I’m asking the \Government this question in the Lords today:
“…what plans do they have to strengthen provisions in the Investigatory Powers Bill to increase the protection of data relating to trade union and political activities?”
Blacklisting destroys lives because employers can use it to punish people who stand up to them. Major employers can plunge families into poverty by stopping people working their chosen trade in the mainstream of a particular industry. In the construction industry, it was used to destroy the ability of working people to organise in defence of a safe working environment, which for several decades has been a matter of life and death.
I’m very concerned that the police and the state colluded in this horrible practice by sharing information with blacklisting companies. We know that undercover officers spied on trade unionists and the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing must assess whether this information was used by blacklisting companies. The Investigatory Powers Bill gives the police expanded powers to potentially do much worse damage to people’s lives in the future, but I don’t see the strong safeguards in place to stop systematic information sharing people’s personal information with private companies.
John McDonnell MP has been very involved in helping to expose the links between blacklisting companies and the state. The ex-director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, has become a Labour peer. I hope that this will translate into the Labour Party doing everything it can to amend and oppose the appalling IP Bill in the Lords.