A cabinet decision to put the management of the multibillion pound database of all UK communications traffic into private hands would be accompanied by tougher legal safeguards to guarantee against leaks and accidental data losses.

But in his strongest criticism yet of the superdatabase, Sir Ken Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, who has firsthand experience of working with intelligence and law enforcement agencies, told the Guardian such assurances would prove worthless in the long run and warned it would prove a “hellhouse” of personal private information.

“Authorisations for access might be written into statute. The most senior ministers and officials might be designated as scrutineers. But none of this means anything,” said Macdonald. “All history tells us that reassurances like these are worthless in the long run. In the first security crisis the locks would loosen.”

The home secretary postponed the introduction of legislation to set up the superdatabase in October and instead said she would publish a consultation paper in the new year setting out the proposal and the safeguards needed to protect civil liberties. She has emphasised that communications data, which gives the police the identity and location of the caller, texter or web surfer but not the content, has been used as important evidence in 95% of serious crime cases and almost all security service operations since 2004 including the Soham and 21/7 bombing cases.

Until now most communications traffic data has been held by phone companies and internet service providers for billing purposes but the growth of broadband phone services, chatrooms and anonymous online identities mean that is no longer the case.

The Home Office’s interception modernisation programme, which is working on the superdatabase proposal, argues that it is no longer good enough for communications companies to be left to retrieve such data when requested by the police and intelligence services. A Home Office spokeswoman said last night the changes were needed so law enforcement agencies could maintain their ability to tackle serious crime and terrorism.

Senior Whitehall officials responsible for planning for a new database say there is a significant difference between having access to “communications data” – names and addresses of emails or telephone numbers, for example – and the actual contents of the communications. “We have been very clear that there are no plans for a database containing any content of emails, texts or conversations,” the spokeswoman said.

External estimates of the cost of the superdatabase have been put as high as £12bn, twice the cost of the ID cards scheme, and the consultation paper, to be published towards the end of next month, will include an option of putting it into the hands of the private sector in an effort to cut costs. But such a decision is likely to fuel civil liberties concerns over data losses and leaks. Macdonald, who left his post as DPP in October, told the Guardian: “The tendency of the state to seek ever more powers of surveillance over its citizens may be driven by protective zeal. But the notion of total security is a paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. We must avoid surrendering our freedom as autonomous human beings to such an ugly future. We should make judgments that are compatible with our status as free people.”

Maintaining the capacity to intercept suspicious communications was critical in an increasingly complex world, he said. “It is a process which can save lives and bring criminals to justice. But no other country is considering such a drastic step. This database would be an unimaginable hell-house of personal private information,” he said. “It would be a complete readout of every citizen’s life in the most intimate and demeaning detail. No government of any colour is to be trusted with such a roadmap to our souls.”

The moment there was a security crisis the temptation for more commonplace access would be irresistible, he said.

Other critics of the plan point to the problems of keeping the database secure, both from the point of view of the technology and of deliberate leaks. The problem would be compounded if private companies manage the system. “If there is a breach of security in that database it would be utterly devastating,” one said.

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Schillings

December 17, 2008

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/Schillings.pdf

By Craig Murray, Nov 2008. www.CraigMurray.org.uk

Juan Manuel Barroso, President of the European Union, has announced that “the people that matter” in the UK wish to join the Euro. To make this even worse, he made a direct contrast in the same sentence with “I know that the majority are still opposed”, It is impossible to analyze his words in any way that does not indicate that he believes “the majority” do not “matter”.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5267307.ece

I would like to think this was a slip of the tongue, but unfortunately it is rather an indication of the fundamental belief system of the Eurocrats. In my professional career I attended many conferences with diplomats and others from EU states, at which the role of “the elite” in forwarding “the European project” was a key theme. On scores of occasions I have heard it propounded that “the elites” initiated “the European project” and would always be its drivers. The contempt for the views of the Irish people shown in attempts to enforce Lisbon is a manifestation of a deep-seated anti-democratic tendency.

The irony is that I am a firm supporter of the EU. I believe European unity to be one of the noblest causes of my lifetime, I think free movement of people and trade is wonderful. I think we should join the Euro immediately. But I wish to see a democratic EU, with directly elected representatives (ie not fatguts Barroso) in the lead and subsidiarity genuinely applied.

The EU’s self-appointed “elite” are not the drivers of the process; by engendering well-deserved public hostility on a continual basis, they are a brake on the process. Doubtless UKIP are today grateful for the existence of Mr Barroso.

Shame it wasn’t…

December 16, 2008

…a big fucking rock. Still, better than nothing, at least someone had some balls in that crowd (if not shoes)…

 

BULLETS were fired into Guildford Cathedral in an incident in which David Sycamore, a man aged 39, who lived nearby, was killed by police on the steps of the cathedral at about 3 p.m. on Sunday, the Dean of Guildford, the Very Revd Victor Stock, said on Tuesday.

 

 

The shooting ended a police action in which two police vehicles responded to a report from a member of the public that a man in the vicinity of the cathedral had said that he had a gun and intended to kill people.

 

 

Bullets penetrated the walls of the cathedral crèche and then passed through the area where the cathedral guides normally gather. Although there were no children in the crèche at the time, there had been several visitors and staff in the cathedral.

 

 

The cathedral was closed for a day-and-a-half while a team from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) examined the site of the killing and interviewed witnesses.

 

 

Speaking on Tuesday, after the cathedral had been reopened, the Dean said that he had been in the deanery when the shooting took place, and that he saw the victim from a distance, being attended by paramedics.

 

 

“He had said to a member of the public: ‘I have got a gun and I am going to kill people,’ and then moved towards the cathedral. I think what happened was that he was sitting on the steps of the South Garth, where there is a kind of open cloister.

 

 

“Then the police screamed up in two vehicles. I think he put his hand into his pocket and pulled out something that looked like a gun, and they shot him. The bullets entered the cathedral through the glass walls of the crèche, and then passed through the glass walls the other side of the crèche where the guides were sitting. I said to them [the police]: ‘If you had shot an old lady in the cathedral, it would not have looked good, would it?’”

 

 

Dean Stock said that he had insisted he be allowed to say prayers over the body, and was allowed to do so from the steps of the cathedral. “I was not allowed near it. I stood on the steps. It was seven or eight in the evening. It had been proposed that the body should remain there un­attended all night. It was eventually removed around 3 a.m.”

 

 

The Dean was critical of the police for closing his cathedral without asking him first. “I was not treated with any kind of courtesy. I was told the cathedral was shut and that was that.”

 

 

He had cancelled the Advent carol service that was to take place that evening, at which 500 people had been expected, and a school carol service was cancelled the next day.

 

 

“It is the first time since the cathedral was consecrated in 1961 that morning prayers have not been said.”

 

 

The Dean said that the police had shown little understanding of the function of a cathedral or of its place as sanctuary or sacred space. “A police constable said it would be like someone being killed on the outside of Tescos, but I said the cathedral was not the outside of Tesco, it is the major church in Surrey.”

 

 

The head of the IPCC had told the Dean: “If you were the mosque, we would have been walking on egg- shells.”

 

 

“He knew nothing about sanc­tuary or hallowed ground, and about people coming to the cathedral because it was sacred space. They had no idea, none at all, of the idea of sanctuary. It was almost breath­taking.”

 

 

Canon Angela Weaver, the Cathedral’s canon pastor, said that she had heard about the shooting when her husband returned from walking their dog. “There was at that stage no police cordon. I went round the south side, and we could see police officers. I wouldn’t like to say what they were doing. It looked as if they were trying to resuscitate some­body. There were two cathedral guides in the cathedral, a couple of visitors, the Dean’s verger, the organist and the sub-organist.”

 

 

The family of David Sycamore, asked the IPCC to issue a statement on their behalf, part of which read:

 

 

“It is with much sadness that we are writing this statement to you. This has been a great shock to our family and because of this we would like to be left in peace to come to terms with our loss which has happened to such a loving and caring young man. In his short life David has suffered with manic depression which we believe he coped with, with extreme difficulty at times.

 

 

“David found solace in the grounds of the Cathedral and said it brought him inner peace and closer to God. Unfortunately that day he did not find inner peace. His intentions were never to harm anybody. He would never do this. But sadly the only loss was David who will be sorely missed.”

BULLETS were fired into Guildford Cathedral in an incident in which David Sycamore, a man aged 39, who lived nearby, was killed by police on the steps of the cathedral at about 3 p.m. on Sunday, the Dean of Guildford, the Very Revd Victor Stock, said on Tuesday.

 

 

The shooting ended a police action in which two police vehicles responded to a report from a member of the public that a man in the vicinity of the cathedral had said that he had a gun and intended to kill people.

 

 

Bullets penetrated the walls of the cathedral crèche and then passed through the area where the cathedral guides normally gather. Although there were no children in the crèche at the time, there had been several visitors and staff in the cathedral.

 

 

The cathedral was closed for a day-and-a-half while a team from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) examined the site of the killing and interviewed witnesses.

 

 

Speaking on Tuesday, after the cathedral had been reopened, the Dean said that he had been in the deanery when the shooting took place, and that he saw the victim from a distance, being attended by paramedics.

 

 

“He had said to a member of the public: ‘I have got a gun and I am going to kill people,’ and then moved towards the cathedral. I think what happened was that he was sitting on the steps of the South Garth, where there is a kind of open cloister.

 

 

“Then the police screamed up in two vehicles. I think he put his hand into his pocket and pulled out something that looked like a gun, and they shot him. The bullets entered the cathedral through the glass walls of the crèche, and then passed through the glass walls the other side of the crèche where the guides were sitting. I said to them [the police]: ‘If you had shot an old lady in the cathedral, it would not have looked good, would it?’”

 

 

Dean Stock said that he had insisted he be allowed to say prayers over the body, and was allowed to do so from the steps of the cathedral. “I was not allowed near it. I stood on the steps. It was seven or eight in the evening. It had been proposed that the body should remain there un­attended all night. It was eventually removed around 3 a.m.”

 

 

The Dean was critical of the police for closing his cathedral without asking him first. “I was not treated with any kind of courtesy. I was told the cathedral was shut and that was that.”

 

 

He had cancelled the Advent carol service that was to take place that evening, at which 500 people had been expected, and a school carol service was cancelled the next day.

 

 

“It is the first time since the cathedral was consecrated in 1961 that morning prayers have not been said.”

 

 

The Dean said that the police had shown little understanding of the function of a cathedral or of its place as sanctuary or sacred space. “A police constable said it would be like someone being killed on the outside of Tescos, but I said the cathedral was not the outside of Tesco, it is the major church in Surrey.”

 

 

The head of the IPCC had told the Dean: “If you were the mosque, we would have been walking on egg- shells.”

 

 

“He knew nothing about sanc­tuary or hallowed ground, and about people coming to the cathedral because it was sacred space. They had no idea, none at all, of the idea of sanctuary. It was almost breath­taking.”

 

 

Canon Angela Weaver, the Cathedral’s canon pastor, said that she had heard about the shooting when her husband returned from walking their dog. “There was at that stage no police cordon. I went round the south side, and we could see police officers. I wouldn’t like to say what they were doing. It looked as if they were trying to resuscitate some­body. There were two cathedral guides in the cathedral, a couple of visitors, the Dean’s verger, the organist and the sub-organist.”

 

 

The family of David Sycamore, asked the IPCC to issue a statement on their behalf, part of which read:

 

 

“It is with much sadness that we are writing this statement to you. This has been a great shock to our family and because of this we would like to be left in peace to come to terms with our loss which has happened to such a loving and caring young man. In his short life David has suffered with manic depression which we believe he coped with, with extreme difficulty at times.

 

 

“David found solace in the grounds of the Cathedral and said it brought him inner peace and closer to God. Unfortunately that day he did not find inner peace. His intentions were never to harm anybody. He would never do this. But sadly the only loss was David who will be sorely missed.”

Excuse me whilst I piss myself…

JACQUI SMITH, the home secretary, has suffered fresh embarrassment from a new Whitehall leak disclosing that ministers are seeking new powers to search the homes of staff working on ID cards.

An 11-page confidential Home Office document – which was sent to a campaigner against ID cards – suggests that the employees’ homes could be entered without the need for a police warrant.

The latest disclosure comes amid the continuing political furore over the police raid on the House of Commons office of Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman accused of receiving leaked Home Office documents.

The measures outlined in the document appear to be designed to prevent the employees of five companies, all bidding for work on the ID cards scheme, from leaking damaging information about work on the national identity register.

This register is expected to contain the names, addresses and private information about tens of millions of Britons if it comes into operation as Labour plans in four years’ time.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, condemned Smith for trying to take on more state powers. “It is bad enough that the government is wasting £19 billion on this expensive white elephant during a recession – but sinister that the home secretary is invoking even more powers to cover up what is a disaster waiting to happen,” he said.

The Home Office said the proposals in the document aimed to keep the identity card scheme secure and did not introduce new legal powers.

However, Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, the civil rights group, said: “This reveals the extent of Home Office arrogance and contempt for individual privacy.

“It’s not enough constantly to legislate our liberty away – now it seems they want companies and employees to contract out of legal rights not to have private security guards trampling through their premises without a warrant.”

The leak was sent to Phil Booth of NO2ID, which campaigns against the ID cards. “This is quite extraordinary. Has every employee of these five companies and all their subcontractors working on the ID scheme been made aware of the fact that their homes could be entered and searched without a warrant at any time in the next 25 years?” he said.

There are five companies in the running for contracts to create the national ID card. They are IBM, Fujitsu, Computer Sciences Corporation, EDS and Thales.

Meanwhile, ministers continue to face questions about Green’s arrest. A private security company admitted this weekend that it had been employed by the government to conduct politically sensitive Whitehall leak inquiries.

David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, has written to Sir Gus O’Donnell, the cabinet secretary and head of the civil service, demanding details of how many private eyes the government had employed to investigate embarrassing leaks by civil servants.

He asked O’Donnell to explain how the government ensured “that any work carried out by such companies always adhered exactly to UK legal requirements, including adherence to such conventions as parliamentary privilege and the Wilson doctrine”. Under the Wilson doctrine the government has said that it does not sanction the bugging of any MPs.

The fresh challenge to the government came after it emerged that Green, MP for Ashford, had had his parliamentary offices and homes in London and Kent swept for bugs.

Tory sources said Green had “reasonable suspicion” to believe that his parliamentary office computer had been bugged, although no evidence of this has yet emerged.

The Home Office said this weekend that it had not employed any private detectives during its internal inquiry into the leak of documents from Smith’s private office.

The Cabinet Office declined to say whether or not its own security officials had retained private detectives to investigate the leaks after the Home Office asked it to continue the investigation earlier this year.

The inquiry led last month to the arrest of Christopher Galley, a 26-year-old civil servant who had worked as Smith’s assistant private secretary. This implicated Green, who was arrested 10 days ago.

The raid by counter-terrorist police on Green’s Commons office sparked a constitutional row, with claims that ministers had wrongly used the police to stem a tide of leaks that were politically embarrassing but did no damage to national security.

The row has cast doubt over the future prospects of Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker, and Sir Paul Stephenson, the acting Metropolitan police commissioner.

Davis’s letter came after it emerged that the same team of Cabinet Office officials who prompted the arrest of Green had previously employed a private security firm to conduct a similar investigation.

Risk Analysis, based in Mayfair, London, which conducts security inquiries, confirmed this weekend that it had been employed by the Cabinet Office to carry out an inquiry into the systematic leak of highly sensitive material from the government in 2004. However, Martin Flint, a director of the firm, said it was not involved in the circumstances that led to the arrest of Green and Galley.

Martin last week accused Scotland Yard of conducting an improper search of Green’s parliamentary office on the day of the MP’s arrest. He revealed that police did not have a search warrant and had failed to fulfil their legal duty to inform Jill Pay, the serjeant at arms, that she could have refused to consent to the raid.

Bob Quick, Metropolitan police assistant commissioner, sought to defend the raid in a letter to Smith. But Geoffrey Robertson QC said: “This letter is full of inaccurate statements about the law. It is obvious that the police approached the Houses of Parliament as they would approach the den of a drug dealer. Their claim that they did not need a warrant to search Green’s parliamentary office is entirely mistaken.

“The serjeant at arms was not the person who occupied the office – that was Green and they needed his consent.”

According to one insider, Quick wrote to the Cabinet Office soon after the police took over the inquiry two months ago, assuring officials it would have his “personal oversight”.

However, the detailed running of the inquiry was left toa junior officer who may not have been as alert to the political sensitivities of the case. “Bob said he would give it his personal oversight and it doesn’t appear that he did. He’s got a problem,” the insider said.

Jeremy Summers, a lawyer with Russell Jones & Walker, said: “The police appear to be attempting to get round [legal] safeguards, but have merely raised more questions.”

MPs are expected to conduct an emergency debate on the affair tomorrow. JACQUI SMITH, the home secretary, has suffered fresh embarrassment from a new Whitehall leak disclosing that ministers are seeking new powers to search the homes of staff working on ID cards.

An 11-page confidential Home Office document – which was sent to a campaigner against ID cards – suggests that the employees’ homes could be entered without the need for a police warrant.

The latest disclosure comes amid the continuing political furore over the police raid on the House of Commons office of Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman accused of receiving leaked Home Office documents.

The measures outlined in the document appear to be designed to prevent the employees of five companies, all bidding for work on the ID cards scheme, from leaking damaging information about work on the national identity register.

This register is expected to contain the names, addresses and private information about tens of millions of Britons if it comes into operation as Labour plans in four years’ time.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, condemned Smith for trying to take on more state powers. “It is bad enough that the government is wasting £19 billion on this expensive white elephant during a recession – but sinister that the home secretary is invoking even more powers to cover up what is a disaster waiting to happen,” he said.

The Home Office said the proposals in the document aimed to keep the identity card scheme secure and did not introduce new legal powers.

However, Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, the civil rights group, said: “This reveals the extent of Home Office arrogance and contempt for individual privacy.

“It’s not enough constantly to legislate our liberty away – now it seems they want companies and employees to contract out of legal rights not to have private security guards trampling through their premises without a warrant.”

The leak was sent to Phil Booth of NO2ID, which campaigns against the ID cards. “This is quite extraordinary. Has every employee of these five companies and all their subcontractors working on the ID scheme been made aware of the fact that their homes could be entered and searched without a warrant at any time in the next 25 years?” he said.

There are five companies in the running for contracts to create the national ID card. They are IBM, Fujitsu, Computer Sciences Corporation, EDS and Thales.

Meanwhile, ministers continue to face questions about Green’s arrest. A private security company admitted this weekend that it had been employed by the government to conduct politically sensitive Whitehall leak inquiries.

David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, has written to Sir Gus O’Donnell, the cabinet secretary and head of the civil service, demanding details of how many private eyes the government had employed to investigate embarrassing leaks by civil servants.

He asked O’Donnell to explain how the government ensured “that any work carried out by such companies always adhered exactly to UK legal requirements, including adherence to such conventions as parliamentary privilege and the Wilson doctrine”. Under the Wilson doctrine the government has said that it does not sanction the bugging of any MPs.

The fresh challenge to the government came after it emerged that Green, MP for Ashford, had had his parliamentary offices and homes in London and Kent swept for bugs.

Tory sources said Green had “reasonable suspicion” to believe that his parliamentary office computer had been bugged, although no evidence of this has yet emerged.

The Home Office said this weekend that it had not employed any private detectives during its internal inquiry into the leak of documents from Smith’s private office.

The Cabinet Office declined to say whether or not its own security officials had retained private detectives to investigate the leaks after the Home Office asked it to continue the investigation earlier this year.

The inquiry led last month to the arrest of Christopher Galley, a 26-year-old civil servant who had worked as Smith’s assistant private secretary. This implicated Green, who was arrested 10 days ago.

The raid by counter-terrorist police on Green’s Commons office sparked a constitutional row, with claims that ministers had wrongly used the police to stem a tide of leaks that were politically embarrassing but did no damage to national security.

The row has cast doubt over the future prospects of Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker, and Sir Paul Stephenson, the acting Metropolitan police commissioner.

Davis’s letter came after it emerged that the same team of Cabinet Office officials who prompted the arrest of Green had previously employed a private security firm to conduct a similar investigation.

Risk Analysis, based in Mayfair, London, which conducts security inquiries, confirmed this weekend that it had been employed by the Cabinet Office to carry out an inquiry into the systematic leak of highly sensitive material from the government in 2004. However, Martin Flint, a director of the firm, said it was not involved in the circumstances that led to the arrest of Green and Galley.

Martin last week accused Scotland Yard of conducting an improper search of Green’s parliamentary office on the day of the MP’s arrest. He revealed that police did not have a search warrant and had failed to fulfil their legal duty to inform Jill Pay, the serjeant at arms, that she could have refused to consent to the raid.

Bob Quick, Metropolitan police assistant commissioner, sought to defend the raid in a letter to Smith. But Geoffrey Robertson QC said: “This letter is full of inaccurate statements about the law. It is obvious that the police approached the Houses of Parliament as they would approach the den of a drug dealer. Their claim that they did not need a warrant to search Green’s parliamentary office is entirely mistaken.

“The serjeant at arms was not the person who occupied the office – that was Green and they needed his consent.”

According to one insider, Quick wrote to the Cabinet Office soon after the police took over the inquiry two months ago, assuring officials it would have his “personal oversight”.

However, the detailed running of the inquiry was left toa junior officer who may not have been as alert to the political sensitivities of the case. “Bob said he would give it his personal oversight and it doesn’t appear that he did. He’s got a problem,” the insider said.

Jeremy Summers, a lawyer with Russell Jones & Walker, said: “The police appear to be attempting to get round [legal] safeguards, but have merely raised more questions.”

MPs are expected to conduct an emergency debate on the affair tomorrow.

Are we Human?

December 12, 2008

Or are we dancers? It doesn’t seem to make much sense to most, but that’s because they are not aware of Hunter S Thompson and, more specifically some of the things he said, including that the US was making people afraid of stepping out of place and following their own beat. Afraid to be individual. To not be a sheep. He was saying that people were only following the steps they were taught, and were also taught not to change them.He said the US are raising a generation of dancers (self-obsessed and vacuous fakes) – ignorant morons. So there you go. Are you human or are you a dancer?