Surveillance State

February 6, 2009 by stanza Leave a reply »
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The proliferation of CCTV cameras and the growth of the DNA database were two examples of threats to privacy, the Lords constitution committee said.Those subject to unlawful surveillance should be compensated while the policy of DNA retention should be rethought. The government said CCTV and DNA were “essential crime fighting tools”.
“The huge rise in surveillance and data collection by the state and other organisations risks undermining the long-standing tradition of privacy and individual freedom which are vital for democracy,” Lord Goodlad added.
“If the public are to trust that information about them is not being improperly used, there should be much more openness about what data is collected, by whom and how it is used.” The government said CCTV and DNA were “essential crime fighting tools” but acknowledged personal data should only be used in criminal investigations where necessary.
“The key is to strike the right balance between privacy, protection and sharing of personal data,” a Home Office spokesman said.

“This provides law enforcement agencies with the tools to protect the public… while ensuring there are effective safeguards and a solid legal framework to protect civil liberties. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has rejected claims of a surveillance society as “not for one moment” true and called for “common sense” guidelines on CCTV and DNA.

She recently announced a consultation on possible changes to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, under which public bodies can conduct covert surveillance and access data, to clarify who can use such powers and prevent “frivolous” investigations. The Conservatives said the government’s approach to personal privacy was “reckless”. “Ministers have sanctioned a massive increase in surveillance over the last decade, at great cost to the taxpayer, without properly assessing either its effectiveness or taking adequate steps to protect the privacy of perfectly innocent people,” said shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve. Ref…http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics

The image below show the artist Stanza’s DNA on the outside of a building made public for all too see.

Copyright Image by Stanza

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