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BS: Government Spying (UK)

GUEST,Lizzie Cornish 21 Sep 10 - 03:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Sep 10 - 03:40 PM
Uncle_DaveO 21 Sep 10 - 07:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Sep 10 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Sep 10 - 05:18 PM
John MacKenzie 22 Sep 10 - 07:09 PM
Richie Black (misused acct, bad email) 22 Sep 10 - 07:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Sep 10 - 07:43 PM
Richie Black (misused acct, bad email) 22 Sep 10 - 08:03 PM
Emma B 22 Sep 10 - 08:36 PM
Richie Black (misused acct, bad email) 22 Sep 10 - 08:51 PM
Emma B 22 Sep 10 - 08:58 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 23 Sep 10 - 02:55 AM
Emma B 23 Sep 10 - 06:30 AM
Richie Black (misused acct, bad email) 23 Sep 10 - 06:58 AM
Bonzo3legs 23 Sep 10 - 07:29 AM
theleveller 23 Sep 10 - 07:52 AM
theleveller 23 Sep 10 - 09:17 AM
freda underhill 23 Sep 10 - 10:15 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 10 - 10:28 AM
theleveller 23 Sep 10 - 10:45 AM
David C. Carter 23 Sep 10 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,eric the viking 23 Sep 10 - 06:34 PM
Folkiedave 23 Sep 10 - 06:44 PM
mauvepink 24 Sep 10 - 05:44 AM
Michael 24 Sep 10 - 06:23 AM
Bonzo3legs 24 Sep 10 - 06:56 AM
The Sandman 24 Sep 10 - 03:46 PM

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Subject: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: GUEST,Lizzie Cornish
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 03:29 PM

I was searching for something else, when I came across this a short while back..from August. I missed this.....

Geez...how the hell are they going to be allowed to get away with this? Surely it must be an invasion of privacy?

Government to start checking everything you buy or do with your money


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 03:40 PM

Meanwhile the fat cats are robbing us blind with their tax dodging on a scale compared to welfare fraud is laughable small change...


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 07:09 PM

In the context cited, the consumer's privacy is ALREADY gone. Long gone. Experian and the other credit agencies gather huge amounts of publicly available information, which is reachable by debt collectors, to prospective lenders, prospective employers (and on and on). There is very little about you and me that isn't available on the web.

We may not be enthralled to know how naked we are to inquiring eyes, but it is a fact of life.

I know that your inquiry/comment is about the UK and not the US, but as I would apply it to the US I find no fault with governmental authorities looking at the information that's already spread out there for everyone else to see.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 05:07 PM

The role of our servants in government should be to work to close down this kind of activity, and protect our privacy, not to take advantage of it. Some hope.

We are moving into an age of totalitarian state control, with every aspect of our lives under surveillance. That has never been the case before to anything like this degree. Any group in society, or any individual is potentially at risk, if for any reason they get identified as targets.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 05:18 PM

Oh, I dunno. There was a kerfuffle here because a woman wanted to know where her brother was. He had been adopted, maybe 10 years ago, by a couple in Kansas. He was a very unhappy boy, ran away several times. (They said.) One day he ran away (they said) at the age of 12, and they decided to heck with it.

He was never reported, never missed. His school didn't ask what became of him. Ten years later, his sister asked 'What became of my brother?' and nobody knows.

We also had the Precious Doe case, which lasted three years. The body of a little girl, age 3, was found in a dumpster. Her head was in a different dumpster. It took three years to identify her. Nobody asked, "Mrs. Smith, where's your daughter Erica?"

We thought for a while that Precious might be a missing girl from Florida named Rilya. She wasn't. Nobody's found Rilya.

It seems like in some respects, people have too much privacy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 07:09 PM

Wow, this thread has undergone a radical ectomy


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Richie Black (misused acct, bad email)
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 07:24 PM

What part of this do you not understand ? the taxpayer is being cheated out of £1.5bn a year in benefit fraud. £460m from child and working tax credits, £1bn Incapacity/housing benefits and D.L.A.
As stated, "this would be enough to pay for 40,000 NHS nurses".

Cutting fraud in the benefits system is the "first thing" this government ought to do in it cuts spending.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 07:43 PM

Benefit fraud is dwarfed by the level of tax dodging, most of it by well-off people.

Tax evasion amounted to 42 billion in 2009. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The dodgy "tax avoidance" schemes which scrape by as legal are even bigger than that.

For that matter benefit fraud is very much lower than the figure for benefit which people are entitled to, but which never gets claimed or paid.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Richie Black (misused acct, bad email)
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 08:03 PM

Benefit fraud is still a crime, please don't excuse or dismiss it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Emma B
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 08:36 PM

I posted about this on 16 Aug 10 - 08:45 AM in the BS: No longer Great Britain? thread

If I may be 'forgiven' for cutting and pasting from my own post including (mea culpa) an extract from a parliamentary question ...

"...Cameron has declared war on benefit fraudsters in a bid to cut billions from the welfare bill and has won the approval of the tabloid headline-writers by calling in credit check companies to pursue benefit swindlers.
Has anyone actually costed this?

SO……..

The OFFICIAL figure for criminal defrauding the welfare system is £1bn

This compares with the cost to the public purse of illegal tax evasion of £15bn
(This figure of course does not include the unknown billions estimated to be lost to the public purse from tax avoidance)

A recent answer to a Parliamentary Question (from Katy Clark MP) revealed that:

'HM Revenue and Customs spent £633,284 (excluding VAT) on advertising for the purposes of preventing tax evasion last year. There was no expenditure in the previous two years'.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department budgeted for advertising tackling benefit fraud in each of the last three financial years

Chris Grayling:
'Budgeted expenditure for advertising tackling benefit fraud

2007-08 £6.5 million
2008-09 £6.0 million
2009-10 £5.0 million
Note: Includes media costs, PR, production and research costs. It excludes VAT.'

SO.....
over three years tackling tax evasion of £15bn was worth just £633,000 but tackling benefit fraud of £1bn was worth £17.5 million.?

Perhaps the headline should be -

"Benefit fraud is 624 times more serious than tax evasion" as reported on the Tax Research UK Website


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Richie Black (misused acct, bad email)
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 08:51 PM

Both tax evasion and benefit fraud are crimes, the government will be doing something about it in the coming weeks. Why do you go on as if benefit fraud is petty ? It's not "fat cat skinny cat" and "Power to the people" It's crime, it's wrong and it must be dealt with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Emma B
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 08:58 PM

Both are indeed criminal, I certainly have not implied anything to the contrary - it is rather the very different approach to both that is distinct given the very significant difference in cost to the taxpayer of each.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 02:55 AM

"Cutting fraud in the benefits system is the "first thing" this government ought to do in it cuts spending."

Cutting fraud within their own 'house' is the first thing they should finish doing, before they start on the houses of others.

It still does not excuse this invasion of our privacy on such a massive scale.

Tell me, with the Freedom of Information Act, where do they stand on doing this?   As far as I know one department is no longer able to discuss with another anything to do with the monetary affairs of any individual..(I'm sure Richard will correct me there if needs be)..so HOW are they able to gather this information in the first place, and then..share it around with whomsoever wants to know?


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Emma B
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 06:30 AM

Credit reference agencies are commercial companies that compile information from a number of different sources.
They sell this information to lenders and other service providers in the form of credit reports which help them to decide whether to grant an application for a loan, credit card, or provide another financial product.

Private firms, such as lenders and other service providers can currently (for a fee) get access to an individual's 'credit reports' when an application is made for a credit card or loan etc to make sure they are not defrauded
The government is arguing there is no reason it should not also be able to draw on such data.

All such agencies stress that they are bound by data protection legislation and that this is very strictly adhered to so, in order to get access to more detailed records, central government and local authorities must show that they have a reason to suspect somebody is fraudulently claiming a benefit.

also from the BBC Aug 10 News site


The DATA PROTECTION ACT applies to personal information and ensures that it is handled properly
It also gives the right to know what information is held about you and the right to correct information that is wrong.
You also have the right to claim compensation through the courts if an organisation breaches the Act and this causes you damage, such as financial loss. If it has, you can also claim for distress.

The FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT deals with official information held by public authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and to those which are UK-wide.
It gives anyone the right to request official information held by public authorities, unless there are good reasons to keep it confidential.
for example How many toilet rolls were used in No 10 during Tony Blair's administration?

more about the FOI


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Richie Black (misused acct, bad email)
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 06:58 AM

I supported the idea of national identity cards, I also believe in a DNA database. I know I will be in the minority here, but if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

It would solve crimes and also work as a deterrent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 07:29 AM

I find it strange but not surprising that the usual suspects find the avoidance of tax by applying tax legislation or what we now know to be the shambles that is HM Revenue & Customs to be wrong. I find it equally strange that they consider benefit fraud to be perfectly OK, and that the hideous scroats who perpetrate this fraud are beyond the law!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 07:52 AM

It's the benefit cheats who are giving a bad name to those people who legitimately claim benefit. However, the gross inefficiencies of the system that assesses benefits is both encouraging fraud and denying legitimate claimants.

As has been pointed out, Experian already hold many millions of credit records which can be accessed by 'interested parties'. It's a simple matter for anyone to access their own records to see who has been 'spying' on them. The information is used not only to assess credit worthiness (hopefully preventing people from getting too deeply into debt)but can also help to prevent or detect the increasing crime of identity theft. Experian, as with every other organisation, has to comply with the Data Protection Act with which, Lizzie, I suggest you familiarise yourself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 09:17 AM

"I supported the idea of national identity cards, I also believe in a DNA database. I know I will be in the minority here, but if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

I would certainly disagree with you on this - there is a great deal to fear. Identity cards are potentially one of the greatest threats to individual freedom in the 21st Century, being open to forseeable and unforseen abuse and also to the inefficiencies and gross breaches of security that have been a plague of government departments recently. If you'd like to learn more, I suggest you read A C Grayling's book, 'Liberty in the Age of Terror' - it's scary stuff!


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: freda underhill
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 10:15 AM

There is a fantastic moment in "The Death of Dalziel" by Reginald Hill - well worth reading, for anyone fed up with government surveillance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 10:28 AM

...but if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear...

I wish that was true,


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 10:45 AM

The implementation of identity cards has been called a criminal's dream scenario. Just imagine one day being apprehended by the police/fraud squad/ anti-terrorist squad/MI5,/Customs & Revenue/passport officials/bailiffs or whatever because some scally has hacked into the database (or found your details on a file left in a taxi) assumed your identity and perpetrated any number of offences in your name. You could end up spending a huge amount of time and money proving your innocence.

And that's before new governments with new legislation and new agendas decide that they can make use of all this lovely data they have on individuals to..................?


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: David C. Carter
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 11:10 AM

...but if you have nothing to hide, etc...

Crap!
Tell that to the people of North African origin here in France.
I've never been stopped by "les flics",but then again I'm white,and considered as middle class.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: GUEST,eric the viking
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 06:34 PM

"but if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

I wonder how many German Jews thought the same, or the number of disappeared in Argentina, or Ireland or how many millions in the USSR ?

It takes nothing to have a history, a grandparent, a relative, or an association, maybe a youthful misdemeanor. The world is full of examples and instances when good and decent citizens who even followed the party line suddenly found themselves on the wrong end on the bullet.

Do you think being a good citizen will make any difference?

   I'm sure someone will at sometime mention your name in the right quarters when they remember you upset them at sometime in the past.

But I'm sure you have nothing to fear !


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 06:44 PM

Ian Tomlinson thought he had nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear. Dead now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: mauvepink
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 05:44 AM

I used to think if you had nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. I believed that truth and justice always prevailed. That if you were innocent you would be proven innocent and if guilty found guilty.

It is simply not so

I have recently been involved in situations where people have been far and above any possible wrongdoing but have been tarred with the brush of those that have. As for benefits. It seems some of the staff at Jobcentres and suchlike these days treat you like a pariah if you have any benefits and bundle you into the pile of wastresls and con artists. This is simply not right nor fair. I know a lot of people who are unemplyed through no fault of their own. I know more people who are benefits they deserve and are still treated like scroungers. That's not fair.

When you get a pensioner thinking about suicide because of what the sytem puts her through then you know that system is wrong. It's not wrong to catch cheats. It is wrong to label everyone within a system as being cheats. It is part of my job to see that people get what they are owed and deserve to have. I come across some people involved in that system that treat customers terribly. This should not happen.

mp


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Michael
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 06:23 AM

I am aware of someone who recently was prosecuted for benefit fraud, regarding not informing of change of circumstances.
When the matter first arose they saw a law centre solicitor who said "Don't worry, they won't prosecute; it would be laughed out of court" They did and it was.
In court the Benefits Agency prosecuting officer admitted that it was quite possible that they had lost the relevant doccuments as procedures to record such things were not in place in the local office. The claimant had their own photo-copies as proof.
The whole thing took almost two years and must have cost a fortune and certainly much more than they claimed was overpaid, which the claimant offered to, and did, repay as soon as they were aware.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 06:56 AM

And of course the blacks had "nothing to fear" in South Africa.


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Subject: RE: BS: Government Spying (UK)
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 03:46 PM

I thought I sent a meassge to this thread which said,well done lizzie, it has disappeared.


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