Friday, February 4, 2011

Map the Cuts

I've blogged this week about the UK public library and NHS cuts. I am full of rage.

See Public Libraries News, Anti Cuts Protests
and False Economy.

I revisited
Ushahidi and discovered how far this web-based mapping tool has come now with associated applications Crowdmap and SwiftRiver. Most recently it is being used to map the events in Egypt.

Now I discover Sukey, a web-based mobile phone application to keep you informed of police "kettling" strategies whilst you attend your latest demo against the cuts. Objectives:

"To keep peaceful protesters informed with live protest information that will assist them in avoiding injury, in keeping clear of trouble spots and in avoiding unnecessary detention.

The application suite gives maximum information to those participating in a demonstration so that they can make informed decisions, as well as to those following externally who may be concerned about friends and family.

It should make full use of the crowd in gathering information which is then analysed and handed back to the crowd."

Guardian article here.

I just love the web-based tools being developed to assist activism worldwide.

Sukey recalls the protests against SUS in the early eighties:

"a stop and search law that permitted a police officer to act on suspicion, or 'sus', alone.

It was based upon Sections 4 and 6 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 which made it "illegal for a suspected person or reputed thief to frequent or loiter in a public place with intent to commit an arrestable offence" and effectively permitted the police to stop and search and even arrest suspicious persons, purely to prevent crime.

The law caused much discontent among certain sections of the population, particularly black and ethnic minority communities, against whom the police use of the law was particularly targeted—see racial profiling. The sus law was abolished following race riots in St Pauls, Bristol, in 1980, and in Brixton, London, Toxteth, Liverpool, Handsworth, Birmingham and Chapeltown, Leeds in 1981, because its alleged abuse was believed to be a contributory factor to these events. The sus law was repealed on the 27 July 1981, on the advice of the 1979 Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure, when the 1981 Criminal Attempts Act received the Royal Assent."

It seems David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister wants to reintroduce SUS:

"In January 2008 David Cameron, Leader of the Conservative Party, announced that he would, if elected, seek to return similar powers to the police. Under Conservative proposals, police sergeants would be able to authorise the use of stop and search of pedestrians and vehicles in a specific area for up to six hours ...".

Its about time that the cuts - whether public libraries, health services, municipal councils etc - are mapped using the likes of Ushahidi or Crowdmap.

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