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Familes threatened with fine for parking in their driveways

Council threatens families with a £1,000 fine… for parking on their own driveways

Daily Mail
September 10, 2008

Furious residents have been left stunned after a council threatened to fine them £1,000 – for parking on their own driveways.

Homeowners in a quiet village have been told they have the wrong type of kerbs, despite having driven over them for the 50 years since the properties were built.

Councillors are using a law passed 30 years ago to stop them from parking beside their own homes.

But residents each face a £1,200 bill if they install ‘dropped kerbs’ that allow easier access to their driveways.

The council threat came in a letter delivered to 12 houses on Pinfold Street, a quiet road with smart semi-detached houses worth around £200,000 in Eastrington, East Yorkshire.

The properties were built between 1949 and 1952. Some were built with driveways and others were added years later.

Two of the houses are council-owned, but they still received the letter – including baffled Ken Laverack, whose drive was built by the council 20 years ago after the 1980 Highways Act was introduced.

Retired Ken, 61, said: ‘I just couldn’t believe it when the letter arrived.

‘The council themselves put my drive in 20 years ago and now they’re saying I can’t use it. It’s absolutely ridiculous, my car is just on the road now.

Read Full Article Here

 

Anti-terrorism laws used to spy on noisy children

Chris Hastings
London Telegraph
September 7, 2008

Councils are using anti-terrorism laws to spy on residents and tackle barking dogs and noisy children.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph found that three quarters of local authorities have used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 over the past year.

The Act gives councils the right to place residents and businesses under surveillance, trace telephone and email accounts and even send staff on undercover missions.

The findings alarmed civil liberties campaigners. Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: “Councils do a grave disservice to professional policing by using serious surveillance against litterbugs instead of terrorists.”

The RIPA was introduced to help fight terrorism and crime. But a series of extensions, first authorised by David Blunkett in 2003, mean that Britain’s 474 councils can use the law to tackle minor misdemeanours.

Councils are using the Act to tackle dog fouling, the unauthorised sale of pizzas and the abuse of the blue badge scheme for disabled drivers.

Among 115 councils that responded to a Freedom of Information request, 89 admitted that they had instigated investigations under the Act. The 82 councils that provided figures said that they authorised or carried out a total of 867 RIPA investigations during the year to August

Read Full Article Here

 

UK: Civilians Given Power To Issue Fines

London Telegraph
August 28, 2008

Despite lacking formal police training, hundreds of civilians have been made part of the “extended police family” by the Home Office under little-known legislation.

They have not been asked to wear any special uniforms to identify themselves, but must wear only a badge that can be as small as 73mm x 80mm.

The disclosure that hundreds of civilians have been given enforcement powers drew accusations that the Government is encouraging the spread of unaccountable policing.

The Home Office revealed yesterday that more than 1,600 non-police officers have been given enforcement powers under its so-called Community Safety Accreditation Schemes.

The schemes, introduced in 2002 legislation, give chief constables the power to serve penalty notices for activities including disorder, truancy, cycling on pavements, littering and dog fouling. They can also be used for seizing alcohol from under-age drinkers and to demand people’s names and addresses.

The Home Office has carried out an audit of police use of the powers which showed that 23 police forces have Community Safety Accreditation Schemes in place.

A total of 1,406 staff from 95 “approved organizations” including local councils and private companies have been given enforcement powers.

Another 255 people have been given powers as Vehicle Operator Services Agency Inspectors, who are issued with the single power to stop vehicles for the purpose of testing.

In 2006, there were only 950 accredited workers for 71 organisations.

Dominic Grieve, the Conservative shadow home secretary, said the scheme was the latest example of the unjustified extension of surveillance powers under Labour.

He said: “The public will be angered that the Home Office is seeking to take serious powers that should be appropriately applied by the police and encouraging them to be given not just to local councils, but also to private firms.

“The public want to see real police on the streets discharging these responsibilities, not private firms who may use them inappropriately – including unnecessarily snooping on the lives of ordinary citizens.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Community Safety Accreditation Schemes enable Chief Constables to designate limited powers to employees of organisations who contribute towards community safety.

“CSAS supports Neighbourhood Policing by building links, improving communications and helping in the delivery of effective policing to neighbourhoods. Accredited Persons have a key role to play in the delivery of Neighbourhood Policing and are an important part of the extended police family.”

 

RNC protester yells “i love you” while assaulted, peppersprayed by police

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1Xs13NhSq4

DNA Testing Expands to Lesser Crimes
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-..R2008090702340.html

Now it’s the citizen snoopers: Councils recruit unpaid volunteers to spy on their neighbours
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-..ecruit-unpaid-volunteers-spy-neighbours.html

Police Using G.P.S. Units as Evidence in Crimes
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/31/us/31gps.html

Jacqui Smith’s ‘Stasi’: Now even more council jobsworths can demand your details and issue fines
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1..e–parking-driveways.html

No Bike Helmet? Police To Steal Your Bike
http://www.boston.com/news/local/../no_bike_helmet_lose_your_wheels/

Police sergeant resigns over excessive force (with VIDEO)
http://mparent7777-1.livejournal.com/1509622.html

UK: Fines For Placing Garbage In Wrong Bin
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknew..utting-wrong-waste-in-green-bins.html

Texas state troopers direct policing in Canada
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-../08/28/bc-rcmp-texas-troopers.html

French revolt over Edvige: Nicolas Sarkozy’s Big Brother spy computer
http://jimbovard.com/blog/2008/08/27/tsa-federal-attitude-police/

TSA agents can slap fines on Americans based on “attitude”
http://jimbovard.com/blog/2008/08/27/tsa-federal-attitude-police/

Police plan ’supermarket cells’ to hold shoplifters and drunks
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopi..o-hold-shoplifters-and-drunks.html

 



Thumb-print required for buying bullets in California

Thumb-print required for buying bullets in California

Niesha Lofing
Sacramento Bee
August 14, 2008

A Sacramento man pleaded guilty Tuesday to possession of ammunition by a felon after buying bullets from a local sporting goods store.

Ramon Michael Clark, 31, entered his guilty plea in federal court before U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez, according to a news release by the office of U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

Clark’s illegal activity came to light as a result of a pilot program requiring merchants to collect identifying information from people buying ammunition.

Clark bought 50 rounds of .25 caliber ammunition from Big 5 Sporting Goods on Mack Road in February.

Clark was required to submit his driver’s license and a thumbprint to complete the sale in compliance with a recently enacted ordinance, the release states.

Sacramento police used the information to determine that Clark had been convicted of possessing marijuana for sale and possessing narcotics while armed, both felonies.

Clark is scheduled to be sentenced by Mendez at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 4.

He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, the release states.

The case resulted from joint investigation by Sacramento police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

 

Passengers test new face scanners

Teachers fear hidden CCTV cameras in schools
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn..-cameras-in-schools.html

How Big Brother watches your every move
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news..atches-your-every-move.html

Police invite public to shop their neighbours for speeding
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/a..shop-neighbours-speeding.html

Security Officials To Scan DC License Plates
http://www.wtop.com/?nid=596&sid=1461567

 



Telecom & Internet Companies to Check Texts and E-mails

UK Telecom & Internet Companies to Check Texts and E-mails

Alan Travis
London Guardian
August 13, 2008

Local councils, health authorities and hundreds of other public bodies are to be given the power to access details of everyone’s personal text, emails and internet use under Home Office proposals published yesterday.

Ministers want to make it mandatory for telephone and internet companies to keep details of all personal internet traffic for at least 12 months so it can be accessed for investigations into crime or other threats to public safety.

The Home Office last night admitted that the measure will mean companies have to store “a billion incidents of data exchange a day”. As the measure is the result of an EU directive, the data will be made available to public investigators across Europe.

The consultation paper published yesterday estimates that it will cost the internet industry over £50m to store the mountain of data.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats last night branded the measure a “snooper’s charter”.

When the measure was floated after the London bombings in 2005 by the then home secretary, Charles Clarke, it was justified on the grounds that it was needed to investigate terrorist plots and organised crime. But the Home Office document makes clear that the personal data will now be available for all sorts of crime and public order investigations and may even be used to prevent people self-harming.

Read Full Article Here

UN Report Blasts UK On Free Expression
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/aug/15/labour.idcards

Zero Privacy In UK
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/13/privacy.privacy

Google Ordered To Unmask Mystery Blogger
http://blog.wired.com/business/2008/08/google-ordered.html

Air Force Suspends ‘Cyber Command’ Program
http://www.informationweek.com/news..wArticle.jhtml?articleID=210003721

Blogging Is Not A Crime
http://www.techcrunch.com/20..-a-crime/comment-2439303

 



UK: 1,043 laws that will let the state in your home

UK: 1,043 laws that will let the state in your home

Daily Mail
July 20, 2008

The march of the Big Brother state under Labour was highlighted last night as it was revealed that there are now 1,043 laws that give the authorities the power to enter a home or business.

Nearly half have been introduced since Labour came to power 11 years ago. They include the right to:

• Invade your home to see if your pot plants have pests or do not have a ’plant passport’ (Plant Health England Order 2005).

Survey your home and garden to see if your hedge is too high (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003).

• Check that accommodation given to asylum seekers is not being lived in by non-asylum seekers (Immigration and Asylum Act 1999).

Raid a house to check if unlicensed gambling is taking place (Gambling Act 2005 Inspection Regulations 2007).

Seize fridges without the correct energy rating (Energy Information Household Refrigerators and Freezers Regulations 2004).

The rise in clipboard-wielding state inspectors flies in the face of repeated pledges by Ministers to curb the power of bureaucrats.

The full extent of the state’s ’powers of entry’ is revealed in documents slipped out quietly by the Government last week.

The information was posted on the Home Office website, but in a highly unusual move, the computer file was locked to prevent it being copied or printed. A secret Home Office password was required to access the file.

A Home Office spokeswoman denied the restrictions were an attempt to stop the state’s powers being circulated more widely.

She claimed it was a ’mistake’ and the file would be unlocked tomorrow.

Some 420 new powers of entry are the product of laws introduced since 1997. A further 16 are in laws due to be approved by Parliament in the next few weeks.

A recent study by the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank warned that the ’proliferation and variety’ of such laws mean householders can no longer ’realistically be aware’ of their rights and legal obligations.

Gordon Brown last year announced a review of ’powers of entry’ laws and said they would be subjected to a ’liberty test’ to stop abuses by the state.

However, new powers set to be approved by Parliament include inspecting for non-human genetic material, for looted cultural property from Iraq and for ’undeclared’ carbon dioxide, as well as enforcing bin tax.

Town hall ’bin police’ already have the right to enter homes, take photographs, seize contents of bins, and ’investigate as required’.

Householders can be fined up to £5,000 if they refuse entry or ’obstruct’ an official.

Shadow Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: ’Day by day under Labour, the rights and liberties of law-abiding citizens are being eroded.’