Author Archives: Jag

Supreme Court’s Catt judgment ignores reality of surveillance and seriously undermines privacy & protest rights

Yesterday’s Supreme Court judgment ( press summary here) in the Catt case marks a missed opportunity to protect the privacy rights of protestors and instead waves through the police’s runaway mass surveillance operations. By a 4:1 majority the Court allowed the Met’s appeal against the 2013 Court of Appeal decision which had said that the retention of intelligence records on John Catt (a […]

Police intelligence obsession ignores law and balks at accountability

Three issues have come to light over the last few days which raise yet more concerns around police operations, privacy and freedom of expression.  All three have a common theme in that they all show the police’s willingness to flout the law and desire to actively obstruct those who challenge their unlawful actions.   1. […]

Cameron, Tabloids & Tyrants: Vous n’êtes pas Charlie

The tragic events that took place in Paris last week have stimulated heated debate about a range of difficult issues including where the limits of freedom of expression lie and how best to tackle extremism.  This post is not intended to deal comprehensively every aspect of this debate but to highlight the hypocrisy of those who […]

FITs, ‘domestic extremism’ & privacy rights: the law so far

This week the Supreme Court will hear a crucial case regarding the surveillance of political activists and protestors via forward intelligence/evidence gatherer teams and the national domestic extremism database. Catt v Association of Chief Police Officers was brought by peace protestor John Catt, who upon submitting a subject access request to police discovered that they had […]

Why the Tories can’t be trusted on freedom of expression or privacy

With last month’s announcement that a majority Conservative Government would repeal the Human Rights Act, replace it with a ‘British Bill of Rights’, and in all likeliness withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, the future of human rights protection in the UK has been thrown into some uncertainty. Ironically –  and as if […]

#spycops victims seek end to Police’s ‘NCND’ wall of silence

See my previous posts on this case here, and the Police Spies Out of Lives campaign website here. The ongoing ‘spycops’ litigation continued this week in the High Court, as a group of the victim claimants asked the court to order the Metropolitan Police to file a proper defence to their legal claim.  Despite abandoning […]

Police abandon #spycops strike-out

In an unexpected and welcomed move the Met yesterday announced that it will no longer attempt to strike out claims brought by five women in respect of the undercover police officers who deceived them into sexual relationships. I have previously written about the ongoing #spycops saga here, here, and here. The claimants had brought civil […]

“Super-ASBO” IPNAs rejected by House of Lords

Last night the House of Lords rejected by a majority of 128 the Government’s proposed Anti-social Behavour, Crime and Policing Bill (pdf). Aspects of the Bill were intended to replace Labour’s highly controversial Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) with a new system of Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs), and essentially represented an exaggeration of […]

Spycops Appeal: Partial Victory

The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled on the ‘spycops’ appeal which was heard in October.  I previously wrote about the appeal here  and commented on the undercover policing revelations in general here. The case is a complex one; there are essentially two sets of claims being brought by eight Claimants represented by two law firms.  The […]

Undercover Policing on Trial

Background Earlier this year a book and Channel 4 documentary by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans blew the lid off the darker side of British undercover policing, revealing that since the 1970s undercover police officers of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) had routinely deceived female activists into committed sexual relationships.  This followed the inadvertent outing […]