Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spying on the innocent

So in addition to spying on its critics, the UK police spy on the innocent:

A national police unit that uses undercover officers to spy on political groups is currently monitoring almost 9,000 people it has deemed "domestic extremists".

The National Domestic Extremism Unit is using surveillance techniques to monitor campaigners who are listed on the secret database, details of which have been disclosed to the Guardian after a freedom of information request.

A total of 8,931 individuals "have their own record" on a database kept by the unit, for which the Metropolitan police is the lead force. It currently uses surveillance techniques, including undercover police, paid informants and intercepts, against political campaigners from across the spectrum.

Senior officers familiar with the workings of the unit have indicated to the Guardian that many of the campaigners listed on the database have no criminal record.

So why are these people? Largely environmentalists and left-wing campaigners for equality. Because they have stood up for a better society, they are spied on, their movements tracked, and their actions databased, even if they never break the law.

This is totalitarian, and it is a gross violation of human rights. And it is yet another sign of a police force out of control.

(Meanwhile: do New Zealand police have a similar database? We know they have a specialist anti-protest unit; how many innocent people are they spying on and tracking in what is essentially a campaign of political control?)