Saturday, August 19, 2006

Banks get worrying powers

Banks and building societies will be able to withdraw credit and debit cards from people who have been cautioned for, or convicted of, accessing images of child abuse.

I have no problem with that whatsoever.

However, this will not be enough to prevent the issuing bank making judgement. All through unproven allegation.

My problem is this action to alleged activity. It can so easily be enhanced to net any alleged and unproven individual for any unproven 'crime'.

But: under new powers of the Data Protection Act (effective July 26, 2006) police can pass on information about alleged paedophiles to that person's card issuer.

Of course, any convicted paedophile should be... and I'm certainly NOT arguing in their favour, but yours and mine: any person not convicted is deemed innocent until proven guilty or so I thought.

This is the worrying part: the implication that any alleged offence, which means not proven, can be cited. Banks are free to cancel or suspend the cards and accounts used to commit the alleged offence.

A distinction between cancel and suspend is critical. The former is unacceptable, the latter is reasonable if restoration of service is made upon an innocent verdict. After trial.

If found guilty, then cancel. OK. It is no longer alleged.

If the 'authorities' don't like you, they can screw up your life completely.

The data on an individual can't be shared among banking groups, so a bank will have no idea what other cards an alleged offender may own. The new powers do not empower them to pass on details to other banks.

So, it seems, an alleged offender can be punished by the issuing bank, but any such alleged crime cannot be communicated. Presumably because it has not been proven.

This is all endorsed by parliament:

The Department for Constitutional Affairs: "...was a vital way to help disrupt and curtail paedophiles activity on the internet". This department is busy rewriting the constitution unofficially. Or so it seems.

The very thin end of a wedge? More State control? Read the entry below this one.

Very carefully.

This is confused or I am.

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