Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’
This secret state surveillance has been going on for a long time but now we get the chance to examine our files via Subject Access Data Protection (DPA) requests we find that nearly 15 years of information has been logged (of the information that they have allowed us to see), from ridiculous notes identifying me as always wearing ‘Joe 90-style’ spectacles, to more sinister records about our involvement in trade union activities, sexual orientation and even a family member’s medical history.
We are all accredited journalists yet we find ourselves sharing a police database with other, mostly unknowing UK citizens who have had information gathered on them in the apparent interests of policing an ill-defined and opaque concept: ‘domestic extremism’.
It is hard to see how this can be about policing domestic extremism – it appears to be about criminalising dissent and those who would document it. From Orgreave through to Occupy, the right to democratically protest, and the right to report upon it, is being eroded. Our access to justice via legal aid is being cut and the journalists who shine a light on the crimes of the state and corporations are being targeted. It is not just about intimidation and surveillance – it is about the sinister way information can be shared and impact on our lives as we have seen with corporate blacklisting.
I am proud to stand alongside my NUJ colleagues in this legal challenge which aims to hold the police and Home Secretary to account for their activities. We welcome support from the labour movement in our demand to end the state surveillance of journalists and all those lawfully exercising their democratic and human rights.
Frances O’Grady is supporting the campaign and recently spoke at an NUJ event about mass surveillance. She said:
“There is growing concern that the authorities are using surveillance against union members, journalists and campaigners. Political policing has no place in a democratic society, it threatens press freedom and any unjustified conduct must stop.”
Redacted – excerpts from the Domestic Extremist Database
– a collaborative work by photojournalist Jess Hurd & her partner in crime, video-journalist Jason N. Parkinson shown publicly for the first time at the We Could Not Agree exhibition Q Park, Cavendish Square.
Jason Parkinson and Jess Hurd are well respected, professional, NUJ accredited journalists yet they find themselves sharing a police database with other, mostly unknowing UK citizens who have had information gathered on them in the interest of ‘national security’.
These include activists, journalists, comedians, politicians and other ‘subversives’.
This sinister, secret state surveillance has been going on a long time, but now we get the chance to examine our files, well the sections that the police allow us to look at – we suspect large swathes are redacted.
Often people say “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”, but what if inaccurate, subjective, bias builds up a profile of you that is shared with other agencies, you are targeted whilst working, singled out, even blacklisted and assaulted.
This has happened and will continue to happen unless it is challenged.
Secret police, covert surveillance, secret courts, we are not creeping towards a police state, we have arrived.
© Jess Hurd/Jason N. Parkinson
Image with the kind permission of artist/curator Tracey Moberly