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Nick Pickles

Traffic Spies – a £300m surveillance industry

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCTV, CCTV cars, Research and reports, RIPA, Surveillance | 10 Comments

Today we have published our latest report, Traffic Spies, highlighting how hundreds of councils have turned to static CCTV cameras and spy cars to raise £312m in revenue. Many councils are continuing to use CCTV to hand out fines, despite the government publishing a Surveillance Camera Code of Practice highlighting the need to use CCTV for traffic offences “sparingly”, this research highlights that the number of CCTV cars in operation in the UK has increased by 87% since 2009. The …

Support grows for surveillance transparency

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCDP, Civil Liberties, Communications Data Bill, GCHQ, Mastering the Internet, Online privacy, Police, Research and reports, Surveillance, Technology | 10 Comments

Last November we launched our ‘Time for Transparency’ campaign, revealing new polling that showed 66% of people want more information about how surveillance powers are used, with 70% wanting companies like BT and EE to publish their own reports about the requests they receive, as companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft now regularly release. Today we are publishing a paper detailing further proposals to improve transparency, following wide ranging discussions with companies, regulators and political figures, as well as discussions …

Patients still in the dark about medical data uses

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Medical Records, NHS, Privacy | 1 Comment

Today’s publication of  the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s (HSCIC) register of data releases is striking for what it does not include. It is only the tip of the iceberg. Minister Dr Dan Poulter told Parliament on 25 March that records of the data released by HSCIC would be made public and would cover “all the data releases” made. He said: “Following concerns expressed by the Health Select Committee in its meeting of February 25, Sir Nick Partridge, a …

Is BT handing over data on Brits in bulk?

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCDP, Civil Liberties, Communications Data Bill, GCHQ, Home, Mobile Phones, Privacy, Surveillance, United States | 8 Comments

Last year, the Guardian published an order under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act made to Verizon, which made clear that the NSA was collecting details of phone calls made by American citizens not on a targeted basis, but in bulk. We have a simple question – is the same happening here? Appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, our Director raised this issue and revealed that BT had refused to deny that it hands over data in …

Tony Benn: 1925 – 2014

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Civil Liberties | 1 Comment

“Of course we need good government. Of course we need it to have policies that deliver greater social justice and equality. But the more influential government becomes the more it is essential that it respects our liberties. Its obligation must be to serve the people, not rule over them. We have to insist on this principle. It is not a matter of left or right, Tory or Labour.” Anthony Neil Wedgwood “Tony” Benn, 3 April 1925 – 14 March 2014. …

When patient privacy and google collide

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Google, Information Commissioner, Privacy | 6 Comments

Clearly when data is held by a third party, a different set of risks exist – from concerns about foreign Government access to the use of the data by the third party for other purposes. Patients appreciate their information will be held by the NHS but do they think it will end up on a server in California run by companies who base their business model on knowing more about people? That is perhaps what is most troubling about the …

Has GCHQ taken a photo from your webcam?

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCTV, GCHQ, Online privacy | 10 Comments

If you use Yahoo! chat then the answer may well be yes. Today’s remarkable revelation that GCHQ has been capturing images (a “surprising” number of which were of people who may not have been fully clothed) As the Guardian reports: GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target …

Press comment: Miranda ruling

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Press Office | Leave a comment

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “What is bizarre is that the Security Services twice declined to tell the police David Miranda was involved in terrorism, and then changed their mind after being told by the police that they could not use Schedule 7 if he was not. This looks like making the facts up to fit the law, rather than using the appropriate power to do what was the ultimate goal, namely seizing the material in David …

Care.data delay is not the end of the issue

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Databases, Information Commissioner, NHS | 7 Comments

In a campaign victory for Big Brother Watch, medconfidential and others, the care.data scheme has been delayed for six months. This is not the end of the issue. We have significant ongoing concerns regarding the care.data scheme, both in terms of how patients have been told about what is happening and the long term privacy implications of creating a new database and releasing data that could be used to re-identify patients. We welcome the fact that NHS England has recognised …

Press comment: NHS Database roll out delayed

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Press Office | 2 Comments

Responding to news that NHS England is to delay the roll out of the care.data database: Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “NHS England has failed to properly communicate to patients or GPs what this new database involves, how it affects our medical records and what the risks are. The scheme’s benefits are no justification for not properly informing people what will happen and a delay is the right thing to do to maintain public confidence and ensure …

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