In a positive step forward, the Government has announced that more than 1.1 million DNA profiles belonging to innocent people have so far been destroyed to allow new laws to be brought into force. In addition, 6.3 million DNA samples containing sensitive biological material, which are no longer needed as a completed DNA profile has been obtained, have also been destroyed. Big Brother Watch has campaigned on this issue for several years, raising concerns that the Protection of Freedoms Act … →
Would you be surprised to hear that a manager at the Information Commissioner’s Office, the very organisation that was set up to “uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals”, has said that consumers only like to complain about privacy if companies mess up? At the IAB’s Mobile Engage conference, and ICO manager of business and industry, Dave Evans, said: “Consumers are not interested in privacy but they become interested if … →
We have warned on multiple occasions about the abuse of surveillance powers by public authorities and the subsequent importance of having judicial approval for officials who want to snoop on us, whether it is in the ‘real’ world or online. Last year we highlighted that more than three million authorisations under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000) were issued, leading to questions about how and why the powers are being used. We also published research that shows that HMRC … →
Local authorities in Scotland have rushed to install even more CCTV cameras, which are proved to be an expensive and evidentially unsuccessful means of surveillance. The public would be far safer if the money was spent on street lighting, proper policing and actually punishing criminals when they are caught, rather than giving them a slap on the wrist and putting them back on the streets. In too many towns we now have a CCTV on every street corner, yet never … →
One in five councils have reduced the number of CCTV cameras on the streets since 2010, with some having no cameras at all. Cost should not be the reason for making decisions about the tools needed to keep the public safe. We have long argued for an approach based on community policing and the ‘broken windows’ experience from the USA. CCTV diverts resources away from efforts that have been proven to be more effective while increasing the blanket nature of … →
Unbelievably, tens of thousands of children, as young as 12, are still being subjected to the “undignified” practice of strip searches, despite reassurances from the Youth Justice Board. Results from an FOI request found that there had been 43,000 recorded incidents of children being strip searched in young offender institutions, secure children’s homes and secure training centers in the 21 months up to December 2012, with only 275 searches finding “illicit” items. When items were found, the most common was tobacco and … →
The Government’s use of the Cloud may be put on hold after Members of Parliament raised concerns that the service allows sensitive personal information about British citizens to be spied on by the US authorities. A European Commission report highlights how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendment Act (FISAA) allows US authorities to spy on cloud data. This could include services such as Amazon Cloud Drive, Apple iCloud and Google Drive.
In a landmark ruling, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the law which requires people to disclose all previous convictions to certain employers is a breach of human rights. In this case, a 21 year old man wanted cautions to be removed from his criminal record. His crime, being accused of stealing two bicycles at aged 11. Information about the cautions had been flagged up when applying for a part-time job at a local football club at the age … →