This week the government got round to responding to the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust’s study into state databases, a full 9 months after the original report was released. ‘Justice’ Minister Michael Wills set about the task in the traditional way – playing up the positives, ignoring the negatives and leaving out the latest proposed databases including ID cards, the new EHRC equality database, and the NICE homes and health database. The minister also announced the establishment of a whole new database: the government now intends to take our National Insurance numbers and signatures for the electoral roll. As BBW noted, we have managed to have elections in this country without surrendering this sort of information for hundreds of years, so why does the government need to gather this additional data now?
There will always be misguided cheerleaders who think this sort of action is perfectly reasonable (Mr Aawrongovitch, for instance) but Big Brother Watch is here to oppose any new government database that intrudes unnecessarily into our lives.
Joint exposé on the Equalities and Human Rights Commission
On Friday, Big Brother Watch and the blogger Old Holborn teamed up for a sting on one the most notoriously nannying government watchdogs – the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. Old Holborn found a tender for a ‘Lifestyle Database’ on an IT services website and immediately sent a freedom of information request to the Commission requesting further details.
The answers he received were truly shocking. The EHRC plans to compile an enormous database that measures each person’s so-called ‘level of equality’. This means they will be looking at data ranging from A&E admission records to child health surveys to voting records. And worst of all, the data will be freely available to ‘researchers’ who sign up on the EHRC website.
Big Brother Watch contacted the national press and the true horrors were revealed. We are yet to see if this action has shamed the government into ending the tender, but we will be keeping a close eye on the EHRC from now on. We are always on the look-out for any sort of potential Big Brother plans, so if you see anything that might require further investigation, send it to [email protected] and help us fight back against the Big Brother State.
Big Brother Watch Guerrilla Sticker Action
The Big Brother Watch sticker campaign continues to grow with nearly 7,000 stickers sent out across Britain, Europe and the United States. We have also seen an upsurge in the number of photos coming in, including the mischievous shot you see on the right. The full gallery is available here.
As ever, all those that have got their stickers get snapping and get sending. If you haven’t asked for any stickers yet, email your name and address to [email protected] together with the number of stickers you would like us to send and we will post them in an envelope to that address; completely free of charge.
The chance to name, shame, and take a photo of our Big Brother State awaits!
Blogs of the Week
Childhood’s End – There is, unfortunately, a campaign which seeks to end the standard and not unreasonable custom of toy makers who package toys for girls in pink. They, of course, have a right to have their pointless and pernickety campaign, just as the millions of young girls who enjoy pink stuff have a right to buy it. When a (*sigh*) ‘Justice‘ Minister gets involved: it becomes nanny state government legislating against small businesses. Bridget Prentice - consider yourself named and very much shamed.
‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello – prepare to be Tasered – the British Transport Police risk an arms war on our public transport by handing stun guns over to officers. The police have kept order in this country for many years without needing weapons; is this really going to make us safer?
Police closing pubs for ‘inadequate CCTV coverage’ – number of pubs closing per week in the UK due to recession: 50. Number of crimes solved by CCTV for every 1000 cameras: 1. Number of stupid regulations Lancashire Police are currently in the process of carrying out…you get the idea.
Human Events – Is Blair a War Criminal?
According to Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch and HUMAN EVENTS contributor, “It was very strange of the Government to try to keep these proceedings a secret. Whatever one thinks of the Iraq conflict, the purpose of the Chilcot Report was to put public misgivings to rest. That was never going to happen with the inquiry held in secret, and although public pressure has now forced a degree of openness, people will continue to harbor suspicions about the parts that are kept from us.”
City Talk 103.5FM – Dylan Sharpe interviewed by Peter McDowall
Daily Express – New speed cameras to blitz 20mph zones
Dylan Sharpe, of Big Brother Watch, said: “The introduction of average speed cameras into residential areas is yet another intrusion into the lives of the assailed British motorist, making it ever more possible for the state to track and log our journeys.”
Freedom Today – How to fight back against the surveillance state
Pink News – Equality and Human Rights Commission to collate sexuality status from across government databases
Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, told the Daily Mail: ‘This intrusive database is being built without even the smallest consideration for privacy. When people go to hospital, they don’t think that information about their illness is going to be shared with the EHRC.”
Corus radio network, Canada – Alex Deane interviewed by Roy Green
Daily Mail – Equality snoopers to keep files on your sexuality
Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This intrusive database is being built without even the smallest consideration for privacy.
‘When people go to hospital, they don’t think that information about their illness is going to be shared with the EHRC. What possible right does the EHRC have to build this database, and then share what they’ve gathered with other people on their website?”
The Argus (Brighton) - Hove school slammed for fingerprint plans
Big Brother Watch has complained that schools do not have the means for keeping biometric data like fingerprints safe. Director of Conservative campaign group Big Brother Watch Alex Deane said: “A fingerprint is a unique characteristic which doesn’t change over time and is regularly used throughout the legal system.
“Handing this important piece of biometric data over to schools, which have many tremendous qualities but do not have secure data keeping facilities, is both dangerous and an intrusion into the lives of children who are unaware of the consequences.”