UK REMOVAL OF PRIVACY RIGHTS

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by bubs, Jun 13, 2002.

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  1. bubs

    bubs Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Suffolk, England
    See attached - I'll start another thread about what to do about it:

    Government unveils 'snooper's charter'
    by Charles Reiss Political Editor
    Evening Standard - 11 June 2002

    The Government was today accused of a massive new invasion of privacy amid
    reports that Whitehall, local councils and quangos are to be given the
    power to monitor the telephone and email records of everyone in Britain. Up
    to now the right to demand communications records has been limited to the
    police, the intelligence services, Customs and Excise and the Inland
    Revenue.

    However, proposals to be put before the Commons next week would widen that
    right to include seven Whitehall departments, every local council in the
    country, health service bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland and other
    organisations ranging from fire authorities to the Food Standards Agency.

    Under the rules, any of those organisations would be able, without a court
    order, to compel telephone companies, internet service providers and postal
    firms to hand over key information on individuals.

    The details include name and address, all phone calls or emails made and
    received, with their source and destination, and which websites have been
    visited on the internet. Departments and local councils would also be able
    to demand mobile phone location data, which can reveal the caller's
    whereabouts at any time down to the nearest few hundred metres.

    The plan was immediately attacked as a snooper's charter and a betrayal of
    pledges by ministers to protect the right to privacy. Condemning the move,
    Ian Brown, head of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, an
    internet think tank, said: "I am appalled at this huge increase in the
    scope of government snooping. Two years ago we were deeply concerned that
    these powers were to be given to the police without any judicial oversight.
    Now they're handing them out to a practically endless queue of bureaucrats
    in Whitehall and town halls."

    The government departments given the right to probe include Health, Trade
    and Industry, Transport, the Home Office, the Department for Work and
    Pensions and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The
    weapon was originally granted to the police and the intelligence services
    under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, passed two years ago. The
    Home Office argues that the wider authority, which will come into force in
    August if approved by MPs, is vital to fight terrorism and crime.

    However, John Wadham, director of Liberty said: "This list demonstrates an
    issue that many people may not have realised. It is not just the police who
    will be looking at our communications records, it is practically every
    public servant who will be able to play this game."

    The police are able to demand communications details on the authority of
    any officer of superintendent rank or above. The Government has yet to say
    what level of local council official will be given the same right. However,
    the director of Privacy International, Simon Davies, said: "The Home Office
    has absolutely breached its commitment that this law would not become a
    general surveillance power for the Government. This amounts to a systematic
    attack on the right to privacy."
     
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