Today's lead story in the Observer is a maddening and excellent investigative piece revealing that for three decades, the UK's biggest construction companies worked with British police and spy-agencies to build illegal dossiers on whistle-blowers who complained about unsafe working conditions and trade-unionists. The victims of these investigations -- thousands of them -- were economically ruined as the firms conspired to keep them from being hired at any job-site, and saw to it that if they were ever hired, they were promptly fired.
Previous attempts to sue over this haven't gotten very far, but the evidence of police/spy collusion may be enough to prompt Parliamentary action. Be sure to click on the related links to the side of the piece for Daniel Boffey's collection of stories of workers who were targeted. One man discovered that his file contained information about his participation in an anti-fascist demonstration.
The Consulting Association was closed down and a 66-year-old private investigator, Ian Kerr, was fined £5,000 for administering the database, although the construction firms escaped prosecution. At Smith's tribunal, Carillion admitted that two of its subsidiaries covertly supplied information to the database to "penalise" Smith for being a trade unionist, even though he had "reasonably brought health and safety concerns to their attention". However, Smith lost his claim for £175,000 in lost income because he worked through an agency and was not directly employed by Carillion.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.