VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 9 POSTED ON: 6/1/2012
Security and Privacy New children's database faces criticism Jessica Shepherd, 26 January 2009 – guardian.co.uk Doctors, social workers and police can look up details on every child in England on a controversial database from today. The £224m directory, called ContactPoint, holds the name, address, date of birth, GP and school of all under-18s, and is aimed at helping professionals reach children they suspect are at risk. It aims to prevent children falling into gaps between different services and was set up in response to an inquiry into the murder of Victoria Climbié in 2000. Victoria, 8, was tortured to death by her great-aunt and her great-aunt's boyfriend. Police, doctors and social workers had been in contact with her while she was being abused. Before today, if a social worker or police officer believed a child was at risk, there was no immediate way of knowing whether other services had been in contact with the child. The database will not hold information on a child's suspected abuse or family history, and will be impossible to download. But it has attracted controversy from the outset, with civil liberties groups, children's campaigners and the Information Commissioner concerned about its scope and role. The Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) wrote to officials in 2007 outlining "significant" concerns about the database. Richard Stiff, the ADCS chair of information systems and technology policy committee, said confusion over who is responsible for vetting users and policing the system "may allow a situation where an abuser could be able to access ContactPoint for illegitimate purposes with limited fear of any repercussions". The children's secretary, Ed Balls, who announced the launch of the database today, said it would help those who work with children to "prevent problems escalating". He said recent cases had shown that a lack of "proper and timely information-sharing" could have tragic consequences. Its launch comes after the death of 17-month-old boy Baby P in August 2007, who suffered a catalogue of abuse at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend. Baby P was on an at-risk register and had been seen some 60 times by social workers, doctors and welfare groups. Balls said: "No system can ever guarantee that all children will be safe but we know ContactPoint will make a real difference." The Liberal Democrats have called for the "intrusive" database to be scrapped. The party's children's spokesman, David Laws, said: "The fact that the rollout has already been delayed because of technical issues does not bode well for the future. The government has shown it can't be trusted with sensitive data. Parents have every right to demand that their children's personal details are not put at risk." Lord Laming, who chaired the Victoria Climbié inquiry, said ContactPoint would not replace the need for children's services organisations to ensure "effective working across teams, across services and agencies, including sharing information where this is appropriate". But he added: "In time I believe ContactPoint will be an important tool in supporting this practice, helping practitioners to know who else is working with a particular child, and Security and Privacy therefore contributing to the armoury of measures that we need to support children's services in making sure children in England are safe and well." Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnardo's, said: "Barnardo's is very supportive of ContactPoint and encouraged by the progress made. We believe that the directory will provide a quick way for authorised professionals to find out who else is working with a child; making it easier to deliver more coordinated and better services, and helping us better to identify children of particular vulnerability." Security and Privacy Fight against terror 'spells end of privacy' Former security chief warns searching personal data will 'break moral rules' Alan Travis, 25 February, 2009 – The Guardian Privacy rights of innocent people will have to be sacrificed to give the security services access to a sweeping range of personal data, one of the architects of the government's national security strategy has warned. Sir David Omand, the former Whitehall security and intelligence co-ordinator, sets out a blueprint for the way the state will mine data - including travel information, phone records and emails - held by public and private bodies and admits: "Finding out other people's secrets is going to involve breaking everyday moral rules." His paper provides the most candid assessment yet of the scale of Whitehall's ambitions for a state database to track terrrorist groups. It argues that while the measures are essential, public trust will be maintained only if such intrusive surveillance is carried out within a strong framework of morality and human rights. "Modern intelligence access will often involve intrusive methods of surveillance and investigation, accepting that, in some respects this may have to be at the expense of some aspects of privacy rights," he writes in a newly published Institute for Public Policy research paper. "This is a hard choice, and goes against current calls to curb the so-called surveillance society - but it is greatly preferable to tinkering with the rule of law, or derogating from fundamental human rights. Being able to demonstrate proper legal authorisation and appropriate oversight of the use of such intrusive intelligence activity may become a major future issue for the intelligence community, if the public at large is to be convinced of the desirability of such intelligence capability." Although Omand left the senior civil service in 2005, his views continue to reflect thinking at the highest levels of Whitehall. In the paper - National Security Strategy, Implications for the UK Intelligence Community - he says that a growing amount of intelligence to remove extremists and disrupt potential terrorist attacks is now derived from "protected information" - known in intelligence circles as "Protint". "This is personal information about individuals that resides in databases such as advanced passenger information, airline bookings, and other travel data, passport and biometric data, immigration, identity and border records, criminal records and other governmental and private sector data, including financial and telephone and other communications records. "Such information may be held in national records, covered by data protection legislation, but it might also be held offshore by other nations, or by global companies, and may or may not be subject to international agreements. Access to such information, and in some cases to the ability to apply data mining and pattern recognition software to databases, might well be the key to effective pre-emption in future terrorist cases." Omand says such sources have always been accessible to the police and security services against a named suspect, but the use of modern data mining and processing methods involves the examination of the innocent as well as the suspect to identify patterns of interest for further investigation. Security and Privacy Privacy issues do arise, he says, over the use of sources of information on the movements and activities of individuals revealed by technology such as CCTV and automatic number plate readers - again complicated by the use of "smart recognition software" such as data- mining programmes. He says that the significant challenge facing the intelligence community is how to access the full range of personal data in a way that is timely, accurate, proportionate, legal and acceptable in a democratic and free society. Security and Privacy Gun Database Ignites Debate in Tennessee March 2, 2009 – The Associated Press NASHVILLE (AP) — A Memphis newspaper has posted a searchable database of Tennesseans with permits to carry concealed handguns, upsetting firearm owners and igniting a debate on whether such information should be publicly available. Gun owners say the database is an invasion of privacy and makes permit holders easy targets for burglaries. They have flooded the newspaper with complaints — some 600 e-mail messages a day — and threatened staff members and posted personal information about newspaper employees. The newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, added the database to its Web site in December. The database did not draw attention, though, until an early February article about an argument over a parking spot that ended with a motorist shot dead. The editor, Chris Peck, said the paper added the database because newspapers should be a thorough source for community information. Mr. Peck pointed to the recent shooting as proof of why the database is valuable to readers. After the shooting, a reader posted an online comment asking whether the suspect charged with murder had a permit to carry a gun. The newspaper responded by directing readers to its database. “When that gun comes out in public, the citizens of Tennessee have a right to know,” Mr. Peck said. The database allows people to search for those who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon by name, ZIP code or city. Mr. Peck said it is the most viewed item on the newspaper’s Web site, with more than 65,000 page views per day. “We haven’t done anything illegal or unethical,” Mr. Peck said, adding the paper had no plans to remove the database. The database has widened the rift between First and Second Amendment proponents. The executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, calls the database a “hateful, shameful form of public irresponsibility and the collapse of responsible media.” “Normal people don’t get up in the morning and say, ‘I wonder if my doctor, lawyer or my kid’s teacher has a concealed carry gun permit?’ ” Mr. LaPierre said. “A normal person wouldn’t say, ‘My right to information is more important than someone’s fear and safety.’ ” Tennessee is one of 19 states that allow the public to have access to gun permit information, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. At least 21 states keep such information confidential. A bill before the Arkansas Legislature would close to public view that state’s list of concealed weapon license holders. Security and Privacy The remaining states have no laws or court decisions that address the matter. Wisconsin does not allow people to carry concealed weapons. Florida, Ohio and Texas have passed laws in recent years to remove or restrict concealed- weapon information from the public domain. Security and Privacy Online crimes Did you know... new Pakistani laws against 'cyber terrorism' threaten death or prison to satirists, spammers and activists alike Fatima Bhutto, 11 February 2009 – Guardian.co.uk Pakistan's so called democratic government has introduced a bill before parliament – theprevention of electronic crimes ordinance – that aims to censor our already frightened media and censured citizenry. According to the bill, anyone found guilty of "cyber terrorism" – an undefined crime – is liable to face the death penalty. The standards of what constitutes "cyber crimes" don't follow internationally recognised standards; the government's vague bill threatens anyone guilty of "spoofing" or "spamming" or the "character assassination" of any member of state with prison sentences. Any of the articles I've written critical of my country's role in the war on terror or questioning the corruption of the state could constitute "spoofing" (the bill doesn't elaborate on whether it is satire that the Pakistan People's Party government is fundamentally opposed to or simply jolly fun-making). The bill is an escalation of intimidation from the state. In October 2008 the government announced that the terrorism wing of the country's Federal Investigation Authority would be tasked with hunting down the "anti-democratic" forces that were circulating YouTube videos and text messages aimed at discrediting the ruling party's politicians. Because the press is muzzled, no voices were raised in protest at the announcement that text messages had become treasonous devices in Pakistan. So now we have an actual law about to be put into place, farcically silencing those of us who are not afraid to speak. I'm almost certain I've assassinated some characters in the process of being a journalist – Pakistan is, at present, the only country in the world run by two former criminals. The president and prime minister, Asif Zardari and Yousef Raza Gilani, have both served time in prison under a gamut of charges, including but not limited to murder, narcotics, corruption and extortion. Another odious bill, the national reconciliation ordinance, already passed in parliament has cleared Pakistan's politicians of 20 years' worth of corruption cases against them and includes a stipulation that will make it virtually impossible to file charges of misconduct against any sitting parliamentarian. The NRO was used to clear Pakistan's ruling party members of other crimes, surpassing our already crippled judiciary, and placing those in power above the law. Criticism of the NRO was unsurprisingly muted in the Pakistani press. Did you know that these 403 words could land me a jail sentence? I've spoofed, I've defamed, and I've disseminated, all deadly crimes. Security and Privacy Privacy intrusion by gov't agencies needs tight reins March 4, 2009 – The Star Phoenix It seems a harmless intrusion into our privacy: A computer-based system to record and check on our licence plates. After all, these plates are put on our vehicles for all to see, just so police and other authorities can be sure that proper insurance has been bought and the vehicle is legally owned and operated. We recognize that the licence plate constitutes an invasion of our privacy, but as long as it is impractical to use it for more than the intended purpose, it's something we all accept. But the Automated Licence Plate Recognition System now being tried out in various locations throughout Saskatchewan takes that invasion to another level. By itself, even this escalation might be deemed acceptable. However, citizens increasingly are being asked or forced to surrender bits and pieces of their basic human right to privacy in order to meet some public policy goal or another. In promoting the notion of equipping police with the technology to check hundreds of licence plates automatically every hour, Kwei Quaye, SGI's assistant vice-president of traffic services, notes that this technology makes it easier to track down the thousands of disqualified drivers who might be on the road in Saskatchewan. The argument in favour of employing the technology boils down to the notion that the ends justify the means. The arguments against its use -- that, like red-light cameras, photo radar and the ubiquitous security surveillance equipment -- is that we are piece by piece surrendering what it is that makes us human. Society has been unable to balance the challenges presented when technological advances come at a faster pace than do protections against their abuse. As long as such protections are lacking, governments are quick to adopt the technology, particularly when they face challenges to the status quo. It's perhaps for that reason that Britain, for example, long has adopted such surveillance techniques as licence plate recognition technology, monitoring of private digital communications, and placing closed-circuit cameras all over the country. Britain doesn't have a written constitution, a bill of rights or a privacy act, and its Human Rights Act is loose enough to have allowed the country to install more than 4.2 million closed-circuit security cameras (more than 400,000 in London alone) that capture the image of each Briton an average of 300 times daily. The British government initially argued these invasive security measures were needed to protect citizens from IRA terrorist attacks and then maintained support for the system after cameras caught the images in 1993 of two troubled 10-year-olds leading tiny Jamie Bulger out of a shopping centre, to be eventually murdered. But there has been no illusion about the effectiveness of this massive security apparatus in preventing terror attacks or most acts of crime (the cameras apparently can be effective at reducing thefts or vandalism in car parks). Security and Privacy Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, head of visual images at the New Scotland Yard, told a conference last year that, in spite of the billions of pounds spent on Britain's surveillance network, its impact on preventing or solving crimes is negligible (an estimated three per cent) and can be described overall as "an utter fiasco." But rather than pull back on the intrusions, governments tend to expand them to make up for their deficiencies. So, for example, in most cases British police can eavesdrop on private phone calls without a judge's permission. Police there have been assembling a universal DNA data bank of all who come in contact with them, even if the persons are never charged or convicted, and are working to match that information with biometric data used on passports and identity cards, face-recognition technology used on the television images, and even landline phone, cellphone and credit card records to track individuals. As scary as it is to have a government service collect this data, press reports suggest that images of people doing such common activities as littering or being intoxicated in public -- even trying to commit suicide -- have become the staple of reality TV crime shows. What began as an invasive technology to combat terrorism has become a prurient instrument of humiliation. And the benefits have been minimal, but as Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights organization, Liberty, put it last year: "It's really a matter of dignity, and what it means to be a human being." Canadians are fortunate to have legislative and constitutional protections for our privacy, but with the expansion of such technologies as red-light cameras, photo radar (which is being contemplated for Saskatoon), closed-circuit cameras and now Automated Licence Plate Recognition systems, it's time human rights were given the edge over technologies. Governments should be required to go through much more strenuous controls before they or their agencies are allowed to adopt such invasive measures.
Pages to are hidden for
"security"Please download to view full document