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UK Home Office mulls changes to data laws

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Dec 2010 1:57 User comments (3)

UK Home Office mulls changes to data laws The Home Office in the UK is meeting civil liberties groups as part of a consultation about UK data interception laws.
The consultation is being carried out to meet EU requirements despite the Home Office saying earlier that a meeting with civil liberties groups was unnecessary. It will now meet the Open Rights Group and other organizations this week.

A European Union investigation into how a controversial ad trackng technology, Phorm, was rolled out in the UK, prompted the consultation. The European Commission found that the UK has no legal redress for citizens who think their web browsing or other online activities have been monitored.

This puts the UK in breach of the European e-Privacy directive. Thousands of users of BT Internet services in the UK took part in Phorm trials without their consent. Phorm is one of many firms that tracks web behavior in other to better target advertisements to users.

Jim Killock, chief executive of the Open Rights Group, is not happy with how the consultation is being carried out however. "When the consultation started in November we heard about it through the grapevine rather than a public announcement. We wrote to the Home Office saying they needed to meet with representatives from civil society because the law was about individual rights," he said.

"We were told that the Home Office was only consulting those directly affected, ie those who might get punished, ignoring the fact that those most directly affected are the general public. The consultation is about a very serious matter. What rights should we have as citizens to take legal action against people who intercept our communications? Should criminal as well as civil charges be available? Who should investigate?"

The Home Office wants to extend the power of the Interception Commissioner to issue fines against firms like BT when they slip up in this area. But Killock is entirely unconvinced that this is the correct form of action. "It is talking about fines of around 10,000 which is pocket money to firms such as BT. It is a joke," he said.

He thinks it would make more sense to allow the police to investigate these cases and to provide a one stop shop for privacy complaints from the public.

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3 user comments

19.12.2010 09:11
tapas howlader
Unverified new user


i woued like to request you to provite me the information for the following
i am applying for studey parmit for the course of msc in pharm sceince for the session jan 2011 in metro politen univ.i would like to know that whether iwill be getting a work parmit after completing my studay in uk because i have hard rumours of stoping the permission of granting work parmit after fishing my studey in uk according to the recent ruls of uk home affrise.

29.12.2010 12:09

Rubbish.. they are just going ahead with them while everybody is looking at the student fees protests.. In their election manifestos both Tories and Shliberals promised to scrap the "big brother state" but now see how useful it can be in their self created atmosphere of civil unrest and disorder..

The storm clouds are brewing on the horizon, there is talk of revolution and open warfare on the streets.. They feel they need to have every communication between every one of us all the time along with overt and covert cctv every time you step out of your house..

Goodbye the last vestige of "freedom" or "privacy" .. you belong to the state now.. in thought word and deed.. the thought police have arrived.. it's 1984 .. or as we call it.. Day X Year 0

ARR! Them pesky Navy! Get out of my sea!

39.12.2010 13:36

V for Vendetta

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