"Have a look at this news-video about Stephen Clarke, a man who was accused to taking pictures of sewer-gratings in Manchester and arrested. Though the police couldn't find any photos of sewer-gratings on his phone (and even though "what a sewer grating looks like" isn't a piece of specialized terrorist intelligence), he was held on suspicion of planning an act of terror, imprisoned for two days while the police searched his home, his phone and his computer. When they couldn't find anything suspicious, they released him, but kept his DNA on file, as the biometric of someone who had been accused of plotting a terrorist act."Mr Clarke is familiar with the European Court of Human Rights ruling in S. and Marper v. The United Kingdom in December last year and is planning to press to have his DNA and fingerprints removed from the police databases.
Information sharing provisions in the draft Coroners and Justice Bill include some of the most wide-ranging and potentially intrusive proposals ever laid before Parliament. In particular, clause 152 is a profound threat to privacy, liberty and the rule of law.
The new powers are designed to give ministers a fast-track procedure to share data across departmental databases, overriding data protection, human-rights and confidentiality.
We strongly object to these powers on the basis of principle and practice. On principle, they would sweep away fundamental democratic liberties. In practice, the Government has consistently failed to manage large-scale ICT projects, resulting in massive data losses and vast expense.
Just as importantly, Parliamentary scrutiny will be sidestepped by introducing information sharing orders via secondary legislation, overseen only by the toothless Information Commissioner’s Office.
Polls show the public are against the proposals, which would give Government far too much power over our personal data. But polls aren’t always important: it’s up to you, the committed, motivated few to stand up to protect the rights of the wider community.
We can make a difference and, with the bill scheduled for a third reading in the House of Commons during March, its vital we take action now. We are asking three things from you:
- Please write to your MP today - very simple using writetothem - about clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, stating explicitly that you refuse to consent for your personal data to be used under any information sharing order. Explain in personal terms the harm to society that these powers will cause and demand that they stand up against clause 152.
- Please go along to MP’s surgery and press for a face to face conversation. Many of you have the technical expertise to clearly explain the risks associated with the database state in general and data-sharing in particular, which is key to understanding why clause 152 is so dangerous.
- To raise awareness of clause 152, please blog about this call to action and your related correspondence.
- This Privacy International Black Zone report includes extended commentary and a detailed list of data-sharing examples.
- This NO2ID briefing indicates both the broad concerns and gives a detailed legal analysis of the proposal.
- NO2ID also have an extensive archive of background material
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