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British task health inspectors with spying on families

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The British Department of Health has drawn up new guidelines for the administration of child safety that will allow government monitors access to private residences, according to a published report.

The move is an escalation of the UK government’s efforts to ensure children are protected from unintentional harm, according to authorities. Inspectors would be primarily tasked with finding out whether proper safety devices are present, such as smoke alarms, water temperature monitors and door locks. In instances where proper safety has not been upheld, the monitor would be tasked with installing the devices and “collecting data” on the residence.

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“The draft guidance by a committee at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has been criticised as intrusive and further evidence of the ‘creeping nanny state,'” The Times Online reported.

The paper continued: “Until now, councils have made only a limited number of home inspections to check on building work and in extreme cases where the state of a house is thought to pose a serious risk to public health.”

The guidelines also recommend that doctors and midwives be allowed to spy on parents and collect data for a national child safety database.

The new recommendations are the latest in an unprecedented growth in British surveillance over the last year.

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The United Kingdom rolled out in September the first phase of an anti-pedophile system called the “Vetting and Barring Scheme,” which will ultimately create what one British newspaper referenced as “the largest database of its kind in the world.”

“It’s not as quite as radical as it sounds,” explained UK children’s Minister Delyth Morgan in an interview with the BBC.

The Vetting and Barring Scheme is essentially a system of criminal background checks that is mandatory for every paid worker in a job which gives them access to children. Those workers must pay a fee of £64 to register themselves with the new agency, established by the government’s Independent Safeguarding Authority.

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If those workers — estimated to be some 11.3 million people — do not pay the fee and register with the database, they will be subjected to a fine of up to £5,000 and a mark on their criminal record, according to The Telegraph.

Others required to register for the database include volunteers, or anyone who has any supervisory role over a child that is not theirs. This would even include parent drivers, who volunteer to carpool others’ children home, noted Politics.co.uk.


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Two treated for deadly pneumonic plague in Beijing

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Two people in Beijing have been diagnosed with the pneumonic plague -- a rare instance of the highly-contagious disease that is fatal if left untreated.

The two individuals were being treated at a central hospital in China's capital city -- home to over 21 million inhabitants -- on Tuesday, local authorities said.

Pneumonic plague can prove fatal in 24 to 72 hours and is the "most virulent form of plague," according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), while the bubonic form is less dangerous.

The patients are from the northwestern Inner Mongolia province, district officials said in an online statement, adding that the "relevant prevention and control measures have been implemented."

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Venezuela ex-intel chief missing in Spain ahead of US extradition

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Venezuela's former military intelligence chief has gone missing in Spain just days after a court approved a request for his extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges, police said Wednesday.

"They are currently looking for him," said a spokeswoman for Spain's national police, referring to General Hugo Armando Carvajal.

Judicial sources said police had gone to his house in Madrid after Friday's court decision but could not find him.

In mid-September, Spain's National Court had rejected a US extradition request, instead ordering the release of Carvajal, who served as intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

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How The Hill’s John Solomon helped Rudy Giuliani spread his Ukraine conspiracies

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After John Solomon ran columns in The Hill that touched off a disinformation campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the publication had discussions with Rudy Giuliani about a business venture.

As ProPublica revealed last month, Giuliani associate Lev Parnas had helped arrange an interview Solomon conducted with a Ukrainian prosecutor who claimed the Obama administration interfered with anti-corruption cases involving high-profile people, including Biden’s son Hunter. Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, trumpeted Solomon’s work on cable news. The Hill articles are now a central component of the Trump impeachment investigation.

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