Are CCTV Camera Removers Required as Surveillance Declared Illegal Without Consent?
Marie Porter – Sov Indo
Today’s Irish Independent announces that banks and insurers, amongst others, may be prosecuted for using covert surveillance technology in their alleged bid to catch fraudsters and others involved in illegal activity. They have been warned to remove tracking devices attached to people’s cars which they use to track people’s location 24 hours a day.
For some reason this is the only device which seems to concern the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner with the assistant declaring that he has warned 400 different bodies to remove these devices immediately or face prosecution. You read that correctly… 400 different bodies tracking people’s movements and location without their consent.
Some of these are admittedly government departments.
It begs the question as to why they are getting a warning to cease their criminal behaviour rather than being dealt with by the criminal justice system.
This is not a new story yet is being regurgitated for whatever reason by the same publication that reported the same story 2 years ago.
“Of the 70 or so private detectives operating in Ireland – the majority of whom are ex-gardai or former military personnel…”
“Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner is watching the detectives very closely – and taking up the fight against rogue operators.”
“Insurance companies Zurich, Travelers and FBD hit the headlines in 2012 when they pleaded guilty in the Dublin District Court to keeping social security information allegedly leaked to private investigators by an official in the Department of Social Protection.”
“The companies were spared criminal convictions after agreeing to donate €20,000 to charity.”
As the saying goes… don’t try that at home. You’d be likely to face another criminal charge of bribery.
Does this sound like a serious attempt to curtail illegal spying on Irish citizens?
There is no interest in prosecutions because to take action against such institutions would undoubtedly open a huge can of worms for the state when financial institutions and governments have colluded in massive corruption and robbed the Irish people of their futures for decades to come through such mechanisms as NAMA to name but one scam perpetrated on the Irish taxpayer.
NAMA is now selling off assets which were bought using Irish taxpayers’ money, which were to be held by the state and supposedly to be sold at a profit. Now they are being sold to vulture capitalist property management companies for bargain basement prices.
Conflict of interest perhaps?
The Irish Independent reported on the same issue of illegally attached tracking devices to people’s car back in July 2014 and yet here we are again with the same publication, with the same story and no arrests between then and now, over 2 ½ years later.
This is what they reported back then with regard to the issue.
“They need to watch out for other activities that, while legal, are highly undesirable,” he said, pointing to the “widespread” practice of private detectives attaching magnetic tracking devices to vehicles to avoid the risky business of following a car without being spotted.
The use of tracking devices, either radio or GPS-based, are easy to obtain and cost just €150-£250, he said, and the accompanying mapping software can be downloaded onto an ordinary iPhone. And in case you think these ‘dirty tricks’ sound like the stuff of crime fiction, think again.
Only two years ago it was revealed that the private bank accounts of nine Irish Rail employees were “inappropriately accessed” by a private detective hired by the semi-state firm, a GPS tracking device was fitted on the car of an employee of a contractor of Irish Rail, and the emails of 35 employees were monitored.”
The revelations emerged in 2012 during a High Court dispute between Irish Rail and a senior manager who was involved in investigating alleged fraud in the company.”
So the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has known about such illegal spying activity for over 5 years, as has the Irish Independent.
So what’s the point of reporting this now?
Perhaps it’s just to let the public know that no matter what agency spies on you, you’ll just have to get used to it because they’re not going to stop just because some supposedly independent watchdog tells them to.
However, it’s what they’re not telling you that’s the real concern although it should be fairly obvious that the state is more than guilty of breaches of our privacy through illegal spying activity on our everyday lives.
It is utter hypocrisy to declare that devices are illegal because the owner of a vehicle has not given consent for its use when the state can use thousands of surveillance cameras all over Ireland in villages, towns, cities and roads and call that legal when no consent from the law abiding citizens of Ireland has never been requested and has certainly never been given to allow such intrusive surveillance and tracking of their movements.
If consent is the criteria for surveillance then every public CCTV camera should be immediately removed from all public places.
But of course that will never happen.
Instead the Irish state forges ahead with more Draconian surveillance legislation allowing state agencies to access social media, and all electronic communication… all without consent and most certainly without a warrant or any legal right to do so.
Maybe the Cabinet doesn’t remember that in 2014 Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald enacted by statutory instrument a dormant section of the Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008 which allowed, for the first time in Ireland, the establishment of secret courts to prosecute firms that might object to the grounds or legality of an interception order, or refuse to comply.
And don’t be fooled into thinking that secret courts only apply to corporate suspects.
And it’s not just the Irish state that’s allowed to spy on its citizens… Access to foreign agencies is also provided for in this Orwellian act.
But what powers do state agencies really have to use covert surveillance on the public?
You’d be surprised at what’s deemed legal and the minimum oversight required to ensure proper use of what is still a gross violation of basic freedoms we’re told should be a right in a free and ‘democratic’ society.
Isn’t that what billions of Euros, Dollars and Pounds have been spent on to bomb countries back into the stone age who don’t have such liberties?
And haven’t so called ‘civilized’ Western governments lambasted such countries for their human rights violations and secret police spying networks using such as an excuse for war?
The hypocrisy is astonishing.
The reports above, although informative are I’m sure just the tip of the iceberg. But in a police surveillance state no media can be allowed to publish all of the facts.
This would explain why Freedom of Information Requests are blatantly denied.
Laws are put in place that prevent them being complied with.
Yes, there are many ways to skin the surveillance cat and you won’t be getting to see any of them. There are penalties if you even tell people the cat has been skinned.
“The maximum punishment for sharing “any information” about state surveillance? A five-year prison sentence and €50,000 fine.”
In any totalitarian regime the media, in particular the print media is the first line of attack when it comes to freedom of speech and the curtailment of investigations which would show criminality in government agencies.
Normally such media outlets would be co-opted into the regime as a first resort. It’s far more productive and useful for totalitarian regimes to use media to their advantage.
It should be obvious that this was done a long time ago in so called democratic countries. It’s glaringly obvious when different publications will report on ‘facts’ in entirely different contexts and skewing them to benefit any particular publication’s political backers; usually both ends of the political spectrum.
At the end of the day, the truth is the truth and the old adage that there are two sides to every story is nonsense where the truth is supposed to the goal of the journalist.
If the press hadn’t been co-opted and we truly had a free press which could report events domestically and internationally, objectively and honestly, using all possible legitimate journalistic methods, the world would not be in such dire circumstances as it is today.
Many of the players on the stage of world politics, global corporatism (Facism), media and the military industrial complex would have been imprisoned, or worse, many decades ago and the world would be a far better place for it.
The fact is that we’ve never had anything resembling a free press for many decades and we never we’ll never have one again unless there is a legitimate and major purge on national and global policy makers and the corporations they serve.
All we’re left with is fake news and outright lies and propaganda.
Ireland is quite open about its view on the press. That’s why it spies on journalists.
However, much as I despise the mainstream media for all the crimes against humanity they’ve helped perpetuate, there must still be a few journalists of conscience somewhere to justify any state feeling the need to spy on them.
Ireland is no different to any other tyrannical regime which spies on the nation’s press.
It’s supposed to be the country of a thousand welcomes but only if your private life can be stripped searched down to the bone under the guise of keeping you safe.