Yearly Archives: 2016

Two recent news articles highlight issues with the database state and the fallacy of the “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” argument so often used to claim surveillance is not something the law abiding should be worried about. The first was a report in the Guardian that 17 people had been mistakenly arrested, due to incorrect telephone information or Internet records being provided to the Police or other public bodies investigating crime. The other was an article resulting from a Daily Mail investigation concerning people having county court judgements awarded against them, without them even knowing that proceedings had been issued against them or anything about the court case. In both these cases information has been processed on individuals without their knowledge and with not even basic checks on the accuracy of the information being made by the Police, security or court services.  This in itself scandalous given the serious […]

Data is There to be Processed – But as Cheaply ...

NO2ID have recently picked up on a worrying new strategic data sharing initiative in Greater Manchester.  It is called GM-Connect and it was initiated in January 2016, but we have only become aware of it recently because there hasn’t been much publicity about it.  Official information is limited to a press release and a report summarising the aims of the GM-Connect project. The aim of GM-Connect is to allow the sharing of the personal data of residents across Greater Manchester, with a longer-term aim to create a ‘common residents index’ of everyone living in Greater Manchester.   Although the report focuses on the use of GM-Connect in improving social and health care, the ultimate intention is clearly that access to many other public services will be covered. GM-Connect will not actually store the data but will use a federated data sharing model (Essentially a series of separate databases which can be […]

GM-Connect: A New Data Sharing Initiative for Greater Manchester

Campaign group NO2ID [1] says a provision tacked on to the Digital Economy Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech hides “a revolution in government”, “a Whitehall coup”. Little notice has so far been taken of the bland-sounding “use of data to deliver government services” [2], but the underlying proposals [3] would create new rules for information about individuals and companies held by government. Information given in confidence for one purpose, could be later taken by officials and used for another, without any specific political or legal authority.[5] This is to be embedded in a Bill mainly concerned with broadband provision and internet regulation. Guy Herbert, General Secretary of NO2ID said: The idea that information we give to government stops being ours and starts being official property won’t go away. In 2009 the last Labour administration sneaked something similar into the Coroners and Justice Bill – and had to withdraw it […]

“Whitehall coup” hidden in Queen’s Speech – Press Release

The Investigatory Powers Bill has been introduced to parliament in an attempt by the Home Office to rush it through the Commons before the European referendum. Contained within the Bill are new and broadly drafted powers that would enable police and intelligence to have general warrants to demand data from any organisation that stores it, and match, mine, share, and cross-reference it. Guy Hebert General Secretary of NO2ID says “These sweeping powers are in addition to the existing self-authorised powers over communications data for specific investigations already granted to a wide range of public bodies. General warrants could specify broad types of information and purposes, leaving the security forces free to demand any information from anyone about anyone as suits their mass surveillance brief. That’s so vague as to cover anything, from the computer network at your child’s school, to shopping records, details of phone downloads, messaging, or CCTV records” […]

Database state: authorities could demand your data from any organisation ...