Tag Archives: data

Your Rights and Mobile Fingerprinting

28 Jan

met mobile fingerprinter
Last week, the Metropolitan police confirmed that its officers have started to use mobile fingerprint scanners, the 25th UK police force to do so. Initially the Met have 350 of these devices, linked to police Blackberry phones, which they claim can provide, in under two minutes, confirmation of personal details, warning markers and whether a person is wanted for a crime.

The police can use these devices to take a person’s fingerprints, with or without consent, if they ‘reasonably suspect’ they have committed a criminal offence.  The individual concerned does not need to be under arrest , nor does the offence they are suspected of need to be a serious offence.  Once fingerprints have been used to establish ID, the police may decide to arrest, summons, give a fixed penalty notice, give ‘words of advice’, or take no further action.

The police PR spin suggests that this measure is all about saving police time, providing a more cost-effective alternative to making arrests.  But, given the history of ‘function creep’ in police powers, the use of portable biometrics testing could pose a serious threat to civil rights. Continue reading

Don’t be on a database

18 Oct

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Netpol have today launched a campaign to limit the gathering of data by the police on political protest. The campaign, don’t be on a database, encourages protesters to assert their legal rights to keep their personal details private. The campaign includes a series of posters and flyers with the words, ‘Your name and address is none of their business’. Continue reading

HMIC review of police “domestic extremism” intelligence-gathering units

3 Feb

Further analysis of the HMIC report on ‘domestic extremism’ from Matt Salusbury.

A review of national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest was published at a minute past midnight today (2 February 2012) by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC ).

This started life as a review of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPIOU) a police ‘domestic extremism’ unit that spies on protesters, and in which undercover cop Mark Kennedy (aka Mark Stone) was deployed. The review, led by Bernard Hogan-Howe, now Met commissioner, was about to be published in October when it was postponed after the revelation that another NPIOU asset, Jim Boyling, had apparently been allowed by his handlers to mislead the courts.

NPIOU has since been subsumed into the Met’s SO15 directorate whose brief includes ‘counter-terror,’ and ‘domestic extremism’ has rather worryingly become closely associated with ‘terrorism’ in the strange world-view of the cops. Continue reading

Is Police Database Abuse Becoming Endemic?

16 Jan

by Netpol member, Kevin Blowe, reproduced from his blog, Random Blowe

On Twitter, I regularly share (from @copwatcher) news stories about policing in Britain that interest me. An item today on the Daily Mail website, about eight Essex police officers losing their jobs after illegally accessing confidential police databases, made me realise that lately I’ve been seeing similar stories appear again and again.

Looking back over my Twitter timeline, I have noticed that from November 2011, there have been six reports in only three months that involve abuse of personal data by serving officers. As well as today’s story, these include:

In addition, a news report in November on breaches of the Data Protection Act in Norfolk and Suffolk since 2008 identified 22 incidents within Norfolk Police, a number that involved the dismissal of police officers or community support officers.

Today’s report about Essex Police reveals that it took a whistle-blower, rather than strict rules and policies usually defended by police press officers, to highlight ‘routine abuses’ of IT systems. Continue reading

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