responsible

Residential landlords still haven t learned Grenfell lessons especially in social housing, survey reveals

Fewer than one in four (23%) private landlords have been in touch with tenants to discuss fire safety measures since the Grenfell Tower fire and even fewer social landlords have done likewise. Three months on from the fire, which killed at least 80 people, only 10% of tenants in social housing say they have been contacted by the landlords about fire safety. That s one of the headline findings of a survey released to coincide with Fire Door Safety Week (25 September-1 October), and the results seem to demonstrate the need for such a campaign.

Some 39% of tenants polled said they had seen fire doors propped open and 21% had noticed damage to their building s fire doors. Forty percent of renters said there is no clear fire escape route displayed. Of the 18% that have reported a fire safety infringement or concern to their landlord, almost a quarter (24%) waited weeks for a response. It is astounding to learn that in the last three months so little has been done to address the concerns of tenants and residents. Hannah Mansell, spokesperson, Fire Door Safety Week A majority (55%) say they feel uninformed about what they should do in the event of a fire and about one in four (24%) feel more anxious about living in a rented apartment since the Grenfell Tower fire. This new research shows that landlords and building owners still have a long way to go meet their fire safety responsibilities, said Hannah Mansell, spokesperson for Fire Door Safety Week. It is astounding to learn that in the last three months so little has been done to address the concerns of tenants and residents. Misunderstood The role and importance of fire doors remains widely misunderstood, believes Mansell, who is also BWF technical manager, chair of the Passive Fire Protection Forum and a trustee of the Children s Burns Trust. Many people do not realise that the real job of a fire door is to hold back fire, smoke and toxic gases, delaying the spread around a building and keeping the vital means of escape route clear.

They only work properly if they are specified, manufactured, installed and maintained correctly and, of course, closed when a fire breaks out. This is especially important in high rise buildings, houses of multiple occupancy and other types of shared sleeping accommodation. Checking fire doors should be part of a regular fire-risk assessment. This should examine all aspects of fire safety management, including active and passive fire protection measures, signage, means of escape and the specific fire plan procedures. Mansell who has spoken to IFSEC Global more extensively about the fire safety landscape believes better education and greater transparency are essential to effect meaningful change. Crystal clarity There needs to be crystal clarity about the responsible person and a total transformation of attitude towards fire safety of tenants in rented accommodation. Our focus for Fire Door Safety Week in this pivotal year is to ensure all landlords and tenants have the knowledge and resources they need to stay safe. Dany Cotton, London Fire Commissioner, oversaw the fire and rescue service s response at Grenfell Tower. London Fire Brigade fully supports Fire Door Safety Week, she said.

This is an important campaign which drives home the potentially life-saving role that fire doors play in buildings, especially residential buildings such as tower blocks. It is extremely concerning that the lives of the public and our firefighters are still being put at risk by poorly maintained fire doors and people acting irresponsibly by removing self-closers or by keeping doors wedged open. We do what we can to advise the building owner, but it s time for the responsible person to really step up. Paul Fuller CBE, chief fire officer, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Good fire doors help stop fires from spreading. Fires that spread put more lives at risk and I would urge everyone to check that their fire doors are properly maintained and kept shut. Remember they don t just protect you, but everybody in the building. Paul Fuller CBE, chief fire officer of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and chairman of the Fire Sector Federation says: It is simple. Proper fire doors save lives, but only if they are correctly made and installed, and certainly not if they are wedged open or in disrepair. Too often our officers walk into a building and see fire doors in an appalling state.

We do what we can to advise and enforce the responsibilities of a building owner, but it is time for the responsible person to really step up. That s why we are supporting Fire Door Safety Week. There can be no excuse; all the resources you need to promote door safety are there on the website and free to download. Fire Door Safety Week is run by the BWF, the BWF-Certifire Scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme in partnership with the Government s Fire Kills campaign. On 30 August the Government issued fresh advice for tenants and residents on steps to take if they have any concerns about fire safety in their building: In the first instance, contact the landlord or building owner with any concerns. If still concerned and not receiving reassurance, then contact the relevant local authority or local fire and rescue service for advice. IFSEC Global is proud to support Fire Door Safety Week, which runs from 25 September to 1 October. You can pledge your support for the campaign here, and by tweeting under the hashtag #FireDoorSafetyWeek and sharing or using the wealth of resources found in the campaign s toolkit which includes a downloadable Responsible Person poster. The site also includes advice aimed at fire and health and safety professionals.

Related Topics A rogue s gallery of fire doors unworthy of the name (and perfectly good ones rendered useless) We re often dealing with decades of neglect : Hannah Mansell on fire doors and the post-Grenfell rush to improve fire safety Watch: The consequences of badly specified and fitted fire doors plus 5 tips for getting it right

We re often dealing with decades of neglect

With Fire Door Safety Week kicking off next week, IFSEC Global caught up with the campaign s spokesperson to find out how the Grenfell tragedy has affected the campaign. Also technical manager of the British Woodworking Federation, Hannah Mansell reflects on the campaign s growth, message and plans, the temptation for cutting corners in cash-strapped times, the need for coordination across the supply chain and the challenge of keeping fire safety on the media and government agenda long after the charred remnants of Grenfell Tower are demolished in 2018. Hannah also heads up the BWF s stair and BWF-CERTIFIRE schemes.

IFSEC Global: You ve been growing rapidly year on year? What do you think the reasons are? Hannah Mansell: We think it s probably about simplicity. Fire doors are technically complex products and people overlook them for that fact; they re simply not on people s radar. So our job is to get out there and keep the message simple. What they need to know is simple. Your fire doors need to be properly tested and made, maintained, and of course, not left open. Support for the campaign is wide, in all areas of fire safety. Although our message is fire doors, we develop resources and guidance for many different sectors, whether it s the responsible person, the construction industry, fire risk assessors, or tenants and users.

Each campaign has a legacy that we carry on the next year. So for instance last year, we were already focusing on shared accommodation and the rental sector. We realised our work wasn t done in that sector, which has obviously been highlighted by what s happened in the last three months. Since the tragedy there s been a high influx of new supporters in the sector. Councils have come on massively this year, housing associations, charities, landlord associations To be fair the landlord associations have always been quite good supporters. The value engineering of specification, when someone says I can cut a few corners and save you a few quid , is a really big problem And the fire brigades as well. We worked closely with London Fire Brigade last year, and this year they re doing more and going even further. All our resources can be taken and rolled out into any particular organisation or campaign. We ve made a new fire door safety test film (see below).

The last film we made, maybe five or six years ago, had massive traction. The new film is a bit more contemporary, focused on issues we commonly see on fire doors in common areas and with flat front doors doors without seals, doors without proper closers We talk about things like smoke seals and intumescent seals, but a lot of people don t know what they look like. embedded content Also our five-step check, which we also included in the film visually shows what you need to look for, and if you have any concerns, talk to your landlord or building owner. If you still have concerns, the next step is to talk to your local fire brigade who can come out and audit your building. I think in some sectors people have woken up to fire door safety, but it s an ongoing thing. People forget quite quickly. It may not be long until we re disregarding fire safety again. IG: Nature of the beast, really. Easy to get complacent when fire is such a rare thing.

Any other reasons why there are apparently so many inadequate fire doors? HM: We re not dealing with issues that have arisen in these buildings in the last 3-5 years; we re often dealing with decades of neglect of both fire doors and other fire safety systems and elements, with no one taking enough notice of them, these issues and accountability for them dropping out of sight of these responsible. We did some research a few years ago and one of the questions was: What do you think about your fire doors? A deafening silence came back. People were walking past and through them every day and not thinking about their importance. So a lot of our campaign is about outlining the steps: here s your fire door, next step is how to check it, next step is how to report it, here s how to maintain it etc. With the force of people coming together you can get change, but too much of the fire sector has worked in siloes The value engineering of specification, when someone says I can cut a few corners and save you a few quid , is a really big problem. Specification is broken, certification invalidated and there s no proof that the product will work. You can have someone offering to bang in a door like they would fit any old door, not realising that the installation of a fire door is as critical as the product itself.

People think a fire door is just like any other door. In the early days, when I first got into fire doors and was doing a lot of research and development and testing, I was surprised how the tiniest of details can have a massive impact. For instance, an excessive gap around the door or forgotten intumescent protection or seals how much is that going to affect performance during the fire? You d be surprised. In part of the fire door film we ve made this year, we ve set up a correctly fitted door versus one that s got some issues that I commonly find on site. But the bad door looks exactly the same from the outside. It s all about those tiny details compatible components, the frame, the installation etc. Even with a perfect product, installed correctly, if it s not maintained effectively, and it s not closing against its frame or if it gets wedged open etc When the time comes it s just not going to work. Of course, if it s wedged open, there s no barrier to even delay the fire.

Fire doors are also in your face. If I go to a building and see that they have shoddy fire doors, it s a pretty good indicator for me that whoever is responsible for the fire safety of the building isn t taking their responsibility seriously. Interesting that you mentioned value engineering, because cash-strapped councils are being asked to upgrade fire safety in social housing with no extra funding from government HM: I think what they have to consider is that in some cases they are looking at having to pay for decades worth of neglect. Concerns about a wide range of passive fire safety issues including fire doors have been reported for years, in all types of buildings, both public and private sector, you can look back over meeting minutes 10-15 years ago when these issues were being raised. There needs to be a long-term holistic plan. It can t just be completing one task or dealing with one element of fire safety, then it s over and dealt with and forgotten about. The risk profile of buildings is constantly changing. In some sectors there s a realisation about that. But in other sectors We got this report in from one of our BWF members.

They had refused to supply a contract and product for a large TMO for fire door upgrades because the customer wanted to break specification and didn t give a monkeys about it. That s why we need to keep up the pace of not just this campaign but the other campaigns and organisations that we work with, like the Fire Kills campaign. That s maybe what people like about the campaign: we don t make it exclusive. It doesn t matter if you re specifically into fire doors or just someone who wants to support the campaign there s something for everyone in there. With the force of people coming together you can get change, but too much of the fire sector has worked in siloes. A holistic approach might get change. Coupled of course with massive budget cuts I could give you a list as long as my arm of all the factors explaining why we sit here wondering how such a horrific thing could have happened. embedded content IG: Are there many instances where you could remedy a fire-door s deficiencies rather than having to replace the fire door altogether? HM: Lots of people get worried that they ll have to buy a new fire door.

But regular inspection and maintenance help to keep them in good working order. You can replace or adjust components, fix things before they became a major problem. Don t get me wrong, there are limitations. A door can be in such a state of disrepair that you can t fix it. That s why it comes back to having a thorough and robust maintenance regime to make sure you do enough to fix problems before they turn into something irretrievable. A fire door fitted with components suitable for a domestic setting isn t going to last long in the communal corridor of a school There are qualified fire door inspectors who can inspect a door, look at every element the frame, the installation, the ironmongery, the glazing, the door leaf, the seals, the gaps and notify the responsible person of improvements needed. One of our colleagues in the ironmongery industry did a specification for a hospital years ago. Usually hospital fire doors get battered; they can be used thousands of times a day. Twenty-six years later, because specifications for that environment and users were right, and they are regularly inspected, these doors are still going strong they would do their job in a fire.

If you fit a fire door that s designed and fitted with components suitable for a domestic setting into a communal corridor of a school, it not going to last very long. That s why the specification is so critical. Lots of people don t think about the whole supply chain; it s I ve done my bit, pass it onto the next person. It s a chain of responsibility. Fire doors are not the most interesting dinner party topic, but they play such an important role especially in buildings because of complex design, the specific needs of occupants, or if it s difficult to evacuate quickly and there is a stay-put fire plan. You need fire and smoke control doors up and down corridors and stairwells. It protects the means of escape and route for firefighters to get into the building. It includes flat front doors as well. You will also find fire doors in other parts of the building, and sometimes inside individual dwellings, depending on the layout and building types, as well as a number of other factors.

IG: Do you think the regulations themselves need clarification or strengthening? HM: My real day job is not just doing the fire door safety campaign. I m the technical manager of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF). Our members make and certificate about 2.5 million timber fire doors every year, but our organisation frequently provides technical guidance about a wide variety of timber construction products and how they relate to building regulations and building control. People often don t understand how they work; it can be a minefield. I know we re going to have a review of building regulations, but it s been on the agenda for many years and it s far, far overdue. And I m not just talking about Approved Document B. We ve got building regs that apply to new buildings, regs about refurbishment or change of use, about surrounding fire risk assessments, about the signing off of work process, the whole regulatory reform order, which came in 10 years ago and changed the responsibility and process of signing off compliance. We could sit here in five years time and have a very similar discussion unless people take heed of the scale of the problem now These are all bits of regulation that need to work together, so it s about an upgrade of regulations throughout the chain.

I don t think we can just be appeased with just an approved document review. I think when the public are calling for a building regulation review, they re talking about the whole process, not just documents that talk about fire safety in high rise buildings. One thing really highlighted over the last few weeks is how many different parties get involved in the refurb, design, specifications, supply of products, construction, the signing off of buildings. There needs to be much more clarity as to how that chain works. In the wake of Grenfell, the amount of fire safety issues reported in other buildings has been huge, not just cladding. For instance, the Camden evacuation was because a thousand fire doors were missing. When it comes to enforcing against large organisations, transparency is sometimes the issue when it goes through the courts. Who is the responsible person? And in an enormous organisation with a massive housing stock, how detached are they from the scale or severity of fire safety issues in their buildings?

We live differently to how we lived even 10-15 years ago. Elderly people are much more likely to stay in their homes longer, more people live in high rise buildings, there are people with a wide variety of additional needs who may be more vulnerable to a fire in their building. The regulations have to reflect that, and not just for the benefit of building more homes quickly, of questionable quality. IG: Has Grenfell changed your message in any way given the greater media and public awareness of the issue? HM: Fire Door Safety Week campaign has been going formally for five years . We re as determined as we ever were, to carry on promoting our campaign and working with other campaigns and initiatives in these areas. Each year, stepping up and building on what we ve done before, until we get real and lasting change. I read an opinion piece that said it will take generations to get over Grenfell. We ve got to keep this right up there in the media so we don t have a repeat.

We can t let it be swept under the carpet or not acted upon in the fullest manner. It s like that poem isn t it: For want of a nail, the Kingdom was lost . Your fire doors are almost your nails, as it were. All these little fire safety problems adding up together to create the perfect fire storm. We need a new way of looking at fire safety. Otherwise we ll do what we always did: an investigation and an inquest, and get what we always got, excuses why it can t improve, and then sort of forget about it. And the worst thing is we could sit here in five years time and have a very similar discussion unless people take heed of the scale of the problem now. There is the chance to really make building safe for generations to come. IFSEC Global is proud to support Fire Door Safety Week, which runs from 25 September to 1 October.

You can pledge your support for the campaign here, and by tweeting under the hashtag #FireDoorSafetyWeek and sharing or using the wealth of resources found in the campaign s toolkit.

Related Topics Watch: The consequences of badly specified and fitted fire doors plus 5 tips for getting it right Fire-door safety campaigners renew calls for public register of responsible persons Willmott Dixon issues fire door guidance to 3,000 staff thanks to Fire Door Safety Week

Shocking levels of neglect and complacency among responsible persons reported by fire installers

More than a third of installers report that up to 80% of sites they visit don t comply with fire safety regulations, research from Hochiki Europe has revealed. Based on feedback from installers across Europe, the survey also found that more than 60% of respondents attended sites at least once a month where the responsible person for fire safety was unknown. Almost a third (32%) regularly encountered buildings with poorly positioned or outdated life safety equipment.

Asked about systems maintenance, 70% of installers got the impression their customers generally saw the upkeep of life safety systems as merely a tick-box exercise , with just 11% believing they recognised it as a potentially property- and life-saving process. Two in five (40%) installers say their customers are not even aware of their legal obligations regarding system maintenance. On average, 55% of fire detection logbooks and 64% of emergency lighting logbooks were not up to date, despite these being legal requirements. Top 5 maintenance and emergency lighting issues Asked what the most commonly encountered fire safety maintenance issues were, installers most frequently cited the following: Change of building/room use without correctly altering the fire system (50%) Inadequate logbook records (43%) Original installer didn t install the best system for the environment (40%) Detectors need cleaning (32%) Detectors need replacing (26%) The top five emergency lighting maintenance issues, meanwhile, were: Broken/faulty lamps (44%) Inadequate logbook records (42%) Inadequate emergency lighting signage (39%) Batteries not charged in emergency lighting units (35%) Inadequate lux levels (25%) Having a correctly designed safety system installed by a qualified engineer in a building is vital when it comes to protecting lives, said Tracy Kirk, general manager of sales and marketing for Hochiki Europe. This being said, a fire detection device or emergency lighting unit can only safeguard occupant safety if it is in working order. This year s installer study has resulted in some stark findings for the industry and sheds light on serious gaps in terms of our customers attitudes towards life safety in Europe. It s clear that there needs to be an increased focus on educating duty holders throughout our built environment on how important it is to look after life safety systems. Those with the responsibility of system upkeep should also ensure they are up to speed with the latest legislation and regulations to keep building occupants safe. Hochiki Europe offers training courses and technical information to support building owners and facilities managers in understanding their legal obligations and how to protect assets and building occupants.

Related Topics How to choose the right life safety system: Hochiki Europe reveals FIREX 2017 plans 95% of life safety installers say fire industry is falling short over training provision Hochiki Europe launches FIREscape lite mains-powered emergency lighting system with back-up power

Housing arsonists and reporting 50 fires a week yet HM Prison Service fails dismally on fire safety

The Grenfell disaster prompted the editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales to issue a freedom of information request to the organisation responsible for fire safety in prisons. What was sent in response he found deeply troubling . Writing for Politics.co.uk, Mark Leech said the issue of fire safety had never really crossed my mind during his 20 years in the role until the Grenfell inferno unfolded.

The fat that fire safety is not mentioned in any inspection report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons augured badly as he began his research. The expectations document on which all prison inspections are based doesn t mention the word fire once, he said. The documents returned to Leech revealed that every single CPFIG inspection conducted in the year to June 2017 there were 19 in total had failed statutory fire safety tests and resulted in non-compliance orders. In some cases Statutory Enforcement Notices were then issued to prison governors who failed to take action within the 28-day period stipulated. Governors have to prioritise staff and bluntly, when it comes to unlocking prisoners for medication, food or visits, or conducting fire safety checks, the latter doesn t even come near the top of the list. Mark Leech, editor, Prisons Handbook for England and Wales There were nearly 50 fires a week 2,580 in total in England and Wales in 2016, Parliament heard in March. Fire safety in prisons is the responsibility of the Crown Properties Fire Inspection Group (CPFIG), based in the Home Office. It was to CPFIG that Leech submitted his freedom of information request, asking for copies of all CPFIG fire safety inspection reports on prison and young offender establishments carried out in the last 12 months. Problems found at a prison in Bristol included: Inadequate personal emergency evacuation plans Ignition sources discovered too close to combustible materials Ventilation ductwork between cells did not adequately protect against the spread of fire Emergency doors were difficult to open A lack of water misting equipment Multiple shortcomings Seizing on the information disclosed to Leech, The Chronicle has reported that fire inspectors have uncovered multiple shortcomings in fire safety measures at HMP Northumberland.

Inspectors identified inadequate measures to control the risk of fire and smoke spreading within common areas and staff have not been given enough training about how to deal with a fire in a cell. More than 83,000 men and women are currently incarcerated in UK prisons, which equates to 148.3 prisoners per 100,000 people more than three times that of the Netherlands and much higher than Spain (137.9), France (98.3), Italy (86.4) and Germany (77.4). Despite the soaring prison population, 900m has been slashed from the prison budget since 2010. Speaking to the Independent in the wake of his disclosures, Leech said: You ve got criminals including arsonists, but also many people with mental health problems. In that atmosphere, governors have to prioritise staff and bluntly, when it comes to unlocking prisoners for medication, food or visits, or conducting fire safety checks, the latter doesn t even come near the top of the list. Such shortcomings would not be tolerated in any other place than in prisons, he added. It is obvious from the shocking reports that I have uncovered that the theory and practice are light-years apart. Continuing Crown Immunity from prosecution for failures in places which have 50 fires a week and which, by necessity detain those with mental health problems and convictions for arson, must now surely end it is simply inexplicable in this day and age. A Prison Services spokesperson said: We take fire safety extremely seriously.

All nineteen prisons have undertaken immediate action to address the recommendations made by the inspection group. Every single prison across the estate has a mandatory annual fire risk assessment, carried out by a fire safety specialist, and individual fire strategies in place which are closely monitored. Cladding The Ministry of Justice insists that none of its prisons have the type of cladding believed to have been used at Grenfell Tower. In 2015, the National Offender Management Service published Fire Safety in Prison Establishments , which outlines the requirements on the Responsible Person under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 with regards to providing a fire safety compliant environment in Public Sector Prisons. In July last year, Clive Webster, a senior fire consultant from BB7, wrote on IFSEC Global that the prison service would benefit from formalising its fire-risk-management system using PAS 7: 2013 Fire Risk Management System Specification . Published in 2013, PAS 7: 2013 Fire Risk Management System Specification emerged from a steering group that included representatives from CFOA, The Institution of Fire Engineers, The Fire Sector Federation and the Association of British Insurers. Using PAS 7 2013 it is possible to improve fire safety while achieving process improvements and reducing the cost of compliance overtime, wrote Webster.

At a time when purse strings have never been tighter and the need to improve fire safety has never been so high on the agenda, PAS 7 could provide the solution to the problems highlighted by the media.

PAS 7 presents requirements for an organisational fire risk management system (FRMS), which can be applied in organizations operating across multiple sites, separate management divisions within an organization, or individual premises within a single entity, Ben Bradford, MD of BB7, wrote in 2014.

A Few Senators Take a Stand for Civil Liberties Ahead of …

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Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon during Senate debate

A surveillance law that granted the government expanded authority to collect the communications of foreign persons outside the United States four years ago is set to expire in four days unless reauthorized. On Thursday, senators concerned about how the law has been interpreted in secret and how these secret interpretations permit the collection or interception of Americans communications put forward amendments to the reauthorization and were permitted to engage in what passes for debate in Congress these days.

The US Senate has known for months that it had to meet a deadline to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act and the reauthorization was ready in September for debate being squeezed in today.

In fact, it was not a guarantee that the Senate would even allow amendments to the reauthorization that might call for additional oversight or greater privacy protections. But Sens. Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, Rand Paul, Mark Udall and a few others pushed back and convinced Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow time for debate.

Merkley suggested this debate should have happened months ago so it could happen in a full and responsible manner without pressure to vote against amendments in order to address the falsely created issue of partnering with the House bill.

He noted this was a single-day debate in between holidays when few Americans will be paying attention, but, nonetheless, it was important to have this debate about how it could be strengthened to protect privacy.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said during floor debate, We have four days to get this bill signed by the president or this section ceases to function. Four days.

This is a House bill before us. It reauthorizes the program to 2017. She suggested that trying to pass amendments and failing to meet this deadline could destroy the program.

Like Vice President Dick Cheney, she talked about how she believed the country still faced a threat, there were people who wanted to kill Americans, and intelligence functions needed to be streamlined to ensure next attack didn t happen. Flustered, she said, You put all this out in public and the next thing is more, more and more and then the program is destroyed. And, prior to these remarks, she highlighted all the terrorists arrested in the past year.

All the blustering essentially communicated that Feinstein did not think the Senate should have taken time to hear debate on amendments.

Her anti-democratic hysteria was made even more unreasonable by the fact that Merkley, Udall, and Wyden each made statements, which made clear they were showing great deference to intelligence agencies while at the same time attempting to get some questions answered about how the program is likely violating the privacy of Americans.

Particularly at issue was how reviews of requests for warrants to eavesdrop on communications by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court are not made public. Both Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon indicated support for making rulings by the court public so Americans could know how the court interprets surveillance law and the United States Constitution.

Wyden explained the FISA court s rulings are entirely secret.

The public has absolutely no idea what the court is actually saying, he said. What it means is the country is in fact developing a secret body of law so Americans have no way of finding out how their laws and Constitution are being interpreted.

Multiple times senators calling for additional oversight claimed they do not have the proper information necessary to determine how the law has impacted Americans privacy. Sen.

Christopher Coons of Delaware addressed the safeguards believed to be in the law:

It requires that the government surveillance program must be reasonably designed to target foreigners abroad and not intentionally acquire wholly domestic communications. The law requires that a wiretap be turned off when the government knows it is listening in on a conversation between two US individuals. And it forbids the government from targeting a foreigner as a pretext for obtaining the communications of a US national.

All three of these are important privacy protections currently in the law.

The problem is we here in the United States Senate and so the citizens we represent don t know how well any of these safeguards actually work.

We don t know how courts construe the law s requirement that surveillance be, as I mentioned, reasonably designed not to obtain any purely domestic information. The law doesn t forbid purely domestic information from being collected. We know that at least one FISA court has ruled that the surveillance program violated the law.

Why? Those who know can t say and average Americans can t know.

Wyden highlighted the big questions he and others have, which heads of intelligence agencies have refused to answer. He has asked for a rough estimate of the number of phone calls and emails swept up in the interception of communications under this law.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) told Wyden and Udall in July 2011, It is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed. He said he understood they may not be able to give an exact estimate but all he wanted was a rough estimate. If they cannot give even a rough estimate, then he said, Robust oversight really ought to be called toothless oversight.

When Udall made his remarks on the floor, he said this was disconcerting because, If no one has even estimated how many Americans have had their communications intercepted, then it is possible this number could be quite large.

Additionally, Wyden said he wanted to know if any wholly domestic communications had been collected under the law.

ODNI declined to answer. Wyden then added that FAA allows government to go to a secret court on a yearly basis and get programmatic warrants. There is no requirement that these communications actually involve people engaged in terrorism or espionage.

He doesn t know how many Americans communications have been collected. If an agency has a pile of communications that include phone calls or emails, there are few rules for what can be done with those communications after .

There is nothing in the law preventing government officials from going to a pile of communications and deliberately searching for the calls or emails of certain Americans, even if they do not have any evidence that American is involved in some kind of wrongdoing, Wyden stated.

Mentioned by both Merkley and Wyden was the fact that they had been working since 2008 to establish a process for reviewing, redacting and releasing opinions of the FISA court so the public could see what the government think their law and Constitution means. In 2009, the Obama administration indicated in a letter they would be setting up such a process.

But, as of today, not a single redacted opinion has been released. Wyden said he could not tell if the administration still intends to fulfill its promise. It seems they ve decided to ignore the fact they ever made the request with the hope that those concerned will just go away.

That the intelligence community had acknowledged on at least one occasion the FISA court ruled collection had violated the Fourth Amendment was highlighted.

Wyden also said that it had been concluded in reports that certain types of compliance issues continue to occur.

The intelligence agencies claim there are minimization procedures in place to deal with issues that those of us concerned with privacy rights have raised, Wyden said. These procedures are classified so, as far as reassuring Americans that their privacy rights are being protected, they are insignificant. And Wyden stated, as someone who has seen them, I think they are better than nothing but there is no way, colleagues, these minimization procedures ought to be a substitute for having strong privacy protections written into the law.

Furthermore, Wyden highlighted how National Security Agency (NSA) director Keith Alexander had gone to a major tech conference, DEFCON 20, on July 27, 2012.

He was asked at the conference, Does the NSA really keep a file on everyone in the United States and, if so, can I see mine? Alexander responded: Absolutely not. And anybody who would tell you that we re keeping files or dossiers on the American people knows that s not true.

He emphasized the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people is absolutely false. He talked up the minimization procedures, which Wyden said are not as strong as Alexander made them out to be.

What is important to note is this is what officials consider transparency nowadays: an official discloses their view on how a law functions and is abided by in practice. The public is not allowed to see any documents or official reports that confirm whether it is true or not that the agency is not violating the law or engaging in routine abusive and unconstitutional acts.

The public and sometimes even members of Congress are expected to trust them and take them at their word.

***

At about 5:30 pm EST, the Senate voted on amendments1 put forward during the day s debate: Wyden s oversight and transparency amendment, which would request a rough estimate or any information the NSA has on the collection of Americans communications; the Merkley FISA Court Amendment, which would require FISA court rulings to be declassified in some way and released to the public; the Leahy Sunset Amendment, which would shorten the length of the law s reauthorization to three years; and an amendment put forward by Sen. Rand Paul to all US communications, whether sought by US intelligence agencies like the NSA or any government agency, are protected against unwarranted searches and seizures even if they are held by third party email providers like Google.

The Leahy Amendment failed to pass 38-52. The Senate voted on Merkley s amendment immediately after.

It failed to pass 37-54.

Rand Paul s amendment (which Feinstein said would ve repealed the FISA Amendments Act) failed to pass.

Votes on Wyden s amendment and the reauthorization were scheduled for tomorrow morning.

References

  1. ^ amendments (www.eff.org)

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We love a challenge at GET LICENSED and we were delighted when Julie Arnold from Blackpool contacted us recently with a request we couldn t refuse

Julie is proof that there are people around who care; in fact if there was a Julie Arnold in every town in the UK, we reckon the country would be a far better place. Julie contacted us out of the blue recently after she d recognised that there were some unemployed people in her community who deserved a better chance. It takes a lot of courage to contact an unknown business and ask for training help and Julie obviously has plenty of it.

It didn t take us long to decide how to help and we were delighted to offer free security sector training1 to eleven enthusiastic candidates. First off we debated what would be the most appropriate training we could offer. Anyone who has visited Blackpool will know that along its promenade, known as the Golden Mile, there are an enormous amount of bars and clubs. And what do bars and clubs need? Expertly trained Door Supervisors of course, and there was no question in our minds who would be the best trainer for the job.

blackpooltrainees

Robert Taylor has been known to us for a long time and he s one of the most popular Door Supervisor2 instructors on the circuit. No surprise then that after the training course was completed we received a huge amount of praise for Robert s delivery. Here s an insight into Robert s approach to training.

Door Supervision is more complex than most people think, it s not just about being the big threatening guy on the door, you have to enjoy working with people and it s a responsible job that requires a level headed approach, plus there s a lot of legal aspects associated with the work that Joe Public don t realise.

Blackpool is a hot-spot for hen and stag parties all year round, and during the holiday season the place is packed with people and all of them want to have a good time. Sure, occasionally you get people who go slightly over their limits with alcohol, but on the whole people are generally well behaved.

Everyone likes to let their hair down from time-to-time and it s the Door Supervisor s job to make sure they do so as safely as possible. If everyone has a good evening and there are no problems then it s a job well done; that s how you get a good reputation, expert Door Supervisors are always in demand, especially in a place like Blackpool.

I was delighted to help with the training, and apart from Get Licensed who rose to the challenge, it s hats off to Julie who had the guts to organise the session. The guys who attended the course were a pleasure to train and I hope they all find work soon.

We d like to take this opportunity to thank Robert for passing on his expertise, as usual so brilliantly, and we too wish all eleven candidates the best of luck in their new careers. Most of all, on behalf of Robert and all the trainees, we d like to thank Julie for caring and having the guts to ask the question in the first place, we were delighted to help.

References

  1. ^ security sector training (www.get-licensed.co.uk)
  2. ^ Door Supervisor (www.get-licensed.co.uk)

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Achieve your SIA Door Supervisor s Qualification within our Central London Training Centre, just 4 doors from Aldgate East Tube. Our friendly team provide all the support and industry knowhow you ll need to get you qualified and well on your way to gaining employment. Conveniently located just a few minutes walk from both Aldgate and Aldgate East Tube and a stone s throw from London s Brick Lane, Total Hospitality Training offers a wide variety of courses to meet all your training needs. In the past year our team has trained over 1000 individuals both volunteers and paid staff, in security qualifications, for roles within the London 2012 Games. We are proud to guarantee that every course will offer – Qualified tutors with years of industry experience – A friendly & helpful team focused on your success – 10 working day turnaround for the issue of certificates – Links to leading companies for those seeking employment – Resit examinations at no extra cost – Advice & Guidance for completing applications PLACES AVAILABLE: September: 24/09/12-26/09/12 (limited spaces) October: 17/10/12-19/10/12 22/10/12-24/10/12 24/10/12-26/10/12 29/10/12-31/10/12 31/10/12-02/11/12 Weekend courses available COURSES OFFERED: SIA Door Supervision / CCTV Physical Intervention / Conflict Management Personal Licence (NCPLH) Responsible Service of Alcohol Health & Safety (IOSH) Spectator Safety Food Hygiene First Aid Fire Marshalling Customer Service Assessor / Internal Verifier Tutor Training (PTLLS) and many more For more information. Total Hospitality Training 87 Whitechapel High Street London E1 7QX 02073777507 www.totalhospitalitytraining.com Like Us: www.facebook.com/TotalHospitalityTraining Follow Us: www.twitter.com/THT_Trained Connect To Us: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/total-hospitality-training/58/338/140

Security Guard Is Responsible For The Stolen Car – Goals …

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Whether you decide to enter into a tenancy agreement with a pub company, or to open your very own pub, having the right training is the first step to successful operation in the pub industry.

Finding the right program makes all the difference in how much you enjoy your NCPLH course. You need to make sure that you choose a reputable provider that can offer you what you need. Inn Dispensable, UK?s largest independent NCPLH training provider offers a number of NCPLH courses including food hygiene courses, door supervisor courses,Chaussures Louboutin, SIA training courses and designated premises supervisor courses.
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References

  1. ^ Louboutin (www.christianlouboutinppascherfrance.com)