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Sunday Telegraph: more state snooping using the excuse of the London Olympics ?

Today's Sunday Telegraph reports on even more plans, for even further intrusive Surveillance State measures. such as more familial DNA database speculative trawling, even more tracking of travel cards like the London Oyster Card and stuff for which there are already adequate legal powers, such as checking postal packets for illegal drugs.

As we have predicted, it seems that the London Olympic Games in 2012 will be used as the excuse to "sell" these ideas to the public, and presumably, money from the Games budget will be diverted to pay for these schemes.

Ministers plan 'Big Brother' police powers

By Patrick Hennessy and Ben Leapman, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:35am GMT 04/02/2007

A swathe of controversial "Big Brother" style crime-fighting techniques are to be introduced by the Government under the cover of the 2012 London Olympics, a leaked memo has revealed.

The document, drawn up by officials at the Home Office and sent to 10 Downing Street, paves the way for a much wider use of the police's DNA database to identify suspects through their relatives.

Police are also to be empowered to scan postal packages to find drugs

Why are the Police going to be involved directly in postal interception ?

The Customs and the Post Office already have the power to intercept and examine postal letters and packages for drugs, pornography, hazardous substances etc. and they have been doing so for
over 150 years.

Given the number of letter bombs which there have been in the UK over the years, some of which have injured postal workers, the Post Office already has x-ray and explosive detection equipment in its major sorting offices, and is well used to dealing with suspicious packages.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, already specifically mentions interception of any "postal service", which the Police or the Serious Organised Crime Agency can demand in the furtherance of a specific investigation in to drug smuggling.

What exactly is this leaked document proposing ?

and to monitor an individual's progress in even greater detail than they can today, by using advances in CCTV technology as well as electronic travel passes such as the Oyster cards in use in London.

The memo, entitled No 10 Policy Working Group on Security, Crime and Justice, Technological Advances, asks: "To what extent should the expectation of liberty be eroded by legitimate intrusions in the interests of security of the wider public?"

The answer to that question is: No further !

Why not sort out the basic low tech systems and get rid of the bureaucracy in the Home Office which is "not fit for purpose", before attempting to embark on even more repressive laws and expensive technological magic fixes, just to "Be Seen To Be Doing Something" politically.

Is this the same document which last week's sensational front page headline story in The Sun ( see The Sun: State X-Ray Spies, secret cameras in street lamps") was based on ?

The proposal is contained in leaked documents drawn up by the Home Office and presented to PM Tony Blair’s working group on Security, Crime and Justice.


A January 17 memo seen by The Sun

It goes on to explore how to win over public opinion and concludes: "Increasing [public] support could be possible through the piloting of certain approaches in high-profile ways such as the London Olympics."

The games are expected to see millions of extra visitors to the capital in what will present the police with the biggest peacetime security threat on British soil.

The leaked document paves the way for a big leap in forensics, particularly with the "volume of information now available on the national DNA database", on which details of more than three million Britons are stored.

It suggests that police will make much greater use of a technique known as "familial DNA" where a suspect whose details are not on the database can be traced through a family member whose details are already recorded. The memo states: "Records could be trawled more routinely to identify familial connections to crime scenes, providing a starting point to investigations through a family member that is on the database to a suspect that is not, for example."

How exactly is "familial DNA" speculative trawling of the UK National DNA Database, going to be of any use in protecting the British public, from the foreign criminals and terrorist who will be entering the UK for the London Olympics in 2012 ? Most of them will not be on the UK database at all, will they ?

The use of the words "Records could be trawled more routinely" are especially chilling in the context of familial DNA database searches.

If this were to be extended beyond the current , narrowly limited searches for murder or rape investigations, to database trawling i.e. a "fishing expedition", we would have moved a further step along the road which leads to familial, ethnic group and racial stereotyping, which could lead to discrimination against innocent people who are deemed by the system to "have bad blood".

We should not be creating the database infrastructure which could be used for a future genocide.

It admits: "Such use is clearly controversial and requires careful controls."

The Government should publish any proposals for further surveillance in full, with supporting and opposing documentary evidence, and regulatory and privacy impact assessments, and detailed cost estimates, and a list of those lobbyists and their clients who have a financial interest in these ideas, for a full public consultation, before they embark on any such schemes.

They must not be allowed to bring in more liberty destroying laws and mass surveillance schemes which will affect the whole country, and which remain in place after the temporary advertising sponsor controlled police state, which they seem to be planning for the London Olympics venues.

There should be criminal prosecutions of any Olympic athletes, sports officials and medical staff involved in the inevitable Olympic Games drug doping scandals, but that does not require further mass surveillance of the whole of the UK.

More surveillance and more snooping, does not necessarily mean more real security for the public, but it does mean more mistakes and more opportunities for these systems to be abused by criminals and corrupt insiders against innocent people !


As if by magic we're suddenly having letterbombs exploding every day now. How fortuitous for the Home Office for this to happen just after drawing up and publicising these plans...

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