21 Feb 2009

Coroners and Justice Bill seriously threatens our liberty

Today marks the 57th anniversary of the day in 1952 when the abolition of wartime ID cards was announced in the House of Commons. As part of Churchill's "bonfire of controls", the government abolished national identity cards with much support from the population. Now we see that the lessons of the past have been forgotten.

No2ID cards in their latest email highlight this poster which was produced in 1939, as Britain prepared for war and the year ID cards were last introduced in the UK: "It is summing up the current mood amongst civil liberties campaigners. As the Coroners and Justice bill (see more below) makes its way through parliament the poster, entitled 'Freedom is in peril', strikes a chord with anyone concerned about the threats to privacy that confront us today. The full text says 'Freedom is in peril defend it with all your might' and it was part of a series supposed to convey a message from the King to assure the people that all necessary measures to defend the nation were being taken and to stress an 'attitude of mind'."

The poster was apparently deemed ineffective because of ‘the abstractness of the words, not one of which had any popular appeal’. Criticism had been raised that "Freedom" was rather an abstract concept and was 'likely to be too academic and too alien to the British habit of thought'. I hope this does not apply to people in the UK today.

Encourage MPs to sign EDM

Card: from Russ

David Drew MP has supported the moves towards ID cards. I hope we can change his mind - it is not only a human rights issue it is also the vast costs - particularly when we should be sp[ending those billions on real threats like climate change. John Leech MP for Manchester Withington has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons against the proposed pilot of ID cards in Manchester. The EDM notes: "the rising levels of public discontent over the scheme; and calls on the Government to halt the identity card scheme without delay". Please write to your MP using:
http://www.writetothem.com and ask him or her to sign EDM 672.

Why concerns now?

The government's stated intentions are: "to overcome current barriers to information sharing within the public sector". Now the Ministry of Justice has launched an extraordinary coup. It wants to convert the Data Protection Act into its exact opposite, into a means for any government department to obtain and use any information however it likes. Here's what NO2ID say: "Hidden in the new Coroners and Justice Bill is one clause (cl.152) amending the Data Protection Act. It would allow ministers to make 'Information Sharing Orders', that can alter any Act of Parliament and cancel all rules of confidentiality in order to use information obtained for one purpose to be used for another. This single clause is as grave a threat to privacy as the entire ID Scheme. Combine it with the index to your life formed by the planned National Identity Register and everything recorded about you anywhere could be accessible to any official body. That is what we meant by "the database state". It is now a threat not a theory."

Next Saturday there are events around the country connected to The Convention on Modern Liberty in London - Greens will be at many of those events.


Anonymous said...

Green protestors are already being spied on - see:

weggis said...

My MP says that EDM 672 was not flagged up on his daily search and this is why not many have signed it. He will do so tomorrow and hopefully tell his friends.