The Guardian and The Telegraph newspapers ran stories this weekend reporting that UK police are planning to use unmanned ‘spy drones’, originally developed for surveillance in military contexts, to monitor antisocial motorists, protesters, agricultural thieves, and fly-tippers. According to the reports, an arms manufacturer is currently developing the so-called Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) – capable of taking high-resolution images from heights of up to 20,000ft – for civilian deployment, and that the drones could be in use by local forces in time for the London Olympics in 2012. For the full reports, see here (Guardian [includes video and comments]) and here (Telegraph).
Posts Tagged 'Britain'
Tags: Britain, CCTV, Civil Liberties, Crime, Military, Policing, Security, Surveillance, technology
Tags: Britain, Empire, Europe, Globalisation, Migration, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century
A one-day workshop on ‘Immigration and National Identity in British History: Europe, Empire, and Commonwealth’ will take place in the Dahrendorf Room of St Antony’s College, Oxford from 10am–5pm on Monday 18 January 2010. Sponsored by the Slavic Research Centre of Hokkaido University in Japan, in association with St Antony’s College, the workshop will feature six papers on experiences of migration and identity in British imperial and colonial contexts, and will conclude with a general discussion. There is no charge for attending the workshop (delegates can purchase their own lunch from the St Antony’s dining hall), but if you wish to attend – and for full programme details – please contact the organizer on hiromi.mizokami(at)sant.ox.ac.uk. Picture: Flickr/Northampton Museum (CC).
Tags: Britain, Crime, Forgery, Identity Theft
The Observer newspaper ran a report yesterday on a growing breed of false documentation in the UK: fake payslips. According to the report, ‘dozens of websites are selling the high-quality documents which are being used as false proof of salary in applications to banks… [at the same time as] as mortgage lenders are being asked by the Financial Services Authority to become more reliant on documentation such as payslips’. Police are planning a crackdown on the websites, which offer a choice of designs and even calculate tax, national insurance and pension contributions on figures supplied (without verification) by clients. For the full story, see here. Picture: Flickr (CC)
Tags: Britain, Civil Liberties, ID Cards, Policy, Registration, technology
Manchester has been named as the first UK city in which residents will be able to voluntarily acquire a government ID card. As of autumn 2009, any of the city’s permanent residents over the age of 16 in possession of a valid passport will be able to apply to the Home Office’s Identity and Passport Service for the document, which will cost £30 in the first instance. It is anticipated that the cards will be available nationwide from 2012, at a projected total cost of £5bn. For more details, see BBC News. Picture: Wikimedia Commons
Tags: Britain, Civil Liberties, Legal Frameworks, Policy, Privacy, Registration, Surveillance, technology
A new report on the ‘Database State’ has argued that many of Britain’s public sector databases are inefficient, invasive of privacy and vulnerable to legal challenge. The study was commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust and undertaken by members of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, including IdentiNet member Ross Anderson (Security Engineering, University of Cambridge). The report suggests that 11 of the 46 largest central databases are illegal under human rights or data protection laws (a further 29 are given an ‘amber light’), and makes a range of new recommendations for the collection and management of personal data and the development of government IT systems. Here’s the report and the executive summary, while Ross has also blogged some conclusions at The Guardian‘s Liberty Central. Picture: Chris Campbell/flickr (CC)
Tags: Britain, Civil Liberties, ID Cards, Policy, Registration, Surveillance
A Convention on Modern Liberty will be taking place in cities throughout the UK tomorrow (Saturday 28 February). Academics, lawyers, politicians and civil liberties campaigners will congregate at venues in London, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester to hear papers and discussions exploring the human rights implications of state-led initiatives such as, inter alia, ID cards and central databases. Below, convention co-director Anthony Barnett describes the rationale for the event and the dangers of modern ‘identity management’:
Tags: Britain, CCTV, Europe, Germany, Globalisation, Passports, Security, Surveillance
A summer school on ‘New Approaches to Political History: Writing British and German Contemporary History’ will be held at the German Historical Institute, London, on 7-12 September 2009. Within a general focus on new definitions of the political and methodology, one of the four thematic strands concentrates on Politics in a Globalised World: Security and Transnationalisation, and will explore issues such as CCTV, passport controls and other international identity documents. The school is open to PhD students and post-docs working on British, German and British-German history, and the deadline for applications is 1 March 2009; for further details and how to apply see H-Net or the GHI website.
Tags: Britain, CCTV, Civil Liberties, DNA Databases, Registration, Surveillance
An Upper House report on ‘Surveillance: Citizens and the State’ has warned that Britain risks becoming a ‘surveillance state’. The report, published today by the Lords Constitution Committee, argues that the proliferation of CCTV cameras (the highest density in Europe) and the growth of the UK’s DNA database (‘the largest in the world’) are undermining democracy, and recommends a raft of controls including tighter judicial oversight of surveillance and new codes of practice for the use of CCTV. For full details see BBC News, while the report itself can be accessed here. Picture: stock.xchng
Tags: Appropriation, Britain, Crime, Fingerprinting, Forensics, technology, United States
A new technique for recovering fingerprints invented by a British forensic scientist is being implemented in the US. The method was developed by Dr John Bond, the scientific support manager of Northamptonshire Police and an Honorary Fellow of the Forensic Research Centre at the University of Leicester. It uses charged ceramic beads coated with black powder to disclose the unique patterns of salt corrosion left by human fingertips on metallic surfaces, especially shell casings; unlike normal fingerprint residues, these cannot be wiped off, are impervious to heat and do not deteriorate over time. Once revealed, they are baked, photographed and analysed in the standard manner. The technique, which has already been used in connection with half a dozen North American ‘cold cases’, is currently being applied to bullet casings found at the scene of an unsolved shooting which took place in Bristol, Connecticut in 1998. For more information, see BBC News. Picture: stock.xchng
Tags: Badging, Britain, Crime, Early Modern, Imposture, London, Passports, Registration
Paul Griffiths’ eagerly anticipated study of petty crime in early modern London – Lost Londons: Change, Crime and Control in the Capital City, 1550-1660 - has recently been published by Cambridge University Press, and is teeming with identification angles. It discloses a metropolis ‘flooded… with false papers’, in particular the counterfeit vagrant travel permits and forged beggars’ licenses around which a booming cottage industry developed. It also discusses the compulsory badging of fishwives, the false identities created by suspects and the use of bodily branding to signal dubious pasts (‘Like paper, bodies had spaces to put data that might come back to haunt a recidivist’), and devotes an innovative concluding chapter to the systematic recording of suspects’ names and offences in the Bridewell courtbooks. These ‘active archives’, carefully alphabeticised and often equipped with additional finding aids such as calendars, tables and indexes, were used by magistrates to piece together criminal biographies, and participated in a larger project of ‘numbering Londoners’ manifested elsewhere in parish registers, tax lists and censuses of vagrants, aliens, alehouse-keepers and street-sellers.