Thursday, October 16, 2008

Proposed Database

This latest development should be no surprise to any academic researcher working in the field of data protection and privacy in the UK (as here). Particularly, when surveillance is becoming "normalised" with countless CCTVs etc. Out goes "privacy" and in comes "surveillance". Amidst the latest data security breaches, according to The Independent, details are emerging over the current plans for a database:
Early plans to create a giant "Big Brother" database holding information about every phone call, email and internet visit made in the UK were last night condemned by the Government's own terrorism watchdog...

Under the proposal, internet service providers and telecoms companies would hand over millions of phone and internet records to the Home Office, which would store them for at least 12 months so that the police and security services could access them. It is understood that more than £1bn has been earmarked for the database.

Some reactions over this proposed database:

Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, has described the plans as "a step too far for the British way of life". Yesterday his office added: "It is clear that more needs to be done to protect people's personal information, but creating big databases... means you can never eliminate the risk that the data will fall into the wrong hands."

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: "This is another example of the Government's obsession with gathering as much information on each of us as possible in case it might prove useful in the future. Like the discredited ID card scheme this will have a massive impact on our privacy but will do nothing to make us safer.


UPDATE: By way of update (courtesy of Out-law) there is likely to be consultation on the proposed new law. However, it is still unclear as there seems to be mixed messages over recent news that everyone who has a mobile phone will be compelled to register their identity on a national database (compulsory mobile phone register). More details can be found here. Q. How have other countries implemented the Data Retentions Directive 2006/24/EC? Probably this book and here will enlighten us a little bit more.

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