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Nick Pickles

Whose data is it anyway?

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Databases, Online privacy, Privacy, Technology, United States | 3 Comments

Intellectual property in a digital age has been traditionally focused on issues like copyright infringement and patents. One issue that has not been covered is the implications for personal data.Where previously companies would pay ‘mystery shoppers’ or members of the public in some way for the information about how people’s retail habits, they are now able to access data generated by customers using their cards and process it into marketing data. Mastercard is the latest company to hit the headlines …

European regulators find Google’s privacy policy lacking

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Information Commissioner, Internet freedom, Online privacy, Surveillance | 1 Comment

In a letter today to Google boss Larry Page, the Article 29 group of European Regulators outline their concerns around Google’s new privacy policy, coming after the French regulator CNIL’s investigation. The letter has some choice words for the company: “Google’s answers have not demonstrated that your company endorses the key data protection principles of purpose limitation, data quality, data minimization, proportionality and right to object. Indeed, the Privacy policy suggests the absence of any limit concerning the scope of …

The Home Office gets some home truths from tech companies

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCDP, Civil Liberties, Communications Data Bill, Internet freedom, Surveillance, Technology, Terrorism Legislation | 3 Comments

Given the importance placed upon communications data in the PR offensive before the draft Communications Data Bill was launched , you would hope that the process to draft the Bill was rigorous and fully involved the companies affected. We already know from previous evidence that the main evidential basis for the bill came from a two week survey of selected police forces conducted fairly recently. Now evidence from the Joint Committee’s private sessions with communications companies Google, Yahoo and Twitter …

Cambridge Council doesn’t let the law get in the way

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Civil Liberties, Councils, RIPA, Surveillance | 6 Comments

“Technically, this amounted to intrusive surveillance, which the police can authorise, but the council cannot.”   Cambridge City Council report. As reported on the front page of today’s Cambridge News, a report to Cambridge city council, to be discussed next week, highlights how the Council signed off on an operation to install hidden CCTV cameras in the home of a resident, despite not having the legal authority to do so. The situation clearly warranted action to protect the resident and …

More dodgy stats misleading the child protection debate

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Child protection, Civil Liberties, Mobile Phones, Surveillance, Technology | 2 Comments

Last month we detailed how one of the key statistics being relied upon by campaigners calling for ‘default blocking’ of some internet content was based upon one very dubious survey in a single school. This kind of deliberately misleading scaremongering undermines the discussion about how best to protect children, and now it’s clear that commercial pressures are also leading to dodgy stats being pushed into the debate. This week, the Advertising Standards Authority has rebuked Carphone Warehouse for it’s marketing …

The great DNA fishing trip

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Civil Liberties, DNA database, Police | 5 Comments

Across the country, police forces are now busy tracking down people to hand over a DNA sample, not based on any current suspicion of committing an offence but purely because of historical offences that took place decades ago. The civil liberties implications of this kind of operation are clear. People, currently not under suspicion for any crime and who have served their punishment for past offences, are now hunted down simply in the hope that the force will get lucky …

Time to check your Facebook page

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Online privacy, Social Networking | 8 Comments

Time to check your Facebook timeline. It appears that a glitch means some people’s private messages or chats are now visable on their timelines. Still to be confirmed or denied by FB. How to fix it: Click on a year on your the timeline. You will see an item saying ‘xx friends posted on your timeline’ This appears to have been newly updated, and is where some people are saying messages are going. You can click on the small pencil …

Fifteen billion online devices by 2015

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Communications Data Bill, Data Protection, Internet of things, Privacy, Smart Meters, Surveillance | 7 Comments

The internet of things is coming, and it’s not just the CIA who are excited. Last week Intel, the chip manufacturer, predicted that by 2015 there will be more than 15 billion internet-connected devices and one third of these connected devices will be intelligent systems. The CIA are already getting excited, with Director David Petraeus talking about the”transformational” effect on “clandestine tradecraft.” The proposed draft Communications Data Bill is so broadly drafted it’s been warned that a system to control …

Big Brother Watch at the party conferences

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCTV, Communications Data Bill, Events | 5 Comments

Big Brother Watch will be attending all three party conferences this year – here are the details of our events. For the events at UKIP and Conservative conferences you will not need a security pass, however both the Labour and Liberal Democrat events are inside the secure zone. Full details are below.

The Class of 1984

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCTV, Civil Liberties, Featured, Information Commissioner, Research and reports | 41 Comments

Based on data covering more than 2,000 secondary schools and academies, Big Brother Watch warns that there are more than 100,000 CCTV cameras in secondary schools and academies across England, Wales and Scotland. With some schools seeing a ratio of one camera for every five pupils, more than two hundred schools using CCTV in bathrooms and changing rooms and more cameras inside school buildings as outside, the picture across the country will undoubtedly shock and surprise many. To put into …

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