No 2 ID Newsletter 112

by no2id supporter
on Monday 08 Dec 2008

type: News Report
topic: Policing
region: South West
+ GOVERNMENT BURIES DATABASE STATE POWERS IN CORONERS BILL +

The Coroners and Justice Bill, announced in yesterday's Queen's Speech will contain extraordinary new data-sharing powers which could be exercised without Parliamentary debate. The government is trying to sneak through new powers in a bill "to create the new role of The Office of the Chief Coroner". Supporters need to be aware of the danger of this bill and be ready to contact MPs as this legislation passes through parliament.

The new powers follow on from the Thomas/Walport Data Sharing Review [1] which recommended "that where there is a genuine case for removing or modifying an existing legal barrier to data sharing, a new statutory fast-track procedure should be created". Jack Straw highlighted these new 'fast track' data-sharing powers which he said will "simplify the data protection framework and remove any unnecessary obstacles to data sharing".

These powers would allow the government effectively to set aside not just the Data Protection Act and data protection principles when it suits, but the much more fundamental protections of Articles 6 and 8 of the ECHR/HRA [2], of common law confidentiality and of ultra vires[3]. This goes far beyond data protection into administrative and constitutional law.

Rather than protecting our personal information as it should, the government is cutting away safeguards for its own data-trafficking convenience. This bill as it stands smashes the rule of law and builds the database state in its place. We need to do everything we can to stop these powers being passed otherwise it really could mean the end of privacy as we know it.

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NOTES:

[1] Thomas/Walport Data Sharing Review can be found at http://www.justice.gov.uk/reviews/datasharing-intro.htm
[2] The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA). Article 8 is the right to privacy and Article 6 the presumption of innocence - both of which e.g. data profiling or matching or false biometric matches will contravene.
[3] Ultra vires refers to acts of a public body which fall beyond its jurisdiction or remit

+ Thanks to local groups +

Many thanks to all groups who got a multisignatory NO2ID letter published in their local press to coincide with the launch of "ID cards" for foreign nationals. The letter even found its way into the Daily Telegraph (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3512924/US-celeb....html)
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What just happened?

+ Landmark judgment for DNA privacy at European Court of Human Rights +
The government has been defeated in a case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over the retention of DNA samples for those who have not committed an offence. The case of 'S' and Marper should force the government to destroy 4.5m samples taken from people acquitted or never charged that are currently stored in the national DNA database. The court said: "The retention in question constituted a disproportionate interference with the applicants' right to respect for private life and could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society." The court also ordered the British authorities to pay 42,000 euros to the two men for legal fees. The court's rulings are binding on all EU member states. The Home Secretary has stated that the existing law will remain in place while ministers consider the judgment.
See http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view.asp?item=1&porta...S.%20|%20Marper&sessionid=16788875&skin=hudoc-en

+ Government publishes response to data sharing review +
Last week the government published its response to the Data Sharing Review written by Richard Thomas (the current Information Commissioner but working “in an independent capacity”) and Dr Mark Walport (Director of the Wellcome Trust). Back in Newsletter 102 we warned that recommendations in the Data Sharing review to remove existing data sharing firewalls will lead to the abolition of privacy. Right on queue the government has seized on the recommendations. Their response states: "Government will legislate to create a gateway for data sharing powers, which will be subject to the Parliamentary Affirmative Resolution procedure. This will create a more streamlined process, retaining the element of parliamentary scrutiny to ensure transparency in data sharing policy and ensuring such power is proportionate." As detailed above the Ministry of Justice will be putting new data sharing powers into the Coroners and Justice bill, for apparent want of anywhere better to put them...
Download the full response at http://www.justice.gov.uk/docs/response-data-sharing-re...w.pdf

+ Details of ID scheme penalties emerge +
Last week, as the government launched a consultation into secondary legislation under the ID cards act, some details of the civil penalties under the act have emerged. For instance you could have £1000 penalties sent to you by e-mail if you fail to turn up at a time and place of their choosing, refuse to be fingerprinted, photographed or hand over documents (e.g. birth or marriage certificates), or fail to tell them you've moved house for 3 months. Anything that the Identity and Passport service think is "deliberate or reckless" provision of incorrect information could lead to 2 years in prison. Other dubious 'highlights' include: a tax on marriage – women who change their name will have to buy a new card; those without bank accounts won't be able to get ID as you can only pay by credit or debit card, or cheque; and the homeless will be able to nominate a park bench as their 'address'. Welcome to a lifetime of state identity control!

+ Freedom Not Fear protest video goes online +
Back in October a protest was staged at Scotland Yard in London as part of Europe wide 'Freedom Not Fear' actions. A video of the protest featuring interviews with some of those present, including NO2ID campaigner 'Panda', has been posted on google video.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-46432115240048...hl=en
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What's next?

+ ID cards secondary legislation consultation launched +
The Identity and Passport Service has launched a consultation on secondary legislation proposed under the Identity Cards Act 2006, including a draft Code of Practice on Civil Penalties. Any comments should be sent to: Robin Woodland, Identity Cards Act Secondary Legislation Consultation, Home Office, Identity and Passport Service, Allington Towers, 19 Allington Street, London SW1E 5EB. Comments may also be sent by email to: identitycards@ips.gsi.gov.uk. If commenting by email then include the words “consultation response” in the subject title. Closing date 13th February 2009.
See http://www.ips.gov.uk/identity/downloads/NIS_Legislatio...n.pdf

+ Connecting for Health and secondary uses of patient data consultation +
"NHS Connecting for Health are gathering people's views to help them make important decisions about the ways the NHS can use information it collects about patients. Such patient data is mainly used to provide care and treatment but can also have additional uses such as research, auditing the quality and safety of care, management planning, etc. This consultation is focusing on additional uses." Responses should be sent to Chrissy Brand (FREEPOST RRXB-TTRR-HJGB, Tribal Consulting, Palatine Road, Manchester, M22 4DB) by 10th December.
See http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/systemsandservice...ation

+ LOCAL GROUPS NEWS +
The size, influence and activity of NO2ID's local group network is unique amongst single-issue campaigning and is growing all the time. Groups raise awareness of the work of NO2ID, inform their local politicians and journalists about the depth of the ID scheme and provide us with our now main method of attracting new members and supporters. Their work is vital and effective and enables us to maintain a relatively high local media presence that many campaigning groups envy. To see if there's a group in your area check our list at http://www.no2id.net/localGroups/

Or, if you're interested in starting a group yourself, please contact Matty on local.groups@no2id.net to discuss what's involved and what we have in place to support coordinators and their groups.
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+ Cardiff +

+ 10th December - No Borders South Wales protest, UK Border Agency +
Wednesday, 10th December 12 noon outside the UK Border Agency, 31-33 Newport Road where registration of non-EEA students and spouses will begin in Cardiff. We invite all opponents of ID cards to join us. This is a follow up to the demonstration when ID cards came into force on the 25th November in the same place, which was part of a national day of action by No Borders.
More info at: http://noborderswales.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/oppose-t...tion/

+ Shrewsbury +

+ 15th December - Shrewsbury NO2ID "dining club" (3rd Monday of the month) +
Monday, 15th December - our regular "dining club" is meeting at about 7.15pm somewhere in the town centre. Do join us for a meal, or just come along for a drink. We need to book the table a few days in advance, so contact Rob Findlay on shrewsbury@no2id.net (or 07973 848910) if you'd like to come along.
Link: http://www.no2id.net/