Since the riots throughout the UK’s cities last summer, there has been increasing attention from both the media and the public regarding police brutality. Mark Duggan and Reggae star Smiley Culture being high profile victims. The issue has most recently resurfaced due to the ongoing investigation surrounding Jacob Michael’s death, which is due to reach a conclusion this month. Michael, 25, died last year after being restrained by police. The public have been particularly concerned by the fact that Michael called the police himself, apparently in need of help. His father commented: ‘As far as I’m concerned, if the police didn’t treat my lad the way they did, he would be here today. He did nothing wrong, he hadn’t committed any crime, he rang the police for help’. Continue reading
Last issue I spoke about Scotland entering the Space Race, with Virgin looking at opening a commercial Space Port in the Highlands. I’m not going to go over that again, as you’ll have already read the article (and if not, why not?). Since then, I’ve found out that this isn’t the only only Scottish Space Stuff™ going on. The first satellite to be built in Scotland is due to launch next year!
Dubbed Ukube-1, the device is intended for testing new technologies in space. Made up on 3 10cm3 cubes, originally enough called Cubesats, Ukube-1 is being built just round the corner (more or less) from our beloved Union, in the West of Scotland Science Park in Maryhill. Continue reading
All photographs by Tom Kelly
The Scottish independence debate continues. Not a day goes by without claim and counter-claim about the merits or perils of dissolving the Union. The Sunday Times’ recent undercover recordings of former Tory co-treasurer Peter Cruddas add a controversial assertion to the discussion: namely, that the Conservatives may not actually oppose independence. Continue reading
Big Brother reared his ugly head recently as the government announced that they are considering including a controversial bill in next month’s Queen’s Speech. According to ministers, the bill in question would extend the powers of the UK’s security services, allowing them to monitor emails, phone calls, text messages and social media of the public ‘on demand’.
Although Internet Service Providers are obliged to keep records of users’ web access, email and internet phone calls (including sender, time, recipient and geographical locations) for 12 months thanks to an EU law introduced in 2009, they currently do not keep a record of the content of these modes of communication. The proposed new legislation would extend these requirements to social netowrking sites such as Facebook, and online phone services such as Skype as well. This would allow agencies to access information without a warrant before a case is brought to trial, as opposed to retrospectively during court cases.
Whilst many ministers have been keen to support the proposals, stressing that they are necessary in order to bring criminals, paedophiles and terrorists to justice, merely bringing existing legislation ‘up to date’ in order to reflect the current trends in communication and imposing consistent safeguards, opinion is still extremely divided and the public sceptical.
Many critics, including Tory MP David Davis have spoken out against the proposed measures, describing them as ‘unnecessary snooping’, and turning the UK into a nation of suspects. The Lib Dems were equally sceptical, as backbenchers signed a letter demanding an open, public debate upon the matter. Perhaps somewhat ironically, the two parties of the Coalition actually heavily objected to similar proposals made by the last Labour government in 2006.
Although public safety is key, critics have noted that should the bill be put into place, it would ‘see Britain adopt the same surveillance policies as China’, thus thoroughly changing the relationship between government and citizens. Essentially people would be guilty until proven innocent, rather than vice versa. There is still much debate surrounding the proposals, however the message is loud and clear: Big Brother is watching and waiting. [Cia Jackson]
Researchers at Glasgow University are currently developing a possibly innovative new form of fuel, with inspiration from an unexpected place, plants. The inter-disciplinary Glasgow University Solar Fuel group is improving upon the idea of photosynthesis to create a more efficient method of using solar power. Continue reading