It has been another busy week for officious policemen and intrusive council inspectors, whose misdemeanors and often absurd behaviour we have catalogued at http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/ – more on this, and our latest campaign, shortly. But first, in case you missed it, is a story given minimal coverage in the national press but deserving of far wider recognition.
The Guardian has got hold of leaked documents from South Coast Partnership (a link-up between Kent Police and the Home Office) which suggests that they are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the “routine” monitoring of anti-social motorists, protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers.
Our full report is available here, but needless to say, Big Brother Watch is outraged that the government could even consider increasing the level of state surveillance in Britain even further, and doing so by sending CCTV into the sky. There can be only a handful of people in the country who want to see their skies clouded with unmanned spy planes and we are confident that any attempts to implement this proposal will be met with strong public opposition. As ever, we will keep you informed of developments and if you hear of anything that we should know about please do email us at [email protected].
Is there nothing for which they won’t fine us?
Many of you will already have read about Michael Mancini – the Ayrshire businessman who is being taken to court by his local council for failing to pay a fine issued when he blew his nose whilst stationery in his car. When this story broke, just as we did with Vanessa Kelly – the young mother fined for feeding the ducks – Big Brother Watch contacted Michael’s lawyer and pledged our support in his battle to stop this ridiculous trial.
Alex Deane, the Director of Big Brother Watch, has written exclusively in the Independent today explaining why Michael’s case is sadly not a one-off and how the British public, who are increasingly been vicitmised and turned into criminals for the most banal and pointless reasons, can fight back. As he writes:
Donning the uniform of office doesn’t – or shouldn’t – entail unlimited power to exact petty bureaucracy. It ought to come with discretion, with common sense. Failing that, let’s try to bully them back.
Blogs of the Week
Kid’s TV presenters stopped by police whilst wielding hairdryers - equipped with plastic utility belts, over-sized walkie talkies and glittery hairdryers (and pursued by a camera crew) the presenters of Toonattik are prevented from filming in London by anti-terror police
Jeepers, creepers, where’d ya get them peepers - great news as the ICO announces it will be investigating the chilling online CCTV watching game, ‘Internet Eyes’
John Gaunt’s case is an important test for freedom of speech - regular interviewer of Big Brother Watch spokesmen and current presenter on SunTalk, Jon ‘Gaunty’ Gaunt arrives before the High Court to defend our right to free speech
- – Coming Up: Tune into BBC Breakfast on BBC 1 and BBC News24 to watch Alex Deane debate the use of full-body scanners with Transport Secretary, Lord Andrew Adonis – -
The Independent – Alex Deane: How the march of officialdom is destroying cherished ways of life
City AM – Alex Deane: When you liberate your employees, productivity and profit will follow
Waltham Forest Guardian – CCTV locations move branded “publicity stunt”
ConservativeHome – Search for 100 Peers: Shami Chakrabarti
Human Events – 1,043 Ways For Government to Enter Your Home
At Big Brother Watch, we conducted the first nationwide survey of the number of officers in each Local Authority holding the power to enter a private home or business without requiring a warrant or police escort
We found almost 15,000 such inspectors. About a quarter of councils didn’t respond at all or didn’t respond fully, so it’s reasonable to suppose that the true figure is somewhere near 20,000.
LBC 97.3 FM - Dylan Sharpe interviewed by Nick Ferrari on the Breakfast Show
Daily Telegraph – Revealed: Britons to be asked for NI number, date of birth and signature to get right to vote
Alex Deane, a spokesman from civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: “We have managed to have elections in this country without surrendering this sort of information for hundreds of years.
“This is a very small issue in this country, and is driven mostly by postal voting. If you have to go on database to vote some people might say ‘forget it then’.”
Daily Mail – Britons will be ‘forced to hand over NI number, date of birth and signature to get voting rights’