May 22nd, 2009

Big Brother, not quite so big

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The older I get the more into grumpy old man mode I slide. I have a strong sense of law & order & a moral obligation to assist the forces of the law in any way I can. But, I also have a determination that this should not be at the expense of my liberties.

That’s why I have always disagreed with the retention of the DNA of innocent people. It’s why I started out many years ago thinking that if you had nothing to hide, carrying an ID card could only assist society, but now I feel there is no need for me to possess such a thing. It’s why I don’t want the details of everyone I ring or email held on a national database, etc etc.

So I was pleased today to see a result in the Appeal Court which has ruled the Metropolitan Police must destroy surveillance photographs of someone who has not committed nor been suspected of any offences.

Andrew Wood is an arms trade activist who was photographed at the offices of an arms fair company. He has never been arrested. Police added his photos to a criminal intelligence database & refused to destroy them saying they could prove valuable should Mr Wood go on to commit any offences at some unspecified future date.

Law Lords decided 2 to 1 that his rights had been breached & ordered the destruction of the photos. They have left time for the Met to appeal before destroying the photos, so we will have to see what happens next.

As far as I’m concerned it is simply not good enough to say ‘if you’ve got nothing to hide’ what have you got to worry about’. I believe the onus should be on the authorities to show a very good reason why they should have me on any kind of database, particularly if I’m doing nothing illegal.

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  1. Ben says:

    This is not a proper comment, just pointing out a typo, so please delete when you see it.
    It’s “Onus” not “oweness”, though I like yours, it has the right kind of ring.

    May 22nd, 2009 at 22:54

  2. bill says:

    “…though I like yours, it has the right kind of ring.”

    Surely then, that should be “anus”.

    I’ll get me coat…

    May 22nd, 2009 at 23:33

  3. 200 says:

    Ben, of course it is, I had a mental block for seconds over that, of course, I can’t now remove your comment lest bill’s loses its appeal.

    May 22nd, 2009 at 23:35

  4. Ben says:

    So I have to look like a pedant? I am a pedant, of course, but still…

    May 22nd, 2009 at 23:59

  5. Fee says:

    bill, I like that …

    Ben – I’m known at work as the Grammar Nazi, being called a pedant would be a compliment.

    I feel I should call myself Little Weed

    May 23rd, 2009 at 09:36

  6. Blueknight says:

    I saw the report in the newspaper which ironically, showed a full face picture of him.
    Having done EGT football spotting and FIT on occasions, I have to say that the line between what might be useful intelligence and what is a breach of someones civil liberty is blurred.
    Taking someone’s photo or filming them is pointless unless it is for a reason.
    The reason usually is hanging about with known trouble makers, appearing to take an active role in the incident. Having previously been seen at previous incidents where trouble was caused.
    Obviously anyone rioting or damaging property would be filmed in the act, but some of what we tried to do was film demonstrators/football hooligans before the trouble and before they pull their hoodies down over their faces or ‘mask up’
    The video tape or parts of it may be copied to anyone investigating the incident, but then the tape is sealed up and put into storage in the same way that interview tapes are retained.

    May 23rd, 2009 at 22:01

  7. Tony F says:

    Who lead the ‘Pedant’s Revolt’?

    Which Tylor…..

    May 24th, 2009 at 20:33

  8. Hibbo says:

    That is an astonishingly refreshing view of big brother, and in particularly in DNA database, to hear from a serving police officer.

    Nice one 200, you’re on your way out though…

    May 26th, 2009 at 20:02

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