She was then dragged along the ground to the lift. In considerable pain she appealed to the police to take the handcuffs off. They declined. When her husband Chris Gwyntopher came up the stairs to find out what had happened to her she appealed to him to get the police to remove the handcuffs. He tried to persuade the officers to do so, pointing out that she would not harm anybody and would not seek to run away. They refused and pulled him away from her.On 2007-09-26, Bob Hamlen, 47, and Michael Burbidge, 31 were stopped and searched as they sat on a bench outside the Westcliff Tavern in West Cliff Road, Bournemouth. The pub patio overlooks the security checkpoint at the entrance to the Highcliff Marriott Hotel where Labour politicians are staying during this week's party conference. Bob was interviewed by the Bournemouth Echo (via UK Liberty):
She was charged with trespassing on DLR station and refusing to leave. She had her freedom pass on her and was ready to leave, in the direction of the Excel She was offered bail on the condition she did not go on the Docklands Light Railway until her court appearance. She refused to accept this condition. She was transferred to Forest Gate Police Station and held overnight to appear before Stratford Magistrates on Friday 14/9/07.
At about nearly midday Friday, the Magistrate heard her plea of not guilty. She was bailed to appear for trial on Monday November 5th at 9.30 am with a pre-trial review the afternoon of Thursday 4th October at the Magistrates Court, 389-397 High Street, Stratford E15. Supporters welcome The bail conditions were that she not go on DLR land or the Excel Centre until midday Saturday 15th September. She was not required to accept or sign to keep the conditions which would have prevented her communicating with the arms traders.
"I was carrying my disabled bus pass but it didn't make any difference. I needed to go to the toilet and an officer went with me in case I escaped. After radioing through the information, they asked us to accompany them, in separate police cars, to the police station.Act now. Refuse to be terrorised.
"It was very embarrassing because some of our friends were sitting nearby. Michael suffers from stress and was getting very agitated.
"They said the reason I was being taken to the police station was because I had been seen passing a white envelope.
"But all I did was take my post out of my jacket pocket and open an electricity bill.
"On Michael's stop and search form they said they wanted to speak to him, under the Terrorism Act, because he had been looking at a police officer.
For several years discussions and measures aiming for enhancing security and fighting terrorism claimed that it was a necessity to balance individual rights and security, implicating that the freedom of individuals opposes the needs of combating terrorism and law enforcement.The Economist this week published Learning to live with Big Brother, the second article in a series on surveillance and privacy (my emphasis):
A report submitted by Europol provides figures on terrorism in the EU. According to the “TE-SAT 2007, EU Terrorism and Trend Report 2007” a total of 498 attacks were carried out in 2006 in the EU, of which the vast majority were not intended to kill.
“There were no successful Islamist terrorist attacks in the EU in 2006. However, a coordinated but ultimately failed attack aimed at mass casualties took place in Germany. The vast majority of terrorist attacks were perpetrated by separatist terrorist groups targeting France and Spain. In France, 283 attacks took place in Corsica in 2006. In Spain, despite the truce declared by ETA in March 2006, separatist groups perpetrated 136 attacks, mainly in the Basque region. Only the attack at the Madrid airport on 30 December 2006 resulted in casualties.”
According to the report the remaining attacks were left- or right-wing-motivated or driven by other/not given motivation.
The number of arrested suspects differs from these figures. A total of 706 individuals suspected of terrorism offences were arrested, of which 257 arrested individuals were suspected of Islamist, 226 of separatist, 52 of left wing and 15 of right wing terror. With regard to the approximately 260 arrests related to Islamist terror “[l]ess than ten percent of the arrested individuals were suspected of preparation, planning or execution of terrorist attacks. [...] The vast majority of the arrested individuals were suspected of being members of a terrorist organisation. Other frequent criminal activities were financing of terrorism and facilitation.”
The figures of the Europol report make clear that terrorism in the EU is mainly driven by separatists in France and Spain and focussing on Corsica and the Basque region. Of the relatively large number of arrests related to Islamic terror only less than 26 individuals were suspected of preparation, planning or execution of terrorist attacks. On the other hand we had and still have to face a series of measures, limiting the freedom of individuals and infringing with human rights, arguing this to be necessary to fight terrorism.
Britain used to pride itself on respecting privacy more than most other democracies do. But there is not much objection among Britons as “talking” surveillance cameras, fitted with loudspeakers, are installed, enabling human monitors to shout rebukes at anyone spotted dropping litter, relieving themselves against a wall or engaging in other “anti-social” behaviour [...]
With an estimated 5m CCTV cameras in public places, nearly one for every ten inhabitants, England and Wales are among the most closely scrutinised countries in the world [...] Few seem to mind, despite research suggesting that CCTV does little to deter overall crime. [...]
Britain has long permitted the “warrantless” eavesdropping of its citizens (only the home secretary's authorisation is required), and few people appear to mind [...]
Ross Anderson, a professor at Cambridge University in Britain, has compared the present situation to a “boiled frog”—which fails to jump out of the saucepan as the water gradually heats. If liberty is eroded slowly, people will get used to it. He added a caveat: it was possible the invasion of privacy would reach a critical mass and prompt a revolt.
If there is not much sign of that in Western democracies, this may be because most people rightly or wrongly trust their own authorities to fight the good fight against terrorism, and avoid abusing the data they possess. The prospect is much scarier in countries like Russia and China, which have embraced capitalist technology and the information revolution without entirely exorcising the ethos of an authoritarian state where dissent, however peaceful, is closely monitored.
On the face of things, the information age renders impossible an old-fashioned, file-collecting dictatorship, based on a state monopoly of communications. But imagine what sort of state may emerge as the best brains of a secret police force—a force whose house culture treats all dissent as dangerous—perfect the art of gathering and using information on massive computer banks, not yellowing paper.
Refuse the war against a noun and what is done in its name. Demand human rights. Refuse to be terrorised, and prevent the situation getting worse (block any further extension of the pre-charge detention period).
Murch: Well, there was a short film made a few years ago where the filmmaker had worked out the location of all the surveillance cameras along a cross-section of London, and how many of those cameras were operated by the municipal authorities. If the cameras were operated by the city, then he could get access to the footage. So he mapped out a pedestrian trip for himself across town knowing that, at every moment he would be on CCTV: as soon as he was out of range of one camera, he would come into focus on another. So he walked the walk, wrote to all the relevant authorities, got the footage, and then edited it all together into a continuous narrative. It’s very amusing in a dystopian, Warholian kind of way. You only “get” the joke after a few minutes of watching.As for the efficacy of cameras making us more secure, This is London just reminded us that ‘a comparison of the number of cameras in each London borough with the proportion of crimes solved there found that police are no more likely to catch offenders in areas with hundreds of cameras than in those with hardly any.’
But George Lucas’s THX-1138 was kind of like that, except it was made in 1971. Much of the action takes place on video surveillance cameras. In fact, the job of the girl in the film is to monitor banks of surveillance cameras. She eventually gets fed up, stops taking her Prozac, or whatever, and tries to escape this completely video-monitored world – which, it turns out, is completely underground because of some disaster that had happened on the surface many years earlier.
Vague spectres of menace caught on time-coded surveillance cameras justify an entire network of peeping vulture lenses. A web of indifferent watching devices, sweeping every street, every building, to eliminate the possibility of a past tense, the freedom to forget. There can be no highlights, no special moments: a discreet tyranny of “now” has been established. “Real time” in its most pedantic form.
Fingerprinting and DNA profiling are increasingly valuable tools in the detection and prosecution of offenders. However, the collection and storage of bioinformation by the police, and access to the resulting forensic databases, raise a number of ethical issues. This report considers whether current police powers to take and use bioinformation – powers that can affect the liberty and privacy of innocent people – are justified by the need to fight crime. The principle of proportionality is used as the basis for a number of recommendations to policy makers, summarised below.The full 168-page report and presentations from the launch event are available on the Council's website. My response to the consultation and some further background on DNA matters are linked from the Should the Police keep your DNA forever? blog post.
- The police should only be allowed to store permanently bioinformation from people who are convicted of a crime, with the exception of people charged with serious violent or sexual offences. This would bring the law in England and Wales in line with Scotland.
- Police powers should not be extended to allow police to take and store bioinformation without consent from people arrested for ‘non-recordable’ offences, which include littering and minor traffic offences, as is being currently proposed by the Home Office.
- The police should put more resources into the collection of DNA from crime scenes. At present, fewer than 20 percent of crime scenes are forensically examined.
- Volunteers, including victims and witnesses, should be able to have their DNA removed from the National DNA Database at any time without having to give a reason.
- There should be a presumption in favour of removing DNA taken from children from the National DNA Database, if requested, unless there is a good reason not to.
- Legal professionals and juries need to be given more help to understand the meaning of DNA evidence, as the accompanying statistics can be extremely difficult for non-scientists to understand.
- The National DNA Database should not be used for familial searching unless it is necessary and proportionate. This technique may reveal previously unknown family relationships.
- ‘Ethnic inferences’ for DNA should not be routinely sought by police. There are ethical and practical problems associated with this technique, and the information it provides has limited usefulness.
- An ethics and governance framework for the National DNA Database should be developed. An independent tribunal should also be established to oversee requests by individuals to have their DNA removed from the Database.
- There should be a statutory basis for the regulation of forensic databases. This should include oversight of research and other access requests. The current legislative framework is patchy and piecemeal.
- The establishment of a population-wide forensic DNA database cannot be justified at the current time. The potential benefits would not be great enough to justify the cost and intrusion to privacy.