UK Liberty

A handy guide for photographers

Posted in law and order, relates to ordinary people, state-citizen relationship, stupid by ukliberty on December 14, 2009

Less than a week after Chief Constable Andy Trotter emailed all the police authorities in England and Wales to say that “Officers and PCSOs are reminded that we should not be stopping and searching people for taking photos”, police stopped and searched some  people for taking photos.

John Band has some Legal guidelines for photographers in England and Wales.


Same old tripe from the Government

Minister of State Michael Wills in the Guardian:

A new dialogue on data

We need a rational, respectful discourse if we are to properly consider the benefits and flaws of using databases. …

… the increasing sophistication of data management has sparked concern about data protection and civil liberties, most acutely over the measures government takes to protect its citizens. This tension is serious, complex and inescapable. In modern democracies it will always be hard to strike the right balance between protecting the public from the threat posed by crime and terrorism and the need to protect civil liberties.

Reconciling the goods of liberty and security and opportunity, which all speak different languages, is never easy. The only way that it can be done is through rational and mutually respectful discourse, wary of anyone, on any side of the debate, who claims a monopoly of wisdom.

But that’s what the Government does, isn’t it? Claims a monopoly of wisdom, I mean.

Unless people agree with the Government, in which case those people are wise too…

The basic principles for using personal data are that it should be proportionate and necessary. That goes for debate about it too.

Sadly, such a rational, respectful discourse, so essential to the creation of public policy on this crucial issue, has been largely absent in recent years.

Government must take its share of the blame. Too often, we have been overly defensive and dismissive of criticism.

Rather understating it, seeing as Government Ministers have smeared and traduced their critics and called them “intellectual pygmies“, among other things.

But equally, opponents have been too quick to assume the worst of government, without any evidence to support their assumptions, replacing argument with rhetoric.

The Rowntree report, Database State, exemplifies this flawed discourse. Riddled with factual errors and misunderstandings, it reached conclusions without setting out the evidential base for doing so. The government has now published its response.

Which itself is riddled with factual errors and misunderstandings and reaches conclusions without setting out the evidential basis for doing so.

… We can never be complacent about databases – the challenge in getting the balance right between seizing the opportunities they offer and avoiding the risks they pose is evolving as fast as the technologies themselves. Whenever changes need to be made, we will make them. But we can only do this on the basis of a rational dialogue between all concerned.

Government Ministers aren’t interested in dialogue, nor are they interested in supporting their assertions with evidence.

They continue to waste our time and our money on half-baked, unsupported, proposals, and post hoc insincere apologies and justifications.

This is not “rational and mutually respectful discourse”, this is treating the world as a write-only medium and our money as their largesse.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

Posted in ID Cards, rhetorical questions, state-citizen relationship by ukliberty on December 9, 2009

This Sun journalist applied for (and eventually received) an ID card.

Why has the Sun censored his date of birth and place of birth?


(hat-tip Andrew Watson)

The Yorkshire Post:

ANYONE tuning into the Radio 4 the other day may well have frozen half way through a mouthful of cereal or choked on their coffee. They were listening to Meg Hillier, the “Minister for Identity”, being asked why the people of Manchester should spend £30 on an Identity Card, ahead of this week’s launch of the Government’s voluntary pilot scheme. Ms Hillier’s response was astonishing.

“Really for a lot of people it’s a convenience thing… For a lot of young people… often take their passport to prove their identity in nightclubs and bars… I’ve got one and it’s very useful… the way I’m using mine at the moment is to prove who I am at the post office when I pick up a parcel.”

So let’s get this clear. The Government thinks you should pay £30 and give them 49 separate pieces of personal information, so you can go for a beer and collect some mail. They can think of nothing better for the ID Cards to be used for. As former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: “This is a far from robust defence of one of their most expensive follies.”

That Swiss referendum

Posted in state-citizen relationship, stupid by ukliberty on December 1, 2009

Not particularly relevant to the UK except that people claiming to be supporters of freedom are crowing about the victory and wishing that we had a similar system of referenda here.

It seems to me that any supporter of freedom ought to be concerned about the tyranny of the majority and the proper exercise of power.

And anyone interested in democracy ought to be concerned that a third of those eligible to vote is sufficient to make constitutional change – in relation to uh… planning law.

Quite, quite bizarre that these ostensible supporters of freedom think the result is wholly wonderful news.