It is now nearly a full month since I submitted the below questions for
Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris of the PSNI. A PDF copy is also
attached to refresh your memory.
Elected officials within the European institutions are making noises
concerning citizens' privacy that, while related more to corporate abuse
of personal data, would seem to apply equally - if not moreso - to a
massive Internet and real-world surveillance and data-acquisition system
for law enforcement and intelligence services use.
In response to my earlier request for an update on the expected time at
which answers would be forthcoming, you talked of the distribution of
these questions to others; you did not respond to my followup query as
to who these questions were distributed to, nor to my concern about who
outside the EU may be involved in Project INDECT work.
I am sure you are, by now, aware of the earlier report I published in
October , and the German translation . I have, since initially
submitting my questions, been brought up to speed on developments at the
University of Wuppertal by investigative journalists with Germany's
public broadcaster. This included pointing me at the coverage published
by Telepolis , , , .
In addition to this, I have several academics, albeit reluctant to go on
the record, who are quite clear on the point that, any respectable
university involving themselves in INDECT research, with a senior police
officer as head of the Ethics Board, is in breach of the
near-universally accepted ethical review standards relating to academic
research without subject consent or where a possible breach of privacy
has taken place. I have received photographic evidence of such breaches
in progress; namely, Polish researchers installing computerised
data-acquisition devices in an apparently normal GATSO speed camera.
I have sufficient information from the below links, other published
reports subsequent to Wikinews', my own deep-web research into involved
researchers' university web presences, and comments on the dubious
legality of the proposed system, to produce a fairly damning article.
This is unreasonable without a right to reply, the attached questions
were intended as such.
It would be most reassuring to know if you actually intend to provide
honest, non-evasive, answers to my questions in short order (i.e. before
Friday coming). Or, that such will not be provided and I should go
ahead, publish, and provide full copies of my notes to the German public
broadcaster. On the latter point, it is simply a matter of time until
they collate the same information as I have and reach similar
On Fri, 2010-01-08 at 00:53 +0000, Brian McNeil wrote:
On Mon, 2010-01-04 at 13:58 +0000,
If you send me your questions, I'll do my best to ensure they are
Ken, my questions for Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris are below.
I would really appreciate if you can indicate some sort of timeframe
within which I can expect answers.
* What are the responsibilities of the Project INDECT ethics
* How does the ethics board reach decisions on what research to
* Who are the members of the Project INDECT ethics board, and who
* What are the academic requirements of the ethics board?
* What progress has there been on the project in recent months?
* What are the kinds of situations where an alert or alarm might
be triggered? And who would set those kinds of parameters?
* Are you concerned that at least one European University has been
petitioned by their student association to refuse to cooperate
in any Project INDECT research?
* What are the measures you'll be using to determine the success
of the large-scale trial planned for the Euro 2012 football
* How would you detect someone misusing access to INDECT data?
* If fully implemented in Northern Ireland, approximately how many
CCTV and speed cameras would be connected to the system?
* Would the records on email and web browsing habits that UK ISPs
are required to keep be included in the INDECT database?
* Would it be possible for private businesses to make website
activity or CCTV feeds available to INDECT?
* Would you support private companies watermarking, or otherwise
flagging, content to ease monitoring its reuse on the Internet?
* Which non-public databases from police and security services
would be added to INDECT to complement more public information?
* Would you expect implementation of INDECT to improve collection
of evidence leading to prosecutions?
* Would data normally requiring a warrant or court order be held
in INDECT? Would such be usable in a prosecution without an
equivalent legal process to deem such evidence admissible?
* Is the data collection required for INDECT not in violation of
the privacy clauses contained within the European Convention on
* Would implementation of an EU-wide version of INDECT with
Europe-wide data sharing require UK parliamentary legislation?
* Would actively seeking to keep browsing habits private, using
tools such as The Onion Router (TOR) developed by the US Navy,
be reason to flag someone for further investigation?
Depending on the answers, I may have a short followup with an additional
two or three questions.
Brian McNeil <email@example.com>|http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Brian_McNeil
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