Tuesday, May 01, 2007

ICO to call for more powers

This is a recent press release from the UK's ICO office calling for new privacy safeguards against a surveillance society:

The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, is today proposing new safeguards – including privacy impact assessments and inspection powers –to ensure public confidence in initiatives and technologies which could otherwise accelerate the growth of a surveillance society.Giving evidence before the Home Affairs Select Committee the Information Commissioner will also call for stronger powers to allow his Office (the ICO) to carry out inspections and audits. Currently the Commissioner must gain consent before inspecting an organisation for compliance with the Data Protection Act. Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, said: “People now understand that data protection is an essential barrier to excessive surveillance. But it is wrong that my Office cannot find out what is happening in practice without the consent of each organisation. The risks that arise from excessive surveillance affect both individuals and society as a whole. As well as risks such as identity mistakes and security breaches there can be unnecessary intrusion into people’s lives and loss of personal autonomy. There is also a concern that too much surveillance will create a climate of fear and suspicion. It is essential that before new surveillance technologies are introduced fullconsideration is given to the impact on individuals and that safeguards are inplace to minimise intrusion.”The introduction of privacy impact assessments will ensure organisations set out how they will minimise the threat to privacy and address all the risks of new surveillance arrangements prior to their implementation...

See also:

On Privacy Impact Assessments, see also:

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