Rights campaigners in Britain have described as “utterly chilling” a secret database compiled by counter-terrorism police containing personal information about thousands of people referred to the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation Prevent programme.
The Prevent Case Management (PCM) database is accessible to all police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the Home Office is also able to request data from it, according to documents sent to the human rights group Liberty, and seen by The Guardian. Prevent is a voluntary programme which aims to divert people from terrorism before they offend. Up until now it was not known that police could enter details from each Prevent referral into the PCM database, including personal details and reasons for the referral. Gracie Bradley, of Liberty, said it was “utterly chilling that potentially thousands of people, including children, are on a secret government database because of what they’re perceived to think or believe”. (The Guardian 7 Oct 2019)
The movement, all over the world towards misuse of available technology is growing apace. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia – the list is getting longer. We imagine we are living in a democracy, but the shades of totalitarianism are getting more ominous. People, often jobless and desperate, are installing governments that will, if allowed to, remove all accepted human rights. We should be allowed to believe what we believe. I do agree that we should fight terrorism, but openly and democratically.