Friday, February 08, 2008

Government databases - Why "the innocent have nothing to fear" simply isn't true

The Times has a very sad story:
A pensioner was killed after a couple used a policeman friend to trace him and then attacked his home in a dispute over a supermarket parking space, a jury was told yesterday.

Bernard Gilbert, 79, died of a heart attack after a brick was thrown through his window.

The former Rolls-Royce worker became a target when he shouted at Zoe Forbes, 26, because she parked her car in a space he had earmarked for himself at a branch of Asda, Nottingham Crown Court was told.

Mrs Forbes was upset and called her husband Mark, who told her to note down Mr Gilbert’s numberplate. He then asked a policeman friend to check Mr Gilbert’s address on the police national computer, using the car registration number.

Mr Forbes sent his wife a text message reading: “We’ll smash his car to bits and then his hire car and then whatever he gets after that until he dies.”

The couple deny manslaughter.
Samizdata puts it well: "The innocent have nothing to fear - so long as they have not annoyed anyone who knows a copper who can be persuaded to look up an address."

1 comment:

  1. More along the same lines:

    "DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- A mother got a shocking flyer in the mail calling her daughter a homewrecker. Now a police officer is in big trouble for sending it.

    That DeKalb County police officer admits using a classified law enforcement computer to look up another woman's personal information. She then mailed flyers to the woman's family and friends.

    “I read it and I sat there. I was devastated. I’m looking at my child’s picture. I was totally devastated,” said Susan Barcon.

    Words like "homewrecker," "ashamed," and three Bible verses about adultery were scrawled across the page along with a picture of Susan Barcon's daughter. Barcon was stunned as was her daughter, Samara, when she heard from two neighbors, her former boss and other relatives who got the same letter.

    “She just knew so much about us, our personal lives and it was frightening,” said Barcon.

    "She" is Officer Teresa Shover, a 13-year veteran of the DeKalb County Police Department. She was separated from her husband and had just found out he was dating Samara and wanted to get even, according to officials.

    "I felt that they were here to protect us and not to harm us and for a police officer to do this to us, it just kind of violated our trust,” said Barcon."