This week Big Brother Watch has been
cast in the role of grim soothsayer, when our
warnings about the privacy problems inherent in Google’s Street View system
were sadly proven correct. On Saturday, it
was revealed that a young boy had been pictured by Google naked – with his
face blurred out – but his parents’ car numberplate clearly visible behind him.
This was followed up with
the news that the murdered schoolgirl, Ashleigh Hall, had also been
photographed leaving her house just days before she was killed.
It is unfortunate, but these sort of mistakes were bound to
happen. People are not consulted before the Street View cameras arrive in their
town, yet Google relies on the public to point out where they have gone wrong after images are put in
the public domain. Google needs to take greater responsibility for people’s
personal privacy and introduce stronger safeguards to the system.
Freedom Vs Security Event
Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, and Douglas
Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, are set to reprise their
successful event that took place at Conservative Party Conference last year and
go head to head to debate “Freedom vs Security” at the launch of a
new series of regular monthly Free Spirits debates (organised by The Freedom
Association) in the heart of the Westminster Village.
The debate takes place on Wednesday 24th March 2010 from 18:00 – 21:00.
At the Marquis
of Granby pub, 41 Romney Street, LONDON, SW1P 3RF
For further information and to register to attend please click
Continuing our series of introductions to other
organisations fighting for liberty – and coming after
a week of new stories about the escalation of the ID card scheme – we give
you a brief introduction to NO2ID, who have been exceptionally generous with
support and advice for Big Brother Watch from the very beginning.
NO2ID is a UK-wide, non-partisan
campaign focussed on the threat to liberty and privacy posed by the rapid
growth of the database state, of which “ID cards” are the most
visible part. They bring together individuals and organisations from all
sections of the community and seek to ensure that the case against ID cards and
the database state is forcefully put forward in the media, in the corridors of
power and at grassroots level.
The NO2ID campaign is an organisation of volunteers
supported by private donations. To protect your privacy they need your help.
Find out more about getting involved with NO2ID by going to their website here:
Blogs of the Week
As Body Scanners are introduced, more and more issues
arise – our most comprehensive analysis
yet of the huge number of problems surrounding the airport full-body scanner
karma lands restaurant boss in jail – one man tries to defend his shop and
gets killed, the other tries to defend his restaurant and is arrested.
come on, come on…Do the locomotion – Tom Shaw is thrown off a train for
writing ‘The Killers’ on a notepad. Whilst appalled at the action, it has meant
Big Brother Watch has spent the rest of the week thinking up other band names
that could get the train authorities riled…Boomtown Rats, The B52′s, Black
Rebel Motorcycle Club…why not add your own to the blog?
Daily Express – Boy fined for dropping chips after attack
Campaign group Big
Brother Watch condemned the move and offered to take up the mother’s legal
battle. Alex Deane, its director, said: “This could only happen in a
target-driven, bureaucratic culture of overpowered jobsworths like ours today.
“The council has acted with no common sense or human feeling and should be
“It should drop the fine and
apologise and the petty warden who issued the fixed penalty notice should be
fired.” Last year Big Brother Watch gave legal advice to Vanessa Kelly, 26,
from Oldbury, West Midlands, who was fined £75 by a council worker for feeding
ducks with her 17-month-old son Harry. She forced the council to back down
after an outcry over the petty fine.
Daily Telegraph – Pensioners could be forced to show ID for bus travel
Alex Deane, a spokesman
for civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: “Some people will
resent this so much that to avoid ID cards they will stop taking the bus -
perhaps that’s exactly the sort of budget saving Meg Hillier wants.
Alex Deane, director of
privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘For many, Google’s Street View
cameras are an upsetting invasion of privacy. ‘Coming only days after a naked
boy was also captured by their cameras, it is clear that Google needs to take
greater responsibility for people’s personal privacy and introduce stronger
safeguards to the system.’
Alex Deane interviewed by BBC
Dylan Sharpe, from campaign group
Big Brother Watch, said: ‘While it is important that children are fit and
healthy, these proposed annual tests are yet more Government interference and
yet more tests for a generation of children who are already constantly under
Alex Deane guests on The Riz
Khan show on al Jazeera English
Reading Post – ‘Chip and bin is a real intrusion’
A campaign group has
lifted the lid on the 68 local authorities which have installed microchips in
the refuse bins of their residents. One of the 68 featured by Big Brother Watch
is South Oxfordshire District Council, which has had the “chip and bin” scheme
on its recyclable waste bins since last summer.
Alex Deane, director of
campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘The RSPB and Northumbria Police should
be ashamed of themselves. ‘Jim is a law-abiding man whose life and business
have been disrupted. They could have approached this case in a much more
Dylan Sharpe, campaign
director of Big Brother Watch, said it was yet another example of how paranoid
we have been made by terrorism. ‘T-shirt slogans do not imply malicious intent
and the pathetic security officers should have known better. After the
intrusion and embarrassment of bodyscanning, one wonders how much more
difficult airports can make leaving the country.’