Statewatch In the News - Archive 2008

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December 2008

UK: Minister apologises for police insect injuries: Coaker admits error over policing of climate protest - Inquiry launched into handling of demonstration (Guardian, link)

UK: Those Kingsnorth police injuries in full: six insect bites and a toothache (Guardian, link)
• Kent force admits no officers hurt by protests
• £5.9m police operation 'colossal waste of money'

UK: Police Officer Amerdeep Johal 'used police files to find blackmail targets' (Times, link)

UK: The Big Brother state – by stealth: Thousands of unaccountable civil servants given access to our most intimate personal information (Independent, link)

November 2008

UK: 10,000 tasers for police (pdf)

EU: Complete “Biometrification” of this planet (link)

UK: Armed police officers from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary took part in a joint operation to check motorists' road tax licenses with Cumbria police last week. Police taking part in Operation Lee on public roads near Sellafield stopped motorists and a police spokesman said that if an arrest was necessary it would be carried out by a Cumbria Constabulary officer, not an armed response officer. (News and Star 13/11/08) - source: N-BASE Nuclear Information Service

UK: The fear of children - There is dismaying evidence of intolerance and hatred of young people and that attitude is matched by the Labour government by Henry Porter (Guardian, link)

UK: Vetting blunders label 12,000 innocent people as paedophiles, violent thugs and thieves (Daily Mail, link)

UK: Policing the 21st century: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Vol I: Report (link) and Vol II: Evidence (link)

October 2008

If looks could kill: Security experts reckon the latest technology can detect hostile intentions before something bad happens. Unless it is perfect, though, that may be bad in itself (Economist, link)

Passport Service dismisses 14 for database abuses (Computer Weekly, link)

Not the Way Forward: The UK’s Dangerous Reliance on Diplomatic Assurances (Human Rights Watch, link)

Interpol wants facial recognition database to catch suspects (Guardian, link)

USA: IT DOESN'T ADD UP (Schnes, link) In Maryland, USA, paranoid police have been getting all hot under the collar about a dark and sinister group called “Algebra.” This group was approached by someone from “Homeland Security” who asked what the group’s message and agenda was. The Al-gebra Project, however, has no links to Al-Qaeda. It is actually just a group trying to improve young people’s maths skills.

September 2008

Austria in crisis as far right win 29% of vote - Strache seen as further to right than mentor Haider (Guardian, link)

EU: Juristras has released its project home-page JURISTRAS (link) comparatively explores processes of human rights litigation in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the effects of its judgments on national laws, judicial attitudes and policy making. Among the countries under study are: Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Rumania, Turkey, and United Kingdom.

US: Fact Sheet: U.S. Department of Homeland Security 9/11 Anniversary Progress and Priorities (DHS, link)

USA: New airport screening 'could read minds' (Daily Telegraph, link) "US security officials could soon be screening potential terror suspects with a new type of technology capable of detecting "hostile intent"."

UK: This is no way to fight terror: A postgraduate student researching al-Qaida, I was locked up alone for six days, then released without charge or apology by Rizwaan Sabir (Guardian, link)

Scientific American: Internet Eavesdropping: A Brave New World of Wiretapping (link) As telephone conversations have moved to the Internet, so have those who want to listen in. But the technology needed to do so would entail a dangerous expansion of the government's surveillance powers

Scientific American: How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People (link) A privacy activist argues that the devices pose new security risks to those who carry them, often unwittingly

Scientific American: How Loss of Privacy May Mean Loss of Security (link) Many issues posing as questions of privacy can turn out to be matters of security, health policy, insurance or self-presentation. It is useful to clarify those issues before focusing on privacy itself

IRELAND: C of I priest says racism 'sanctioned' by the State (link)

Short Cuts by Daniel Soar on security agencies spying on mobile phones (London Review of Books, link) and Exclusive: Widespread cell phone location snooping by NSA? (link)

UK: Fears over privacy as police expand surveillance project - Database to hold details of millions of journeys for five years (Guardian, link)

August 2008

How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People - A privacy activist argues that the devices pose new security risks to those who carry them, often unwittingly (Scientific American, link)

UK-USA: Our citizens, their law - It is time to assert the rights of British people to enjoy a fair trial, free from bogus security innuendo (Guardian, link)

"Gary McKinnon, the British hacker who embarrassed the Pentagon and Nasa by entering their computer systems from a flat in north London, has lost his long battle against extradition. Yesterday it was announced that he has been unsuccessful in his appeal to the European court of human rights and must now submit himself for trial in the US."

UK-USA: US warning to court in alleged torture case (Guardian, link) "The US state department yesterday warned that disclosure of secret information in the case of a British resident said to have been tortured before he was sent to Guantánamo Bay would cause "serious and lasting damage" to security relations between the countries."

UK: Swarms of robots join the army (Guardian, link) Intelligent swarms of autonomous robots that look like insects could soon be deployed for military information-gathering and reconnaissance

UK: Unmanned spy planes to police Britain (Independent, link) The Government is drawing up plans to use unmanned "drone" aircraft currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan to counter terrorism and aid police operations in Britain.

IRELAND: Irish bus pass is ‘identity card by stealth’ (Times, link)

UK: Uproar at plan to hold inquests in secret (Times, link)

UK: Tories pledge to grant police greater surveillance powers - for non-terrorist cases (Guardian, link)

July 2008

Profit and power: the privatisation of asylum control (Corporatewatch, link)

Multimillion pound security project shelved by ministers (Guardian, link) SCOPE project.

EU: Inventory of the agreements linked to readmission (link)

June 2008

UK: Millions must be on vetting list (BBC News, link) More than one in four adults in England will have to register with child protection authorities next year, under an expanded safeguarding scheme. Anyone working or volunteering with young people will have to register. The government says 11.3 million people will be on a database, with registration costing £64 per person.

US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships (Guardian, link)

EU: Corporate Observatory Europe (CoE): How hired-gun lobbyists pulled the teeth out of new EU lobbyists' register (link)

May 2008

GRIP Report: 1998-2008, a mixed anniversary for the European Code of Conduct on arms exports: First regional agreement on control of arms exports, the European Code of Conduct on arms exports is celebrating its 10th anniversary on June 8, 2008. Useful but imperfect, the Code should continue its evolution and correct its weaknesses in order to achieve its primary objective: to prevent any arms exports from Europe that could harm the peace and undermine security and sustainable development in the countries of import. Ten years after its adoption, the record is mixed and the European Union is still reluctant to transform the Code into a legally binding Common Position. Read or download :

April 2008

Ireland: Call for new data protection legislation after Bank of Ireland laptops lost (Sinn Fein press release, pdf)

UK: Spy caught by anti-aviation group was ‘more Austin Powers than 007’ (Times, link) "A spy who infiltrated a direct action anti-aviation group has been exposed after making a series of elementary errors that aroused the suspicions of genuine activists." Plane Stupid foils infiltration attempt (link)

Germany: Collection of flight passenger data violates human rights - Complaints published (link, 31.3.08) Thanks to EDRI.

March 2008

UK: A PR coup for al-Qaida: Extending pre-charge detention to 42 days will help terrorists, not police. Smarter tactics are needed by Geoffrey Dear is a former chief constable of West Midlands Police and HM inspector of constabulary.(Guardian, Link)

EU capitals ignore Brussels' questions about rendition flights (euobserver, link)

UK: MoD loses 11,000 ID cards (The Register, link)

February 2008

UK: New strategy to stem flow of terror recruits · Areas profiled for extremist risk · Action in state schools and prisons (Guardian, link)

UK: Mixed results: A national DNA database could well increase, not reduce, the number of wrongful convictions by Professor Allan Jamieson is director of the Forensic Institute in Glasgow (Guardian, link)

UK: Pupils' school records to go online: "Pupils aged 14 to 19 are to have their school records permanently placed on an electronic database accessible to prospective employers." (Reuters, link)

UK: Cambridge researchers show that Chip & PIN machines are vulnerable to attack (link)

UK: Crisis at police watchdog as lawyers resign - More than 100 quit over claims of delay and poor decisions by IPCC (Guardian, link) The IPCC: a catalogue of delays, rejections and basic failures (Guardian, link)

January 2008

German minister attacks EU passenger data plan (link)

Home Office defends plans to send back child asylum seekers (Guardian, link)

UK Borders Act 2007 (the 2007 Act) come into force on 31 January 2008 - Home Office Circular (pdf)

CCTV camera microphones to be axed (Sunday Telegraph, link)

Scanning irises: The soul stealers: Our beautiful, unique irises are to be relegated to the dystopian realm of state security by Simon Ings (Guardian, link)

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