The Open Rights Group have reported on the Lords Constitution Committee report on surveillance and privacy. This is a monster document, which can be read here: Constitution Committee – Second Report. Surveillance: Citizens and the State. It’s a big document, and it perhaps easier to digest via the ORG synopsis, and as the ORG say, "Those with nothing to hide can still have a great deal to fear".
Given the desire of central government to acquire and consolidate large quantities of personal data, one would hope that the holders of the data would encrypt or otherwise protect it. Not so – these data are often carted about, unencrypted, on optical disc, portable memory drives, or on laptop computers, and all too frequently lost. the ORG maintains a log of data loss incidents.
The Open Rights Group conclude with:
The two areas missing from the report are comments on the government’s current plans for a new national database containing the electronic communications data of the entire population and the powers for unrestrained information sharing granted in Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, currently being debated in Commons Committee.
What happens next? The Government will provide a written response to the report within the next two months. After that, a debate will be scheduled in the House. The more pressure we can bring to bear on Government, the better. The subject of the report is enormously important. Privacy is essential to a free society. Without it, the state is all-powerful.
The two missing areas are crucial to our freedoms in an increasingly data-hungry state – I’ve blogged about both recently.