Government ‘guessed’ Safe Alcohol Limits

1986 Drink-Driving Campaign

1986 Drink-Driving Campaign

Guidelines on safe alcohol limits introduced 20 years ago were no more than an “intelligent guess”, it has been reported.

The Department of Health continues to recommend that men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week, and women should drink no more than 14 units. But the guidelines, first introduced in 1987, had no firm scientific basis, according to a report in The Times newspaper.

Richard Smith, a member of the Royal College of Physicians working party that produced the recommendations, told the paper the limits were prompted by “a feeling that you had to say something”. He said: “Those limits were really plucked out of the air. They were not based on any firm evidence at all. It was a sort of intelligent guess by a committee.”

The committee’s epidemiologist had confessed that “it’s impossible to say what’s safe and what isn’t” because “we don’t really have any data whatsoever”, Mr Smith said.

The former editor of the British Medical Journal said members of the working party felt obliged to produce the guidelines because of concerns over growing evidence of the chronic damage caused by heavy, long-term drinking.

Mr Smith said he was concerned that this news might prompt some drinkers to ignore the alcohol consumption guidelines. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Perhaps we should have been more honest about (the lack of data) instead of being in the paternalistic doctor mode.”

The Times


No Privacy Permitted

UPDATED : 2012.03.01 : See further down.

UK may store all phone calls and emails

The UK government is considering a massive database to store every person’s emails, phone calls, text messages and internet use. The plan was suggested as a tool to help security forces tackling crime and terrorism.

At the moment, records of phone calls and text messages are kept for up to 12 months by telecoms companies, in compliance with a European Union anti-terrorism directive.

But a new proposal by the UK Home Office would see internet service providers (ISPs) and telecoms companies handing over records containing billions of emails as well as Internet usage and voice-over-Internet calls, media reports said on Tuesday.

Police and security services would only be granted access to the information after seeking permission from the courts. The UK was this year labelled an “endemic surveillance society” by a study of privacy protections worldwide.

Source: UK may store all phone calls and emails New Scientist

Every Telephone Call & Text You Make Will Be Logged For Each Year

“Information about every call from the UK’s mobile phones and landlines will have to be logged by operators for one year under an extension to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. The Home Office has stressed that only information about the calls and texts, including the location in the case of mobile calls, will be logged and not the content. The information will be made available to 652 public bodies, including the Food Standards Agency, district and county councils and the Gaming Board, on request to a senior police official.”

Source: Every Telephone Call & Text You Make Will Be Logged For Each Year vnunet

UK may store all phone calls and emails New Scientist
Every Telephone Call & Text You Make Will Be Logged For Each Year vnunet
Phonecalls and texts to be logged BBC news
1984 – George Orwell’s dystopian predictions Wikipedia
They Work For You

UPDATE : 2012.03.01
And so it continues…
Email and web use ‘to be monitored’ under new laws (BBC News)
“The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon”