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abuse of anti terror laws by local authorities

Comment 31st August 2010

Anti-terror legislation was agreed to by MP's to enable the security forces to protect citizens from those that would attack us or seek to destroy our way of life. Civil liberty organisations and the general public only accepted these on the assurance that they were to be used to fight terrorists only.

 

It's a disgrace that local authorities have abused these laws in order to spy on citizens for minor issues, such as how much waste they produce/recycle. These laws have also been used to stop innocent people enjoying perfectly acceptable pursuits, such as train spotting! They are being abused by all and sundry as a means to implementing their personal or corporate predeliction for restricting public access to public places, or rights to privacy in their own home. The police are also hiding behind these laws as a means to prevent citizens holding them accountable, by filming or photographing them exceeding their permitted powers to enforce the laws of the land.

 

I think these laws should be updated to make them specific, for use by security forces only in cases where there is a genuine terrorism concern. It should also be an offense under these laws for any individual or organisation to use these laws for any other purpose.

Why does this matter?

People are tired of local authorities, especially un-elected persons emlpoyed by them, abusing these powers to spy on families and individuals. If the use of these laws isn't restricted to the genuine security services there is a real danger that the public will demand the complete removal of them, and this will leave citizens less well protected.

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