news

Welcome to the baton ball
Security & Policing 2018, Issue 1464
riot-police.jpg THE Home Office has invited some of the world’s most repressive regimes to the UK next month to browse stalls selling surveillance technology and crowd control equipment at a “security” trade fair it is running.

The “Security & Policing” event started out as a way for suppliers to show off their wares to UK police forces. But since 2010 the government has invited “overseas government security-related delegates” to the fair, which this year takes place on 6-8 March at Farnborough International Exhibition Centre in Hampshire promoting “legitimate defence and security exports”.

The Home Office, which organises the event with the defence industry trade body, ADS Group, and the UK government’s arms sales unit, the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO), invites and provides escorts for “security” delegations from more than 70 nations. The current list of invitees is secret until March, but in recent years delegates have included such cuddly bastions of human rights as Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE, Kazakhstan and Pakistan.

Batons and handcuffs
As well as flogging sniper rifles, shotguns, batons and handcuffs, the exhibition promotes cyber-spying firms that have been accused of helping repressive governments. Exhibitors include Gamma Group, which offers “strategic communications intelligence (network-based interception)”. The Bahraini security services used Gamma Group software to hack phones and computers of pro-democracy activists and lawyers (Eye 1373).

Another exhibitor, Grey Heron Technologies, has strong links with Hacking Team, the notorious Milan-based surveillance company. At the fair Grey Heron will be selling “state-of-the-art software for legal surveillance of digital devices”. It gives a Milan address and its chief marketing officer is former Hacking Team spokesman Eric Rabe.

The world knows a lot about Hacking Team because, er, it was itself hacked in 2015. Leaked sales emails and other documents from its server confirmed that it did business with government agencies in Ethiopia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Grey Heron now looks to be picking up some Hacking Team business and personnel. It appears to be linked to a UK business, also called Grey Heron, run by a former British army officer. Neither the Italian nor the UK Grey Heron responded to emails or phone calls.

More top stories in the latest issue:

TOO BLOODY LATE
In the seven months it’s taken to appoint a judge to run a public inquiry into the NHS’s tainted blood scandal of the 70s and 80s, another 60 victims have died.

SLIDING STANDARDS
GB athletes at this year’s Winter Olympics received twice the funding of those at the Sochi games, yet some UK sports bodies aren’t fit to manage the money.

BAD SPORT?
Charities minister Tracey Crouch, whose remit also covers sport, is too busy congratulating Team GB in Pyeonchang to comment on the Oxfam scandal.

COURT CIRCULAR
Why the BBC ‘scoop’ about a meeting to discuss who should be the next head of the Commonwealth was wide of the mark… and won’t have amused Brenda.

CASH FOR CONSCRIPTS
After the Oxfam scandal, the role of the military backing UN operations is under renewed scrutiny. But how and where the UN gets troops is complex.

AN EASY RIYADH
Despite Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian abuses in Yemen, UK arms sales to Saudi continue, helped by the inadequate way the abuses are investigated.

IRAN’S TERROR CELLS
Dr Grim on the death in Evin prison of Professor Kavous Seyed Emami, an Iranian-Canadian environmentalist.

TUC NEWS
Why disgruntled GMB southern region secretary Paul Maloney has told his newsagent to cancel his fortnightly order for seven copies of the Eye.

CHURCH NEWS
Despite some generous donations, the Church of England plays hardball when it comes to paying compensation to the victims of predatory parsons.

To read all the latest Private Eye news, get the latest edition - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 6th March 2018.
gnitty
More From This Issue
More From Private Eye
Only In The Magazine
Private Eye Issue 1464

ONLY £2.00
SUBSCRIBE HERE

NEXT ISSUE ON SALE
6th March 2018
In This Issue private eye
Faith and Hope Distance Themselves from Charity, by Paul A. Postle… ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spart’ – Episode 1 of ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Allotment’… Baftas Hijacked by #LookAtMeToo Activists in Black… Will the Jihadi Beatles Ever Get Back Together?… Britain Gripped by ‘Feigning Interest in Curling’… Film Industry Revolution as Black Superheroes Prove They Can Be Very Boring Too… Mary Beard: Julius Caesar Revealed, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Surplice funds: CofE plays hardball in payouts to abuse victims
- Money laundering: The UK’s still dutiful launderette
- Heath ’n’ smiles: Operation Conifer cops spin a yarn

For all these stories you can buy the magazine or subscribe here and get delivery direct to your home every fortnight.

Private Eye Issue 1463