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Thorny issues...

Southend Council censors artwork titled An English Garden that references the early development of atom bombs


Link Here17th July 2021
An artwork featuring three garden benches surround a rose garden has been banned by Southend Council due to it referencing the locally based development of early atom bombs which were then sent to Australia for testing. Promotional Material for the Estuary 2021 Festival explains:

An English Garden is the Estuary 2021 Festival iteration of How to Make a Bomb , the durational gardening project by artist Gabriella Hirst. The project is centred on the propagation and redistribution of a nearly-extinct species of garden rose which was created and registered under the name Rosa floribunda ‘Atom Bomb’ in 1953.

The How to Make a Bomb project aims to provoke questions about the relationship between of nationalism, gardening, and nuclear colonialism. The garden is a reminder that the red rose of England and the English garden is entangled with a violent past of gardening the world, which has continued into a dangerous present.

The artwork is installed just upriver from Foulness Island at Gunners Park, Shoeburyness, which is former MOD land and is now a nature reserve under the care of Essex Wildlife Trust.

An English Garden's formal layout and beds echo the floorplans of Foulness's nuclear heritage architecture, and the aerial maps of the Australian contaminated test sites.

The artwork has now been taken away and placed in storage thanks to Sourthend councillors' objection to the wording of a plaque in the installation that detailed the fact that nuclear weapons were assembled at Foulness (a matter of record) before being shipped to Australia, where they were detonated. The most vocal of the offended councillors, James Moyies, has said he objected to the artist's view that by increasing its nuclear armament by 40%, the UK government was directing considerable resources towards industries of violence instead of those of care, and by the suggestion that Britain had a historical and ongoing identity as a colonial nuclear state.

The councillors emailed the local arts charity Metal, which commissioned the work jointly with the artists' charity the Old Waterworks, claiming that it constituted a:

direct far leftwing attack on our History, our People and our Democratically Elected Government.

 

 

Every internet moment scrutinised...

European Court of Human Rights finds that GCHQ's mass snooping violates right to privacy


Link Here24th May 2021
Full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter
GCHQ's methods for mass snooping on online communications violated the right to privacy and the regime for collection of data was not in accordance with the law, the grand chamber of the European court of human rights has ruled.

It also found the bulk interception regime contained insufficient protections for confidential journalistic material but said the decision to operate a bulk interception regime did not of itself violate the European convention on human rights.

The chamber also concluded that GCHQ's regime for sharing sensitive digital intelligence with foreign governments was not illegal.

The judgment is the culmination of a legal challenge to GCHQ's bulk interception of online communications begun in 2013 by Big Brother Watch and others after Edward Snowden's whistleblowing revelations.

Three judges dissenting from the majority position quoted from Orwell in their statement:

There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You have to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised.

Comment: ECHR's Judgment on UK Govt's Mass Surveillance Program

24th May 2021. See article from openrightsgroup.org

Responding to the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the UK's RIPA regime for bulk surveillance, Jim Killock, the Executive Director of the Open Rights Group and one of the organisations challenging the UK's activities before the European Court of Human Rights, said:

The Court has recognised that Bulk Interception is an especially intrusive power, and that 'end-to-end safeguards' are needed to ensure abuse does not occur.

The court has show that the UK Government's legal framework was weak and inadequate when we took them to court with Big Brother Watch and Constanze Kurz in 2013.

The court has set out clear criteria for assessing future bulk interception regimes, but we believe these will need to be developed into harder red lines in future judgments, if bulk interception is not to be abused.

As the court sets out, bulk interception powers are a great power, secretive in nature, and hard to keep in check. We are far from confident that today's bulk interception is sufficiently safeguarded, while the technical capacities continue to deepen. GCHQ continues to share technology platforms and raw data with the USA.

This judgment is an important step on a long journey.

 

 

Cops call for space to breathe...

Police want to ban social media from publishing videos of cops behaving badly


Link Here18th April 2021
The leader of the Metropolitan Police Federation has called for the government and force leaders to tackle social media firms that enable footage of officers dealing with incidents to be shared.

Ken Marsh claimed it was time to end trial by social media:

It's time to step in. We want something done. Officers shouldn't be subjected to this while simply doing their job.

His intervention followed the Independent Office for Police Conduct's latest verdict on a complaint about a stop and search at the height of lockdown which was shared on social media. Their investigation followed incident in May last year when a driver was stopped in Tottenham by officers from the MPS Territorial Support Group (TSG).

The Independent Office for Police Conduct Regional Director Sal Naseem said:

We know that these types of incidents can have a detrimental impact on public confidence in policing, when there is only a partial picture available of what happened.

 

 

Talk to strangers...

Omegle app comes under fire as children aren't adequately blocked from taking part


Link Here20th February 2021

A website that matches people to talk to strangers should be banned in the UK according to the pro-censorship campaigner John Carr.

The Omegle site, which randomly pairs strangers to talk over web cameras, has come under fire this week after reports of children being paired with adults in inappropriate conversations. A BBC investigation also found numerous adult men naked or performing sexual acts on camera on the site.

Carr who has advised the Government on child online safety, said the site's continued lack of meaningful age checks meant it should be blocked to prevent UK children wandering onto it.

Omegle, which has the advertising catchline talk to strangers and has exploded in popularity during lockdown, says its services are for over-18s or over-13s with parental permission.

The website's founder, Leif K-Brooks responded to the BBC:

While perfection may not be possible, Omegle's moderation makes the site significantly cleaner and has also generated reports that have led to the arrest and prosecution of numerous predators.

Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, said he was considering the situation as his department draws up Duty of Care legislation. He said:

[The] allegations here are very serious. We are looking into this as we develop ... new laws to tackle harmful online content.


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