back to article ICO to investigate surveillance for Parliamentary report

Privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) will report to Parliament later this year on the degree to which UK citizens are put under surveillance. The study will be a follow up to a previous ICO report which said that citizens were at risk from growing pressure in Government to share information between …


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The ICO?

The same ICO that said of Phorm:

"The ICO has not contacted any independent IT experts for their view on Webwise since being made aware of the 2007 trials on 10 March 2007 [8?]. The ICO are not technical experts so encouraged Phorm to be transparent and directly engage with technical experts to address concerns raised by such experts about the safeguards and nature of the Webwise product"

Bollocks to this report, because it will be a complete waste of paper.

The ICO needs to be purged before a study like this. The people who are 'not experts' in the industry they are supposed to police need to be sacked, and all of the current management need to be ejected onto the street for failing to employ people who are qualified to understand what they are employed to do.

Else what value their interpretation? Its a recipe for fail.


I hope you arn't paranoid.

He's talking about you. And so are we.

Anonymous Coward

Symmetric surveillance & Symetric Approval

School lends laptops to students. Decides that it can watch the students while they're home (and under the authority of the parent not the school). Pervy looking male teacher takes a look at what appears to be only girl students in secret and explains to camera that they mostly put on their makeup and use the computer as a mirror (i.e. it's none of his business).

Did the kids agree to appear on PBS like that?


Switch that around, would the teacher be happy if the students could turn on a camera and watch him at home in secret? Sure he's a teacher and they are a student, but that just changes the privacy abuse into an abuse of power. It changes the nature of the abuse not the fact it's bad.

The key point comes up again and again. IF PEOPLE KNEW THEY WERE BEING WATCHED, WOULD THEY AGREE IT? So if he'd Skyped into their computer, and they'd accepted the call voluntarily, then that would be OK, it would be an agreed exchange of information.

If you're still not sure if watching teens on secret cameras is bad if done by teachers, swab every computer he uses for traces of semen, and get back to me on whether you've changed your mind.


Politicians and data. How many times have they approved a database and added an exception that their own kids data and celebrity kids data is not included. Look at the car registration, they drive around on TV and the plate is blanked out, yet DVLA continues to hand private data out on request! Without even notifying the owner, or seeking their approval!

Look at the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, he lives in HU1, the rest of his address is blanked out on his expenses. Why? Because he had the ability to approve whether that data should be given out and clearly refuses. He does not quote it, whenever it is displayed it is blanked out. When given the ability to approve the release of private data, people say NO.

i.e. people who approve intrusive surveillance for others don't want it for themselves.


Yet technology marches on, I know his address has a 'g' as the second or third letter (the tail poked out from the blanking out), he lives in HU1, it could be anyone of 3 streets. When Google street view is available, I'll be able to determine from the police and cars which house is his all while sitting at my desk outside the UK.

i.e. it's getting worse, and if the Home Secretary can't protect their private data, what chance has the man on the street?


Does being on the street mean you give up the right to privacy? No. It does not mean you give up the right to privacy anymore than if you were in a room with 2 people. The expectation of the room is that you will be watched by 2 people, if they had secret cameras and recorded your every action, then that is a departure from the expectation of relative privacy. The fact the person keeps the camera secret confirms that they know there is no agreement to film.

Likewise I am on a street corner, and Blunketts eyes are recording my every move to ENSURE I'M NOT A CRIMINAL, I am not agreeing to that and the CCTV camera is kept well out of my line of sight so as not to upset me. The fact the camera isn't in your face pointing at you confirms the lack of consent to be watched.

If CCTV cameras were in your eye line painted orange with a flashing light on them to indicate they are on you would not be happy.


So where is the individual consent to lose their individual right of privacy? It's lost in the data watch dog, he cannot consent to all the misuses of my personal data, yet he gives fake consent for uses of my data that I do not consent to.

Even though I do not want my personal data released, I would like it released on every politicians. This is why MY personal data in MINE to approve the release of. It is an INDIVIDUAL RIGHT, not a collective one and no data watchdog should be able to approve uses without my consent.


Take your surveillance society and shove it. There is no symmetric consent, there is no symmetric surveillance and the 'Data Protection Apparatchik' cannot give away my privacy on my behalf.



Just waking up !

to the fact that we live and breathe Police state daily.

Obviously it's the sleeping politician syndrome again.

Yesterday, my 17 year old daughter went to the newly refurbished Ashmolean Museum, as member of a party of students on an organised and supervised Art college trip. This should be a fantastic experience for any young person who shows interest in our cultural heritage. However, the day was marred again and again by security staff who made their presence very visible through out the duration of the visit. One guy even went as far as standing in the middle of the doorway to one of the rooms. His body language presented a posture intended to disuade my daughter from entering. If she had been tripping or stoned this may have simply been paranoia on her part, but she assures me that she wasn't. The bloke even went as far as to glower at her angrily, as she slid passed him through the entrance into the room.

As if there hasn't been enough spent on the surveilance equipment newly installed in this public building, we are still being harassed by the low paid individuals who have their daily, petty, national news fed prejudices to bear in life, and use their positions of relative superiority to "lord it" over what ever individual crosses their path. All this surveilance just teachers us to be suspicious of everyone. Assume they are a terrorist, a yobbo, a thief, a junky, a Benefits thief.

We are already here in a loop of 1984 which has been reiterating itself ever since.

And this guy has just woken up to the fact !

What happened to the Information Super Highway ?

Obviously, those dwellers in rural Brittania have only decrepit ali pots to deliver their Wiki knowledge, and we should expect some latency. But 26 years FFS !


Anonymous Coward

Ich habe nur Befehle befolgt...

Police states may be started by those bent on control, but they' couldn't succeed without being supported and maintained by the jobsworths - the kind of self-righteous social rejects who seek any job that provides a peaked cap and petty power. Including, it has to be said these days, many of our police. People who seem to have no personal conscience beyond ingratiating themselves with their masters.

They used to be limited to making our lives a misery in car parks and public buildings with their "You can't do that 'ere. mate!" and a host of (often self-generated) 'rules and regulations'.

These days, at everything from airports to shopping malls, they seem to have assumed the awesome responsibility of saving us all from terrorism/paedophilia/insert latest fashionable threat. What an enormous boost for socially-dyslexic minds! At an airport recently, lining up for a half-hour joyride in a classic aircraft, we were held up longer at security than we spent in the air - by morons I wouldn't have trusted to post a letter, let alone combat terrorism.

And when the dung finally hits the air-conditioning, their excuse is always the same: "We were only following orders!"

Frankly - if only because they now seem to be everywhere, including in charge of so much surveillance - such people frighten me far more than the terrorists,


Vested Interest Protecting Vested Interest

The ICO failed catastrophically in its duty in the Phorm case, admits it hasn't any IT technical staff in its numbers and is, as a result about as much use as a chocolate teapot. And we're supposed to take its findings seriously?

The ICO needs more than a purge, it need disembowelling, new staff recruited and then given decent sets of teeth and balls. But that won't happen under this "government".

Waste of time just to try and spin a web of mendacity and try to fool people.

As Bill Hicks said "You are free to do as we tell you, you are free to do as we tell you"

Big Brother


Do they really think we are going to believe this report will make any difference? Its not even going to highlight exactly how bad its got, for fear of pissing off the government, because the government are very much part of the problem!, for example, politicians like Mandelson and the Home Secretary are both in their way pushing for much more surveillance! ... they are very much part of the problem!

The ICO should have stopped all this years ago. So either the ICO are totally ignorant of what is really going on, or totally incapable of stopping what is going on, or they are a government smoke screen. Whatever the case they should be wiped out and replaced with a group with some serious legal teeth to keep the politicians in their place. (The politicians are our government representatives, not our masters who can spy on us as and when they choose and they sure as hell should be protecting us from corporations setting up ways to spy, e.g. Phorm!).

What I would like, is for our basic rights to be respected as well as protected. Our rights took centuries to fight for so our government representatives should bloody well respect them not keep trying to wipe them out!. We don't want state interference in our lives and we don't need state interference in our lives.

What I expect however, is for the ICO to end up telling us all, that basically not much is being spied on and what is spied on is more or less justified, when clearly the government is utterly taking the piss with how much spying they have created and even how much they have allowed with things like Phorm, ID cards, naked X-Ray scanners in airports, monitoring all our communications, monitoring our movements etc.. etc.. etc.. whilst at the same time selling our privacy to the highest bidder and preventing us even protecting our privacy from state interference and exploitation as we having to tell the state everything about ourselves and then they bloody well go and sell it all! ... then they have the bare faced gall to bleat on about how identity fraud is such a problem! ... then they have to add even more controls over our lives to patch identity fraud problems they are working so hard to make worse by selling our privacy to every company they can!. On top of this they are also relentlessly accidentally leaking vast amounts of our data at an astounding rate! Yet they now want to talk about privacy!

Do they really think we are all so stupid to believe this spineless ICO will make any difference?! The government are very much part of the problem not the solution!

Paris Hilton


When stuff like that happens it is usually a good idea to research who is on the ICO panel and from whom they take views (eg: recent consultants).

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