Daily Archives: March 11, 2007

School kids tricked into giving fingerprints, told to keep quiet

Daily Mail | Mar 10, 2007 

Fingerprints taken and stored on a secret database

Mr Woodburn says he was unprepared for the strength of feeling among parents about the ‘Big Brother’ system

A primary school headmaster has outraged parents after he tricked his pupils into recording their fingerprints by telling them they were playing spies.

Children were persuaded to give their prints after being told by Mark Woodburn that it was ‘just a game…so there’s no need to tell your parents’.

Privacy campaigners said the case, involving children as young as three, highlights the extent to which Britain is becoming a surveillance society.

It follows the leak of Home Office documents last week which revealed that from 2010, children aged 11 to 16 are to have their fingerprints taken and stored on a secret database when they apply for a passport.

Mr Woodburn, head teacher at Ghyllside Primary School in Kendal, Cumbria, devised the spies game when he introduced a new print-recognition library system at the school.

After being told it was not necessary to tell their parents, pupils were split up into groups of five or six before being photographed and fingerprinted. The ruse was revealed when one young boy did tell his parents, who then complained.

Mr Woodburn says he was unprepared for the strength of feeling among parents about the ‘Big Brother’ system – but admits ‘in hindsight’ at he should have consulted them first.

Jobless get manicures, massages and facials thanks to the taxpayer

Daily Mail | Mar 10, 2007 

No comment necessary. I hope.

PW

Unemployed single parents are receiving free massages and beauty treatments – paid for by taxpayers.

Under the Government-backed scheme, being tested around the country, they are being given the treats to ‘boost their confidence’.

So far, more than 1,000 people, mainly women, have taken advantage of ‘pamper days’ at salons as part of the project, called Big Brother. It has been justified on the grounds that if jobless people are happier and more presentable, it will be easier for them to find work.

But critics say the project is a waste of public money. So far the cost to taxpayers is at least £60,000, but the figure is likely to spiral.

The scheme – in operation in Hereford, Worcester, Northumberland, Durham and Greater Manchester – is open to any single parent over the age of 18 who has been unemployed or on disability benefit for at least six months. They can choose from a range of treatments, including a massage, a haircut, new make-up, a facial, a manicure and even ear-piercing.

They can also claim a separate £30 handout to spend on a shopping trip for new clothes, and are eligible for free lunches and childcare.

The Big Brother scheme is run by Inspire2Independence, a private company based in York. It is backed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the European Union. Neither the DWP nor Inspire2Independence would say how much public money was being spent on the scheme.

A teenage girl who works in a salon used by the single parents was critical of the initiative. ‘They didn’t look like they needed their confidence boosting – they were all very loud,’ said the girl, who did not want to be identified.

‘They seemed to have a really good time. One of them was talking into her mobile phone and laughing and joking with a friend about how she was still drunk from the night before when she woke up that morning. Many of them had tattoos and were wearing crop-tops.’

A man whose teenage daughter works at a salon in Northumberland said: ‘My daughter was baffled when she was told these women were getting treatments for nothing. They had make-up done, had facials, had their nails filed and some even had their ears pierced.

‘When you think of all the staff needed to organise this, as well as the fancy leaflets, it must cost a fortune. My daughter earns the minimum wage in the salon while she studies at college. She doesn’t get a penny from the Government and earns less than these single mothers get in benefits. What message does this send out to teenage girls?’

Martin Callanan, the Conservative Euro MP for the North East, said: ‘I’m sure there are lots of other parents, not to mention pensioners, who would like the State to pay for their pampering.

“Big Brother” Gaining Ground in Great Britain

Associated Content | Mar 10, 2007 

Big Brother=Tyranny. Make no mistake about it. Know your real Enemy.

PW

Maybe George Orwell was on to something…

It seems that “Big Brother” is gaining ground in Great Britain. Starting in 2009, in order to apply for a passport, Britons will be required to register their fingerprints, facial scans and a host of personal information such as second homes, drivers licenses and insurance policy numbers. If they do this, they will receive a national ID card and then their passport. However, the program is not mandatory. The British government has said that the program is voluntary and that people will be allowed to opt out. However, those that do will be denied receiving a British passport.

Since the program has been proposed one in eight Britons has said that they would refuse to register their personal information with the government. This could mean that up to five million people would be refused the right to travel outside of Great Britain.

Phil Booth, a member of the NO2ID group, said: “The idea that ID cards scheme is voluntary, and people can opt-out, is a joke. There are all sorts of reasons why people need to travel, not just for holidays. There is work, visiting relatives. What are these people supposed to do? It stretches the definition of voluntary beyond breaking point. They will go to any length to get personal information for this huge database. Who knows what will happen to it then?”

The notion that this is a voluntary program comes in since Britons need not receive one of the official ID cards, however in order to receive a passport they will still need to surrender their personal information and pay the full £93 price for an ID card and a passport. So, in spite of the government’s insistence that the program is mandatory, the only way in which Britons will be able to avoid the program entirely is if they never renew or apply for a passport again; this means that those British citizens who refuse to participate for whatever reasons will effectively be compelled to stay in Great Britain for the rest of their lives, unable to leave the island nation for whatever reason.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: “This comment confirms long standing suspicions that the government’s claim that the ID database will be voluntary is simply not true. The voluntary claim is serving as a fig leaf for a universal compulsory system. Once again the government’s ID card plans are being pursued behind the backs of the British people.”

Nearly 6.6 million Britons apply for travel documents annually, and Booth stated that these challenges to the new law were “inevitable” as “restricting the right of free movement is a grave breach of human rights law.” Indeed, a survey found that 12% of Britons would refuse to participate in the program, “even if it meant paying a fine of serving a prison sentence.”

British Home Secretary’s wife makes another porn flick

Daily Mail | Mar 10, 2007 

The wife of the Home Secretary is to make another erotic film – this time about an abused housewife and a self-help guru obsessed with hard-core pornography.

Carine Adler’s shocking new movie is to star Kristin Scott Thomas, better known for her portrayal of aristocratic English roses.

The Brazilian-born director, John Reid’s second wife, caused a sensation with her debut work Under The Skin, described as an exploration in ‘nymphomania’.

Her latest project is likely to be even more controversial and risks embarrassing her husband, who may challenge Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership.

Called Original Bliss, Ms Adler’s film is based on a book by the Left-wing Scottish writer A. L. Kennedy, a prominent campaigner against the Iraq War.

It will be produced by Scott Thomas herself – she bought the rights to the story after becoming fed-up with being typecast as a toff.

The main character, Helen Brindle, is a housewife stuck in an abusive relationship with a violent husband.

The story describes how, seeking an escape from her domestic hell, she forges an unlikely relationship with a pop psychologist but then realises that he has an obsession with striptease clubs and violent, degrading pornography.

The dust jacket of the book describes the story as a ‘beautiful and terrifying examination of passion and pornography’.

Schools being used to spy on your children

Daily Mail | Mar 8, 2007 

When you really begin to understand it, you will know that this is merely organized crime intruding on you, exploiting and shaking you and your children down. If you don’t get it, then all I can say is enjoy your servitude under your loving Big Brother slave-masters.

PW

Head teachers will today sound a warning over the growing mass of “intrusive” information held about pupils on school databases. They are now expected to collect detailed particulars ranging from heights and weights to family set-ups, religion, medical information and school travel arrangements.

They are often required to pass on the information to councils, quangos or central Government.

Head teachers’ leader Malcolm Trobe will today urge schools to boycott “unreasonable” requests for information from education bureaucrats.

He says the data demands are tying up schools in red tape while also giving parents cause for concern over Big Brother-style intrusion.

Primary schools are required to check the height and weight of youngsters when aged five and 11, while most schools – primary and secondary – have to keep records of how pupils travel to school.

Up to 3,500 schools are taking fingerprints from pupils – often without their parents’ permission.

The Mail revealed last month how more and more schools require pupils to undergo biometric identity checks before they can register in the mornings, buy canteen meals and use the library.

In a further development, ministers want to link separate databases to create a massive index accessible by thousands of civil servants including teachers, doctors and social workers.

In a keynote speech in London today, Mr Trobe, president of the Association of School and College Leaders, will accuse the Government of continually increasing the amount of information schools have to collect.

He will urge fellow heads to “say no” to demands for information that replicate other requests from different departments or organisations.

Yesterday Mr Trobe, head of Malmesbury School in Wiltshire, said: “We are being asked for information we don’t see as necessary for them to have. The information being held is now becoming quite significant.

“My children are grown up now, but I might have been irritated if some Big Brother was looking at their heights and weights as they were growing up. The implication is you are not caring for them properly as a parent. It is a bit nanny state-ish.

“Schools are also being asked to identify sibling relationships, most likely for admissions purposes, but it is difficult for us to keep track where you have got split families.”

He said that if schools try to keep track of children who move between parents or partners, some might find it intrusive.

As well as basic address and contact details, schools also hold information on pupils’ medical conditions, as well as dietary requirements and ethnic background.

Pat Wilkinson, Malmesbury School’s data manager, said much of the information – such as contact numbers and medical conditions – was crucial.

But she added: “Some of the data in there I don’t understand why they need – children’s religion for example.”

NATO membership approved for Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Ukraine and Georgia

Mos News | Mar 7, 2007  

The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to endorse further enlargement of the NATO alliance which will allow admission of two former Soviet republics — Ukraine and Georgia, the Reuters news agency reports. A brief debate took place before the voting, in which no one mentioned Moscow’s nervousness about such an expansion.

On a voice vote, the House backed a resolution calling for the “timely admission” to the alliance of Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, and two former republics of the old Soviet Union, Georgia and Ukraine. Identical legislation was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.

The goal is to encourage those five countries to continue working to join the military alliance, the legislation’s sponsor, Rep. John Tanner, a Tennessee Democrat, said.

“It is a statement from Congress that we believe what they are doing is important, and we believe they are moving in the right direction,” Tanner told the House during debate.

Recently Moscow’s leadership has harshly criticized U.S. foreign policy, including its support for another round of NATO enlargement. “We have the right to ask, against whom is this expansion directed,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in widely-noted speech last month to a conference in Europe.

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was set up in 1949 as a military alliance to deter the Soviet Union from expanding into Western Europe.

But lawmakers said the U.S. resolution was a routine expression of support for the next crop of NATO aspirants. NATO has expanded before into Eastern Europe, including right up to Russia’s borders when the former Soviet states of the Baltics joined NATO in 2004.