Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged London

While filming a routine stop and search of her boyfriend on the London Underground, Gemma suddenly found herself detained, handcuffed and threatened with arrest.

Act of Terror tells the story of her fight to bring the police to justice and prevent this happening to anyone else, ever again.

Official Website.

It is easy to forget about the 2005 Terrorism Act and its damaging effect on civil liberties and human rights.  Act Of Terror puts the spotlight back on this murky law, and demands that we keep vigilant in the face of ever increasing state power.

An animated journey through the labyrinthine world of English Justice, the sinister caveats of Terrorism legislation, and the shocking cronyism of the police complaints system, Act Of Terror is about strength in the face of powerlessness and finding the courage to fight back.

Act of Terror from Fat Rat Films on Vimeo.

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A simple glance at the main Olympic Park in East London confirms this will be the most security-conscious Games in history: More than 11 miles of razor-wire-topped electric fencing separates the site from its surroundings, every entrance is guarded by soldiers and the surrounding streets and shopping malls are patrolled by police carrying 9mm semi-automatic weapons – an unusual sight in Britain, where armed patrols are normally found only at airports.

On the busiest days, 12,500 police officers will be on duty while 12,200 soldiers will carry out the venue security searches assisted by at least 7,000 contracted civilian security workers. A further 5,500 troops will be involved in military operations outside the site.

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Every vehicle entering the site is scanned and searched, inside and out, by military teams in ‘sterile’ zones away from key buildings. The maximum-security athletes’ village is ringed by even more metal fences. It’s enough to prompt some to compare the Olympic Park to a prison.

But it’s the less obvious measures that have brought the greatest controversy to the Games. At least 1,850 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras feed pictures back across London to the joint police and government control center (NOCC) at New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the city’s Metropolitan Police, according to a data access request by civil liberties campaign group, Big Brother Watch. (Olympic organizers refused to say on Tuesday how many cameras are in use.)

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From NBC.

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Apparently, there is a Linking Policy in the Terms of Use for the London 2012 website and it claims that you can’t make any link to the London 2012 website unless you have nice things to say about the Olympics.

a. Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner.

I suppose they can put this in their policy all they want, but the Olympics are a farce. They haven’t been non-political for decades. They haven’t been amateur for years and they aren’t even entertaining or fun to watch. It’s also amusing that LOCOG haven’t heard of the Streisand Effect yet either.

The Olympics are a financial drain on the economy of whatever hapless city gets duped into hosting them. Corporations have monopolies over what can and cannot be said, viewed or used. Fortunately, McDonald’s lost their case in being the only one to serve chips/fries. They bully local businesses, such as the one in the picture below, that use any name that can be connected to the Olympics. Some of these businesses aren’t even in the host country.

The Olympics are, plain and simple, corporate greed run amok. The sooner the Olympics are disbanded, the better off everyone will be.

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CCTV has always been touted as a crime prevention tool. Privacy advocates have long argued that they don’t work as prevention tools. They are only good after the fact to, possibly, search and find the guilty party. It doesn’t stop crimes. This argument has been glaringly clear over the past few days in London.

From Big Brother Watch:

1) Not one aspect of our ubiquitous surveillance network, erected to watch all of us all the time, just in case, has done anything to protect Londoners in this, our hour of greatest need; and

2) In an environment in which only a finite pot of capital exists to spend on any given portfolio, that tremendously expensive network soaked up vast amounts of capital – at least some of which might have been spent on training more police officers to deal with these situations?

I’m sure all the politicians touting that CCTV will catch the rioters provides little comfort to those who have lost their homes and businesses.

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