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Author Topic: Public safety and civil libertarians  (Read 3667 times)

bigfella

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Public safety and civil libertarians
« on: October 15, 2008, 11:31:28 am »

I have just watched a program where it reported that a new device is being trialled (voluntarily) at some airports. The device is a body scanner that you walk in and the scanner Xrays you but only goes through your cloths. It shows any concelled weapons or explosives. What a great idea I thought, but then on came one of those civil libertarians stating that it was an invasion of privacy and that you start at airports and then where blah blah blah. Now when I go on an aeroplane I want to be sure that it reaches its destination with out exploding mid air. In these times of terrorists and loonies who want to go down in history, where do these civil libertarians draw the line on safety as apposed to privacy. I know I don't give a stuff if some security guard viewing the screen of my image with my dangling bits and has a laugh if it ends up that I don't die a horrible death mid air. Sorry I can not understand these CL dogooders who are the same ones who don't want criminals to do time but to pick up garbage instead.

Regards David
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a3nige

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2008, 11:34:04 am »

In my book they would be the first against the wall.

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RipSlider

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2008, 12:35:33 pm »

I can see that it might annoy you, but the issue is that if it DOES go ahead, then it is "another brick in the wall"

I live in the UK - this means that I no longer have the following liberties that I once did:

- absolute right to a trail in front of  jury
- right to know who my accusers are in court
- right to know all the evidence that has been used to convict me
- right to peacefully demostrate outside my own parliment building or the forign embassies within imy country
- right to encrypt my own data on a computer - if I do not hand over the passwords, then it is actively taken AGAINST me in court (see below)

On top of this, I live in the country that has the greatest density of CCTV camera's anywhere in the world, I can now be extridited to a country that will torture or execute me. I can be extridited to the US without any evidence being presented agasinst me.

I live in a country which wishes to allow internment for 42 days without trial. The same country which wishes to have a special section of the coroners court where everything can be classifed, so that I will no longer know about such things like my friend in the RAF being killed because a civil servant wouldn't spend the money on anti-expolsive foam in a fuel tank. Not, you will note, becuase said civil servant didn't have the money, but becuase they didn't want to cause an implicit admission that they should have fitted it before hand! I should be able to know this. It should not be secret.

I live in a country where it is completely legal for a council to use Anti-terror laws designed for tracking ultra high risk suspects to spy on parents using CCTV and private detectives so that they could see whether a parent really lived in the house they said, or if they were trying to get their kid into a school outside of a catchment area.

Oh, and if I see a policeman beating up a little old lady, and take a photo of it, this is now against the bylaw(s) as well in many counties and is at the green paper stage in parliment for a national law.


The truely terrifying thing is that in decades past ANY one of these restrictions would have led to a demostration on the streets. Now it merits half a page in the middle of the newspaper, and no one really cares.


I guess my point is this: your right - it's very nice to got to the end of your journey without going pop. But every time an atitude is taken that says "well... so be it... lets have full body scans" then it's another erosion. And where do we stop and say "this is enough. At this point I will accept no more" Becuase most of the big things have gone. And so there are only the little things to fight over.


And if thats OK by you then all well and good. But I'll have a new born son in 4 months time, and it truely worries me what sort of world he will live in.



((* note a about handing over encryption keys. I'll use me as an example as it's a real one. I have on my laptop a number of sensitive and/or classified documents, becuase I work with the governmnt sometimes. Therefore - official secrets act signed, vetting happened, stern discussions on what happens if I breach the rules etc. So like a good chap, all of this stuff is double encrypted. No data loss from me!

Now - let us say I get stopped and searched by the police in a routine check. They have a right to search the contents of my laptop. The police man asks me to open some files. I - by law - must refuse due to it being classified. This is now an automatic offense and I will be arrested for it. And the only way to get out of the situation is to hand over my passwords. Which is an offense in itself. ))

Steve
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bigfella

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2008, 01:33:00 pm »

Steve

All well and good and I understand your situation. However we are dealing with terrorists who do not have a code and do not have a sense of fair play and morals. Like sending intellectually handicapped women into crowded market places with bombs strapped to them. When you are up against these people you have to forgo some of the niceties of a foregone era. I can only stress that if we were playing this game to mutually agreed rules then I would agree with you, but we are at a stage where he who plays by the rules loses not only the game but possibly there life.

Regards David
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Pointy

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2008, 02:33:22 pm »

It must be nice to have such faith the government bigfella. The 42 day detention plan has just been defeated in the House of Lords and at the same time we had a government offiical mouthing off about somekind of big "threat" and how we were now on a higher alert status.

Weird timing huh?

Just keep the locals scared and they will agree to anything, just like an illegal war to deal with those terrifying "weapons of mass destruction"
Never did find those did we?

But hey as a founder member of the UN security council who's mandate forbids the waging of a war of aggression I'm sure the government knows whats best.
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RipSlider

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2008, 02:38:39 pm »

In the UK ( I write that only becuase I think you may reside in the Antipodies ((or is it *my* antipodies, rather the *THE* antipodies?)))
 we spent 30+ years dealing with the IRA blowing up women and children along with "actionable" targts such as those annoying solider types doing their duty.

3,500 dead, more than 15,000 injured to bombs, guns and grenades. It certainly wasn't very nice even here on the mainland. I was in Liverpool the night they tried to blow the gas storage tanks next to the block of flats, which would have dramatically increased the casualty figures had it worked. It certainly scared my mother a lot, and we were the other side of the city.

We had internment once due to the Troubles. There were demonstrations, riots and hunger strikes. Internment went away.


For a reason which I don't understand at all during all that craziness, during the period when the IRA dropped motar bombs on the prime ministers house while he was in it, when a shopping centre was blown up and far too many children died horribly, when a hotel became a national point of pride because it got blown up SO OFTEN (!) - no one ever made coronors inquests which could damage government image secret.
 No one ever was arrested for demonstraing closer than 1,000 meters in front of the house of parliment that I pay for and vote for, and no one was convicted in court without a jury and without knowing who accused them and what the evidence was that was used to accuse them.

So why is it different now? The risk then - certainly to the average UK person in the street, was significantly higher than it is today. To the best of my knowledge, a muslin has never tried to take my life. But I know for a fact, becuase I still have the scars to prove it, that I was kicked unconcious when I was a kid for wearing an orange tee-shirt in the wrong bit of liverpool on the wrong day. And my scout hut got evactuated twice in three years by armed police because the doss house next door to it was an IRA safe house but it's never happned to me at least that I've had muslin/hindu/jedi extremists living next door to me.

The IRA had equally few morals - probably a lot less. Mrs Steve's father was one of the first on the scene when one of his troop was snatched and tortured to death in the mid 1970's in northern Ireland. I'm not sure what the word that should be used to describe someone who cuts a human being apart with an ocy-aceletene torch before a shot to the back of the head finishes it, but I dont think its a nice one, and I think "Moral" probably isn't it. And I don't think they were playing by any sort of rules.

And yet..... and yet.

And yet none of this seems to have really happened anymore. Somehow people - at least those not directly affected by it - forget that this madness, this saveragery, has happened before. And no one ever made it illegal for me to photograph a police officer breaking the law.

maybe I am a very cynical man indeed, but there is a part of me that says it is very convinient that these wretched people blowing themselves up. It certainly makes it easier to get through legislation that would otherwise have been impossible...


Steve

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Pointy

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2008, 02:55:44 pm »

Lets just stick to our hobby, this is just to much. :(
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sheerline

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2008, 03:33:07 pm »

When your'e trapped in an aluminium tube with 300 people you don't know, at 35000 feet and doing 500mph it is rather more comforting to know that someone has vetted them to some extent rather than let everyone just strole on board with goodness knows what on their person. We have had incidents of terrorism in the air and I for one don't give a toss what it takes to make that aircraft safe when I board it because in that environment there is nowhere to run or hide.
If a train or a bus blows up, generally speaking it's the people within it which are killed or maimed.. terrible thought.. but an aircraft can come down anywhere and can you imagine the destruction should a large airliner, either low on approach or taking off, be destroyed over ..say.. London, the prospect beggers belief!
I have absolutely no problem with it and although I don't like it and think it a terrible inconvenience I believe in this case it is necessaryand would in fact tackle a security guard if I found he had let someone through WITHOUT checking him/her in the approved manner.
I believe we have all become a bit paranoid over security and a lot of it due to media hype and Goverment manipulation for political reasons but we have seen terrorist activity and it does exist so I guess we have to deal with it the best way we can.
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barryfoote

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2008, 04:02:22 pm »

Now - let us say I get stopped and searched by the police in a routine check. They have a right to search the contents of my laptop. The police man asks me to open some files. I - by law - must refuse due to it being classified. This is now an automatic offense and I will be arrested for it. And the only way to get out of the situation is to hand over my passwords. Which is an offense in itself. ))




I am sorry Steve but that is absolute rubbish. The police in the Uk are never allowed to search anybody on a routine stop, let alone search the contents of a private computer.

They have to have reasonable suspicion that an offence is being commited or for a body search have documented good grounds...Before they can access your computer they need a properly obtained search warrant..

Barry
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Roger in France

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2008, 04:36:39 pm »

Steve,

I am afraid you are also wrong about "signing the Official Secrets Act". Nobody signs to become subject to the Act, it just applies to everyone. The reason folk talk about "signing the Act"is because some parts of Govt. draw people's attention to the effect of the Act by requiring them to sign a document saying they have had it drawn to their attention. None of which is strictly necessary. If you are in possession of an Official Secret and divulge it you are subject to the Act. Been there, done that.

If directed by a police officer (even when he exceeds his authority) to do something which you are forbidden to do, you do it and tell the officer you are doing so against your will but under his direction. Then as soon as practical you go to a senior officer (better still a Judge) and explain what happened and you will be resolved of any offence (but the original police officer will need a lot of help!). Been there, done that.

HOWEVER, none of that detracts from your basic argument. All erosion's of civil liberties need strong and prolonged debate before being effected. I have a simple answer to those with simplistic views on such subjects (and we have seen a few published above)....from your current, limited point of view you may be happy but when it happens to you and you suddenly find you are lost without the right you have had taken away, it is too late to scream then.

Roger in France.
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RipSlider

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2008, 04:42:14 pm »

Edits in <<>>'s


<<Reply to Footski's post: - missed RiF's>>
The reason I posted that example was becuase it actually happened to one of my team in March of this year.

He  was stop'n'searched on the underground near Paddington station. << point here - I have no issue with stop'n'search, or even pro-active targetting of stop'n'search,>> Said chap wouldn't unlock his laptop and show it's contents in the middle of an underground station, but offered to do so at the local police station. This wasn't considered acceptable to the police man - I suppose reasonably but I can see both sides of the argument.

Anywho, it took 4 hours to sort out, was an utter pain in the backside, and meant I had to get my client to authourise my developer to open up their files, which they didn't appreciate and thoroughly messed up a contract negotiation.

Just so I'm absolutely not mis-read here:
I have no issue at all with a police offiicer doing their job. it would have made my life easier if they had bent a rule, it it's not my place to demand that they do. And it got sorted out in the end. I am merely stating that it does happen, and that my argument is with the government producing such a law.

At no point was a warrent issued, as we had to hand over copies of all the documents issued by the police ( and there were a good few of them ) to our client for their legal team to sort out and mess about with.

it's worse in the US - there laptops are being seized at the border seemingly at random and then kept for a indefinate period and if you don't cough your passwords and crypto keys, then you don't get in the country if your one of the un-lucky ones. an ex-colleduge who is now a contractor took a job in the US and had two laptops taken. One was given back after a few hours, the other still hasn't been returned after 3 weeks. He's now given the contract up as it's too much hassle. But thats me going off topic.


<<reply to Roger>>
You are absolutely right about signing the act itself - although I have signed bits of paper titled "signiture to the official secrets act" or something similar, this is just I think an attempt to ram home the message that if you discuss things you shouldn't it's an problem. It is, however, quicker than saying "passing through the SC and TS and all the other various vetting processes which use different coloured pieces of paper but ask virtually the same questions and then, as and when required, gaining specific additional clearances as needed" - there is paperwork involved but not a big block of paper called "the official secrets act"
>>



Steve

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funtimefrankie

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2008, 04:52:21 pm »

Steve,

I am afraid you are also wrong about "signing the Official Secrets Act". Nobody signs to become subject to the Act, it just applies to everyone. The reason folk talk about "signing the Act"is because some parts of Govt. Roger in France.
When I joined the GPO Telephones  in 1963, on day one, we all signed a document binding us to the offical secrets act. I think I've still got my copy somewhere.
But maybe I should NOT have told you that.......
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Colin H

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2008, 04:59:09 pm »

I think we are mixing up two things here.

We would all agree that we need strong laws and proactive police work for our protection.

The real problem is most of us do not trust central or local government people to use the legislation as it was meant to be used. <*< <*< <*<

AND WHO CAN BLAME US.

Colin H.
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w3bby

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2008, 05:57:18 pm »

So why is it different now? The risk then - certainly to the average UK person in the street, was significantly higher than it is today.
The most simplistic answer to this is probably so close to the truth as you can get, a major terrorist incident happened in the US. They are now driving a relentless campaign regardless of the cost to personal freedoms and forcing the western world to follow.
If we were to take current legislation back in time then the US would be seizing major assets from US groups and citizens that were collecting money and suspected of helping to finance the various Irish terrorist organisations.
I have no problem being scanned as a walk through in an airport, ferryport, railway station or places where large groups of people gather, as long as the information is not stored. I do have a problem with my movements being tracked, my shopping habits being recorded, my internet usage being analysed and all the other "liberties" taken for commercial purposes.

barryfoote

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2008, 05:57:56 pm »

Just so I'm absolutely not mis-read here:
I have no issue at all with a police offiicer doing their job. it would have made my life easier if they had bent a rule, it it's not my place to demand that they do. And it got sorted out in the end. I am merely stating that it does happen, and that my argument is with the government producing such a law.



Steve,

It is very difficult to discuss indiviual cases but the fact that the man was on an underground station is irrelevant, unless he was suspected, with reasonable grounds of being involved in terrorism. If this is the case then so be it, but in all other cases the law does not exist giving the police the powers you mention. I only wish it did.....
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bigfella

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2008, 11:57:08 pm »

OOPPS, I hope I haven't started something, Martin sorry in advance if it gets rowdy.

Pointy,
Yes we have to have faith in our governments, because the alternative is anarchy. We elect these governments (well the majority do, thats the way of the system) so weather we like there decisions or not?? They are there because if it was up to the individual to make the laws there would be 21Million versions (can only comment on Australia's population 21 Million). With out that faith, it would be the law of the survival of the fittest and who has the biggest gun. I know what I would rather and when you think of the alternative I think you do to. Added: In regards to WOMD I think a few thousand Gassed Kurds was evidence enough.
Steve
Yes most of it has happened before and maybe the law makers don't want a repeat of 30years or more of the same sensless killing. Who knows how many lives have been saved by these new laws. I know for a fact that if these laws had not been in place several terrorist attacks would have gone through and killed innocent people here in Australia. But in those 30 years no one took control of a plane and flew it into a city building or the hub of the military think tank. Or tried to take liquid explosives on board aircraft with the intent to explode these aircraft mid air or did I miss that???? Also in that 30years no one spouted that all westerners were to be wiped of the face of the earth.

Footski
I agree with you as the police are doing there job and what we expect from them, and that is to keep us safe. I pity the poor Bobby on the beat in the UK, in this day and age as all he has to protect himself is a can of spray and an extendable stick. These new laws may help a little.

The fact remains that this scanner will make air travel more safe and if the civil libertarians block it and some bomb explodes on a plane mid air the blood of those Innocent people is on the hands of bleeding heart do gooders <*< <*<.

Regards David
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barryfoote

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2008, 08:32:26 am »

 :-)) :-)) :-))
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cbr900

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2008, 01:23:46 pm »

Bigfella,

If they get carried away we will be scanned before we do the weekly shopping soon...... :embarrassed: :embarrassed:


Roy
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dreadnought72

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2008, 01:52:33 pm »

I do have a problem with my movements being tracked, my shopping habits being recorded, my internet usage being analysed and all the other "liberties" taken for commercial purposes.

I don't mind the first issue at all!

Movements being tracked - I was in a petrol station the other night, watching monitors displaying the car number plates of those filling up, thinking "that's a pretty cool application of technology". And I thought if that information was linked to police computers we'd have no uninsured/unlicensed/un-MOT'd cars on the streets. If number plate recognition was on every bridge, we'd have no speeding offences or twoccing going on. You could keep a careful eye on suspected terrorists/paedophiles ... and as long as the information wasn't used against the innocent I can't see a problem with it.

Andy
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Albion

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2008, 02:16:24 pm »

No problem with it what so ever, the only people who should be concerned are those with something to hide.

I was within 5 minutes of being taken out by a bomb in StAlbans, the bombers blew themselves up setting the timer, my friend and i were at an ATM, the remians of which graced the front page of all the tabloids the next morning. Anything that can be done to prevent bombs should be.
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Roger in France

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2008, 03:23:14 pm »

What you need to consider when you all argue for greater surveillance is not when material is used to prevent or detect major crime but what else it is used for.

A camera catches you - crossing a red light just as it changes; you stop to ask for directions from a young woman and are interviewed for hours on suspicion of kerb crawling; very early in the morning, no traffic you slip into the bus lane; you inadvertently drop litter. The list goes on and on. Will you then be so eager to say "I was a naughty boy, punish me"? These are not fantasies they have all happened....and worse.

Please do not tell me that all law enforcement officers are pure. I know of examples: guy throws brick at jewellers window, copper puts another stone in the guys pocket to ensure a conviction (well he deserved it didn't he?). Requiring the public to answer questions or submit to a search for which the police have no powers happens frequently....OK so usually this reveals nothing and nobody gets hurt.
The french police are no different. My neighbour had goods stolen, I was a witness, I was given an identity parade of one young guy whom I said looked nothing like the thief I saw and had described. The response I got, "Well he has confessed already" (helps the clean up rate). Enforcement Officer in Court asked by the Clerk of the Court, "have you served the required notice on the Dept. of Trade?" "Oh yes", replies the Officer (well it was only an administrative step, a sheet of paper "I only told a little lie").

The reason I go on at length is to invite folk to look beyond their immediate, simplistic thoughts. It will probably never ever happen to most folk. Most enforcement officers are totally honest.

But every intrusion on civil liberties needs thinking through and debating carefully and must only be introduced with specific safeguards.

Roger in France.
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sheerline

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2008, 03:43:49 pm »

It would appear that we Brits are the beez neez when it comes to applying security measures.... but total rubbish at retaining it. How many times have we heard about discs, computers and paperwork being stolen, found in dustbins and even ending up on rubbish tips on the other side of the world? Whilst I have no problem with security trying to make  our society safe and tolerate the inconvenience  caused, I find it extremely worrying that the goons (and thats what they are) at the top end, who are responsible for securing the gathered information, manage to let it slip through their fingers like sand. If they made mishandling of security information an imprisonable offence we might hear a bit less about lost computers and the like. Have you ever noticed how we are never informed of any diciplinary measures meted out to those responsible?
There are apparently some really incompetent people running security, given the number of reports which crop up. Even at ground level it is so bad that a few weeks ago we heard of Tony Blair's bodyguard leaving her gun on top of the toilet cistern in a public place! How daft does it get??
Don't worry about the idea of security, worry about the so called experts who action it.
Having said all that, my comments do not reflect the actions of our hard pressed Police service as I think they are doing a good job with one hand tied behind their backs! Show me any other Police force who has to go out in public with just a stick and a can of spray with which to defend itself.
 
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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2008, 04:31:17 pm »

What you need to consider when you all argue for greater surveillance is not when material is used to prevent or detect major crime but what else it is used for.

A camera catches you - crossing a red light just as it changes; you stop to ask for directions from a young woman and are interviewed for hours on suspicion of kerb crawling; very early in the morning, no traffic you slip into the bus lane; you inadvertently drop litter. The list goes on and on. Will you then be so eager to say "I was a naughty boy, punish me"? These are not fantasies they have all happened....and worse.

Total agreement Roger

Does "1984" not ring a bell? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

It is not the application of technology that is worrying but the misapplication and abuse thereof.

Colin H

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2008, 05:14:13 pm »

This does not happen often but I agree with Roger.

Colin H.
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barryfoote

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Re: Public safety and civil libertarians
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2008, 05:32:54 pm »

No wonder Britain is in the mess it is with what in my opinion are, at best short sighted views. Gentlemen, once upon a time, the rights of society tended to out weigh the rightes of the individual. A policy that has turned full circle to such an extent that we now have the country we have. Thank god I left..

Sorry if this upsets some of you social do gooders out there, but I have really cared for and worked for my country for many years, only to see it go down the pan.....Okay rant over and I promise not to contribute to this thread again...

Barry :police: :police:
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