The securocrats in MI5 and GCHQ are now going flat out to get their uncontrolled snoopers’ charter

It could only happen in Britain.   In the US, by contrast, a so-called Freedom Act (though it is far from that) has just been passed.   It will at least partially curb the power of government to collect bulk data on the lives of its citizens.   The Cameron government however is doing the … Continue reading The securocrats in MI5 and GCHQ are now going flat out to get their uncontrolled snoopers’ charter

How far did blacklisting extend outside construction?

It was originally assumed that blacklisting was a secret tool used by construction companies – Balfour Beatty, Costain, McAlpine, Skanska, Carillion, Kier and over 30  others – to keep out people they didn’t want.   To achieve this the euphemistically named Consulting Association over 16 years (1993-2009) complied a database on thousands of construction workers … Continue reading How far did blacklisting extend outside construction?

The snoopers’ charter that refuses to die raises its ugly head again

Bang on cue, Cameron yesterday reiterated what Andrew Parker, head of MI5, had demanded just before, that in the light of the Paris killings the UK security services needed more surveillance powers.  Whenever there is a terrorist incident MI5 never misses an opportunity to demand ‘more resources’, closely followed in tandem by Cameron and May. Nobody … Continue reading The snoopers’ charter that refuses to die raises its ugly head again

Despite Snowden May won’t take no for any answer over mass surveillance

The security services are getting desperate.   Over the last 4 years they, and their political figurehead May, have tried time and time again to push mass surveillance through Parliament.   Whenever a security scare arises or a trial of alleged terrorists or belated arrests over a drugs scandal, the cry is always foisted on the … Continue reading Despite Snowden May won’t take no for any answer over mass surveillance

Cameron, over-hasty as always on rhetoric, has to retreat over action on ISIS

Cameron on Friday was waxing bellicose about a “greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before” because of ISIS.   Compared with Hitler in 1939?   Compared with the IRA during the 1980-90s?   But Cameron’s statement to the House yesterday was remarkable not only for the way he has been … Continue reading Cameron, over-hasty as always on rhetoric, has to retreat over action on ISIS

Rushing into new anti-extremist powers has a troublesome history

Here we go again.   The undoubted threat represented by ISIS and the return of its recruits to the UK is leading to calls for new banning orders for extremist groups, new civil powers to target extremists, and measures to target persons even when have actually not broken the law.   It has also led … Continue reading Rushing into new anti-extremist powers has a troublesome history

My speech on the “emergency” Data Protection (aka Indiscriminate Mass Surveillance) Bill

The following is the text of my speech on the Data Protection and Investigatory Powers Bill: I feel uneasy about the Bill on several grounds. As I am sure that we all do, I clearly accept that there is a need for a new law in order to establish a proper legal foundation to balance … Continue reading My speech on the “emergency” Data Protection (aka Indiscriminate Mass Surveillance) Bill

Passing this new surveillance bill in 1 day in Commons is totally unacceptable

The Official Secrets Act was rammed through the House of Commons in 1911 in just one day – with the (ostensibly) unintended and undesirable consequences of a national security concept with blanket coverage that we have had to live with ever since.   That should surely have taught us the lesson that precipitate telescoping of … Continue reading Passing this new surveillance bill in 1 day in Commons is totally unacceptable

Who gave away access for US surveillance of all communication networks of all British citizens?

The revelations from Edward Snowden’s documents get ever more breathtaking.   It had always previously been thought that under the so-called Five-Eyes intelligence-sharing arrangements (established under the UKUSA Signals Intelligence Agreement in 1946) between the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the citizens of each of these countries were off-limits from surveillance by any … Continue reading Who gave away access for US surveillance of all communication networks of all British citizens?