Apr 302012
 April 30, 2012  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

Matt Zapotosky reports:

Maryland’s top law enforcement officials are pushing back against a recent Court of Appeals decision that prohibits DNA collection from suspects charged — but not yet convicted — of violent crimes, saying the ruling will allow dangerous criminals to go undetected by authorities.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and police chiefs and prosecutors from the D.C. suburbs to Baltimore County are urging the state’s attorney general to challenge last week’s Alonzo Jay King Jr. v. State of Maryland decision, which found that swabbing criminal suspects for DNA samples after they are charged is a violation of the suspects’ constitutional rights.

Read more in the Washington Post.

Given how many states now legalize such DNA swabbing, the Maryland decision was a welcome one. But will it survive an appeal? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Apr 302012
 April 30, 2012  Posted by  Non-U.S.

Good one, but do they really have any legal leg to stand on? The council says they don’t:

A Nottingham business is refusing to let the city council’s camera car onto its premises to check it is obeying the conditions of the workplace parking levy.

The council has spent £93,000 on a car that will record the number of vehicles parked in company car parks to enforce the new parking tax.

But Lenton firm Nottingham Textile Group, which voiced strong opposition to the levy before it came into force at the beginning of the month, has questioned the legal rights of the council to record on private property.

The company’s chief operating officer Adrian Wright has written to the Government Office of Surveillance Commissioners and the Information Commissioner’s Office, to ask for clarification and guidance. He says until this is provided they will not allow the car on site.

Read more on This is Nottingham.

Apr 302012
 April 30, 2012  Posted by  Breaches, Non-U.S.

Elaine Edwards reports:

Members of the public made a record number of complaints to the Data Protection Commissioner’s office last year.

Commissioner Billy Hawkes’s annual report for 2011 reveals the 1,161 complaints related to issues such as unsolicited marketing by text message and email and unlawful use of CCTV to monitor employees.

Prosecutions were taken by the commissioner last year against telecommunications companies Vodafone, UPC, Eircom and 02 for marketing offences.

Read more on Irish Times.

Apr 292012
 April 29, 2012  Posted by  Featured News, Surveillance, U.S., Youth & Schools

I’m probably one of the last people you’d ever expect to raise the “it’s for the children” argument for surveillance in schools, right?

But there’s a story out of New Jersey that’s all too familiar to me in my “irl” identity and work: disabled students are abused in school and because of their disabilities, cannot even communicate what’s going on to their parents.

I know of too many cases where kids were harmed by the abuse that is inflicted on them in school.  In some cases, the harm is physical. In other cases, the harm is emotional. In some cases, it’s both.

Some students with disabilities have been restrained in chairs “for their own good” for hours on end. Some have been sent to “time out rooms” because they were verbally disruptive in class (likely because they couldn’t communicate what was really bothering them).  Their parents – who may never have agreed to placing their child in the time-out room or physical restraint in a chair – often have no idea what could possibly be going on.

And some kids are arrested because of their symptoms and the school’s failure to learn how to handle them effectively and appropriately.

Some  kids come home from school with bruises and when parents inquire, they’re told their child is clumsy and fell. Other times, the kids come home from school and may be sad or angry but can’t tell the parent about all the verbal abuse they were subjected to during the day – from the very adults who should have helped them and been kind to them. Or they can’t communicate that they were thrown into a time-out/isolation room for part of their time.  Or that the bruise on their head is because they banged their head against the door of a time-out room in frustration and anguish.

Some have developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from their school experiences, and some have become suicidal.

The abuse of any student is despicable and unacceptable. Repeated abuse or maltreatment of disabled students warrants criminal charges, in my opinion.

But does the situation warrant in-school and/or in-class audiovisual surveillance – to protect the children?

Is this one of the exceptions for those of us who tend to argue against surveillance of children in school?

What do you think?