Thursday, 9 July 2009

Corporate Law Enforcement

Under New Labour in the UK we have seen a growth of private prisons, indeed last week the Independent reported that Private prisons 'performing worse than state-run jails' In the US the private sector has lead to claims by groups like Critical Resistance and academics like Angela Davis talk about the development of the prison industrial complex.

But we hear less about private policing. Thanks to Rob for sending me a link to this story - The FBI Deputizes Business on Project Censored. The report highlight how:

More than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect and provide information on fellow Americans. In return, members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public, and at times before elected officials. “There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate Total Information Awareness program (TIPS), turning private-sector corporations—some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers—into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” according to an ACLU report titled “The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.”
During recent reporting of policing of environmental campaigners it has been clear that the British police are working closely with the "security" staff of energy companies. Given that many of these private corporate policing operations are managed by former policemen the relationship is worrying not to say potentially corrupt. When we study policing do we need to include the growing private security sector?

Hat tip Rob

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