Archive for the ‘moral horror’ Category

No wonder the Indy‘s moving in with the Daily Mail; it’s taken to publishing leaders like this one, a crude bit of hard right culture war stuff which blames the Sharon Matthews case on “welfare”. Yes, really. They also rehearse the old Peter Lilley thing about “single mothers who get pregnant just to jump the housing list”, and sniff that the Matthews’ life was “disorderly in the extreme”.

Refined shudder! Let’s not even imagine what might happen if various north London councils’ social service departments had to look into the “orderliness” or otherwise of various well-known journalists’ home lives. We could be faced with a nonsense shortage. Perhaps we should maintain a national stockpile of terrible journalism against such a possibility.

The proposed solution is of course to make the poor rather poorer, so that they will become better people. They will be scared into being more orderly; it’s worth noting that this disgusting piece of writing doesn’t even bother to claim that its proposals would have done anybody any good. No;

Ms Matthews might then have been tracked by government agencies earlier and her life on benefits might have become less comfortable.

In the next paragraph, they go on to say that she would still have had far too many children and not gone out to work. So what does this actually mean? Surely they cannot expect that some jobcentre clerk would have detected an ambition in her to fake the kidnap of her own daughter, had she only been forced to fill in some more forms and be lectured some more about Standards?

And, as we have seen recently, there is absolutely no reason to think that the State would have done anything effective had it had this information. I mean, can you imagine ringing up the social services department or the cops with this story? Yes, one of my clients at Dewsbury Job Centre. I think…I think she’s going to kidnap her own daughter. Well, I know. Yes, the daughter lives with her. Don’t ask me – ask her! Why? For the reward money! But at least, as the Independent puts it:

Ms Matthews might then have been tracked by government agencies earlier and her life on benefits might have become less comfortable.

Surveillance of the poor is an end in itself, it seems, as is rendering their lives “less comfortable”. And, of course, I mean the poor, and so does The Independent. There is no protocol for only applying more surveillance to the guilty – that’s not how it works.

Of course, on the substance, the whole Government proposal the Indy is supporting is silly, a bit of midmarket newspaper fan service left over from the boom years, when unemployment was primarily the Thatcher legacy and not something that affected the large majority. Now, on the boom has come the slump, and we’re facing the possibility of a big cyclical surge in unemployment.

The nature of cyclical unemployment is that it is caused by the business cycle and spread broadly across the economy; there is simply not enough work. There is no point making the cyclically unemployed report more often and jump through more hoops; unless your purpose is to impress Associated Newspapers with your sternness towards the undeserving poor. And, it would seem, The Independent.

Of course, this probably has something to do not only with Independent News and Media’s increasing closeness to the Daily Mail, but also the arrival of Roger Alton as editor of the Independent. In fact, this piece – a first leader which was given an unusually generous word count – might be Alton’s own work, just as the conversion of The Observer into a cocktail of Decent Left drivel and lifestyle wank was Alton’s work.

What is the Decent line on the economic crisis? It doesn’t seem at all clear yet; they don’t tend to interest themselves in economics. Certainly Nick Cohen can be expected to take up the sort of Tory moralising that has infected the Indy, and Cohen’s career was promoted by Roger Alton more than anyone else.

Meanwhile, the Independent is doing its bit to make life less comfortable; they just fired 20% of their journalists. Presumably, Alton (and IN&M) is preparing the Indy for a new role in a Tory period as the Mail for people who can’t bring themselves to read the Mail but actually want its politics, just as David Cameron is the Conservative for people who can’t bring themselves to vote for other Conservatives but actually want Conservative Party politics.

Update: Jamie Kenny has more. It seems clear there is a push on this going on – the Sunday Telegraph editoralised in the same terms today, and Tory shadow minister Chris Grayling trailed something similar in the Observer.

I’m not so sure about this; arsewit wingnut blogger runs out of money, goes bankrupt, various people who should know better jeer.

The whole point of everything from some way to the right of centre – Bismarck or thereabouts – leftwards is that IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good christian, a loyal subject, a committed rebel, if you work harder, if you’re especially competent. Even if you’re rich; European history is littered with the monuments of elites who thought they could buy their way out at the last. We survive if everyone else does.

Poverty and misfortune are not, generally, held up by individuals’ decisions; they roll over the landscape, driven by shifts in huge statistical aggregates and channeled by tiny ripples of random chance, just as a flood begins with a rise in average rainfall and ruins one street that’s six inches closer to the water. When you think that so-and-so went bust because of their own immorality, and therefore they join the undeserving poor, you’re signing on with the other side. They will tell you that the system is entirely OK; it’s the ones who failed it who are the problem. They didn’t believe in it enough.

As the case of Kim du Toit makes clear, this won’t help you one bit when it happens to you. Yes, he’s an arse of the first water and a troll of epic proportions. No, mocking people because of their poverty is always and everywhere wrong.

Tim Ireland’s new project is more necessary than ever. It’s not quite achieved the same degree of punch and professionalism that the daddy of tab-bashing blogs, BildBlog offers readers of Germany’s biggest newspaper, but give them time. (This also bothers me. When I started this blog there were one million blogs, of which 50,000 updated on average daily. Now their numbers are beyond counting, and the top 50,000 churn out far more than before because so many are professional. I can remember when the only pro was Josh Marshall.)

Anyway, this didn’t seem to interest TSL despite my desperately flagging it, but it’s possibly the most Orwellian piece of writing in the history of British journalogasm. Link, if you can stomach it.

AN Iraqi terror boss is demanding legal aid to sue the MoD — over PORN left in his jail toilet. Ahmed Al-Fartoosi — blamed for the deaths of dozens of Brits — is to sue the Government for tens of thousands of pounds. On top of the loo claim, Fartoosi — accused of leading the fanatic Mehdi Army and masterminding a bombing campaign against Our Boys in Basra — wants “substantial damages” for:

HEARING porn videos being played on a soldier’s laptop;

BUMPING his arm and thigh when being put in an armoured vehicle; and

LOSING sleep in his cell due to noise and lights from a corridor.

Fartoosi — represented by anti-war lawyer Phil Shiner — also moaned his solitary confinement room was too hot.

Fortunately there are also newspapers that don’t aim for a reading age of seven (I’ve actually collapsed some of the paragraphs in that quote, if you can believe that). So…

Fartoosi was detained for more than two years, including nearly six months in solitary confinement. He was arrested in his Basra home in September 2005 and released late last year after British forces agreed to an Iraqi-sponsored deal with the militia.

He says he was beaten with rifle butts and blindfolded before he was put in a tank. For 12 hours he and his fellow detainees given no food and were prevented from going to the toilet.

He says he was taken to the British base at Shaibah, on the outskirts of Basra, where he spent 72 days in solitary confinement in a small cell with no ventilation, though he says he was provided with three cooked meals a day. On the third or fourth night, he says, soldiers brought a laptop and placed it on a window sill just outside his cell.

“After a short period of conversation in English it became clear to me that the DVD was showing porn. It was playing at the loudest possible volume. Thereafter for the next month the porn movies were played all night.”

So, when the Sun says he “bumped” his arm and thigh, they mean that he was beaten up with the butt of a rifle. When they say he lost sleep, and heard porn playing back on a laptop, they mean he was deliberately deprived of sleep as an interrogation tactic – one which is banned by Army doctrine on the handling of prisoners, by the way.

Note also that the “porn found in a jail toilet”, a comparatively puny charge, somehow got promoted into the lede, thus pushing the sleep deprivation down into the bottom end of the story. (After all, do you think you were meant to read any more than the first par?) Of course, associating it with a toilet tends to lend a sort of fnarr fnarr quality to the whole thing as well.

Nobody has any business writing like this. You might wonder as well what the Sun thought it was doing being “STAGGERED” by Colin Stagg’s compensation; let’s not forget that the Met is currently prosecuting another suspect in the Rachel Nickell case…the guy whose DNA was all over the crime scene. We can be as certain as anything in the law that Stagg is innocent; we’ve got the DNA after all. So what is their major malfunction? Can it be that they just like arbitrary state power?

Bonus catch: this week, they also managed to report the horrible fate of a boy who fell off a block of flats he was trying to climb down to get away from his enemies with the strapline “BROKEN BRITAIN HORROR”; they are always so keen to churn out victim porn (see the Stagg story), but you have to wonder whether his relatives really wanted to be conscripted into a party political broadcast for the Conservative Party.

OK, this is outrageous stupid shit of the sort we expect from our gallant allies. Simply, a graduate student at Nottingham University is writing a thesis on terrorists, and as part of this he gets a copy of an Al-Qa’ida training manual from a US government website. Being a postgrad and therefore by definition permanently broke, he got a friend who worked in the university administration to print off the 1,500 pages rather than paying the shared printer fees.

Now this seems silly – 1,500 pages? Seriously? Wouldn’t it have been better to search that lot rather than read it through? Don’t they have grep at Nottingham? But that’s not the point. The point is that “someone” noticed the document on the administrator’s computer and grassed them to the police, who predictably freaked, arrested everyone under the Terrorism Act, kept them locked up for eight days, arrested his family, seized all computers they could lay hands on, etc.

The key detail is that both people have names that might give rise to suspicion of being insufficiently willing to condemn, etc, etc. Now, yer man has been released, however, the administrator is Algerian, and is going to be deported on “unrelated” immigration matters. Yeah, right.

Further, the university:

A spokesman for Nottingham University said it had a duty to inform police of “material of this nature”. The spokesman said it was “not legitimate research material”, but later amended that view, saying: “If you’re an academic or a registered student then you have very good cause to access whatever material your scholarship requires. But there is an expectation that you will act sensibly within current UK law and wouldn’t send it on to any Tom, Dick or Harry.”

Right, sunshine. There is no such thing as “legitimate” research material, just as there is no such thing as “legitimate” thought. We all have the right to read what we damn well like, and as a fucking university you have a duty to stand up for this. As soon as you accept that reading X, Y, or Z, even though not illegal, is the sort of thing They don’t like, you’ve already lost. Ecrasez l’infame.

The University of Nottingham’s vice chancellor is Sir Colin Campbell, who can be reached on +44 (0) 115 951 3001, and by fax on +44 (0) 115 951 3005. More people to shout at are here.

Hat tips: Kings of War, IRG.

So I actually bought a printer; in fact, a printer/scanner. And I considered buying two pairs of jeans after showing up at the count with interesting new holes. Am I descending into bovine consumerism? And the obvious next step was to qualify it with the Linux Lappeh.

It wasn’t quite the “And then my troubles began…” experience like the BIOS reflash in January, but I was very amused by the fact that XSANE both throws a dialog box containing the following words:

You are trying to run Xsane as root! This is DANGEROUS! Please do not file bug reports for anything that happens when running Xsane as root: YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN!

and also suggests running as root as a generic troubleshooting option in its documentation. Well, I did, and all went OK. As I said to Soizick: the great thing about using Linux is that you get to feel like a mad scientist.

I recommend and endorse hplip.

This NYT story is nonsense. Various rightwing barkies have taken the opportunity of the French armed forces’ deliciously 007-esque mission to rescue the sailing yacht Le Ponant to tout the following story around the media: the Royal Navy has been ordered not to detain pirates under any circumstances, for fear that they might something or other, because of the Human Rights Act. The details are opportunely left open; the usual formation of the story makes only two testable claims, one of which is that landing a captured pirate in Somalia would likely be illegal because the local authorities might cut their head off, and the other being that the pirate might claim political asylum aboard ship.

What the story does not actually say is why this would stop anyone from detaining pirates, or for that matter why the same doesn’t go for the French. After all, as a State party to the European Convention on Human Rights, France has the same legal obligations. Now, the first claim is obviously true in the sense that yes, Virginia, Somalia is a nasty failed state run by a mix of more-or-less Islamist warlords and Ethiopian army officers. Handing someone over to this lot for trial might well be illegal. But has nobody else noticed that it would also be intensely, profoundly stupid?

Who on earth would want to return captured pirates to the state, or rather un-state, that permitted them to operate openly from their territory? Even if the Somali authority they were returned to actually wanted to try them, you’ve got to assume there’s a significant chance of them getting away. In fact, the French mission gives us all the information we need; the pirates collected the ransom, went ashore, and seem to have planned just to drive off with it, which doesn’t inspire confidence in local law enforcement.

Further, there is no legal reason whatsoever to give pirates captured off Somalia to the Somali police. Pirates have a special status in international law they share with slavers, torturers and those responsible for genocide; they are hostes humanae generis, enemies of all humanity, which in practice means that any state that can catch them has effective jurisdiction in the case. Once the pirates are caught, there is absolutely no reason not to take them to a proper court back in London, or wherever. That given, why should we need to even think about handing them over to a jurisdiction where they might escape, be tortured, or be put to death?

The second testable claim is that a captured pirate might claim political asylum. This is true. A longstanding principle of the law of the sea is that of exclusive flag state jurisdiction, which means that a warship of state A is for all intents and purposes part of A’s national territory. The principle holds in a weaker form for merchant vessels. Americans really ought to be conscious of this, because they fought a war against Britain in part over the principle.

Now, a story. When I took my MSc in 2003-2004, my International Law course was taught by Commander Steven Haines, who had just resigned from his post as a senior legal adviser to the Royal Navy, round about the same time Elizabeth Wilmshurst walked out of her similar post at the Foreign Office. In fact, I heard Wilmshurst’s name for the first time from him. He didn’t give his reasons, but do I need to draw you a fucking diagram? (He’s also the only person I know who ever had control of a nuclear weapon. Cool, eh? Pity he took so bloody long to mark essays.)

Haines took part in the 2000 intervention in Sierra Leone, where he was involved in the decision as to what to do with limb-choppin’ war criminal Foday Sankoh after his capture. The military were keen to fly him straight out to Illustrious, as he’s not known for being a great swimmer and would be very unlikely to escape; Haines opposed the idea on the grounds that he might claim political asylum, which would have been politically more than problematic. Instead he was confined at the airport and then in the Freetown police station with a guard reinforced with British troops, but later cheated the courts by dying before he could be brought to trial.

So the problem is not new, but it’s not like it helped Sankoh any. And there is no reason why some one can’t spend their political asylum in prison; it doesn’t confer immunity for one’s crimes, and piracy is a crime. (That is both bathetically and pathetically obvious, but there is an important point here which we’ll come back to.)

To recap: yes, it would be illegal to hand over a pirate to Somali warlords for trial. No, this does not constrain anyone in catching pirates, because anyone who can catch them can try them. And frankly, not handing prisoners to the Somali “government” is a feature, not a bug. Yes, you can claim asylum aboard a foreign warship; no, this is no deal-breaker.

So what did those thrillingly tough and macho Frenchmen do with their six captured buccaneers? They, after all, aren’t letting themselves have their national essence sapped by do-gooding lawyers and bickering parliamentarians’ quibbles, right? Up to the yard-arm? Walk the plank? Hand them to the fun-loving fellas from Ethiopian Military Intelligence? Er, no.

Six pirates sont transférés à bord de la frégate Jean Bart et ils seront remis à la justice pour être jugés en France.

So yes, the six pirates were brought aboard the Jean Bart and will be tried in France.

Far too many people who should know better have swallowed this transparent bollocks at face value, or indeed, at a considerable premium. For example: here’s Information Dissemination getting it wrong. Here’s Abu Muqawama getting it wrong. Here’s Abu Muq getting it wrong again after initial treatment. I don’t have the stomach to look into the fever swamp.

So why, do you think, is this story being pushed so hard? The ur-text is this Times article, which consists of pure assertion – there is no information in there implying the central claim, that the RN has been ordered not to detain pirates – and a quote from swivel-eyed Tory Julian Brazer MP apparently reacting to the Times reporter. Repeat it a few times, and voila; new facts.

But who, pray, is keen on demonising the very idea of law as a constraint on state action? Try this comment at AM:

Ultimately the very notion of law itself may be bought into disrepute. As it is already in the ranks of the American forces.

See? It’s those bastard lawyers who MADE us torture them. Indeed it was; just not the same ones. This kind of embrace of raison d’etat has something of the power of all the ideas of a liberation from freedom about it.

By the way: as well as the Reuters report, Liberation has photos and commentary from the guy who runs Secret Defense.

Update: I’d forgotten that the original Captain Kidd was commissioned by the Navy to hunt down other pirates. He was a countergang that went wrong. Now there’s a far better lesson for you.

If you can read you should read this if you read nothing else this decade. It’s all about how the Americans started torturing people, whose idea it was, how men like John Yoo came to provide the legal justifications, who was keen (the ideological core of the administration), who didn’t want to know (the FBI and, curiously, the US Navy’s Criminal Investigative Service). It is intensely depressing, and the only hope in it is the precedent from Nuremberg that a lawyer who is involved in a war crime in their legal capacity can be just as guilty as the torturer.

Here’s the most significant bit, if that means anything at this level of degradation:

On September 25, as the process of elaborating new interrogation techniques reached a critical point, a delegation of the administration’s most senior lawyers arrived at Guantánamo. The group included the president’s lawyer, Alberto Gonzales, who had by then received the Yoo-Bybee Memo; Vice President Cheney’s lawyer, David Addington, who had contributed to the writing of that memo; the C.I.A.’s John Rizzo, who had asked for a Justice Department sign-off on individual techniques, including waterboarding, and received the second (and still secret) Yoo-Bybee Memo; and Jim Haynes, Rumsfeld’s counsel. They were all well aware of al-Qahtani. “They wanted to know what we were doing to get to this guy,” Dunlavey told me, “and Addington was interested in how we were managing it.” I asked what they had to say. “They brought ideas with them which had been given from sources in D.C.,” Dunlavey said. “They came down to observe and talk.” Throughout this whole period, Dunlavey went on, Rumsfeld was “directly and regularly involved.”

Beaver confirmed the account of the visit. Addington talked a great deal, and it was obvious to her that he was a “very powerful man” and “definitely the guy in charge,” with a booming voice and confident style. Gonzales was quiet. Haynes, a friend and protégé of Addington’s, seemed especially interested in the military commissions, which were to decide the fate of individual detainees. They met with the intelligence people and talked about new interrogation methods. They also witnessed some interrogations.

Addington. Addington. At every ugly hinge of the Bush years, he’s there. I’d never heard of him until at least 2006, when the Stiftung turned me on to the story. I wonder if he was a member of the White House Iraq Group? Another one we never cleared up.

This depresses me for other reasons; at the end of 2001, I was just about still prepared to defend them. I never imagined they would want to keep the prisoners indefinitely; better in their hands than those of the Northern Alliance, right? The penny finally dropped for me with the decision to refuse them POW status in early 2002. But looking back, should I have been angrier earlier? Not that it would have helped; but I do think I consistently underestimated them. I was always opposed to Iraq – but right up to the end I didn’t really believe they meant it.

It seemed so crazed, the only explanation I could think of was that it was an exercise in madman theory (and you all know what I think of that); once the inspectors went back in, and they started cutting up rockets and flying Mirage F1-CR recce planes, wouldn’t this be the end? Or at least, wouldn’t it be enough for us? What I didn’t realise, of course, was that they wanted war for reasons that had very little to do with the war; for Blair it was presumably to cling to the US. And for Addington?

His significance, I think, is that it’s all been about law; they wanted and dreamed of escaping the constraints of the legal state, and no wonder they started at the top.

Update: Pathos to bathos in a flash. Yes, that should have been John Yoo, not Woo. Perhaps they should have hired John Woo; he’d have danced round his own arse on the tip of a Tomahawk missile while chop-socking Addington into diced wanker and collapsing Osama’s occiput with a diamond-edged writ. They’d have told all they knew, willingly.

Let me count the ways.

If you think Phorm – the evil advert-spooking system practically all the UK’s eyeball ISPs want to force on you – isn’t so bad, I’ve got news for you. First of all, let’s have a look at this Grauniad Tech article.

BT’s 2006 trials certainly involved some sort of interception, because the data streams had extra Javascript inserted into them – which puzzled a number of people at the time. Two examples can be seen at the forums of raisingkids.co.uk and progarchives.com. In both, the Javascript and other tags inserted by the 121Media system are clearly visible, with one showing the referring page and possibly “interests” of the member. Both contain links to sysip.net – the 121Media-owned site through which BT sent browser requests during the 2006 trials and later ones in summer 2007.

OK. So not only were they snooping, but Phorm actually injects not just data – like a cookie – but code into your URL requests, so their customer websites react differently as a result. It’s especially worrying that what they are adding is JavaScript; it’s not just data, it’s program logic. It does things. And, as any user of modern Web 2.0 services should realise, you can do all kinds of things with it – for example, you can call other web servers from within a web page without reloading. There is no way for you – the person whose BT, Virgin or Carphone Warehouse billing record stands behind the IP address that stands behind the identifier Phorm assigned – to know what such code does until after the fact.

Now, consider this; the good people of F-Secure unpicking the latest trend in security threats, the iFrame injection. It works like this – a lot of websites catch the search requests they receive and cache them, either to speed up the search process or to provide suggestions with the search results. This means that the search string…appears in a web page on their servers. So, if you fire enough popular search terms (which you can get from their website…) in, and append your attack code, there’s a chance it’ll get cached. And then, a visitor who uses the same search terms will get a page that contains the attack code; JavaScript is executed in the client side – i.e on the visitor’s computer – so you’re in.

So, let’s put them together; if you’re a Phorm customer, you can get the interests and web habits (and billing data?) of everyone in the UK delivered to your dodgy website in real time, and then you can reload anything you damn well like in their browser based on that information. Suddenly – let’s back off here. It’ll be someone unpopular. At first. So bnp.co.uk or alghuraabah.co.uk sends you to http://www.sweeticklekiddiesandtentacles.203vggngh65t7.biz.cn; and there’s fuck all you can do about it, except try to explain the concepts of “deep packet inspection”, “iFRAME SEO injection”, and the like to a court of law.

Paranoia, right? Not so much.

You think that’s scary? Here’s some more F-Secure for you. There is at least one exploit out there, which could be delivered through the lines we just discussed, that writes dubious code to the BIOS – the low-level insect brain of a computer, the bit that lights up the screen, spins up the hard drive, and explains how to read the boot sector and start the operating system. The only fix there, I think, would be to format the fucking lot and install something completely different – or throw the damn thing in the sea.

But here’s where it gets bad; the thing nicks your online banking passwords. And then what does it do? It puts money into your bank account. Feel free to speculate.

Update: Now that’s what I call an April Fool from F-Secure. A cracker. This is of course without prejudice to the rest of the post, but I should have realised there would be no way they’d have included a live link to the exploit if it was real. If you were brave enough to follow it, well…you’d get the joke.

This is interesting. Jim Bates, an expert witness for the defence in some of the Operation Ore cases we discussed, has been accused of misrepresenting his qualifications. Specifically, the charges relate to whether or not he claimed to be an electronics engineer, despite not being one, and to his career in the Royal Air Force. I frankly have no idea what he may or may not have done in either of these, but I would like to be the first to point out that neither of them change the facts of the case. Bates is not the only person to have reviewed the data; and anyway, he wasn’t asked to carry out any electronic engineering.

You do not need a degree in electronic engineering to use the Unix grep command, which is all you need to check if the IP addresses in list A (the alleged buyers) appear in list B (the Visa merchant terminal log). Further, I fail to see how this changes anything about the 54,348 stolen credit cards; we even know which company they were stolen from (Levenger, Inc.) and that they were stolen from their MS Access database.

Further, it is something of an IT industry tradition that not everybody who knows anything about computers has a “Computer Engineer By Royal Appointment” coat-of-arms; we think this is something akin to freedom. Hell, I’ve got an MSc in International Relations, and so has the CEO of British Telecom.

I’m not at all surprised to see this bit of the story:

‘It is critical that those who serve as expert witnesses are credible on an ethical basis and do not have any alternative agendas which may affect their independent status,’ said Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which brought the case against Bates.

Indeed, indeed. How’s the Forest Gate case coming on, fella?

ACPO is no longer tolerable as an organisation. It’s a freefloating lobby for ever-greater authoritarianism. Seriously.

Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.

‘If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,’ said Pugh. ‘You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won’t. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.’

Pugh admitted that the deeply controversial suggestion raised issues of parental consent, potential stigmatisation and the role of teachers in identifying future offenders, but said society needed an open, mature discussion on how best to tackle crime before it took place. There are currently 4.5 million genetic samples on the UK database – the largest in Europe – but police believe more are required to reduce crime further. ‘The number of unsolved crimes says we are not sampling enough of the right people,’ Pugh told The Observer….

The ID card scheme is on its last legs; note that the heart of it, the NIR, has been shunted back from 2004 to 2012, whatever pretendy-wee bollocks they rush out for face-saving purposes. But the control industry keeps rolling along.

Also note this:

‘Fingerprints, somehow, are far less contentious,’ he said. ‘We have children giving their fingerprints when they are borrowing books from a library.’

When we say that the efforts to push biometrics and RFID on schools are intended to soften up the public for more state surveillance, they call us paranoid extremists. And then, the head of biometrics at ACPO says that’s precisely what they are doing.