Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’

Make sure you vote tomorrow in the UK Elections

June 7, 2017

The UK Election 2017

By Dark Politricks

It’s the UK’s snap general election tomorrow.

No-one really expected our great leader and Donny Trump fan Theresa May, called it after pulling out of the EU by implementing article 21 (The Lisbon Treaty).

Many are predicting a landslide victory for the Tories who have not jailed a single bankster from the 2008 crisis and trebled the national debt. The deficit may have shrunk a little but that is of no importance when the debt we owe in total has trebled clearly showing that austerity measures don’t work.

Putting the “payback” on the poor instead of the rich has been decried by many as unethical and even evil.

Why should a disabled granny lose a chunk of her benefits to pay for gambling by coke snorting banksters who took grannies pension and played roulette with it.

I don’t know and neither do the millions of poor and kids hoping to go to go to university only to realise they cannot afford it without incurring thousands in debts.

Following the USA around the world in the Axis of War has cost us trillions of pounds over the last decade, and even more since 9.11.

Wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and undeclared wars or incursions following the USA who is using drones or planes in 7 countries at the moment that we know of. This just wasting money we desperately need at home and stirring up the UK Muslim community who have attacked us successfully 3 times in the last 3 months.

More war!

More drone strikes!

More death is what you vote for when you vote for the Tories, and when you are next on the Tube nervously looking at a man with a back pack on then don’t cry when more of your civil rights and liberties are removed from you.

Currently I am probably being watched by a very bored GCHQ member of staff through my web cam at the moment and if you vote Tory you vote for more terror and more spying on the citizens of this country through your TV, Computer, Phone, Tablet and now even cars they could hack into and control.

Wasn’t it George W Bush that said after 9.11 that they attacked us because “they hate us for our freedoms”. It seems the terrorists are winning if we just hand our freedoms over. I guess that’s what false flag attacks and drumming up fear of whole communities of people is about.

Then we have opposing the hot favourites to carry on ruining the country, a real “Feel the Bern” revolution for Jeremy Corbyn. Hundreds of thousands of new Labour supporters have joined since Corbyn took over. Even more joined when their failed coup went ahead. It seems every time the Blairites try to get rid of Corbyn he gains another 100,000 Labour members at least.

At least if Tony Blair does succeed in creating his own get out of jail party in the aftermath of a Labour slaughtering at the polls he can be shouted down and abused in the house  as the war criminal he should be treated as.

Can we really blame Blair for his 4 wars, bringing the party into the centre from the left leaving progressives with no alternative, considering the Lib Dems were wiped out last time.

The Lib Dems lied about abolishing University fees in their last manifesto and got a lot of young people’s votes only to renege on the promise for a chance to spend 5 years in the back of ministerial cars.

Nick Clegg got his chance to sit at the top table and then to hell with the Lib Dems. He got 5 years of the high life, that’s what type of politicians we are voting in.

The Lib Dems may have some good ideas but they have lost the people’s’ trust and it’s not as is if we can exactly trust any other party anyway. At least with Jeremy Corbyn you get the feeling he will try and implement his policies. Whether his party back him or not is another matter. He and Bernie Sanders would get on well over a pint I think.

So the young have looked at the fixes in US politics and how the candidates were chosen before hand in the Democratic party. Anything to get Hillary as their candidate and Bernie blanked out.

Just think of all those wasted hours standing in line to vote for Bernie when the fix was already in.

BREXIT is going ahead due to a referendum, true peoples democracy.

You may not like it but I doubt voting for a progressive alliance between Labour and the SNP will reverse the process. Once article 21 is implemented I doubt the rest of Europe will allow us to change our minds, we may try, and Germany may want us to stay,  but France is French and to an Englishman that says it all.

So compared to Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn is far more to the left showing you just how centrist US politics really is. They fix their primaries so Bernie cannot run despite having the votes and the support and if he dare mentions the word socialist they think he is Mao Zedong.

At least Corbyn can mention socialism and not get bananas and other vegetables thrown at him from FOX News, and as they say any news is good news.

Bernie was hardly mentioned in the US news media, a 6 company monopoly that all spew COINTELPRO propaganda whether supposedly left-wing like MSBC or right-wing like FOX. Here we have multiple political programmes where people ask a range of politicians and public people what they think about political decisions and issues of the day.

Bernie got about 10 minutes coverage in all the primary campaigning whilst Clinton and Trump owned the airwaves for free. They shouldn’t have really spent all those billions on election adverts when they had the news channels to let them spew their hatred instead.

That’s one good thing about UK elections we don’t have to suck off lobbyists to get the money to campaign only to pay them back once in power.

In the US they usually have to have multi millions of dollars to even consider running for Congress or the President. Then they leave the House to go and work for a lobbyist firm or a company they had a hand in helping by voting for  in government.

So whether you like Corbyn’s charity shop suits or not, or you are hoping to see Labour wiped out so that you can rush to join Tony Blair’s threat of a new neo-con, neo-liberal, war mongering, Banksters fun time party, you have to vote tomorrow and vote with your conscience.

If you don’t want more war, to see Blair in cuffs, more money spent on schools and hospitals and less US ass licking then Labour are the only real choice for progressives. If you want the opposite, more war, bigger bombs dropped on schools and hospitals and blowback that turns UK born kids into murdering Jihadists then vote Tory.

If you want your vote to count for nothing then there is always the Green party and UKIP despite whether their ideas are good or not but as they say you should vote with your conscience whether it makes a difference or not.

Just make sure you vote.

By Dark Politricks

© 2017 Dark Politricks

Tory plans to make us all Terrorists!

June 10, 2015

Tory plans to make us all Terrorists!

By Dark Politricks

This is a recent video from Russell Brand about the new UK Tory governments plans for a new anti terror bill that will crack down on free speech and other civil liberties.

It seems that with every new government we get a new “anti terrorism” law passed, Tony Blair passed at least 2 that I can remember. They were mostly used for memorable things such as:

  • Freezing all Icelandic money in UK banks after the Iceland Banking crisis – something which the Icelandic people have never forgiven us for. From my recent trip to Iceland I would not be surprised to see a statue of Gordon Brown put up in Reykjavik just so that people could throw tomatoes at it.
  • Throwing out and then arresting OAP protestors from Labour conferences who dared shout out “liar” as the warmongers on stage defended their illegal war on Iraq.
  • Allowing M16 / MI5 Agents to pass questions to CIA torturers at “black site” prisons and Gitmo, who then proceeded to abuse, humiliate and injure the prisoners many of which were innocent. The ones that are not, including leaders of the now destabilised mess of a country we “liberated” called Libya, are even now trying to sue the government for their complicity in torture e.g Abdul Hakim Belhaj. This included one incident in which one British jihadi’s fingernails were ripped out after MI6 suggested that a notorious Pakistani intelligence agency detain him, and MI5 and Greater Manchester police drew up questions to be put to him.
  • Cracking down on tourists and other photographers within London taking photos of buildings as they could be “planning terrorist” attacks.

We should always be careful when “new” terrorism laws are proposed. Especially as with the current one it is to be “fast tracked” through government.

This means no proper debate over the merits of the bill and no proper time to propose amendments and changes to the bill.

Hopefully enough libertarian/liberal-minded Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and hopefully Tory back benchers will stand up against this act of tyranny.

As I said in my last piece, the UK Tory Government, freed of the shackles of coalition with liberals, are planning on repealing the Human Rights Act. A piece of legislation brought in by Tony Blair in the 90’s but created from the European Convention on Human Rights which was drawn up by the Tory post war government to show to the world how civilised we should all be in future.

It is sad that a future Tory government is now going to remove this legislation due to a minority of cases where they have not been able to deport criminal immigrants due to their “right to a family life”.

It seems that the Tories wish that if you are born in this country and your parents are not, that if they commit a crime they can now be ripped away from you leaving you with the choice to follow them to whatever horrible war-torn country they escaped from (Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Sudan…).

The question is what level of criminality requires this response. I can understand the Government wishing to get rid of terrorists, murderers and rapists but what about non-payment of Council Tax, a crime punishable by prison, which many British born OAPs have found themselves facing? What crimes would exact this level of response, does a list even exist?

It seems we English are sticklers for the rule of law even when we don’t agree with small parts of it.

Instead of just ignoring section 8 of the Human Rights Act like France does whenever it wants to do something the EU prohibits we decide to throw the whole law away.

Instead of just declaring that the house of Commons is the supreme will of the people, and that if it votes to decide to remove someone from these shores because of a REAL terrorist crime then so be it, family or not. The problem comes with all the guff these bills include that label you and me “domestic terrorists” for speaking out against the Government, war, its foreign policy, support of Israel, or other civil rights that are being chipped away bit by bit never to return.

I have no problem if a REAL terrorist who is not a British citizen is deported at the end of his or her sentence. The problem is that the Government is proposing to throw the whole Human Rights Act away to achieve this instead of coming up with another solution.

If the House of Commons IS supposed to be the supreme will of the people because we have voted for it – try to forget the UKIP member who got 0 votes despite voting for himself for a moment, we don’t have voter fraud in Western Democracies, it’s just nasty evil countries like Russia that do things like that. Then a vote in the house should be enough to override any appeal on Human Rights grounds due to section 8. This is as long as the case has been proved beyond doubt, the convict has had his chance at appeal, and the criminal does in fact pose a threat to the country.

I am perfectly happy to see a UK Bill of Rights on TOP of, not INSTEAD of, the Human Rights Act, to achieve such aims if needed. I just don’t want to see families ripped apart over nonsensical crimes or crimes that shouldn’t even exist e.g drugs, protest, freedom of speech that goes against popular view etc.

David Cameron has gone on record to say that the belief that if you as a citizen “just followed the law you would be left alone”, is now going to be turned on its head.

That in itself is worrying Hilter-esque language that could be taken to mean anything.

Wasn’t an Englishman’s home his castle?

Were we not the creators of law as it exists in many countries through the Magna Carta, Due Process, the idea that we are all innocent until proven guilty.

What about the social contract between citizen and state that meant we plebs had our rights and the government protected them and the country as long as we paid our taxes?

As Russell Brand says in the piece below, a similar piece of legislation which the Tories are basing their own law on, was recently brought into Canada and the people were appalled by it.

It meant that:

  • Innocent words can be interpreted as terrorism – make of that what you will.
  • Speaking “recklessly” which could lead to a terrorist act being committed is a crime. So speaking out about the increasing authoritarian nature of our world on this blog could lead to a mentally disturbed reader to go and fly a plane into a skyscraper and I would spend 5 years in jail – fair?
  • Protesting could lead to government surveillance. So any kind of protest by Unions, Students, Occupy, or anybody against the increasing Police State be warned.
  • Meddling with ANY CORPORTATE INTERESTS could be interpreted as terrorism under the new UK act. So protests that prevent Vodafone from opening their doors (UKUncut beware!) or the use of Bitcoin or other electronic currencies that stopped the banks from monitoring your money could now be considered a crime.

Watch the video to see more and spread it.

Our rights are being eroded and we could all soon be considered terrorists for speaking our minds, protesting corruption and the corporate take over of our life.

Is that really terrorism or just the rights we should expect to enjoy as a member of a supposedly free country?

View the original article at Dark Politricks.

© 2015 By Dark Politricks

How we are being indoctrinated to believe privacy is an antiquated concept

December 16, 2012

How we are being indoctrinated to believe privacy is an antiquated concept

By Dark Politricks

It is amazing how much indoctrination we are submitted to throughout our lives and how little most people realise that they are being indoctrinated to accept a power system that subjugates and constricts our lives. It is through this indoctrination that our concept of privacy is slowly being eroded.

Indoctrination comes in many forms and has many purposes but the current major form of indoctrination is to condition the new generation of society that privacy is an ancient old fashioned concept.

Some of us old enough to remember the times before 9.11, and before that the growth of the Internet.

Both of these major events have affected the way democratic societies in the west have treated privacy and reduced limits on government and corporate snooping.

Here are just a few of the ways we are being conditioned to accept government spying and corporate control over our lives as nothing more than natural behaviour there to “protect us” from the all powerful evil terrorists that live under every rock and bush just waiting to pounce.

1. Schools

Our schools are nothing more than factories for producing uneducated youth ready for the corporate jungle that will eat them up for low wages and little benefits. Instead of actual education in which they would learn useful information such as morality and where it comes from, philosophy, debating techniques, logic and reasoning. They are instead taught a minimum amount of knowledge to become good and obeying citizens ready for the low wage jobs that our service economy is now built upon.

Instead of the junk they are forced to fill their brains with they should be learning useful life enhancing tools such as history that teaches events from multiple points of view so as not to re-enforce any one sided indoctrination they may be getting from home by parents who have been through the same factory system of education themselves.

2. Computer Games

The most popular past time for school boys and girls today is the use of computer games. Whereas once kids played outside, kicking balls against walls, riding bikes in the woods and making their own entertainment they are instead indoctrinated into becoming soldiers of the future by playing war based games like Call of Duty and other games that involve killing “the enemy” en mass. We can see the output of this indoctrination with the use of Playstation controllers used by drone controllers who sit in Las Vegas and kill dozens of people halfway across the world as if it were nothing but a game. These games are designed to de-sensitise boys at a young age and make it seem normal to kill people without thought or reason.

3. TV and Film

Television is the cancer of the brain that rots the unthinking from the inside. Whenever the rhetoric about war with Iran heats up there always seems to be films or TV programmes that are brought out at the same time to subtly influence the viewer into hating the enemy before any war starts.

From shows like NCIS, Person of Interest and 24 hours to films like The 300 and most recently the film Argo. They all influence the unwitting viewer into supporting domestic spying “for our own good” as well as US foreign policy. This might be about stirring up hatred for Iranians, justifying torture or supporting Israel and dismissing any freedom fighters as mere terrorists.

Whether this is just co-incidence or due to the strong links between the TV industry and pro-Israeli (and through them pro-war, neo-con) lobbyists, they all seem to be linked to current events. To the many dumb vessels that view these shows the underlying messages are taken in but not noticed consciously, to others who are aware of what is actually going on in the world they are signals of what is to come.

4. The Internet and Smart Phones

Whilst the Internet has undoubtedly been a force for good and allowed communication and the spread of information across the world it is now entering a stage where governments world wide are trying to limit these good aspects and instead use it as a tool to spy constantly on the public.

Whether it be CCTV cameras linked up to huge central databases through systems like TRAPWIRE or the ability for hackers (government or corporate) to remotely activate the microphone and webcam on your PC to listen and watch you, your laptop can be used as the ultimate spying tool for those who need it.

Not only has your PC and Phone become tracking devices that can pinpoint your location through inbuilt GPS devices or even just triangulation of phone masts as your phone constantly pings them to find the nearest and strongest signal. They are a means for the authorities to log and record your whereabouts and then store that information for a long period.

5. Privacy

Kids today are growing up with no concept of privacy. They post everything about themselves on the Internet on sites like Facebook and then live to regret them as they get older and go for job interviews. Nearly the first thing bosses do nowadays is search for your name online, using sites like www.123people.com to see what indiscretions their new employee might have got up to in earlier life.

Not only does the concept of having no privacy mean that people get used to being spied on constantly by CCTV cameras, satellites, phone companies, advertisers and the government. It also means that once our generation has gone the future children of the world will think nothing of RFID chips embedded everywhere to help them find information whilst logging their whereabouts at the same time or using their mobile phone instead of cash to pay for their shopping.

Anything that might seem helpful for the end-user also can be used for nefarious purposes and governments all over the western world are building huge data centres to hold all your banking transactions, the  locations of your travels, shopping habits and much more for time memorial “just in-case” something happens.

The nothing to hide, nothing to fear argument is often used at this point to justify this intrusive behaviour but do you really want your government looking back at you through your web camera as you read this article?

 

View the original article “I spy with my little eye” at www.darkpolitricks.com.

Internet giants Google, Facebook and Twitter stick up for privacy whilst selling our personal data for money!

October 15, 2012

Internet giants Google, Facebook and Twitter stick up for privacy whilst selling our personal data for money!

By Dark Politricks

A story in yesterday’s Daily Mail tells how the “big 3” Internet giants, Twitter, Google and Facebook are planning to block a bill being introduced in the UK parliament which requires them to store all data for a year so that security agencies, police and councils can request its disclosure at a later date.

The Internet giants were interviewed by a cross party committee of UK MP’s and they have all come out apparently fighting the draft Communications Data Bill.

From the article in the Daily Mail.

They reveal directors from Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Twitter believe the Bill would breach users’ privacy and allow repressive regimes to spy on Britons.

“Facebook said it might go to court to resist the new law, while Google and Twitter executives said they could refuse to unlock encrypted data if the Government were to seek the information via third-party providers such as BT.”

“Facebook said it might go to court to resist the new law, while Google and Twitter said they could refuse to unlock encrypted data.

“Facebook director Simon Milner accused the Government of using a ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’, and claimed the potential for nations with poor human-rights records to obtain data ‘should be a real concern’.”

Now I’d say that it doesn’t even matter if these companies, which are all spying on us for their own marketing purposes anyway, say they are sticking up for privacy. Especially when it has been shown time and time again that companies like Microsoft and Google help the NSA and other US secret service 3 letter acronyms anyway.

We now have the all invasive TRAPWIRE system that is linking up CCTV cameras and spying on US citizens constantly, along with the city sized computer base under UTAH to hold and analyse all the data that is being constantly collected on US citizens which is apparently now all perfectly legal.

There is no doubt in my mind after the EU caved in on banking data transactions that these systems will be linked up in future to the UK who is already the most surveillance country if you go by the number of CCTV cameras that follow us around day and night.

Is it another case of let the “plebs”‘ think they are pushing big brother back a bit whilst all the time lying to our faces as our personal data is stored by a multitude of electronic databases.

Systems as old as ECHELON which was created by the West to spy on the USSR and Eastern Bloc countries but after the cold war was turned on our own citizens.

To get round laws preventing the trawl method of spying that ECHELON does on their own citizens the countries involved decided to spy on each other and share the data. Australia would spy on the UK and the UK would spy on the USA and the USA on Australia. This way the national laws were bypassed and the data was shared among the countries anyway.

However with more and more spying methods and snooping laws being introduced in western nations there seems little need for these pleasantries and our own countries are freely admitting to spying on us all. For our own safety of course.

You never know when those 20-30 real remaining al-Qaeda members left over from the times of “the base” in the 80’s war against the USSR in Afghanistan might pop out under your bed.

Fighters who we helped train and fund and at that time we called them freedom fighters or more accurately the Mujahideen. Our proxy fighters who over time turned into our mortal enemy/de-stabalising friends.

Al-Qaeda terrorists who we obviously have some control over and are used whenever required to overthrow nations we suddenly dislike such as Libya and Syria.

So it might seem like a “win” when these Internet giants say to our government they will refuse to help them spy on us whilst at the same time collecting and keeping the same data for over a year, who knows for how long, by selling adverts, email lists, and details of our friend networks and who knows what else to advertisers to make money.

Obviously there is an easy solution – don’t use the Internet.

However it’s just too damn addictive isn’t it?

So if you don’t want to be spied on then you better go and buy a shack in the woods and wrap tin foil round your head but then it isn’t going to stop those thousands of satellites spinning round the globe spying on you is it?

We do truly live in a world of hypocrisy and George Orwell would be dismayed how we have just allowed ourselves to walk into a world of high tech police state style surveillance.

You can read the full Daily Mail article at www.dailymail.co.uk

UK Home Office responds to my letter regarding Labours attack on Civil Liberties

January 2, 2011

By Dark Politricks

You may have remembered that around the time of the UK General Election in 2010 I wrote a number of letters to the major parties regarding their policies regarding civil liberties. I managed to get a couple of responses from from the Lib Dem’s which I published but I received no response from Labour who were still in power at the time I wrote to them about their destruction of our civil liberties.

However today I checked the email account I had sent the original post from and found that I had been sent a reply some months back from the current coalition government (I have a lot of throwaway accounts that never get checked). The reply is pretty detailed and outlines their plans for restoring some of those freedoms we have lost under the last government. I have published my original letter above the response and we shall have to wait and see what happens when the Freedom Bill is finally brought to parliament this year.

To whom it may concern

I am a floating voter and someone who voted you into power in 97 after living through the last Tory administration.

I could never bring myself to vote Tory and consider myself a socially conscious voter however I am seriously considering voting Liberal Democrat at the forthcoming election and I will tell you why.

Along with many other people I have talked to about this subject I am seriously concerned with how the current Labour administration has decimated our hard won civil liberties.

History shows that freedom and rights are hard to win and that a government rarely gives more power to the populace without a fight.

This is why it horrifies me and many others how easily our rights and freedoms have been given away under the pretext of fighting terrorism and crime.

The Liberal Democrats have a proposed freedom bill which aims to put these mistakes right and I cannot see any way for our country to regain these hard won rights until your administration has been removed from office.

I never thought I would say this but even the Tories seem more concerned about our civil rights than the current Labour administration.

I remember the 90’s when the previous Conservative administration brought in the Criminal Justice Bill and how outraged I was that a government could prevent us from listening to certain types of music and make it illegal for people to congregate freely without a permit. I remember hearing Labour attack the Tories in the house of commons for this bill and stupidly believed that your party was one in which the individuals right to assemble and protest would be protected from the excesses of government power.

However in the 13 years since you came to power the UK now resembles something not too far off George Orwell’s 1984.

We are monitored by hundreds of CCTV cameras a day, huge databases store all our personal details (which are then often lost), our internet usage is monitored and through the RIPA act you have given numerous authorities the right to spy on us and enter our homes without warrants.

Our right to remain silent has been removed, the right to protest severely limited and you have introduced an unfair and unbalanced extradition treaty with the USA.

However what worries me most and I would dearly like to hear an answer on this question as so far I have not heard any Labour minister manage to make a defence of the abuse of the anti-terrorism laws you have brought in. You claimed that tough anti-terrorism laws were needed to help fight Al-Qaeda but then you misuse these laws to

  • Arrest Walter Wolfgang, an 82 year old who dared heckle anti-war comments at the Labour conference.
  • Freeze Iceland’s bank accounts during the financial crisis.
  • Stop, question and arrest numerous tourists and citizens who dared take photographs of public buildings and police officers.

Is it no wonder that a large percentage of the population is wary of allowing any further powers over our lives to be introduced when we can clearly see how this power is used.

I would dearly love to hear an explanation for this expansion and abuse of state power that fits in with the British culture of freedom and liberty and I would also like to hear what you are planning on doing to rectify the situation. Both the Lib Democrats and the Tories have plans for restoring our civil liberties but as far as I know Labour has no such plans and only wants to further reduce them by introducing ID cards and more surveillance powers.

As an undecided voter living in a marginal constituency I could be all the difference between a Labour victory or a hung parliament.

If you could answer my questions and concerns about the direction your government has taken the country it would be much appreciated.

Thanks

This is the response I received from the UK Home Office which is now run by a Tory amd Lib Dem government. I am grateful for them replying on behalf of Labour who obviously didn’t give my letter a second thought. Maybe if they had of responded to all the accusations that they had initiated a modern day police state and admitted that they had got it wrong regarding their attack on our civil liberties they might still have been running the Home Office.

Dear Mr Smith,

Thank you for your e-mail of 26 April to the previous Home Secretary in
which you raise a number of issues.  Your e-mail has been passed to the
Direct Communications Unit and I have been asked to reply.  I apologise
for the delay in responding.

I would like to explain that as we received your letter just before the
election and due to the change of Government, it was better to inform you
of the current changes of policy under the new Coalition Government.

On the issue of civil liberties, the Government has published a document
setting out a five-year programme of work inspired by values of freedom,
fairness and responsibility. As part of this the Government has made a
commitment to the introduction of a Freedom Bill, scrapping the ID card
scheme, restoring rights to non-violent protest, safeguards against the
misuse of anti-terrorism legislation and further regulation of CCTV.

We also intend to establish a Commission to investigate the creation of a
British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations
under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights
continue to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British
liberties. We will seek to promote better understanding of the true scope
of these obligations and liberties.

You mention that we are monitored by too many CCTV cameras.  The increase
in CCTV use – especially in areas to which the public have access – has
developed in the absence of a specific regulatory framework. In keeping
with our pledge to safeguard freedoms and protect civil liberties we
believe it essential, in terms of proportionality and retaining public
confidence, that CCTV is appropriately regulated and so we have committed
to further regulate CCTV in our coalition programme for government. There
is already an interim CCTV Regulator in place exploring potential elements
of a regulatory framework and we will work with him to consider key issues
such as standards; training; capture, retention and access to images; and
accountability and enforcement. Regulation will ensure that CCTV is used
appropriately and proportionally.

You mention that through the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)
local authorities have been given too many powers.  Public authority use
of covert investigative techniques is regulated by the RIPA.  RIPA
requires that use of these techniques is necessary and proportionate with
regard to human rights.  Its regime includes detailed record keeping,
authorisation at a level commensurate with the intrusiveness of the
technique and limited to particular grounds, and safeguard mechanisms
providing for independent overview, inspection and complaint.  Under RIPA
no public authorities but intelligence and law enforcement agencies have
the right to enter anyone’s home, and only then with the prior
authorisation of the Secretary of State or an independent Surveillance
Commissioner.

We need to ensure that the public authorities with a legitimate and
proportionate need to access communications data (which includes telephone
and internet data held by communications service providers or) will
continue to be able to do so in the face of changing technology. The
Communications Capabilities Directorate in the Home Office is looking at
how the public can continue to be protected from those that would do us
harm.  It has already ruled out a Government owned national database.

The measures to apply a new serious crime threshold and a new system
requiring prior approval by magistrates were set out in the recent
Coalition Agreement.  The Home Office is already working with the Local
Authority Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS), Communities and
Local Government Department and the Ministry of Justice, to find the best
way of implementing the measures.

You mention that there has been an introduction of an unfair and
unbalanced extradition treaty with the USA.  In the Coalition document
published on 20 May, which can be found on-line at:
http://programmeforgovernment.hmg.gov.uk/crime-and-policing/, the
Government stated “We will review the operation of the Extradition Act
2003 – and the US/UK extradition treaty – to make sure it is even-handed”.

The Government is giving careful consideration to the UK’s extradition
arrangements worldwide, to ensure they operate effectively and in the
interests of justice.  A range of options are being considered and the
Government will make an announcement in due course.

On the issue of anti-terrorism laws, the Coalition is committed to
reversing the substantial erosion of civil liberties that occurred under
the previous government and to introducing credible safeguards against the
misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.  The Coalition Government will be
reviewing counter-terrorism powers to make sure that any legislation
designed to protect the citizens of this country from the threats posed by
terrorism are appropriate and strike the right balance between individual
freedoms and collective security.

Finally, at this present time, I am unable to comment on the issue raised
on stop, question and arresting numerous tourists and members of the
public who take photographs of public buildings and police officers as
this policy is still being reviewed by the Coalition.

Yours sincerely,

C Johnson
Direct Communications Unit

TSA funding airport mind-reading scanners

January 9, 2010

Daniel Tencer
Raw Story
Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Amid the media furor over the attempted Christmas Day attacks and a renewed political focus on enhancing airport security, attention is turning to a technological advancement that will have civil rights activists — or, for that matter, anyone with a secret –seriously worried: Mind-reading machines.

“As far-fetched as that sounds, systems that aim to get inside an evildoer’s head are among the proposals floated by security experts thinking beyond the X-ray machines and metal detectors used on millions of passengers and bags each year,” AP’s Michael Tarm reports.

Tarm focuses on an Israeli company called WeCU Technologies (as in “we see you”), which is building a system that would turn airport waiting areas into arenas for Pavlovian behavioral tests:

The system … projects images onto airport screens, such as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group or some other image only a would-be terrorist would recognize, company CEO Ehud Givon said.

The logic is that people can’t help reacting, even if only subtly, to familiar images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places. If you strolled through an airport and saw a picture of your mother, Givon explained, you couldn’t help but respond.

The reaction could be a darting of the eyes, an increased heartbeat, a nervous twitch or faster breathing, he said. The WeCU system would use humans to do some of the observing but would rely mostly on hidden cameras or sensors that can detect a slight rise in body temperature and heart rate.

Homeland Security officials have long been keen on Israeli counter-terror technologies, given the country’s extensive experience with terrorism and its reputation for having some of the most effective security systems in the world.

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According to numerous news reports, WeCU has received two grants, from the US Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, for their research. Raw Story was unable to determine how much money WeCU received from the US government, but regulatory filings show the company spent at least $60,000 on lobbying in Washington in 2006 and 2007.

WeCU has already developed a prototype model of the mind-reading technology, which, according to an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, has already been demonstrated to government security officials in the US, Germany and Israel. It was evidently from that demonstration that US agencies decided to fund the project.

“It sounds like science fiction,” WeCU CEO Ehud Givon told the Jerusalem Post. “But I can assure you that the technology is very real. We have accuracy rates that are higher than 95 percent.”

Supporters of mind-reading technology argue that it would reduce waiting lines at security checkpoints and reduce the hassle for travelers. But the risks to personal privacy inherent in mind-reading technologies are self-evident. AP reports:

Some critics have expressed horror at the approach, calling it Orwellian and akin to “brain fingerprinting.”

For civil libertarians, attempting to read a person’s thoughts comes uncomfortably close to the future world depicted in the movie “Minority Report,” where a policeman played by Tom Cruise targets people for “pre-crimes,” or merely thinking about breaking the law.

WeCU’s technology is by no means the only mind-reading security system in development today. Another Israeli company, Suspect Detection Systems, has developed a technology that reads a person’s “hostile intent” by measuring bodily responses, through the person’s hand, while being asked questions. That system was field-tested at the Knoxville, Tennessee, airport last summer.

Between 2005 and 2006, SDS received $460,000 in grants from the TSA and the science directorate of Homeland Security.

The company appears to have ramped up its public relations in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt.

“A simple five minute automated interrogation during the Visa application process, or at the airport security checkpoint, would have most assuredly exposed the evil intention of Christmas terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before he ever boarded,” SDS CEO Shabtai Shoval said in a press release.

But while these methods are still in development, other behavior-detection technologies, that have less to do directly with reading minds, are on the cusp of being ready for deployment. The Department of Homeland Security has given the green light to FAST, or Future Attribute Screening Technology, which uses a combination of biometric scanners to measure a person’s pulse, breathing, pupil dilation and other signals that can determine “hostile intent.”

While FAST isn’t quite as intrusive as the WeCU system, it appears to be much closer to implementation, with field testing of the $20-million technology set to begin in 2011.

View the original article at Raw Story