Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Is anyone listening to us?

Have you ever heard of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000? Have you any idea what it actually results in - in practice?

It means that in the UK A total of 653 state bodies have the power to intercept private communications – private communications including your’s.

This includes 474 Councils who only require a senior council officer to authorise the surveillance.

Many might regard this as sinister enough - and largely unnecessary given that wiretap evidence is not actually admissible in court.

The problem is these wanna-be big brothers are often unaccountable civil servants, absolutely renowned for their ability and competence ;-) You - know, the sort Government Ministers like to use as scapegoats.

In a nine month period, the Communications Commissioner, has found that 122 local authorities sought to obtain people's private communications, in more than 1,600 cases.

Scarily and possibly predictably, it turns out over 1,000 of all the bugging operations measured in that same period were flawed. Including instances where the phones of innocent people who had nothing to do with them were tapped by mistake.

So next time you pick up the phone keep in mind - If you phone someone who works in the same building as a suspected fly tipper then you may be being bugged by a council clerk. Even if you are just phoning a friend you may be being bugged, by mistake, by a council clerk.

Careful what you say…

Quote of the day

” The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.”

Edward R. Murrow

Experts fail to spot boy's deafness caused by 'cotton bud'

When he was two years old Jerome Bartens was diagnosed as deaf in his right ear.

Now after nine years and Drs and specialists who believed it was wax and he might ‘grow out of it’, it turns out to have been caused by the tip of a cotton bud he stuck in there as a toddler. It popped out whilst playing with friends.

Apparently he has struggled with lessons his whole school career because of this.

Belief is all very well and good. It is highly thought of in religious circles. But when it is possible to test something empirically surely reliance on pure belief is not necessarily, as they say, ‘best practice’.

Every Dr’s surgery I have ever been in has the equipment to look in your ear.

Why on earth didn’t someone out of all the Drs and Specialists who saw him think to actually look?