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Met buy into digital tracking software.


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Police buy software to map suspects' digital movements


Geotime software, bought by the Met, collates data from social networking sites, satnavs, mobiles and financial transactions




    Ryan Gallagher and Rajeev Syal

    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 11 May 2011 12.00 BST

    Article history


Minority Report

Police have bought software that maps suspects' movements in space and time, in a step towards the futuristic crime detecting imagined in Minority Report. Photograph: John Anderton/AP


Britain's largest police force is using software that can map nearly every move that suspects and their associates make in the digital world, prompting an outcry from civil liberties groups.


The Metropolitan police has bought Geotime, a security programme used by the US military, which shows an individual's movements and communications with other people on a three-dimensional graphic. It can be used to collate information gathered from social networking sites, satellite navigation equipment, mobile phones, financial transactions and IP network logs.


Police have confirmed its purchase and declined to rule out its use in investigating public order disturbances.


Campaigners and lawyers have expressed concern at how the software could be used to monitor innocent parties such as protesters in breach of data protection legislation.


Alex Hanff, the campaigns manager at Privacy International, called on the police to explain who will decide how this software will be used in future.


"Once millions and millions of pieces of micro data are aggregated, you end up with this very high-resolution picture of somebody, and this is effectively what they are doing here.


"We shouldn't be tracked and traced and have pictures built by our own government and police for the benefit of commercial gain," he said.


Sarah McSherry, a partner at Christian Khan Solicitors who represents several protesters in cases against the Metropolitan police, said: "We have already seen the utilisation of a number of tactics which infringe the right to peaceful protest, privacy and freedom of expression, assembly and movement. All of these have a chilling effect on participation in peaceful protest. This latest tool could also be used in a wholly invasive way and could fly in the face of the role of the police to facilitate rather than impede the activities of democratic protesters."


Hugh Tomlinson QC, a specialist in privacy, said that a public body such as the police must be able to justify the lawfulness of how it uses the information it collects and retains."



As I've been predicting reg social networking sites and digital footprints and so on....The elephant has left the room.




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Is it just coincidence that this news emerges around the same time as the full savagery of the Tory government's social and economic policies really starts to become apparent? i.e. elitism in higher education, waging a war on the welfare state at the expense of disabled and vulnerable people whilst allowing bankers and corporate fats cats to get their snouts in the trough as public services are thrown back to the private sector, at the same time as employment law is reviewed to give the power back to the mighty corporations? Fucking hell. It's like they want to make life Hellish for all but their small, elitist group of friends. And then this. :nope:

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