Thursday, February 05, 2009

House of Lords Report on Rise of Electronic Surveillance

This is a follow-up the February 4 post entitled Ottawa Citizen Series on Surveillance and Privacy.

The Constitution Committee of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom has just released a report called Surveillance: Citizens and the State:
"Some of the questions we sought to answer included:
  • Have increased surveillance and data collection by the state fundamentally altered the way it relates to its citizens?
  • What forms of surveillance and data collection might be considered constitutionally proper or improper? Is there a line that should not be crossed? How could it be identified?
  • What effect do public and private sector surveillance and data collection have on a citizen's liberty and privacy?
  • How have surveillance and data collection altered the nature of citizenship in the 21st century, especially in terms of citizens' relationship with the state?
  • Is the Data Protection Act 1998 sufficient to protect citizens? Is there a need for additional constitutional protection for citizens in relation to surveillance and the collection of data?"
Earlier Library Boy posts about surveillance include:
  • UK Fast Becoming Surveillance Society Says Info Commissioner (November 2, 2006): "Richard Thomas, the United Kingdom Information Commissioner, stated in a report released today that his country is sleep-walking into a surveillance society. This is due to the increasing accumulation of credit card, cell phone and loyalty card information, the monitoring of workers' computer activities, and the spread of closed circuit television surveillance. There are now 4.2 million closed circuit cameras in Britain and Britons are picked up 300 times a day on camera as they go about their regular private business."
  • International Surveillance and Privacy Survey from Queen's University (November 15, 2006): "Earlier this week, Queen's University researchers released the results of a survey of 9,000 people around the world about their experiences with surveillance and privacy: 'This is believed to be the first cross-cultural study of its kind that explores relationships between attitudes and experiences, and how much people trust corporations and governments to handle personal information, including the sharing of such information with third parties, the researcher says... the survey included nearly 50 questions on participant’s attitudes about issues like consumer surveillance, racial profiling at airports, national ID cards, media coverage of surveillance issues, workplace privacy, knowledge of privacy regulations, control over personal data and public trust in government'."
  • Suspect Nation Video on Rise of the Surveillance Society (November 28, 2006): "A documentary on widespread surveillance in the US and the UK by Henry Porter of the British paper The Observer has been posted to Google Video. Entitled Suspect Nation, it explores the potential misuse of the mountains of data collected about each of us through a proliferating number of technologies"
  • George Orwell's London Apartment Under 24-Hour Surveillance (April 4, 2007): "On the wall outside his former residence - flat number 27B - where Orwell lived until his death in 1950, an historical plaque commemorates the anti-authoritarian author. And within 200 yards of the flat, there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move."
  • French Privacy Watchdog Warns Against Surveillance Society (July 12, 2007): "In its most recent activities report, the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés or CNIL (the French national personal data protection and privacy commission) warns that the increased use of biometrics, surveillance cameras, and geolocalization technologies (to track employee movements via GPS systems in company cars or corporate mobile phones) may threaten privacy and civil liberties."
  • Quebec Government Advisory Committee Report on Surveillance Technologies (May 12, 2008): "The Science and Technology Ethics Committee (CEST) of the Quebec government recently released a report entitled In Search of Balance: An Ethical Look at New Surveillance and Monitoring Technologies for Security Purposes: 'Fundamental democratic values are at the heart of the ethical issues involved: Assessment of the effectiveness and reliability of NSMT, proportionality of response to insecurity, social acceptability, consent, respect for end purpose, and protection of personal information.'"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:28 pm

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