The Home Secretary appears to accept the advice to publish more details about the Control Orders, without compromising the anonymity of those subjected to them.
However, we think that there should be far more openness about exactly what the Conditions imposed by the Control Orders are
Why are these conditions not made public, in general terms, without specific identifying information ?
We want to know, for example, the exact extent to which the 7 British citizens and 9 foreign nationals under Control Orders, and their families who are not subject to such Control Orders, are being denied access to mobile phones and the internet.
13. I have reviewed each alleged breach of control orders, using information from the police and the Home Office. These have been numerous, though in scale most have been minor. They have included lateness in reporting to police stations, minor tampering with tags, unauthorized meetings and visitors. There have been instances of unauthorized possession of SIM cards and, occasionally, mobile telephones.
This is different from having their communications lawfully intercepted by the authorities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, and it has wider implications than just for the 16 people currently affected.
To what extent do these apparent bans on mobile phones and, perhaps internet access, also apply to other family members sharing the home of a person subjected to a Control Order ?
How can a ban on the possession of SIM cards or mobile phones, be consistent with a non-derogating Control Order ?
What if the mobile phone is being used for browsing the web or for internet email, rather than for voice traffic ?
Are there also bans on the use of the internet ?
Supposing one of the existing, or future, subjects of a Control Order, wants to publish a blog or a website about his experiences, or to try to clear his name of allegations of terrorism ?
Supposing they want to arrange interviews with the press or with their lawyers, or to try to raise money for legal costs ? Why should the State interfere with this non-terrorist activity ?
Why do such Conditions not breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to privacy in your home, and of your communications, as laid down in UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998 ?
RIGHT TO RESPECT FOR PRIVATE AND FAMILY LIFE
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
Why do such bans not also breach Article 10 ?
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers
How many of the Control Orders specify a ban on the use of the internet ?
How many of the Control Orders specify a ban on the use of the mobile phones ?
We do not know, because such details of the Control Orders are being kept secret, for no obvious reason. Such bans actually potentially "tip off" other terrorist suspects.
The UK Government still has not yet grasped, that simply passing a bit of Primary Legislation, so as to try to "tick the box" and allow circumvention of ECHR human rights, whilst still claiming not to be "derogating" from the Convention, is not sufficient, according to the European Court of Human Rights judgements and legal precedents.
There also needs to be a judgement about proportionality, as well.
We have argued before, that if the people who are being subjected to Control Orders are real terrorist suspects, then they should not be prevented from communicating with other potential terrorist plotters, they should be under lawful surveillance, so that intelligence can be gathered on other plotters , weapons or explosives or terrorist finance etc.
If they or their families, are not real terrorist threats, then how is possibly proportionate, to ban them from using mobile phones or the internet ?
Control Orders look more like a counter-productive tool for collective or community punishment, rather than an effective security measure for public safety.
If the Labour Government wants to use the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 Control Orders in this way, they should derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights, and stop pretending that they are somehow morally pure on the topic of human rights.