UK Liberty

British Medical Association not keen on data sharing

Posted in privacy by ukliberty on February 16, 2009


The confidentiality of medical records is threatened by government plans to relax laws on data protection, according to the British Medical Association

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association, told the Guardian that the profession was “extremely concerned” about legislation tabled by Jack Straw, the justice secretary.

Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill would allow the Department of Health to share information on NHS databases with other ministries and private companies. …


Collision warning

Posted in ID Cards by ukliberty on February 16, 2009

The Register:

Airline pilots have warned the government that they will not take part in their security theatre trial of ID cards at Manchester and City of London airports.

The Home Office wants to trial the cards for airside workers at the two airports. Several UK airlines have already pointed out the dumbness of the dumb idea.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has now written to management at both airports to inform them that pilots would not carry the cards.

Balpa said the cards would add nothing to security and that promises from the Home Office that carrying the cards would be voluntary had already been broken. …

Radio 4 Moral Maze – debate on surveillance and databases

Posted in database state by ukliberty on February 16, 2009

Quite interesting edition on 11 February.  I was impressed by Claire Fox:

I have plenty to hide from the government.  It’s called a private life.

Also Michael Portillo was great.

This is disturbing

Posted in freedom of speech, law and order, surveillance society by ukliberty on February 16, 2009


On Monday 9th February this week a friend and work colleague found police at his door at 7am in the morning. They searched through his house, took all of his computer equipment and then arrested him. He was then grilled for several hours before finally being released on bail.

His “crime”? Allegedly he has been arrested under “suspicion of incitement”, or more specifically, “inciting people knowing a crime is going to be committed”. This is under sections 44, 45 and 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. The fact of the matter is though, he has done absolutely nothing wrong and is simply being set up as the fall-guy for someone else’s misdeeds. And all of this on the basis of some painful abuse of recent legislation. …

Do read the whole thing.

(Also see SpyBlog.)

Why the ban on photographing police officers matters to ordinary people

Posted in law and order, relates to ordinary people by ukliberty on February 16, 2009

Think about events at which you might see one or more police officers: football, cricket, or rugby matches; county fairs; Notting Hill Carnival; Trooping the Colour; protests.

I mention the last in particular because they tend to turn up at protests in such numbers that anyone taking a photo of the protest cannot help but take a photo of a police officer, as Kate Belgrave at Liberal Conspiracy explains.

point is, the police will be stopping people taking photos at political events, and of a ‘political’ nature, whatever that might mean. …

The only conclusion you can draw is that this law is at least partly about eradicating evidence of political activity and protest from the public view.

And also we will lack evidence of unlawful actions committed by the police.

Do read this article by David Mery.

It’s important to note that technically this isn’t a ban. It’s rather more insidious, because it is legislation that has a chilling effect – the uncertainty about whether one will be arrested for taking a photograph is enough to prevent people from doing so.  And of course terrorists aren’t going to be bothered by the legislation – like so much other legislation, it only disadvantages, deters, and harms, the law-abiding.


Also see this article by Chris Dillow and this by Septicisle.

Update 2

They insist on taking pictures of us.