In the past three years, 294 public organisations have faced action over their use of the database containing details of car registrations and driving licenses.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Big Brother Watch, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) disclosed that the organisations were overwhelmingly local authorities, but included Sussex Police and Transport for London.
They all had access suspended, while 38 organisations saw their access permanently revoked. Of the issues identified, 156 came about because of audits of the database use by staff.
Eric Pickles may not have the most glamorous job in Westminster, but he has delivered an early Christmas present for civil liberties campaigners.
The last Labour Government changed the law to give local authorities powers, originally intended for the Environment Agency to tackle serious fly-tipping, to go through people’s bins. Now the Secretary of State for Local Government has announced that no longer will council inspectors have the right to enter your property and rifle through your bin.
This power of entry, along with a few others (including the suspicion of unregulated hypnotists and the sale of German property) were scrapped as part of the Protection of Freedoms Act.
Obviously we never thought that we would be joining in with all of the media that has amassed after the announcement of the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy. However the Duchess has found herself embroiled in a data protection scandal.
Extraordinarily, a prank call made by Australian 2Day FM radio presenters to King Edward VII Hospital enabled them to obtain intimate medical information about the health of Catherine. The presenters pretended to be the Queen, Prince Charles and, most bizarrely, corgis in order to attempt to get Catherine live on air. The transcript shows that, despite a very unconvincing performance by the presenters, a nurse gave private details of Catherine’s condition.
The Home Secretary’s article in yesterday’s Sun newspaper prompted David Davis to rais a point of order in the House of Commons, asking:
“I raise this point of order with you in respect of your duty of defending the interests and rights of backbenchers and committees in this House. This morning in an interview with the Sun newspaper, the Home Secretary, who I see is on the Treasury Bench, said the following about the Communications Data Bill:
“‘Criminals, terrorists and paedophiles will want MPs to vote against this bill. Victims of crime, police and the public will want them to vote for it. It’s a question of whose side you’re on.’ She also said: ‘Anybody who is against this bill is putting politics before people’s lives.’
“A Joint Committee of this House and the other House is meeting at present to pass comment on this Bill. Therefore, apart from traducing a large number of Members of this House, the Home Secretary is undermining the work of that Committee. Has she asked to come to the House to explain herself, and if not, what can you do to protect us, Mr Speaker?”
The article was straight out of the New Labour playbook for security policies, but it seems the public have grown tired of such tactics. Not least the Sun’s own readers.
At the time of writing there are 94 comments on the Sun article and here’s what readers think:
Positive / support the Bill: 6 comments
Negative / against the Bill: 71 comments
Off topic / unclear: 17 comments
We’re proud to be on the side of David Davis, Nick Clegg, countless MPs and the overwhelming majority of Sun readers in defending our privacy and civil liberties. No amount of scaremongering is going to change that.