In a stealthy, or to be more accurate, creepy move that bypasses the democratic process the British government, without debate in our elected assembly, without media coverage and without the authority of law, the UK Government has usurped to itself the power to take biometric data from all of us and store it in a central database available to police, national security agencies and, we may assume, anybody who is willing to pay for it.
Independent news sites (alt_news) and bloggers have been warning for several years that that the eventual goal of mass surveillance programs was that government would claim the right, purely in the interests of protecting citizens from various threats, to collect the biometric data of every single citizen living in Britain and use it against the best interests of its citizens and residents. DNA, fingerprint, face, iris recognition and even voice data will be included. With the powers already deployed by GCHQ (the government’s General Communications Headquarters,) government agencies can now monitor everything any individual does, just like the surveillance systems operated by the Big Brother regime in George Orwell’s novel, “1984”
They will justify it in the only way they can, by exhuming that old bogeyman, national security. Memes like “The Russians Are Coming,” or the terrorist threat is at red alert level will be used to coerce the fearful into surrendering their inalienable rights to privacy and liberty. These very minor threats still work despite the huge fall in fatalities from terrorism and terror-related incidents since the 1970s. It only take a few well orchestrated false flag incidents to be given saturation coverage by mass media to convince a large enough number of people that the streets of our cities are no longer safe.
Apart from crime-fighting, which these days apparently means organizing witch hunts and burning those who commit heresy against the creed of political correctness by being accused of ‘hate speech’ (as with witchcraft in medieval Europe, to be accused of this most modern of crimes is sufficient to prove guilt,) the Home Office also proposes in its long-awaited report that it will use the centralized database for vetting migrants on the streets and borders of Britain.
Most of that actually sounds quite reasonable until you see statistics on how inaccurate biometric data is, as this infosec institute and this from itpro.co.uk explain. Furthermore, as TruePublica has explained: “There is a dark side to this. Two years ago we warned that social scoring systems were on the way. We wrote in 2016 and then again in early 2017 as a result of an in-depth report by Civil Society Futures regarding a new wave of surveillance: Citizens are increasingly categorised and profiled according to data assemblages, for example through data scores or by social credit scores, as developed in China. The purpose of such scores is to predict future behaviour and allocate resources and eligibility for services (or punishment) accordingly. In other words, rules will be set for citizens to live by through data and algorithms.”
The government is now building, without debate such a system for all of its agencies to access and input. Once complete the next step will be to ‘manage’ population behaviour through social credit scores.
Current common forms of biometric data collection include — fingerprint templates, iris and retina templates, voiceprint, 2D or 3D facial structure map, hand and/or finger geometry map, vein recognition template, gait analysis map, blood DNA profiles, behavioural biometric profiles and others.
Civil rights groups are already arguing that systems such as face recognition are faulty, of dubious legality, and too easily collected without public consent. The controversy that erupted in 2017 when Facebook’s allowing Cambridge Analytica to collect the personal data of millions of people, most of whom had never were not even aware of the existence of Cambridge Analytica and some of whom who did not even have a Facebook account, should confirm that bulk data collection, used without either public debate or a legal basis is totally unacceptable and an offence against our civil liberties.
However, the legality of the creation of a centralised biometric database, or its violating at least one of the inalienable human rights defined in the Geneva convention will not stop a government who have been repeatedly caught breaking the law when it comes to privacy and data collection. Police, immigration, and passport agencies already collect DNA, face, and fingerprint data. On the latter, police forces across Britain now have fingerprint scanners on the streets of Britain with officers providing no more than a promise that fingerprint data taken will be erased if the person stopped is innocent of any crime, and no way for civil liberties groups to verify this is so.
The government’s facial recognition database is already estimated to contain details of 12.5 million people and as the government has acknowledged this is probably somewhere near correct you can bet the true figure is far more. The Home Office is already embroiled in all sorts of litigation claiming its privacy and surveillance policy violates human rights and criminal law, caused a scandal last April when an official said it would simply be too expensive to remove data gleaned from the police mugshots of innocent people from its facial recognition databases.
Without proper, enforcable regulation that can be fully scrutinized by civil society, there are many opportunities for the misuse of biometric data. Some people will trot out the old claim that “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear,” but we know that is not true. Others will claim only a totalitarian dictatorship would abuse personal data they hold. That is just plain naive, not only in Britain but throughout the European Union, across the USA (especially in ‘progressive’ states like California, in Canada and Australia the same thing is happening in parallel with activist groups promoting the idea that crimes against politically correct dogmas are being prioritized over crimes against property or the person.
It means nothing when the governments say their collection of biometric data will be “lawful,” when government sanctioned surveillance has been found by the courts in both Britain and the EU of breaking basic surveillance and data protection laws. And what laws there are, remain deliberately ambiguous on how personal information will be ethically collected, stored, or shared.
Without any obstacles being put in its way, because of the secrecy surrounding the adoption of the policy, and the cooperation of mainstream media, the Home Office has essentially granted itself the right to terminate the right to privacy of any type to the people of Britain.’
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THEM (poem noir)