UK rights group warns of growing surveillance state

UK rights group warns of growing surveillance state

[JURIST] Authorities in the United Kingdom are endangering the privacy of law-abiding Britons by increasingly using mass surveillance to profile people rather than targeting individual criminal suspects using intelligence-led policing, UK rights group Liberty [advocacy website] concluded in a report [press release] published Thursday. Liberty warned that data-mining in the National Identity Cards Database [enabling legislation] now allows the British government to retain and share unprecedented amounts of individual personal information while the National DNA Database (NDNAD) [Home Office backgrounder] has recently been expanded by taking DNA samples on arrest, rather than on conviction, and moreover shows evidence of racial bias [JURIST report], with 40 percent of the 3.9 million sample database being from black males, compared with only 9 percent being from white males.

Liberty recommended simplifying the procedure for innocent DNA to be removed from the NDNAD, and limiting police ability to expand the database. Liberty is also urging legislation to regulate the UK's use of public CCTV security cameras – which now include 'talking' versions [Daily Mail repprt] – and ensure protection of citizens' personal details. The group additionally insists that authorisations for access to personal communications such as email, mobile and phone calls be subject to judicial review and oversight. Earlier this month a UK judge advocated expanding the NDNAD database [JURIST report] to include all citizens and any visitor to the UK. The Daily Mail has more.