Free Britain


Personal data of a million bank customers found on computer sold on eBay for £35

This just never seems to let up…

Source: Daily Mail

(Extract)

Personal details of more than a million bank customers have been found on a computer sold on eBay.

Highly sensitive information on American Express, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland customers was stored on the machine’s hard drive.

It includes names, addresses, mobile phone numbers, bank account numbers, sort codes, credit card numbers, mothers’ maiden names and even signatures.

It was described as ‘a data thief’s treasure chest’, with everything a criminal needs to assume a customer’s identity – and clear out their bank account.

The massive data loss – one of the worst ever in Britain – is a clear breach of the banks’ obligation under the Data Protection Act to keep all personal information secure.

Coming just days after the Home Office admitted losing the details of 127,000 criminals, it is certain to fuel public concern about how Government and businesses look after our secrets.

Last night it was revealed that a second computer from the same site has gone missing, meaning yet more information could have been leaked.

IT security expert Adam Laurie said: ‘This is appalling. This information is worth millions – a thief could easily use it to go on an enormous shopping spree.’

Liberal Democrat spokesman Tom Brake said: ‘This is yet another example of a seemingly trusted organisation appearing to be sloppy with people’s personal information. Continue reading

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Unmanned drone planes set to spy on Britons

You just keep telling yourself it’s for your safety and that you’re still free.

Source: Daily Mail

Unmanned spy planes could soon be used to carry out covert surveillance on UK citizens, under controversial new Government plans.

The MoD is working with defence firm BAE Systems to make so-called UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) safe enough to be used to help police operations in the UK.

The sophisticated unmanned aircraft are able to get clear images of the ground even when flying at up to 50, 000 feet.

However, even though they are widely used by British troops in warzones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, until now they have not been cleared for use in civilian airspace.

The plan to use UAVs in Britain has worried civil liberties groups who say that they could be used to spy on innocent civilians.

Gareth Crossman, director of policy at the civil rights watchdog Liberty, told The Independent: ‘The question is not so much about the technology but what one does with it.

‘We have quite definite laws about where CCTV can be used but of course with UAVs you have much greater ability to gather material in private spaces and this would lead to concern.’

He added: ‘If they are used to simply hover to gain random information then that would obviously be a matter of worry and a civil liberty issue.’

If approved, UAVs could be for disaster relief, crowd control and anti-terror surveillance maritime searches as well as supporting Coastguard, police, fire and intelligence services, the committee heard.

The MPs’ report says the MoD is ‘closely involved with the development of procedures and regulations which allow UAVs to operate in national and Nato airspace. Continue reading



DNA database least of our concerns

Source: RINF

Total information capture

Total information capture

By Ian Williams | Privacy concerns over the details of innocents being held in the UK’s National DNA Database are not nearly as worrying as other planned government files.

This is the revelation from Mike Barwise, a security expert from Infosecurity Adviser, the online forum run by the Infosecurity Europe team.

“The media seems preoccupied at the moment about people’s DNA being stored centrally, but the reality is that the database is really a one-dimensional invasion of citizens’ privacy,” said Barwise.

“Two-dimensional databases, such as the planned telecommunications database of the numbers people call from their landlines and mobile phones, are much more worrying.”

According to Barwise, when you factor in the time element to the planned government telecommunications database and add in location-based data from the cellular carriers, you create a three-dimensional view of the person concerned.

“Not only do you have the numbers called and the locations called from, but you have a time-based diary from which you can extrapolate their movements,” he explained.

Because we do increasingly more on our mobiles, Irwin highlights that the proposed telecommunications database would reveal a vast amount about a person’s circle of business and social contacts, as well as web browsing habits and other very personal information.

“This has been a highly charged subject for years, not least due to the progressive extension of the scope of the database, culminating in recent proposals to include young children who might offend in the future – or indeed everyone in the country,” he said, adding that the issue arouses strong emotions.

Fortunately for those equally concerned by the proposal, the creation of the database has been called into question by Information Commissioner Richard Thomas who described it as “a step too far for the British way of life”.



Council spies using DVLA database for ‘environmental crimes’

One of the issues with government controlled databases is the potential for abuse. You should assume your privacy is now gone the minute some personal data of yours ends up on one of one of their systems.

Source: Daily Mail

Town hall snoopers obtained the details of more than 270,000 motorists from the DVLA database last year in a bid to trap people for ‘environmental crimes’.

The officials wanted to link car owners via their number plates to offences such as littering, dog fouling and noisy stereos.

Critics say the scale of the inquiries is a ‘terrifying’ example of the lurch towards a Big Brother society.

Councils were originally given 24-hour access to the DVLA’s huge database, via a computer link called the Web Enabled Enquiry System (WEES), to make it easier to trace the owners of abandoned cars.

But a document produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reveals this access has recently been ‘enhanced’ to allow authorised council staff to police environmental crimes.

The DVLA said WEES was accessed last year by a total of 271,563 by local councils – at the rate of more than 700 checks every day.

North Cornwall District Council used the system in an attempt to trace somebody suspected of horse fouling. Test Valley Council in Hampshire used it in a graffiti inquiry, while Chorley Council in Cheshire used it to check on the owner of a car leaking petrol in a car park.

Bexley Council in London checked the system 44 times last year to trace people illegally advertising cars for sale in the street. Other councils have used the system in an attempt to trace the owners of out of control dogs, bogus callers and benefit cheats.

This is a variation of function creep. The process of a system, initially being used for one thing, gradually expanding its scope. It always happens with government system. Always. Next they will be using this system to identify potential dissidents.

Shadow Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘State intrusion is becoming the norm not the exception as we witness the slow death of our privacy. Continue reading



Innocents’ DNA ‘should be erased’

Source: BBC

(Extract)

DNA profiles of innocent people should be removed from the national database, a government-funded inquiry has said.

Control of the database should be taken from government and police and an independent body should be established to run it, the Citizens’ Inquiry urged.

Javed Aslam, one of the 30 members of the public on the panel, said keeping the records would be “the first step towards a totalitarian state”.

But the Home Office said the database helps to secure convictions.

The UK has the largest police DNA database in the world – with more than four million people on file.

Among the study’s conclusions was that guilty people who have served their time should eventually have their DNA records erased because retaining the profile “continues to criminalise them”.

This is despite the fact that DNA records have been used to solve a number of “cold case” inquires in recent years.

The inquiry was conducted by 30 members of the public in two linked panels in Birmingham and Glasgow. It was funded by £50,000 of taxpayers’ money.

Prof Albert Weale, chairman of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, responded to the report findings, saying: “We agree that the DNA of innocent people should not be kept by police. Continue reading



Sarkozy tries to set up a police state in France

Funny how all of these State rulers just happen to be pushing for police states in their respective countries at the same time… Under the control of the EU.

Source: Newropeans Magazine

(Extract)

Under this nice feminine firstname, Edwige, lies a brutal and ugly political reality : a police database of a scope and nature unseen since Petain’s regime.

Using the drowsiness of summer, without any public debate nor legislative discussion, the French government is adopting the use of a police database aiming at a retrieving information on all kinds of activists involved in politics, unions, NGOs, religious groups, … since the age of 13 (!) and without any limitations in the range of information collected, nor any time limit in keeping the datas.

This is what is happening next to the celebration of the French Revolution, in Sarkozy’s France. Even the infamous Patriot Act in the USA does not go that far!

Behind the bling-bling operations like the Union pour la Méditerranée, doomed to fail since its inception because of its lack of consistency, and the outrageous ‘défilé de dictateurs’ for the 14th of July on the Champs Elysées, the European citizens must be aware that the current chairman of the EU is a great son of Petain, rather than a heir of General De Gaulle.

Submission to the powerful, merciless for the weakest, fascination for money and pomp, obsession for police control and summary justice,…. here are the key features of the current president of the EU, Nicolas Sarkozy, as the French painfully discovered in the last 14 months, explaining why no more than 20% of them now find anything positive in his tenure of power.

Let’s think one minute of what can be the use of collecting and keeping data on citizens whose main characteristics is to be active in society, within NGOs, unions, political parties, since the age of 13. Preventing terrorist attacks? Preventing criminal acts? Very unlikely as anywhere in the democratic world, citizens who are very active in their communities tend to be the best defence for any antisocial behaviours. Continue reading



UK FISA Copy Comes From EU

As happens all too often these days, Police State rules and regulations from the United States find themselves popping up in Britain immediately afterwards. Some background on FISA.

Source: Daily Mail

A ‘Big Brother’ database recording every single phone call and e-mail made in Britain would threaten the British way of life, the information watchdog has warned.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said such a Government-run database would have serious data protection implications.

Amid speculation a massive database is already being planned, he declared it would be a ‘step too far’.

May’s draft legislative programme included provision for a Bill ‘to modify the procedures for acquiring communications data and allow this data to be retained’.

But he insisted there had not been sufficient parliamentary or public debate on proposals to collect more and more personal information on databases for DNA samples and Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras.

The original articles makes no mention of this, but within about two minutes I had found the source of this totalitarian legislation. Continue reading