Of interest to Spy Blog readers should be the forthcoming BBC Radio 4 Law in Action programme presented by Joshua Rozenberg
- Tuesday 8th Jun 2010 16:00 BBC Radio 4 (FM only) .
- Thursday 10th Jun 2010 20:00 BBC Radio 4
and online via the BBC iPlayer for a while thereafter.
1/4. Top legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg returns to present the first in a new series of the legal affairs magazine.
In this opening programme, he examines an issue that looks set to prompt widespread debate among the public as well as among those working in the criminal justice system. Increasingly the police are using digital cameras and intelligence tactics to create image libraries of campaigners and protesters. These are designed, senior officers say, to help the police prevent criminal acts from being committed. But critics see the creation and development of the photographic databases as potentially sinister, claiming that ever larger numbers of images are being added.
Joshua Rozenberg investigates how the police, the courts and those responsible for protecting personal data strike a balance between the need to safeguard civil liberties and the police's responsibility to prevent crime. Are there enough safeguards to protect the public from being unfairly linked with criminals? Is maintaining public order being used as an excuse to engineer a surveillance society? Or are the authorities simply taking the minimum steps to ensure a determined and well-organised minority of protesters bent on disruption do not wreck the lives of the law-abiding majority?
Allied with Forward Intelligence Teams is the snooping on and surveillance of. innocent public demonstrators and ordinary motorists etc. through the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology, which , worryingly for millions of innocent motorists, includes a flag on the Police National Computer, which could be so very easily misinterpreted,
7 REASON - Protest could easily be abused for political purpose, or could be seen as such.
See also the The Guardian report about Project Champion
Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims' every move -
About 150 car numberplate recognition cameras installed in two Muslim areas, paid for by government anti-terrorism fund
There is some belated local opposition to this "Big Brother Surveillance State" abuse of technology: see the protest and petition and ANPR camera mapping website: Spy on Moseley
Spy on Moseley - Sparkbrook, Springfield, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green. An MI5 Intelligence-gathering operation to spy on Muslim communities in Birmingham is taking liberties in every sense
Unlike other CCTV schemes, this one has an altogether different and far more sinister purpose: it is connected to the government's 'Preventing Violent Extremism' agenda, or 'Prevent' for short. The Home Office funding came from the counter-terrorism budget of ACPO (TAM) - an acronym that stands for 'Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism and Allied Matters)'.
Project Champion is a surveillance exercise which utilises a grid of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras which now encircles the predominantly Muslim areas of the city, notably Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath Wards. There are also nine camera points in Moseley, where this campaign of opposition began - hence the name of this website. It should be noted that opposition to this scheme is not limited to a few Moseley residents, but is a much wider issue.
These spy cameras will record every vehicle entering or leaving a zone that has been designated as Birmingham's 'Terrorist Quarter'. This is a Home Office initiative from central government. Big Brother is watching you. Especially if you are Muslim, or just happen to live in Birmingham's "terrorist ghetto."
Some of the offending ANPR camera locations in Moseley have been plotted onto a Google Map:
We are waiting for the new Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government to fulfil its promises on the abuse of ANPR and CCTV cameras etc.
Vehicles: Automatic Plate Recognition
House of Lords
Written answers and statements, 3 June 2010
Lord Corbett of Castle Vale (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to restrict the use of vehicle registration number-plate recognition cameras.
Baroness Neville-Jones (Minister of State (Security), Home Office; Conservative)
In keeping with our pledge to safeguard freedoms and protect civil liberties we believe it important to ensure that the use of automatic number-plate recognition technology is proportionate in order to command public confidence. We will therefore be considering whether more needs to be done to strengthen controls and safeguards relating to its use.
We accept the need for the Police to use such technology to help them to do the job that we expect of them.
However, the bureaucracy and secrecy behind which they have been allowed to hide the use or abuse of such technology, is utterly wrong.
There are still no easy, transparent procedures for innocent members of the public to be notified of errors and to get such mistakes rapidly corrected, both on the original Police databases and on all the other ones to which such inaccurate and possibly libelous data is routinely propagated to, both in the UK and internationally.