Saturday, March 07, 2009

Tagged and bagged

Oh dear. More cops spying on protest groups. This time it's in everyone's favourite CCTV police state, Britain:

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.

It's almost enough to make you want to stake out police bar carparks and gather dossiers on cops. And while we're sticking it to the Brits, a company is facing prosecution for selling secret data on employees:

Around 40 construction companies who subscribed to the scheme would send lists of prospective employees to The Consulting Association, who would then warn them about potential troublemakers. Some of the notes uncovered by an ICO raid on the association's offices included descriptions such as "ex-shop steward, definite problems", "Irish ex-Army, bad egg"...

Not only was the database held without the workers' consent, but the existence of it was repeatedly denied... Data included information concerning personal relationships, trade union activity and employment history, it added. Employers paid £3,000 as an annual fee, and £2.20 for individual details, the ICO said.