Author Topic: NO2ID - Questions for general election candidates  (Read 773 times)

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Offline Margie

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NO2ID - Questions for general election candidates
« on: April 22, 2010, 09:24:39 am »
Dear Swindon NO2ID supporters,

As you know the General Election is only a couple of weeks away. But the struggle over ID cards has already lasted more than one parliament. The database state has built up huge momentum. Stopping it will require MPs of all parties to pay attention now — and take action for the long-term. The opposition parties have promised to scrap the ID scheme and ContactPoint, and to review other databases. But Whitehall won't want to lose its empires whoever is elected. Whoever is elected needs to know how much it matters, and have the determination to follow-through. We therefore need everyone to spend a little bit of time to question their local candidates in their own constituency. Below is a list of questions to ask your candidate. If you get a response please let us know in the office(office@no2id.net) and also copy me in (local.groups@no2id.net). James 

QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES
If you are writing to or meeting with candidates one-on-one, please do ask all of the following seven questions. It will be useful to have their views on record about different aspects of the database state, so do take notes if you meet with them. At hustings, it is far better to ask just one question or, if more than one of your group gets to ask a question, one each. If you don’t have your own question already, pick which one(s) you will ask ahead of time and learn them well.

Each question has a pre-amble and the direct question below it.   

1) The National Identity Scheme is not just about ID cards. It is builton a National Identity Register, a set of linked databases behind the cards holding an archive of personal information. The Identity Cards Act 2006 provides for lifelong control of personal identity by the state and data-sharing without the knowledge or consent of the individual. The Act permits any official document to be designated, compelling registration for anyone who needs that document. Though the UK is under no obligation to add fingerprints to the passport, the Home Office intends to make fingerprinting and joining the National Identity Register compulsory for anyone who applies for a passport from 2012.

If elected, would you vote to repeal the Identity Cards Act 2006? Would you also oppose moves to make a database of passport holders and their fingerprints a feature of the British passport?

2) Medical confidentiality is fundamental to public health. If people feel that what they say to their doctor will not remain private, they may fail to disclose vital information or avoid treatment, assisting the spread of disease. By seizing all medical records and making them centrally accessible to hundreds of thousands of people - in the NHS and outside - the electronic Care Records System destroys the assurance of confidentiality. The Department for Health is seeking now to upload from GP’s surgeries sensitive data, including chronic conditions and prescriptions. It is using a fraudulent definition of ‘consent’ in order to do it, with heavy promotion using public money, of claims about benefits that are not supported by evidence. Patients are made to jump through unnecessary hoops in order to exercise their right to opt out.

If elected, would you work to ensure that control of medical records remains with patients and their own doctors, and that they are shared only with properly informed consent?

3) The National DNA Database contains the profiles of almost one million people who have not been convicted of any crime. A few notorious cases are quoted to justify this, but detailed examination usually shows they could have been solved using proper police procedure and a database only of convicted criminals. Treating the innocent as criminal suspects corrodes relations between the police and the public, and undermines confidence in the quite proper use of DNA detection.

How should the DNA database be operated? If elected, would you vote to remove immediately and automatically all profiles of unconvicted people from the DNA database?

4) ContactPoint, an index of every child (and family) in England and Wales is now operating, despite technical and security faults. It identifies the most vulnerable by flagging those using sensitive services and is accessible to hundreds of thousands of people. It is too big ever to be secure. The existence of a "shielding" scheme, denied to most families, suggests that in fact ContactPoint itself is a potential danger to children. Putting record-keeping on a database can’t correct the failures of child protection to act, which is the cause of the most notorious tragedies.

Are the hundreds of millions spent on ContactPoint and related databases not better spent in other ways?

5) The creation of the Independent Safeguarding Authority means a massive expansion of police checking. The Authority can ban you from your career for accusations, or even for its own idea of 'risk factors'in your legal behaviour. Lifelong retention of arrest records by the police means ‘enhanced’ Criminal Records checks may treat you as a convicted criminal simply for being arrested – affecting your potential employment and volunteering, with no right of appeal. Mass checking feeds suspicion and undermines trust, but there is no evidence that it prevents any sort of crime.

If elected, what would you do to reform vetting and barring schemes?

6) Despite denying plans for a central database of communications data,the Home Office set up a new directorate just this January to push forward the £2 billion Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP). The intent is to store details of everyone you call, text or e-mail and which websites you visit – providing a record of clues to your religious and political beliefs, your sexual interests and personal relationships,your financial and medical worries – ‘just in case’ they become of interest to the authorities. Phone tapping and opening mail is so sensitive that it is a power exercised only on the approval of the Home Secretary, and cannot even be mentioned in court. But collecting communications data, and building techniques for them to be arbitrarily investigated, makes much more available to be known about every one of us without any form of warrant or independent oversight.

If elected, would you vote to ensure that access to any form of personal communications is only permitted to formal investigations under warrant?

7) Tens of millions of law-abiding citizens are being routinely monitored as they travel, on the roads by Automatic Number Plate Recognition – without any legal basis – and in the air or by sea when detailed passenger records are passed to the Home Office’s e-Borders data centre even as you leave the country. Vast quantities of information, including your financial details from ticketing, and pictures of who you are travelling with, are being kept. For five years in the case of road data, and ten years at least for e-Borders. It is passed around government agencies, and even sent abroad. Such records are used to match records with ‘intelligence’ (which usually means guesses) from other sources – exposing unsuspecting citizens to suspicion, arbitrary penalties, and worse.

What limits would you place on the database surveillance of those travelling abroad and within the UK?

 

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