Big Brother  is Watching
  Anti-ANPR Spy Cameras UK

Anpr Camera Locations

Camera Locations have been, and will continue to be compiled by innocent law abiding citizens across the UK who are apposed to a mass state surveillance that tracks the movements of all its people without any consent whatsoever.

The Police have refused to reveal the locations publicly on the premise that they are shielding us from all kinds of imminent danger.

In doing so they are covertly spying on us by monitoring and storing our movements for the previous two years, without our consent.

They have total disregard for our right to privacy and contempt for our right to freedom.

We are ALL suspects and deemed guilty until proven innocent


Over 700 Locations Exposed


Whats wrong with ANPR?

ANPR - Automated Checkpoint

*Download the NO-CCTV Report*

You can now download locations to you SatNav
(Updated 02/10/14 - 788 locations)

(Use your Garmin POI Loader)

(Follow tomtom instructions)


The police foolishly refused to make the locations available to the public on whom they are spying. 

We asked the Information Commissioners Office to force them to make them available to the public. They also foolishly refused.

Not to worry, we saved them the trouble and locations are now freely available for anyone to view by clicking the above link.

It is the sole intention of this website to map every ANPR  location in the Uk, but we need your help. So if you know of a location in your local area let us know

To Report a location not already listed


To view Police surveillance of this website


Police ANPR Camera scheme is breaking law in Royston

  The ICO referred to Royston's cameras as being a "ring of steel" around the town

A police force must stop using number plate recognition technology after a warning from the UK's data watchdog.

The Information Commissioner's Office said Hertfordshire Constabulary's use of cameras in and around the town of Royston was in breach of the law.

It said the force had failed to carry out required privacy impact checks.

The ICO's ruling may have wider significance for the gathering of number plate data in the UK.

"It is difficult to see why a small, rural town such as Royston requires cameras monitoring all traffic in and out of the town 24 hours a day," said Stephen Eckersley, the ICO's head of enforcement.

"The use of ANPR [automatic number plate recognition] cameras and other forms of surveillance must be proportionate to the problem it is trying to address.

"After detailed inquiries, including consideration of the information Hertfordshire Constabulary provided, we found that this simply wasn't the case in Royston."

The ICO added that the use of seven cameras had made it impossible for motorists to drive into the town without a record being kept of their journey. It noted the scheme had become known locally as "the ring of steel".

The police force has now been told it must take the equipment down unless it can justify its use.

Hertfordshire Constabulary said it would not appeal the ruling.

"The constabulary intends to continue using ANPR cameras, which deliver very substantial policing benefits, but also to ensure that its particular deployment of such cameras is - and is seen to be - fully justified," it said.

"We look forward to working with the commissioner to achieve those objectives."

The force added that it had carried out its own evaluation of why it had used the tech, but accepted it needed to do additional privacy checks.

Privacy concerns

The data regulator began investigating the use of number plate recognition in the town after a complaint in June 2011 by three civil liberties groups: No CCTV, Big Brother Watch and Privacy International.

"Royston police decided to track everyone without any clear reason," said Privacy International executive director Gus Hosein.

"Just because a technology enables mass surveillance, that doesn't mean that it is right to do so."

Number plate recognition is used by police forces around the world as a crime-fighting tool.

Earlier this week the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) highlighted its concerns about the "widespread collection" of vehicle data by US police.

Number plate surveillance could have a "chilling effect" on the way US citizens associate with each other and even discourage some people from meeting up, the civil liberties group said on Tuesday.


British spy agency has access to global communications, shares info with NSA

Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham is seen in this undated handout aerial photograph  (Reuters)

Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham is seen in this undated handout aerial photograph (Reuters)

The British spy agency GCHQ has access to the global network of communications, storing calls, Facebook posts and internet histories – and shares this data with the NSA, Edward Snowden has revealed to the Guardian in a new leak.

GCHQ’s network of cables is able to process massive quantities of information from both specific targets and completely innocent people, including recording phone calls and reading email messages, it was revealed on Friday. 

"It's not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight," Snowden told the Guardian. "They [GCHQ] are worse than the US."

Edward Snowden (AFP Photo)

Edward Snowden (AFP Photo)

The Government Communications Headquarters agency has two different programs, aimed at carrying out this online and telephone monitoring – categorized under ‘Mastering the Internet’ and ‘Global Telecoms Exploitation.’ Both have been conducted in the absence of any public knowledge, reports the Guardian.

“If you remember, even the NSA said that they did not record phone calls, but according to these latest revelations by Edward Snowden, that up to ‘600 million’ telephone events last year were recorded a day by the GCHQ,” said RT’s Tesa Arcilla from London.

“There’s no doubt as to what the objectives of these programs were, having put them in place,” she said, emphasizing the titles.

The agency is able to store the volumes of data it amasses from fiber-optic cables for up to 30 days in an operation codenamed Tempora. The practice has been going on for around 18 months. 

GCHQ which was handling 600m telephone ‘events’ a day, according to the documents, had tapped into over 200 fiber-optic cables and had the capacity to analyze data from over 46 of them at a time. 

The cables used by GCHQ can carry data at 10 gigabits per second, which in theory, means they could deliver up to 21petabytes of information per day. The program is continuing to develop on a daily basis with the agency aiming to expand to the point it is able to process terabits (thousands of gigabits) of data at once.

National Security Agency(NSA) at Fort Meade, Maryland (AFP Photo)

National Security Agency(NSA) at Fort Meade, Maryland (AFP Photo)

By May last year, some 300 GCHQ-assigned analysts and 250 from the NSA had been specially allocated large quantities of data to trawl through as a result of the operations.

The Guardian reports that 850,000 NSA and outside contractors had potential access to the databases. However, the paper does not explain how it came to such an enormous figure

“These revelations reveal the scale of and the scope of cooperation between UK and US intelligence services,” said RT’s Gayane Chichakyan from Washington. “From these revelations we learned how dramatically it has expanded over the years.”

“The document shows the FISA court lets the NSA use data snagged ‘inadvertently.’ They basically give a warrant to target suspects,” she said, recalling Lieutenant General Keith Alexander's quote after a 2008 visit to the Menwith RAF base in England: "Why can't we collect all the signals all the time? Sounds like a good summer project for Menwith," he had said.

The GCHQ project was first trialed in 2008. The intelligence organization has been labeled an ‘intelligence superpower’ on account of its technical capabilities, which by 2010 gave it the strongest access to internet communications out of the ‘Five Eyes’ – an international intelligence sharing  alliance, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and US, brought into existence in 1946.

RAF Menwith Hill base, which provides communications and intelligence support services to the United Kingdom and the U.S. is pictured near Harrogate, northern England (Reuters / Nigel Roddis)

RAF Menwith Hill base, which provides communications and intelligence support services to the United Kingdom and the U.S. is pictured near Harrogate, northern England (Reuters / Nigel Roddis)

The mass-surveillance has seen the interception of data from transatlantic cables that also carry data to western Europe through ‘intercept partners’ commercial companies that had entered into private agreements with GCHQ. Many have been paid off for their cooperation.

GCHQ feared that exposure of the names of the companies involved could lead to “high-level political fallout,” and took measures to ensure names were kept secret. Warrants had reportedly been issued to compel the companies to cooperate so that GCHQ could engage in spying through them.

“They have no choice," said a Guardian intelligence source.

Snowden previously warned that he would be releasing further information pertaining to mass security operations carried out on the unwary public, stating in a previous  Q & A with the Guardian that the “truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”


Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations

The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA's history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows

Link to video: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things'


The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," he said.

Snowden will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world's most secretive organisations – the NSA.

In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."

Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. "I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."

He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me."

Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. "I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in." He added: "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."

He has had "a very comfortable life" that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. "I'm willing to sacrifice all of that because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."

'I am not afraid, because this is the choice I've made'

Three weeks ago, Snowden made final preparations that resulted in last week's series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose.

He then advised his NSA supervisor that he needed to be away from work for "a couple of weeks" in order to receive treatment for epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last year.

As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few weeks, though he said he was vague about the reason. "That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world."

On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because "they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent", and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.

In the three weeks since he arrived, he has been ensconced in a hotel room. "I've left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay," he said. It is a plush hotel and, what with eating meals in his room too, he has run up big bills.

He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.

Though that may sound like paranoia to some, Snowden has good reason for such fears. He worked in the US intelligence world for almost a decade. He knows that the biggest and most secretive surveillance organisation in America, the NSA, along with the most powerful government on the planet, is looking for him.

Since the disclosures began to emerge, he has watched television and monitored the internet, hearing all the threats and vows of prosecution emanating from Washington.

And he knows only too well the sophisticated technology available to them and how easy it will be for them to find him. The NSA police and other law enforcement officers have twice visited his home in Hawaii and already contacted his girlfriend, though he believes that may have been prompted by his absence from work, and not because of suspicions of any connection to the leaks.

"All my options are bad," he said. The US could begin extradition proceedings against him, a potentially problematic, lengthy and unpredictable course for Washington. Or the Chinese government might whisk him away for questioning, viewing him as a useful source of information. Or he might end up being grabbed and bundled into a plane bound for US territory.

"Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets," he said.

"We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be."

Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. "I am not afraid," he said calmly, "because this is the choice I've made."

He predicts the government will launch an investigation and "say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become".

The only time he became emotional during the many hours of interviews was when he pondered the impact his choices would have on his family, many of whom work for the US government. "The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more. That's what keeps me up at night," he said, his eyes welling up with tears.

'You can't wait around for someone else to act'

Snowden did not always believe the US government posed a threat to his political values. He was brought up originally in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His family moved later to Maryland, near the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade.

By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework. (He later obtained his GED.)

In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: "I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression".

He recounted how his beliefs about the war's purpose were quickly dispelled. "Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone," he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.

After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency's covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.

By 2007, the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland. His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents.

That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw.

He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment.

"Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world," he says. "I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good."

He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons.

First, he said: "Most of the secrets the CIA has are about people, not machines and systems, so I didn't feel comfortable with disclosures that I thought could endanger anyone". Secondly, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary.

He left the CIA in 2009 in order to take his first job working for a private contractor that assigned him to a functioning NSA facility, stationed on a military base in Japan. It was then, he said, that he "watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in", and as a result, "I got hardened."

The primary lesson from this experience was that "you can't wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act."

Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA's surveillance activities were, claiming "they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them".

He described how he once viewed the internet as "the most important invention in all of human history". As an adolescent, he spent days at a time "speaking to people with all sorts of views that I would never have encountered on my own".

But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. "I don't see myself as a hero," he said, "because what I'm doing is self-interested: I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."

Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA's surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. "What they're doing" poses "an existential threat to democracy", he said.

A matter of principle

As strong as those beliefs are, there still remains the question: why did he do it? Giving up his freedom and a privileged lifestyle? "There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich."

For him, it is a matter of principle. "The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to," he said.

His allegiance to internet freedom is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: "I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation," reads one. Another hails the online organisation offering anonymity, the Tor Project.

Asked by reporters to establish his authenticity to ensure he is not some fantasist, he laid bare, without hesitation, his personal details, from his social security number to his CIA ID and his expired diplomatic passport. There is no shiftiness. Ask him about anything in his personal life and he will answer.

He is quiet, smart, easy-going and self-effacing. A master on computers, he seemed happiest when talking about the technical side of surveillance, at a level of detail comprehensible probably only to fellow communication specialists. But he showed intense passion when talking about the value of privacy and how he felt it was being steadily eroded by the behaviour of the intelligence services.

His manner was calm and relaxed but he has been understandably twitchy since he went into hiding, waiting for the knock on the hotel door. A fire alarm goes off. "That has not happened before," he said, betraying anxiety wondering if was real, a test or a CIA ploy to get him out onto the street.

Strewn about the side of his bed are his suitcase, a plate with the remains of room-service breakfast, and a copy of Angler, the biography of former vice-president Dick Cheney.

Ever since last week's news stories began to appear in the Guardian, Snowden has vigilantly watched TV and read the internet to see the effects of his choices. He seemed satisfied that the debate he longed to provoke was finally taking place.

He lay, propped up against pillows, watching CNN's Wolf Blitzer ask a discussion panel about government intrusion if they had any idea who the leaker was. From 8,000 miles away, the leaker looked on impassively, not even indulging in a wry smile.

Snowden said that he admires both Ellsberg and Manning, but argues that there is one important distinction between himself and the army private, whose trial coincidentally began the week Snowden's leaks began to make news.

"I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest," he said. "There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is."

He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should remain concealed.

As for his future, he is vague. He hoped the publicity the leaks have generated will offer him some protection, making it "harder for them to get dirty".

He views his best hope as the possibility of asylum, with Iceland – with its reputation of a champion of internet freedom – at the top of his list. He knows that may prove a wish unfulfilled.

But after the intense political controversy he has already created with just the first week's haul of stories, "I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets."



Papers Please: TSA-Style Checkpoints at UK Bus & Train Stations

‘Airport-style’ harassment to “help people who use public transport feel safer.”

Steve Jolly
May 22, 2013

Travel by train, tram or bus to destinations in central England and you are increasingly likely to be greeted by Britain’s ‘yellowjackets’: the high-visibility uniforms of Britain’s police force.

Image: Sandwell Police

‘Airport-style’ security checkpoints are being rolled out at local bus and train stations up and down the UK after local pilot schemes conducted over the last two years were deemed a success by police.

The checkpoints comprise metal detector arches, drug-sniffing dogs , police pat-downs and bag searches. The reason? To “help people who use public transport feel safer.”

Over the last couple of years more and more of these ‘security’ checkpoints have been quietly introduced at local bus and train stations across the UK under a number of pretexts that simply don’t bear up to scrutiny.

One such stop-and-search operation last week (May 15th) at West Bromwich bus station in the West Midlands, was captured in this short video clip showing a police officer rifling through a man’s pockets [1] while he holds up his wallet for potential inspection. The other photographs here were tweeted by Sandwell Police on the day.

According to the police this operation and others like it are not related to the ongoing mission creep that police so often attempt to justify with their trump card of ‘terrorism’; instead they represent an increasing shift towards ‘pro-active’ policies which threaten to become a part of everyday policing in Britain today. This Youtube clip shows a ‘Day of Action’ by Sandwell Police, who took to Twitter to explain that,”the aim of this operation is to reduce crime and anti social behaviour and offer community reasurance (sic) and assist in any prosecutions,” [specifically to] “focus on drugs and anti-social behaviour.”

Quite how emptying people’s pockets can reduce ‘anti-social behaviour’ is not clear, but by the end of the day the police were busy tweeting the day’s results:

Image: Sandwell Police

Drugs dog [2] at West Bromwich bus station. Lots of people stopped but no drugs found.”

The tweets continued, We’ve had some nice feedback regarding our ‘day of action’. Thanks for your support. No crime has been reported in West Bromwich town today!”

So, with no drugs found and no crime of any kind reported, what possible value could there be in stopping and searching hundreds of law-abiding citizens? Perhaps the following tweet provides one of several possible answers: “20 people have been checked on the police national computer (PNC). Some have previous convictions for robbery so intelligence has [been] submitted.”

Leaving aside the obvious injustice of stopping and searching everybody ‘just in case’ one or two people turn out to be guilty of some wrongdoing, these indiscriminate fishing expeditions are neither an effective way to ‘catch criminals’ nor to ‘keep us safe’.

Last week’s ‘day of action’ at West Bromwich bus station is by no means a one-off, and this apparently crime-free bus station is no stranger to such police operations. In 2010 Sandwell Police launched a ‘Safer Travel’ scheme called Safer Six, a pilot scheme carried out in six towns across the region over a six week period spanning October and November. It too was branded as a “community reassurance” exercise designed “to help people who use public transport feel safer,” as one local Sergeant put it. More specifically the police explained, “Our aim is to detect people who are carrying weapons.” This video [3] shows the travelling public being herded through a metal detector arch (often described by police in Orwellian terms, as “safety arches”) before being stopped, searched and sniffed up by a police drugs dog. The operation was repeated in the autumn of 2011 and again in 2012 and was considered so successful that it is now being rolled out across the entire West Midlands region on a permanent basis. A press release [4] by West Midlands Police in January 2013 states that:

“Airport-style metal detectors popped-up at West Bromwich bus station yesterday as a police blitz on knife crime continued. Around 500 commuters of all ages passed through the portable devices – known by police as knife arches – in just four hours.”

Image: Sandwell Police

Just how successful was the operation then? Well, about as ‘successful’ as last week’s ‘day of action’:

“No knives or other illegal items were recovered in the operation. No arrests were made,” the press release reveals.

Perhaps all the knife-wielding criminals managed to avoid detection by not using buses and trains for the full six weeks? Well no, it seems that knife-wielding criminals are a bit thin on the ground in West Bromwich, as the police acknowledged:

“The decision to set up the knife arches in West Bromwich wasn’t based on there being large instances of knife crime in the town, but part of an ongoing and broader safety programme which will be replicated at bus, tram and train stations across the entire West Midlands in the coming days.”

Once again we are told that we must sacrifice our rights and freedoms in the name of ‘safety’, even though police admit that the supposed risk of harm is somewhat negligible and not the real focus of the operation anyway.

If the success of the operation is not judged by the number of arrests made, or the quantity of drugs and weapons seized, or the number of dangerous criminals taken off the streets, then what is the purpose of these exercises? Perhaps the phrase “public reassurance” could be more accurately expressed another way. How about “conditioning the public to accept the ever-growing police state by normalising such unnecesssary and demeaning security theatre.” Or “exploiting dubious safety fears to deprive citizens of their fundamental rights and freedoms.” Or how about “inverting the centuries-old fundamental legal principle that we are all ‘innocent until proven guilty’ by treating us all as suspects, demanding that we prove our innocence.” I could go on…

The following line from a well known novel accurately describes policing in Britain today:

          “For distances of less than 100 kilometres it was not necessary to get your passport endorsed, but sometimes there were patrols hanging about the railway stations, who examined the papers of any Party member they found there and asked awkward questions.”

     (George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four).

The truth is that these police operations aim to condition the public to accept, submit and grow accustomed to what is essentially an unlawful stop and search.

Section 1 of PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) [5] does allow ‘Stop and Search’, but only if the police have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect that someone has committed a crime, as explained in PACE Code of Practice ‘Code A’ (.pdf) [6]. The Code says, “There must be an objective basis for that suspicion based on facts, information, and/or intelligence which are relevant to the likelihood of finding an article of a certain kind” and “Reasonable suspicion cannot be based on generalisations or stereotypical images of certain groups or categories of people” [such as 'users of public transport'] “as more likely to be involved in criminal activity.”

A police officer needs ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you are carrying a weapon, drugs or stolen goods, or that you are a terrorist. Can any of these justifications be applied to an entire arrivals terminal at a transport hub? No, of course not.

Since checkpoints like these are being applied en masse to people whom the police have absolutely no “reasonable grounds” to suspect of criminality, the police cannot lawfully compel people to submit to such searches. Therefore the public must be doing so “voluntarily,” although somehow I suspect that they are not told this.

In the upside-down Orwellian world that we now inhabit, the only real criminals identified at West Bromwich bus station during their ‘day of action’ are the police themselves. Substitute the term ‘brownshirts’ for ‘yellowjackets’ and you get the picture.

To quote the Russian novelist who provided the original inspiration for George Orwell’s dystopian classic, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’:

“When a man’s freedom is reduced to zero, he commits no crimes. That’s clear. The only means to rid man of crime is to rid him of freedom.”

- Yevgeny Zamyatin, ‘We’.

Steve Jolly is a campaigner, journalist and spokesman for the campaign group No CCTV. He has written for the London Guardian, Big Brother Watch and Infowars. His successful campaign against ‘Project Champion’ – a police surveillance operation in Birmingham UK – forced the Chief constable to publicly apologise, scrap the scheme and remove 216 surveillance cameras from parts of the city. He was nominated for a Human Rights Award in 2010 and appeared before the UK parliament to give evidence on the Protection of Freedoms Bill about new CCTV laws. Steve writes and gives media interviews about camera surveillance and related issues.


Mandatory ‘Big Brother’ Black Boxes In All New Cars From


Paul Joseph Watson

Provision is part of controversial MAP-21 bill expected to pass House
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A bill already passed by the Senate and set to be rubber stamped by the House would make it mandatory for all new cars in the United States to be fitted with black box data recorders from 2015 onwards.

Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 (known as MAP-21), calls for “Mandatory Event Data Recorders” to be installed in all new automobiles and legislates for civil penalties to be imposed against individuals for failing to do so.

“Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part,” states the bill.

Although the text of legislation states that such data would remain the property of the owner of the vehicle, the government would have the power to access it in a number of circumstances, including by court order, if the owner consents to make it available, and pursuant to an investigation or inspection conducted by the Secretary of Transportation.

Given the innumerable examples of both government and industry illegally using supposedly privacy-protected information to spy on individuals, this represents the slippery slope to total Big Brother surveillance of every American’s transport habits and location data.

The legislation, which has been given the Orwellian title ‘Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act’, sailed through the Senate after being heavily promoted by Democrats Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer and is also expected to pass the Republican-controlled House.

Given the fact that the same bill also includes a controversial provision that would empower the IRS to revoke passports of citizens merely accused of owing over $50,000 in back taxes, stripping them of their mobility rights, could the mandatory black boxes or a similar technology be used for the same purpose?

Biometric face-recognition and transdermol sensor technology that prevents an inebriated person from driving a car by disabling the automobile has already been developed, in addition to systems that refuse to allow the vehicle to start if the driver is deemed to be overtired.

The ultimate Big Brother scenario would be a system whereby every driver had to get de facto permission from the state to drive each time they get behind the wheel, once it had been determined from an iris scan that they were good citizens who have paid all their taxes and not misbehaved.

The push to pressure car manufacturers to install black box tracking devices in all new cars has been ongoing for over a decade. In 2006, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encouraged but did not require automobile manufacturers to install the systems.

However, in February last year NHTSA administrator David Strickland said the government was considering making the technology mandatory in the wake of recalls of millions of Toyota vehicles.

Earlier this year it was reported that the NHTSA would soon formally announce that all new cars would be mandated to have the devices fitted by law, which has now been codified into the MAP-21 bill.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show and Infowars Nightly News.


Big Brother Will Be Watching You!

In an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance as China and Iran, police and intelligence officers are to be handed powers to monitor people’s messages online.  The plans have been described as an “attack on the privacy” of a vast number of Britons by the Independent and have attracted little support from backbench MP’s.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced the governments intention to introduce legislation in next month’s Queen’s Speech which would allow law-enforcement agencies to check on social media, online gaming forums, calls, emails, texts and website traffic.  The plans would give officials the right to know “who speaks to whom on demand and in real time”.  The Home Office has said that the new law would keep crime-fighting abreast of communications developments and that a warrant would still be required to view the content of messages.

The Government has offered no justification for what is unprecedented intrusion into our lives, nor explained why promises made about civil liberties are being casually junked.  The silence from Home Office ministers has been deafening. It is remarkable that they wish to pry into everything we do online but seem intent on avoiding any public discussion.

These plans are an unprecedented attack on privacy online and it is far from clear this will actually improve public safety, while adding significant costs to internet business.  No amount of scare-mongering can hide the fact that this policy is being condemned by MPs in all political parties.

Sign the petition against this bullshit  Here



PSNI to deploy spy drones!

Mini-drone (pic from Aeryon Labs)

Police spying in Northern Ireland is about to take on a whole new form - one that belongs more to the world of George Orwell's 1984.

They are small enough to fit into a rucksack and can be assembled and deployed within minutes.

The extremely intrusive modern day watchtower is fitted with a spy camera that automatically tracks a subject, can relay live pictures back to the operator, has a two mile range, can hover and fly at ground speeds of 30 miles per hour.

60 Drones can be deployed for the same cost as 1 helicopter


CCTV Automatically Tracks Citizens In Real Time

Its time to make sure your behavior is exactly the same as every other citizen!

An innovative technology that allows CCTV operators to track citizens in real time, that predicts their movements and automatically logs the CCTV for evidential purposes was revealed at the recent OmniCompete pitch live competition in London, part of the Global Security Challenge.

The system, called Tag and Track, made by the U.K.-based Ipsotek, adds a layer of intelligence to CCTV networks. The system tracks everyone who enters the CCTV network, building a profile of every object.

If the computer spots suspicious behavior it flags up the suspect. The system automatically searches its archive for any previously recorded footage as well as automatically highlighting the suspect on the operator’s display so that wherever they appear on the network they will be identified and tracked, in real time.

Tag and Track uses video content analysis (VCA) and pattern recognition technologies to trace continuously the path all people and vehicles take throughout the surveillance network. It allows the real-time identification of a suspect’s current location automatically as he or she moves from camera to camera. It can track multiple suspects simultaneously.

Builds up a database of metadata about all of the objects it tracks

Furthermore, it helps tackle the problem of scouring hours of video footage after an incident. Once the suspect is identified, it can scan automatically produce all the footage of the suspect retroactively.

According to Boghos Boghossian, CTO of Ipsotek, the system cuts about 80% of the work in scanning old footage. It is currently in a trial deployment in Kingston-upon-Thames, to the west of London.

Rather than scouring video footage, Tag and Track builds up a database of metadata about all of the objects it tracks, such as color, clothes worn, speed of travel etc, and stores that information. It is then a question of matching the metadata of the suspect to stored metadata.

“It takes the time, place and speed of movement,” said Mr. Boghossian, “and other data, and form that allows an operator to identify suspects.”

At the moment Tag and Track flags up an individual to an operator for confirmation of identity. Mr. Boghossian said in future it might be possible to automate that, but that adding the operator confirmation means that the false positives do not become an issue. “The operator is the ultimate decision maker,” he said.

Something slightly “Big Brother”-ish about it

The system has a machine intelligence layer, so that, like an operator, it gets to learn how people behave going through the CCTV area. “It learns the relationship between cameras so it knows how long typical people take to move from one camera to the next.”

It is smart enough also to be able to track multiple suspects simultaneously. “Say a car pulls up and four people get out. It can follow all four of them at the same time, recording their passage throughout the network.”

Andrew Eggington, Finance Director, did admit that there was something slightly “Big Brother”-ish about it. “However what we are able to do is to pixilate out everyone else in an image when we present it for evidence. It actually does more to protect the innocent.”

As well as a trial deployment in Kingston, Mr. Boghossian said that it would shortly be installed in Dubai airport as well as with an unnamed U.S. defense contractor which would be combined with facial recognition software.

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New Street Lights To Have “Homeland Security” Applications

High-tech system to include speakers, video surveillance, emergency alerts

Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

UPDATE: Presumably in response to this article being linked on the Drudge Report, the company behind ‘Intellistreets’, Illuminating Concepts, has now pulled the video from You Tube entirely, presumably nervous about the negative publicity that could be generated from concerns about street lights being used for “Homeland Security” purposes – their words, not ours. We have added an alternative version of the clip below, but it may be subject to removal at any time. The video is still available on the company’s website.

RELATED: Promo Video For DHS-Backed ‘Spy Street Lights’ Pulled From You Tube

New street lights that include “Homeland Security” applications including speaker systems, motion sensors and video surveillance are now being rolled out with the aid of government funding.

The Intellistreets system comprises of a wireless digital infrastructure that allows street lights to be controlled remotely by means of a ubiquitous wi-fi link and a miniature computer housed inside each street light, allowing for “security, energy management, data harvesting and digital media,” according to the Illuminating Concepts website.

According to the company’s You Tube video of the concept, the primary capabilities of the devices include “energy conservation, homeland security, public safety, traffic control, advertising, video surveillance.”

In terms of Homeland Security applications, each of the light poles contains a speaker system that can be used to broadcast emergency alerts, as well as a display that transmits “security levels” (presumably a similar system to the DHS’ much maligned color-coded terror alert designation), in addition to showing instructions by way of its LED video screen.

The lights also include proximity sensors that can record both pedestrian and road traffic. The video display and speaker system will also be used to transmit Minority Report-style advertising, as well as Amber Alerts and other “civic announcements”.

With the aid of grant money from the federal government, the company is about to launch the first concept installation of the system in the city of Farmington Hills, Michigan.


Using street lights as surveillance tools has already been advanced by several European countries. In 2007, leaked documents out of the UK Home Office revealed that British authorities were working on proposals to fit lamp posts with CCTV cameras that would X-ray scan passers-by and “undress them” in order to “trap terror suspects”.

Dutch police also announced last year that they are developing a mobile scanner that will “see through people’s clothing and look for concealed weapons”.

So-called ‘talking surveillance cameras’ that use a speaker system similar to the Intellistreets model are already being used in UK cities like Middlesborough to bark orders and reprimand people for dropping litter and other minor offenses. According to reports, one of the most common phrases used to shame people into obeying instructions is to broadcast the message, “We are watching you.”

The transformation of street lights into surveillance tools for Homeland Security purposes will only serve to heighten concerns that the United States is fast on the way to becoming a high-tech police state, with TSA agents being empowered to oversee that control grid, most recently with the announcement that TSA screeners would be manning highway checkpoints, a further indication that security measures we currently see in airports are rapidly spilling out onto the streets.

The ability of the government to use street lights to transmit “emergency alerts” also dovetails with the ongoing efforts to hijack radio and television broadcasts for the same purpose, via FEMA’s Emergency Alert System.

The federal government is keen to implement a centralized system of control over all communications, with the recent announcement that all new cell phones will be required to comply with the PLAN program (Personal Localized Alerting Network), which will broadcast emergency alert messages directly to Americans’ cell phones using a special chip embedded in the receiver. The system will be operational by the end of the year in New York and Washington, with the rest of the country set to follow in 2012.

The notion of using the street lights as communication tools to broadcast “alerts” directly from the federal government is also consistent with Homeland Security’s program to install Orwellian ‘telescreens’ that play messages by Janet Napolitano and other DHS officials in Wal-Mart stores across the country.

The fact that the federal government is funding the implementation of ‘Intellistreets’ comes as no surprise given that the nation’s expanding networks of surveillance cameras are also being paid for with Department of Homeland Security grants.


Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.


Trust the police with your stored data?

Police databases: how over 900 staff abuse their access

For the first time, Big Brother Watch has uncovered the true extent to which Police abuse their access to confidential databases. 

This report follows allegations yesterday that former Downing Street Head of Communications Andy Coulson paid the Police in order to receive privileged information.

Between 2007 and 2010:

  • 243 Police officers and staff received criminal convictions for breaching the Data Protection Act (DPA).
  • 98 Police officers and staff had their employment terminated for breaching the DPA.
  • 904 Police officers and staff were subjected to internal disciplinary procedures for breaching the DPA.

A full breakdown of results by local police authority can be found here.

Commenting on the research findings Daniel Hamilton, Director of Big Brother Watch said:

“The allegations surrounding Andy Coulson are just the tip of the iceberg.

“It’s astonishing to think that 904 Police officers and support staff across England have faced disciplinary action for abusing their access to confidential systems. 243 have received criminal convictions for their actions, while 98 have lost their jobs.

“Our investigation shows that not only have Police employees been found to have run background records checks on friends and possible partners, but some have been convicted for passing sensitive information to criminal gangs and drug dealers.  This is at best hugely intrusive and, at worse, downright dangerous.

“Police forces must adopt a zero tolerance approach to this kind of behaviour.  Those found guilty of abusing their position should be sacked on the spot.”

Key examples

  • In Merseyside alone, 208 officers and Police staff received criminal convictions for breaching the DPA since 2007.
  • The areas with the largest number of officers and Police staff who had their employment terminated for DPA breaches since 2007 were: Kent (10), Merseyside (7), West Midlands (7), Northumbria (6), Derbyshire (5) and Humberside (5).
  • The areas with the largest number of officers and Police staff subjected to internal disciplinary procedures for DPA breaches since 2007 were: Merseyside (208), West Midlands (83), Humberside (62), South Yorkshire (42), and Northumbria (39).


Big Brother Watch submits complaint to ICO over ANPR camera ring of steel in Royston, Hertfordshire

ANPR Cameras

Big Brother Watch has teamed up with other civil liberties groups to challenge the right of the police in Royston, Hertfordshire to install a so-called ring of steel made-up of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Cameras. We have submitted a complaint, available to view here, to the Information Commissioner, explaining that we view it to be not just an invasion of privacy but also illegal.

We hope that with mainstream media such as the Guardian now picking up this campaign, we can put real pressure on the government to have a full and frank public debate about the use of CCTV cameras in Britain, especially these ANPR cameras which monitor the movement of millions of vehicles everyday while accumulating a database of journeys which can be stored for years without consent.

We have campaigned for months on this project now, ever since rumours of its existence first appeared. There is no justification for a system such as this in a small town like Royston with a population under 15,000 people. There is no history of organised crime or serious drug distribution in the area, and no public consultation was carried out prior to the installation of the cameras. The recent dismantling of ‘Project Champion’ in Birmingham proves that with enough publicity and public anger, intrusive projects such as this can be scraped.

There are now more than 4,200 ANPR cameras yet the public still remain relatively unaware of their existence. Big Brother Watch, No CCTV and Privacy International hope this complaint will open up a debate about their use and justification.


Open up the numberplate recognition camera system

Police are reluctant to reveal locations of automatic numberplate recognition cameras, but their secretive approach is not working

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  • Britain has an abundance of surveillance cameras, perhaps 1.85m in total. Data on the owners and locations of these cameras is generally publicly available; speed camera sites are embedded in satnav systems, for example. Also, the Data Protection Act entitles you to obtain images of yourself on camera. These two are tied together by necessity: it is tricky to exercise your data protection rights if you don't know which organisation has the images and you can't say on which camera you were caught. These seem pretty sensible safeguards, given the levels of surveillance.

    However, the police appear to not agree. Police forces believe their network of 4,000-plus automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras – which in England and Wales are used to store the details and pictures of every vehicle passing a camera, with some data kept for two years – is exempt from these reasonable measures. By overturning a decision by the information commissioner, the first-tier tribunal for information rights has recently decided otherwise – though the decision, which applied specifically to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, has since been appealed against by that force.

    This all follows from the police's refusal to provide me with the locations of its fixed ANPR cameras when I made a freedom of information request in July 2009, despite their use in Torquay, Brixham and Dawlish having been featured on ITV1's Crimefighters and on their own website.

    Aside from the location issue, the police have damaged the trust placed in them over ANPR. Officers were accused of misleading councilors in Birmingham when trying to install cameras in Muslim neighbourhoods, as part of the now-abandoned Project Champion, and ANPR has repeatedly been used to stop people who have committed no crime but whose numberplates have been spotted at protests.

    On announcing its appeal against the tribunal's decision, Devon and Cornwall said that one of its cameras in Plymouth had recently helped catch a drug dealer. But it did so because the system said his car was not insured. While there is an argument that major criminals break minor laws too, it also suggests that drug dealers can improve their chances of avoiding arrest by insuring their cars.

    Nevertheless, the police say that releasing the locations would reduce the usefulness of their fixed ANPR cameras. But their usefulness already seems to be declining. The number of vehicles of interest spotted by Devon and Cornwall's cameras fell from 1.24m in 2008 to 255,000 last year, 0.3% of the vehicles passing. The constabulary says the fall is down to changes in the watchlists used, but with just 45 cameras connected to the national database, perhaps some people "of interest" are simply driving around them.

    It's true that the locations are officially secret. But cameras of a similar design and configuration to the ANPR ones used to police London's congestion charge (the output of which is also fed into the police's database) have been popping up around the UK's roads over the last few years. If they are indeed part of the secret police camera network, they aren't exactly well disguised – and outside cities, they appear to be not so much a network as a set of easily avoidable dots.

    In cities, there is a case for unavoidable, publicised, circles of ANPR: City of London police used to discuss its "ring of steel" cameras with pride.

    But across most of the country, temporary sites would seem to be a better bet, as there would not be much time to spot them before they moved. In every case, ANPR locations should be published, perhaps after use for mobile units. That would allow currently denied data access rights and informed public discussion of a privacy-invasive form of policing – and might produce better results for the police.


Davis alleges criminal misuse of CCTV cameras by government and police

May 10th 2011

Daviddavis David Davis has alleged that the Home Office and Metropolitan Police may have broken the law while using security camera images. The claim was made during Home Office questions in the House of Commons.

He described an event around 12 months ago when he was tipped off that the Whitehall department along with the Met had misused CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras in an illegal manner.

The Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden said:

“A year ago I was approached by a whistleblower with an allegation there had been criminal misuse of CCTV and ANPR information by the Home Office and a part of the Metropolitan Police.”

"I established that the individual knew the insides of the organisations concerned an ongoing operation, that he had no obvious reason for malice or deceit, and I sent the information to the Home Secretary."

However, Mr. Davis claimed he never received a response when he delivered the allegations to Home Secretary Theresa May. Mrs. May assured him that she would investigate the allegations thoroughly, she said:

“I will go back and ensure this matter is brought to my attention.”

We await the results of this investigation with interest, as the allegations, if part of a wider pattern of misuse, could create a scandal on a massive scale.


Controversial surveillance cameras to be removed

May 9th 2011

Controversial surveillance cameras set up in two predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods will start to be removed today, police said.

The 218 cameras, some of which were hidden, sparked anger from civil liberties campaigners and residents in Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath in Birmingham, where they were mainly erected.

The number plate recognition and CCTV cameras were financed under a counter-terrorism initiative but were initially marketed to locals as a general crime-prevention measure.

At a meeting of the West Midlands Police Authority in October, Chief Constable Chris Sims said the cameras should be pulled down in a bid to regain the trust of residents.

The recommendation followed an independent report's criticism of the scheme, dubbed Project Champion.

West Midlands Police said work to take down the cameras and equipment is starting today, and all cameras will be removed this month.

Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe said: "The work starting today shows that we have listened to what our communities wanted and acted upon those wishes.

"We have liaised closely with our communities to keep them informed of developments and when they can expect cameras to be removed from actual streets.

"I would like to stress that the cameras have never been operational.

"We accept that mistakes were made and we are keen to learn the lessons that emerged from the review into Project Champion. The removal of the cameras is part of that learning process.

"Our neighbourhood teams will now focus on forging closer links with local communities across the affected areas."

Ayoub Khan, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet member for local services and community safety, said he was pleased that the recommendations of the review into the handling of Project Champion and the voice of the community had been heard.

"I am now keen to move on and to work closely with the police and all communities across the city for a joint effort in the fight against crime and keeping our streets safe," he said.

Police said the final decision over the future use of the removed cameras will be made by the police authority, but no decision has yet been made.

Speaking in October, Mr Sims said the "support and the confidence of local communities in West Midlands Police" was the most important thing for the force in the fight against crime and terrorism.

"We can fight crime and the threat posed by terrorism far more effectively by working hand in hand with local people, rather than alienating them through a technological solution which does not have broad community support," he told West Midlands Police Authority.

The previous month an independent report by Thames Valley Police criticised the scheme for a lack of transparency and insufficient consultation.

Daniel Hamilton, director of Big Brother Watch, said today: "While we are delighted these cameras are being removed, this expensive and oppressive waste of time should never have been given the go-ahead.

"Vital civil liberties and any basic concept of privacy were both disregarded by this scheme.

"These cameras were totally unnecessary for anti-terror or anti-crime purposes and only served to alienate Muslim residents.

"Public trust in the police has been significantly undermined and will take years to rebuild."



April 16th, 2011

Those interested in information law in the context of policing will wish to note the very recent Tribunal decision in Mathieson v IC and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary (EA/2010/0174)

Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are strategic policing tools used by a number of forces.  Mr Mathieson asked Devon and Cornwall Constabulary to provide him with the locations of its ANPR cameras. It refused, relying on the prejudice-based qualified exemptions at s. 31(1)(a) (prevention or detection of crime) and s. 31(1)(b) (apprehension or prosecution of offenders). The Commissioner considered that the public interest arguments – though finely balanced – favoured the maintenance of these exemptions.

The Tribunal agreed that these exemptions were engaged, but disagreed on the public interest, and ordered disclosure.  It considered that the Commissioner had overlooked a number of relevant factors.

First, this is a privacy issue: ANPR cameras capture vast amounts of personal data; there is therefore substantial public interest in scrutiny of their use (further illustrated by parliamentary questions on the subject). Secondly, location data alone would not undermine policing – information on factors such as policing tactics, data and analytical capabilities were equally necessary.

Furthermore, the Constabulary had put forward weak arguments: the Tribunal was unimpressed by its attempt to rely on reports by other police forces on their use of ANPR cameras, and by its focus on issues such as the potential for vandalism – which is not sufficiently connected to the interests protected by ss. 31(1)(a) and (b).


Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear?

The idea that an individual can live in a surveillance society with nothing to fear so long as they have nothing to hide may, on the face of it, appear attractive. For those of us who think of ourselves as 'honest' - we pay our taxes, don't commit murders and are loyal to our partners - why indeed should we fear surveillance?

"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" (NTHNTF) is a myth that is built on certain false assumptions, and these assumptions are never questioned when it is wheeled out as an argument to support whatever draconian surveillance measure is being pushed out in the face of citizen opposition (commercial organisations rarely try such an approach, since it dooms them to failure from the very beginning). These assumptions include:

  • Continuity: When a large data gathering exercise is started, the lifespan of the system will almost always be greater than that of its instigators. The most benign and caring government, authority or private company is inevitably subject to a change of management, and if the new executive does not share their moral stance, then data can be reused for very dangerous purposes. Those who provided data believing they had nothing to fear may find that data is misused in the future.
  • Context: Those who use the NTHNTF argument most commonly use it in the context of government collecting information about individuals. In the information age, the idea of a single entity holding that information does not hold true. The massive pressures to share information within and beyond government mean that information is constantly on the move. Sooner or later, information held by the government will be shared across the government and with the private sector.
  • Control: Whether through a sharing agreement, aggregation of databases or simply leaving a memory stick in a pub car park, information is always shared sooner or later. Information security professionals always assume a system to be insecure, and plan for when - not if - data is lost or corrupted.
  • Consistency: The most important issue is that of consistent use of accurate information across all authorities and all individuals.

Let's consider consistency in more detail. When databases work from 100% accurate information; when that information is used in accordance with the original consent purpose; when processes work correctly; when outcomes are as expected for every subject in the database; then, arguably, individuals have nothing to fear. Unfortunately, this is a Utopian state that is never achieved in a real world system. We see numerous examples of this problem:

  • Take the extreme example of Khalid El-Masri. This German national was kidnapped, flown to Afghanistan, tortured and then eventually released when it was realised that his was a case of mistaken identity, and he was not in fact an alleged terrorist with a similar name.
  • In 2007, junior doctors found their personal information - including sexual orientation - published on the Internet in a web security breach. How many of those individuals were 'outed' as a result of that breach? Those who had kept their orientation secret from their families or colleagues were perfectly at rights to do so, but found it released anyway.
  • In 2006 a student was wrongfully arrested for stealing mail when a batch of letters were recovered. His fingerprints - which had been taken a year previously when he was accused of criminal damage but released without charge after the real culprit confessed - matched those on some of the letters. After his arrest it was discovered that the letters bearing his fingerprints were posted by him. He was released, and then had to campaign to have his DNA data removed from the National DNA Database.
  • Time and again individuals have been fired from jobs, or failed to get jobs, because of errors in the Criminal Records Bureau database. They have been stigmatised as criminals, even to the extent of being falsely branded as sex offenders, because of database failings.

This sort of mistake might seem rare, but it is going to become increasingly common. Police cars are being fitted with fingerprint scanners, and it seems to be only a matter of time before they can even check DNA on the spot. Systems will make mistakes, and procedures will go wrong. The victims of the benign database state are those who aren't treated in accordance with the intended rules, but are at the wrong end of breakdowns in data accuracy, procedural rules or system errors. Under a benign government, it's not the intended surveillance that makes victims of innocent people, but the errors.

So why do I fear the idea of a database state, even when I have "nothing to hide"? Well, I do have things to hide. Everyone has things to hide. If I have a serious health concern, I want to be able to consult my GP without worrying my wife. If I'm looking for a new job, there is no reason why I should have to reveal that to my employer. In fact, if even I've committed a serious crime, been convicted, rehabilitated and paid my debt to society, why should I be obliged to reveal that history to my neighbours if I pose no threat to them? Should my friends know if I've got an unauthorised overdraft, or if I've downloaded perfectly legal adult content from the Internet? I've done none of these things, and am in no particular rush to, but I demand the right to privacy if those situations arise.

"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" is a myth, a fallacy, a trojan horse wheeled out by those who can't justify their surveillance schemes, databases and privacy invasions. It is an argument that insults intelligent individuals and disregards the reality of building and operating an IT system, a business or even a government. If ever you hear someone at a dinner party crank out this old chestnut, grab your coat, make your apologies, run fast and run far.