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Friday, February 06, 2009

Watching you, watching me

Those who are concerned at the gradual erosion of our civil liberties under this Labour Government (and their Tory predecessors) will be interested in this report in today's Guardian. The paper tells us that a House of Lords report has concluded that the steady expansion of the "surveillance society" risks undermining fundamental freedoms including the right to privacy.

They argue that Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV, with an estimated 4 million cameras, and in building a national DNA database, with more than 7% of the population already logged compared with 0.5% in the America. They warn that the national DNA database could be used for "malign purposes", challenge whether CCTV cuts crime and question whether local authorities should be allowed to use surveillance powers at all.

Their constitution committee makes more than 40 recommendations to protect individual privacy, including the deletion of all profiles from the national DNA database except for those of convicted criminals and a call for the mandatory encryption of personal data held by public and private organisations that are legally obliged to hold it.

Definitely food for thought.


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