTV cameras does not constitute anything sinister. Speaking last Wednesday of plans to extend a pilot scheme in Middlesbrough, where louts are regularly reprimanded over loudspeakers, he said: “There are always people who will claim that it’s a ‘police society’. It isn’t. It’s a society where the vast majority of law-abiding citizens are doing their utmost to respect each other.”

Tony Blair will be hoping that his “Respect agenda” will form part of his much-desired legacy. What is more certain to form part of that legacy, however, is the increase in mass surveillance of the British. His last few months in office have been characterised by moves to help the state monitor our behaviour.

Hardly had the controversy over speaking cameras begun to fade than John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, announced that benefit claimants in Harrow would be subjected to lie detectors when they called benefit offices: software will analyse voices for frequency changes believed to be indicative of lying. …

Good article, but I wish they would include links to the reports they refer to, for example the report into children’s databases that the Information Commissioner commissioned.

(If I understand correctly, it is entitled Protecting Children’s Personal Information, 832Kb PDF).