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Homeowners should be compensated by councils who spy

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posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 10:32 AM

Warning over 'surveillance state'
Lord Norton: "We are a world leader in surveillance"

Electronic surveillance and collection of personal data are "pervasive" in British society and threaten to undermine democracy, peers have warned.

CCTV cameras and the DNA database were two examples of threats to privacy, the Lords constitution committee said.

It called for compensation for people subject to illegal surveillance.

The government said CCTV and DNA were "essential" to fight crime but campaign group Liberty said abuses of power mean "even the innocent have a lot to fear".


Civil liberties campaigners have warned about the risks of a "surveillance society" in which the state acquires ever-greater powers to track people's movements and retain personal data.

Controversial government plans for a database to store details of people's phone calls and e-mails were put on hold late last year after they were branded "Orwellian".

"There can be no justification for this gradual but incessant creep towards every detail about us being recorded and pored over by the state" - Lord Goodlad

Ministers are consulting on the plan, which would involve the details but not the content of calls and internet traffic being logged, saying it is essential to fighting terrorism.

In its report, the Lords constitution committee said growth in surveillance by both the state and the private sector risked threatening people's right to privacy, which it said was "an essential pre-requisite to the exercise of individual freedom".

People were often unaware of the scale of personal information held and exchanged by public bodies, it said.

"There can be no justification for this gradual but incessant creep towards every detail about us being recorded and pored over by the state," committee chairman and Tory peer Lord Goodlad said.

'Misuse of powers'

Among areas of most concern were the growth of CCTV cameras, of which there are now an estimated four million in the UK.

The UK is said by privacy campaigners to have the most cameras per head of population in the world, but no definitive figures are available.

According to a 2004 European Commission report, Britain has the highest density of CCTV cameras in Europe. It found 40,000 cameras monitored public areas in 500 British towns and cities, compared to fewer than 100 cameras in 15 German cities and no open street CCTV at all in Denmark.

In its report, the Lords committee said the use of cameras should be regulated on a statutory basis in the UK, with a legally binding code of practice governing their use.

There was evidence of abuse of surveillance powers by some councils, with cameras wrongly being "used to spy on the public over issues such as littering".

The UK's DNA database is the "largest in the world", the report concluded, with more than 7% of the population having their samples stored, compared with 0.5% in the US.

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Hey, at least that anachronism of a House is good for something. I wish someone in a position of authority would flag up the glaring disparity between the proliferation of cctv cameras in Britain and crime rate figures. No one can dare say that they are there for public protection. I'll shoot my tv set the day some deadmans-shoe utters that!

Have any of you Brits noticed the frequency of surveillance helicopters in our skys of late? I'd really be interested to hear. There's one practically every night in my area equipped with a powerful spot. People I've talked to all think they've an idea. Mostly it's searching for the heat signature of cannabis farms. But I'm not inclined to believe the authorities would go to the expense for such a specific task. With a piece of kit like that , you're going to make it pay, right?

DeFacto Police-State? Anyone disagree?
......More to follow.

posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 01:36 PM
reply to post by Sonmi451

I've noticed choppers every day and night. I put these down to traffic report choppers and the police pork pies in the skies.
It's true they have thermal imaging, however I have always wondered about them looking for cannabis farms. I new a guy who used to grow in his house which was next to where the helicopter takes off. I'm sure though his small operation just resembled a radiator or boiler from above, not like a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, which would glow like crazy on a TI camera.
The spotlight is usually used to look at what someone is doing, searches and chases are usually done with the TI.

posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 02:58 PM
I too have found more helicopters in the sky, but with various major roads 10 miles away I would put it down to an increase in traffic surveillance, there is little place to hide a cannabis farm in a little village- or so it seems.

There was one instance when one made a quick landing in a field nearby but I enquired around and found it was on a 'test' apparently.

On your point about Britian becoming a defacto-police state. It isn't there yet but with ever tightening laws, 42 day terror law, we are slowly getting our freedoms chipped away. It's amazing how the people just sat back and let it go except David Davies who was branded a fool for taking a stand with Labour not even bothering to field a candidate for the ensuing election.

Give it a few years and yes your police state will be in full swing and anyone saying otherwise will be branded a terrorist.

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