UK Liberty

BT spyware

Posted in surveillance society by ukliberty on June 9, 2008


An internal British Telecom report on a secret trial of an ISP eavesdropping and advertising technology found that the system crashed some unsuspecting users’ browsers, and a small percentage of the 18,000 broadband customers under surveillance believed they’d been infected with adware. …

Also see Light Blue Touchpaper.


Useful advice from HMRC

Posted in freedom of information by ukliberty on June 9, 2008

National Insurance Numbers (NINOs): Format and Security: What to do if you suspect or discover fraud

(This text has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)


Posted in law and order by ukliberty on June 9, 2008


[JURIST] A UK High Court judge has ordered [Reprieve press release] an expedited hearing on whether the UK government must turn over documents allegedly showing that the last British resident detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] was tortured. US military prosecutors last week charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] Ethiopian London resident Binyam Mohamed [Reprieve profile; JURIST news archive] with conspiring to commit terrorism. Mohamed was originally arrested in Pakistan and turned over to US officials; he says that in 2002 the US transferred him to Moroccan agents, who tortured him before he was sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2004. Last month, he sued the UK government [Reprieve press release, PDF; JURIST report] for refusing to turn over evidence allegedly needed for his defense. On Tuesday, the judge rejected arguments by government lawyers that turning over the requested evidence could force the eventual disclosure of more sensitive security information. The New York Times has more. BBC News has local coverage. …

The BBC:

[Mohamed’s lawyers] are also seeking evidence he was subjected to “extraordinary rendition” – transport abroad for interrogation.

Hmm… “transport abroad for interrogation”… is that all it is?

Why would a detainee need to be transported to states such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria , using extra-legal (that is, illegal, not more than legal) methods?

HAC report restates data protection principles

Posted in politicians on liberty, surveillance society by ukliberty on June 9, 2008

I’m reading the report A Surveillance Society? and noticed that the HAC’s Ground Rules restate the Data Protection Principles, eg:

The Government should give an explicit undertaking to adhere to a principle of data minimisation …

is equivalent to the third principle,

Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.

Not sure what the point is here – the Government always claims the data they collect is not excessive.

SpyBlog noticed this too, and points out:

What the Home Affairs Committee has failed to do is to come up with any practical way of enforcing such fine statements, or to specifically point out where the Government has failed to uphold them.

What happens when, not if, these “explicit undertakings” are ignored or flouted ? Will anyone be criminally prosecuted ? Will any politician actually have the honour to resign ? Will anybody who is a victim of the cock-up, malice or corruption actually be financially compensated? Will anybody actually apologise in public ?

Some senior police voice opposition to 42 days

Posted in detention without charge, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on June 9, 2008

The Guardian:

Some of Britain’s most senior police officers have broken ranks with their colleagues to denounce government plans for detaining terrorism suspects for 42 days without charge, the Guardian can reveal.

As government whips intensify their efforts to avoid a defeat on the plan in the Commons on Wednesday, senior members of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) have raised doubts about the measure. Their claims will come as a blow to the government, which has highlighted police support for the plans without making any reference to the presence of sceptics in senior ranks. …


Another chief constable told the Guardian that even among some officers who support the proposals there is “bemusement” that the government chose to put the issue back on the agenda: “The police service was not overtly asking for this, because it was such a damaging episode last time for the police’s reputation over 90 days when we seemed to have been dragged into politics.”