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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Another database

The practise of monitoring and storing details of political activists is not a new one in this country. It was certainly happening when I attended anti-apartheid demonstrations in the 1980s and I am sure it was going on both before and after that point. Most activists assume that their details are held on some large government database somewhere and so would express no surprise at the revelations on the front page of today's Guardian.

The differences I suppose are firstly that disclosures through the Freedom of Information Act, court testimony, an interview with a senior Met officer and police surveillance footage obtained by the paper now make the existence of such a database undeniable and that secondly, the Police appear to have targeted journalists:

The Guardian has found:

•Activists "seen on a regular basis" as well as those deemed on the "periphery" of demonstrations are included on the police databases, regardless of whether they have been convicted or arrested.

•Names, political associations and photographs of protesters from across the political spectrum – from campaigners against the third runway at Heathrow to anti-war activists – are catalogued.

•Police forces are exchanging information about pro­testers stored on their intelligence systems, enabling officers from different forces to search which political events an individual has attended.

Lawyers said tonight they expect the Guardian's investigation to form the basis of a legal challenge against the use of police surveillance tactics.

How long now before this database is found on an unencrypted memory stick on a commuter train into London?


The technology for all of the survailance has been around for years and has been used intensivley by the Authorities, you would have to be very naive to believe it hasn't. If the ability is there there is no way it has not been used, even on AMs and MPs. Nothing in our lives is hidden. Every phone call Email and computor use is registered and if so monitered.
CTV cameras can trail us 24 hours a day if necessary. We can be tracked wherever we are with our Mobile phones through the satelite system. Our mail can be intercepted which happened to me when I subscribed to the anti establishment magazine 'Ein Gwlad.
All this fuss about the Government wanting to have everything about us on file, thy have already got everything they need to know from all the existing data around about us. all they need which is what they are trying to do is to make it legal and once again we will walk blinfolded into it.
As the law now stands any proccesion is regarded as needing monitoring which is why you have to have Police permission for even Christian Whitsun marches of witness, because they are demonstrating thier belief and these are where children are taking part.
that is a point do they film children at these protesting demonstrations as well as journalists because that is surely illegal.
I supose after this entry I will be monitored
I do not think it is actually illegal to film or photograph children.
Then I stand corrected, thank you.
Mr Black
On reflection may I please be allowed to correct myself.
'Ein Gwlad' was not an anti establishment magazine but a satirical anti hypocrisy relating to Wales magazine that has sadly had to finish. Thank you
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