While all attention at Westminster was focused on whether to allow gay marriage, this Coalition Government did something furtive – something that is not only much less liberal, but coldly terrifying. – daily alternative news
Under the cover of the furore, it quietly disinterred the corpse of its ‘Secret Justice’ Bill. This Bill creates extraordinary new legal powers to keep official dealings hidden from us. It changes all the comforting certainties about the rule of law in Britain.
Most of us have some kind of grasp of what is officially called the Justice and Security Bill.
But it can be hard to imagine what it would actually mean in practice.
The Government wants us to think its scope is limited to rare and arcane disputes, perhaps born of foreign battlefields. Or ones that sound as if they belong in spy novels, involving CIA ‘black ops’ and ‘dark jails’. But if it becomes law, the effects will be felt much closer to home.
The shocking outcome of the recent Hillsborough Inquiry, bringing justice at last to 97 families? If similar circumstances were to arise again, it is likely that justice would never be delivered: if the families tried to sue, alleging a bungled police operation and a subsequent cover-up, the Bill would give the authorities the ability to keep the truth concealed.
Decider: Ulster Democratic Unionist Ian Paisley Jnr cast the critical vote on the revised draft of the Bill
A case brought against the Ministry of Defence by families of soldiers killed in a foreign deployment, alleging their loved ones’ equipment was defective? This is not mere hypothesis. Many argue now that the British death toll in Afghanistan has been higher than it should have been because some of our military vehicles were too vulnerable to roadside bombs.
With this law enshrined, the Government could insist on a closed, secret hearing. There, it could present evidence denying such claims. No one could challenge it, because no one directly affected by the case would ever know what it was.
Or take the very real, current scandal of the women green activists who unknowingly entered sexual relationships with undercover police officers.
Those defending such a case could be entitled to a secret hearing, at which they could claim that such tactics were entirely justified, on the basis that the women posed some kind of threat to national security.
This is the reality of a society regulated by secret justice: a legal system weighted irredeemably in favour of those in power. The legislation had previously been watered down considerably, and wisely, by the House of Lords. Now, it is not just as bad as it was when introduced last year. It’s even worse.
Under the resuscitated Bill, matters involving State security will usually be heard at secret ‘closed material procedure’ hearings. They will be attended only by security-vetted ‘special advocates’. Those involved in cases against official bodies will be permanently unable to know about the evidence deployed against them.
The new revised draft, the product of the final session of the Bill’s committee stage, was forced through by a majority of one. The Ulster Democratic Unionist Ian Paisley Jnr cast the critical vote.
This took place at precisely the same time as the same-sex marriage debate was happening in the main Commons chamber, which is why all this went virtually unnoticed.
dailyalternative | alternative news – Last week MPs revived the corpse of the ‘Secret Justice’ Bill – but because they were debating gay marriage at the time no one noticed.
via Last week MPs revived the corpse of the ‘Secret Justice’ Bill – but because they were debating gay marriage at the time no one noticed. Here we spell out the full terrifying implications of life in… Secret Britain | Mail Online.
Police Will Be Able To Read Everyone’s Internet Search History Under New Plan
UK Police are asking the government for new surveillance powers to be able to view the Internet search history of every single person in the country.
Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman told The Guardian that “We want to police by consent, and we want to ensure that privacy safeguards are in place. But we need to balance this with the needs of the vulnerable and the victims. We essentially need the ‘who, where, when and what’ of any communication – who initiated it, where were they and when did it happened. And a little bit of the ‘what’, were they on Facebook, or a banking site, or an illegal child-abuse image-sharing website?”
“Five years ago, [a suspect] could have physically walked into a bank and carried out a transaction. We could have put a surveillance team on that but now, most of it is done online. We just want to know about the visit,” he added.
It is likely that police are already looking at your online activity, but just want the power to do it legally. As we learned from whistleblower Edward Snowden, governments are very interested what their citizens are doing online, and they do have the technology to spy on every telephone call and Internet communication.
Police in the UK have been attempting to reach for these powers through legislation for years, but they have been blocked on multiple occasions. This new effort proves that they will not be giving up on getting legal permission for their spying programs.
MP David Davis told The Guardian “It’s extraordinary they’re asking for this again, they are overreaching and there is no proven need to retain such data for a year.”
Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the specifics of the plan during a meeting about the Government’s new surveillance bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“I’ve said many times before that it is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers and the oversight arrangements that govern them without also considering the threats that we face as a country,” May said.
“They include not just terrorism from overseas and home-grown in the UK, but also industrial, military and state espionage.They include not just organized criminality, but also the proliferation of once physical crimes online, such as child sexual exploitation. And the technological challenges that that brings. In the face of such threats we have a duty to ensure that the agencies whose job it is to keep us safe have the powers they need to do the job,” she added.
daily alternative | alternative news -Police Will Be Able To Read Everyone’s Internet Search History Under New Plan
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