Tag Archives: anti-terrorist legislation

Gulags in the UK? – “no” says Simon Hughes

On Monday, Theresa May introduced some new counter-terrorism measures to Parliament.

Let’s take two specifics which were mentioned:

Requiring ISPs to retain and disclose user IP address details

May announced:

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Julian Huppert MP writes: It’s time to bail out TPIMs

Labour’s approach to dealing with the threat of terrorism was illiberal and ineffective. The regime they built was topped off by control orders, which remain one of the most odious elements of their legacy. These orders totally bypassed due legal process, establishing a bewildering clandestine world of secret evidence, special advocates and draconian restrictions that would have made Kafka blush.

The irony was that all this authoritarian paraphernalia, which did great damage to civil liberties many of us had previously taken for granted, failed utterly to achieve its intended purpose. Not a single person subject to a control order has ever …

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LibLink: Tim Farron – Easing of control orders makes this a proud day for civil liberties

Lib Dem president Tim Farron writes in The Guardian’s Comment is Free about the Coalition’s reforms of control orders, restoring greater freedom for UK citizens. Here’s an excerpt:

With details of reform of counter-terrorism laws unveiled in the House of Commons, today is a proud day for those who cherish the freedoms that we in Britain have enjoyed for centuries and that our ancestors fought and died for. … the proposals detailed mark a decisive move away from the paranoid, authoritarian state presided over by Labour. No longer will people who have had no charge brought against them be locked up

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Liberal Democrat responses to anti-terrorism legislation review

Here’s a round-up of responses from Liberal Democrat figures and blogs:

Tom Brake MP (Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs and Justice)

Sanity and justice have been restored to British life.

Today is a victory for those who have campaigned to restore the historic freedoms that Labour spent 13 years destroying.

Control orders are gone, 28 days detention without charge is gone, indiscriminate stop and search is gone and the abuse of anti-terror powers by councils to pursue petty offences is over.

There will always be a balance to be struck between freedom and security and these proposals

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Anti-terrorism review: 6 questions to judge the government by

With the publication of the government’s anti-terrorism review just about to happen, and likely to include a large number of details, what are the key points to look for in judging how the review has gone?

So far, we know one outcome – the reduction in the maximum period people can be held without charge from 28-days to 14-days (which is in line with the Liberal Democrat manifesto). Yet to be published are the plans on control orders (the abolition of which has been another key Liberal Democrat demand) and on a host of other anti-terrorism legislation.

What to look out for

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Jo Shaw writes: Counter Terrorism and Security Review latest

The long awaited outcome of the review of counter-terrorism and security powers is to be announced this week. Already last week, the expected and widely trailed outcome was confirmed that the length of time for pre-charge detention has been halved from 28 to 14 days – this 28 day power will lapse on Tuesday. It now appears that Theresa May will announce the outcome of the review on Wednesday, after Cabinet presumably discusses the issue on Tuesday.

The most thorny issue for the Liberal Democrats is what will go and what will remain of the highly controversial Control Order regime. David …

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Detention without charge to be cut from 28-days to 14-days

It’s long been a Liberal Democrat demand, and it was in the party’s 2010 manifesto, so good news that detention without charge is set to fall back to 14-days. The current 28-days limit expires on Monday and today the government has confirmed that it will not be trying to renew the limit. The 28-day increase was brought in by the then Labour government in 2006.

The BBC adds:

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, who campaigned to reinstate the 14-day limit, said the move would speed up the justice system. “If the time frame is longer I’m afraid that there is less

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Control orders: BBC reports likely outcome of government review

The BBC that in place of control orders the government is intending to have powers to do the following:

ban suspects from travelling to locations such as open parks and thick walled buildings where surveillance is hard
allow suspects to use mobile phones and the internet but only if the numbers and details were given to the security services
ban suspects from travelling abroad
ban suspects from meeting certain named individuals, but limited to people who are themselves under surveillance or suspected of involvement in terrorism

Under the planned new orders, the security services would lose the power to impose overnight curfews, force suspects

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Anti-terrorism legislation: news emerges of likely reforms

In his Hugo Young lecture last week Nick Clegg clearly signalled the imminent end to control orders. Now over the last couple of days the shape of the likely conclusions from the anti-terrorism review are starting to emerge, with the current 28-day limit on detention without charge coming back down to 14 days. A new set of tighter than usual bail conditions could then be imposed for a further 14 days.

The police’s stop and search powers are also likely to be curtailed, particularly following the news that in the last year over 100,000 stop and searches were conducted under …

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Clegg signals control orders to go

In the Hugo Young lecture tonight, Nick Clegg all but said that control orders were to go when – in pre-prepared comments in the middle of the speech – he said:

Old progressives pose a trade-off between individual liberty and national security. But, for liberals, liberty is the guarantor of our security. It is a false trade-off. For old progressives, national priorities will automatically trump individual freedoms. By contrast, the Coalition Government has already halted ID cards, and set out plans to regulate CCTV and end the indefinite storage of innocent people’s DNA. We will also shortly be published the results

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Opinion: Control Orders – 14 words to mull over

“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society”. These are the first fourteen words of the Preamble to the Constitution of the Liberal Democrats. It was this statement that finally made me decide to join the Lib Dems nearly ten years ago, and has kept me campaigning, working and fighting for and on behalf of our party ever since.

The control order debate has been raging lately, within the party and in the press. I wanted to explain why I feel so strongly about the issue of control orders and why I set up the …

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Control orders: ineffective but a blow to freedom

“Ineffective in the fight on terror – but a devastating blow to freedom” – that’s the pithy and accurate summary of control orders by Mary Riddell over in the Daily Telegraph. And the newspaper in which the piece appeared is are reminder of how civil liberty issues cut across the political spectrum in not always expected or neat ways.

Riddell points out,

Within the next few days, Mr Cameron and his deputy must reach agreement on the future of security in Britain and, in particular, on control orders and how long to hold terror suspects without charge. The “car crash” foreseen

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Jeremy Browne MP writes… I’m no Tory: I’m a radical, authentic liberal

Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne’s appearance on BBC1’s Question Time last week prompted critical comments for refusing to condfemn control orders, instead saying that the Coalition’s decision on control orders will await the outcome of the government-commission anti-terrorism review of Lib Dem peer Lord (Ken) Macdonald. Here Jeremy responds to his critics…

When I appeared on Question Time last week, I acknowledged that, confronted with a real terrorist threat from ideological zealots hostile to all of our liberal ideals, the government may sometimes, in its response, have to wrestle with the difficult tension between liberty and security. My goal is …

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Opinion: Did the LibDems pick the wrong weekend to call for curbs on anti-terror measures?

James Lyons of the Daily Mirror tweeted last night to say “Oh dear – lib dems picked wrong weekend to call for curbs on anti-terror measures”.

He referred to a Guardian story about LibDem backbenchers calling for the scrapping of control orders and the limit to detention without charge to be reduced to 14 days.

Well yes, I suppose if you have a hangover this morning and, therefore, impaired thinking faculties, it is easy to hear the news (of the discovery of the toner cartridge bombs on their way to the US) and think “silly, woolly Liberals” for raising their …

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More details published of Government’s review of anti-terrorism powers

A Home Office news release tells us:

The Home Secretary has announced today that a rapid review of key counter-terrorism and security powers is underway. The review will look at what counter-terrorism powers and measures could be rolled back in order to restore the balance of civil liberties and counter-terrorism powers…

The review will look at six areas:

• the use of control orders;

• stop and search powers in section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and the use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography;

• the detention of terrorist suspects before charge;

• extending the use of deportations with assurances to remove foreign

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Police pay damages to photojournalists

The police’s problems with mistreating photographers just go on and on. Yesterday Helen reported on the latest incident – including the damning comment from a policeman who, when asked under what law he was demanding a photographer’s details, simply said “I don’t have to have any law”.

But also we have the recent news that the police are paying compensation after an incident outside the Greek Embassy in 2008 when they stopped two photojournalists taking photographs. As the Press Gazette reported,

Vallée had his camera pulled away from his face and the lens of Parkinson’s video camera was covered by

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Police detain teenager for photographing Armed Forces Day parade

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Police stop TV presenters under anti-terrorism legislation – for carrying glittery hairdryers

Anna Williamson and Jamie RickersIt appears that photographers are only one of a long list of ‘suspects’ for London’s crimefighters. Today children’s TV presenters Jamie Rickers and Anna Williamson reported that they had been questioned by police under anti-terrorism powers – for carrying glittery hairdryers.

The pair, who front ITV1’s Toonattik, were filming on London’s South Bank. Along with the hairdryers, they were also armed with  children’s walkie-talkies and hairbrushes.

The Press Association has the story:

Anna, 28, said: “We were filming a strand called Dork Hunters, which is to do with one of the animations

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Video: Sarah Ludford MEP at Mass Photo Gathering

Campaign group I’m a photographer not a terrorist held a Mass Photo Gathering in Trafalgar Square yesterday, in defence of street photography. Thousands of photographers came together to assert their rights and to protest against the misuse of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Section 44 allows uniformed police officers to stop and search people in designated areas if it is considered “expedient for the prevention of acts of terrorism.” I met Grant Smith, who was stopped under Section 44 by police in December. Sarah Ludford, Lib Dem MEP for London, had written a letter to the Independent in protest at his treatment.

I spoke to Sarah and Grant about the incident:


Video also available on YouTube.

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Mass gathering in defence of street photography #phnat

The campaign group I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! invites photographers to gather in London this Saturday in defence of street photography.

The Mass Photo Gathering is in Trafalgar Square at 12 noon on Saturday 23 January. (Map here.) Over 1,400 people have already confirmed their attendance via this Facebook page.

We’ve covered many cases, here at Lib Dem Voice, of anti-terrorist legislation being misused, particularly to detain photographers. Prompted by incidents like these, PHNAT calls on photographers, whether amateur or professional, as well as anyone who values visual imagery, “to defend our rights and stop the abuse of the terror laws.”

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Artist arrested for filming buildings

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Warning: do not read this photography post if you are prone to dizziness

ITN film crew is stopped by police whilst filming in central London’s financial district, the City. So much, so usual as far as “police stop innocent, legitimate use of cameras” stories go.

But in a touch of genius, it turns out that the ITN crew was filming a story … about someone who had three cars and a van of anti-terrorism police descend on him after taking photos of a church near a bank. I hope this circularity isn’t making you dizzy.

Oh, and he was wearing an “I’m a photographer not a terrorist” badge, just to add to the fun.

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Photographers: ’tis the season to be wary?

Suspicious subjects for photos this season include sunsets and Christmas lights. And be especially wary of using the “wrong” sort of camera or taking the “wrong” number of photos (details which are, as yet, not revealed to ordinary, law-abiding shutterbugs).

Two more photographers have been stopped by over-zealous police officers for taking photographs of public scenes, despite being within their rights to do so.

First, a BBC photographer was stopped outside Tate Modern while taking this atmospheric shot:

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Tall photographer stopped again by police

Last week I linked to the story of “too-tall” photographer Alex Turner, who was arrested by Kent Police after taking some photos in Chatham High Street.

Turner was stopped by police again on Sunday, and asked to show his ID.

The Register reports:

Turner, perhaps foolishly, returned to the scene of his earlier crime (Chatham High St) late on Sunday to see whether the local community “would be… equally protected from suspected terrorism by night as it would be by day”. The answer is yes. CCTV operators spotted him taking photos. A police car arrived and officers asked him to

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Arrested for being tall?

Dismayed, but not surprised, that police are still arresting photographers for taking photos in public places – without reasonable suspicion that these are connected with terrorism or other illegal acts.

Last week Kent police arrested 5′ 11″ Alex Turner who had refused to show his ID after being challenged in Chatham High Street.

From The Register:

According to his blog, our over-tall photographer Alex Turner was taking snaps in Chatham High St last Thursday, when he was approached by two unidentified men. They did not identify themselves, but demanded that he show them some ID and warned that if he failed

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“Tourist” sounds a bit like “terrorist”: be very afraid!

A father and son on holiday in London were stopped by police and made to delete photos from their cameras, of a bus station and some double decker buses.

From the Guardian:

Like most visitors to London, Klaus Matzka and his teenage son Loris took several photographs of some of the city’s sights, including the famous red double-decker buses. More unusually perhaps, they also took pictures of the Vauxhall bus station, which Matzka regards as “modern sculpture”.
But the tourists have said they had to return home to Vienna without their holiday pictures after two policemen forced them to delete the photographs from their cameras in the name of preventing terrorism.

Matkza, a 69-year-old retired television cameraman with a taste for modern architecture, was told that photographing anything to do with transport was “strictly forbidden”. The policemen also recorded the pair’s details, including passport numbers and hotel addresses.

I’ve just got back from Moscow, where there were hardly any CCTV cameras, and where I photographed and filmed stations and public transport to my heart’s content. (Isn’t that what everyone does on holiday?)

No sign there of the citizens-vs-State surveillance arms race (or should that be “eyes race”?) that is commonplace in Britain’s major cities.

While innovations like Google Streetview show images of our cities in detail, tourists and journalists alike are becoming suspects for simply observing the “wrong” things in a public place.

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Do you belong to a suspicious group? It’s hard not to…

So far-fetched have been recent grounds for arrest, or for flagging yourself up as a terrorist suspect, that people keep asking me if Lib Dem Voice is running a series of hoax posts. (We’ve had lingering near street ironworks, ordering vegetarian airline meals, handing in lost property, scaring ducks, putting your bin out on the wrong day, looking at things and – easily the most heinous, in my opinion – going equipped with balloons.)

I thought I was joking (albeit darkly) when I said on LibDig that people might one day be singled out for their taste in music, but even that now appears to have happened. Home Office Watch features the terrifying ordeal of a jazz musician arrested by anti-terror police who had taken his soundproofed studio, replete with wires, as a sign of bomb-making.

We read everywhere of the bewildering array of groups whom the Government has decided should carry ID cards, from Mancunians to pilots, or in a happy Venn-style coincidence, both.

Then there’s people travelling outside the UKpeople travelling inside the UK

(Are you remembering all these vital clues? Tricky when there doesn’t seem to be any particular pattern behind them.)

So who should we be wary of? What we need is a handy guide in pictures. Never mind Keeping Calm and Carrying On nor indeed not keeping calm and carrying on. At last, I’ve found just the thing:

Posted in Big mad database | 15 Comments

Baker: “innocent train-spotters” hassled under anti-terrorism laws

Lib Dem MP Norman Baker has revealed that an astonishing 150,000 have been questioned by police at railway stations under the aegis of legislation designed to prevent terrorists. The Telegraph has the full story:

The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2000 has been used to stop 62,584 people at railway stations and another 87,000 were questioned under “stop and search” and “stop and account” legislation. Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker, who uncovered the figures, warned that Britain was heading towards a “police state”.

He said: “Law-abiding passengers get enough hassle on overcrowded trains as it is without the added inconvenience

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