Big Brother Watch recorded another first this week with our assistance in helping to fight a case of Big Brother state overreach. Yesterday, on hearing the news that Vanessa Kelly, a 26 year-old mother from Oldbury in the West Midlands, had been given a fixed penalty notice and fined £75 for throwing bread to the ducks in her local park, Big Brother Watch contacted Miss Kelly to offer our assistance in her fight against Sandwell Council. She gratefully accepted. This gives Big Brother Watch our first opportunity to repel our overbearing state. This will hopefully entice more people to come forward with shocking cases of privacy abuse and punitive action by our local authorities. If you hear of any such stories please do get in touch.
Another u-turn (a w-turn?) on the DNA database
This week Alan Johnson and the Home Office performed the spectacular and yet unsurprising feat of reneging on their commitment to remove the DNA of innocent people from the DNA database, announcing that they were now going to keep the biometric data of people who have never been convicted of any crime for a maximum of six years.
To put that in context, this means that over 850,000 innocent adults and juveniles whose genetic details are currently on the national database will be treated and tested as suspects each time a DNA sample is picked up at a crime scene.
Big Brother Watch has repeatedly made clear our opposition to the retention of the DNA of innocent people. We can only hope that, if given the chance, the Conservatives actually deliver on their promise to reverse this overbearing and intrusive policy.
Guerrilla Sticker Campaign
Big Brother Watch kicked off our first campaign this week with the launch of our guerrilla sticker action. We have thousands of stickers like the one on the right and we want to give them away so that you can name and shame the everyday invaders of your privacy.
Send us 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. Then email us your pictures and the best images will be hosted on the blog, on our facebook group and some very good pictures will be featured in this very newsletter! We have already had over 70 requests and sent out over 1500 stickers but we have many left to send.
On the right is our sticker pic of the week. The rogue’s gallery is now available to view here.
Blogs of the Week
Being a good citizen is great; acting like one is even better - TV funnyman Chris Addison aims a boot at BBW, misses, and ends up swallowing a shoddy council press release on Harrow’s new plans for a citizen snoopers militia.
How fortunate for government that people don’t think - Renowned BBC journalist Alan Pearce writes an exclusive post for the blog about the worst excesses of our big brother state, including the scary prospect of the e-borders exit visa scheme.
Ding dong merrily off, petty bureaucrat - Big Brother chucks a dart at the dartboard of things being banned this week and hits the spot marked ‘carol singers’, apparently because they might frighten us. Sure, they’re annoying but why can’t local councils just keep their noses out?
Mirror – Mum is fined £75 for feeding ducks
Vanessa…is backed by Big Brother Watch, which battles intrusive officialdom. Its chief Alex Deane called the penalty “ludicrous” and said: “Can there be a more absurd example of the Big Brother state? She won’t pay, nor should she.”
Metro – DNA of innocents to be held for six years
The measures outraged civil liberties groups, including Big Brother Watch. ‘Despite Alan Johnson’s recent promise to remove the DNA of innocent people, despite being unanimously defeated in the European Court, this government is still wrongly retaining samples,’ said its director, Alex Deane
Daily Telegraph – DNA of innocent still to be retained for six years
Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch, added: “If the government thinks that because they are targeting teenagers they can get away with this sort of intrusion, they are wrong.”
Sky News – Alex Deane interviewed by Martin Stanford
Sun Talk – Alex Deane interviewed by John Gaunt, columnist at The Sun
Daily Mail – Labour U-turn on Big Brother state: Plan to log all texts and internet searches on hold
Alex Deane, director of anti-snooping campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘The Intercept Modernisation Programme is an enormous and unwarranted intrusion into every aspect of our private lives.
Daily Express – Army of snoops recruited to spy on neighbours
Alex Deane, director of pressure group Big Brother Watch, warned: “An Orwellian big-brother culture depends on everyone spying on everyone else – just as Harrow has planned.”
Daily Telegraph – Council accused of recruiting army of 2,000 ‘snoopers’
But Alex Deane, director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said ”So now councils are trying to get us to spy on one another. If they’re successful it will lead to even less trust and ever more surveillance.”
LBC 97.3 – Alex Deane interviewed by Andrew Pierce on the Sunday Show