The UK is now a surveillance society
By Ken Craggs
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Sep 29, 2009, 00:20
the United Kingdom Audit Commission has run the National Fraud Initiative (NFI), an exercise that matches
electronic data within and between audited bodies, apparently to prevent and
local authorities (councils) in the UK will again be giving details about
citizens to the Audit Commission. Personal details are handed over if a citizen
pays Council Tax, claims Housing Benefit, lives in a council�s property, is
disabled and has a travel pass, residents� parking permit, or a blue badge; has
a licence for market trading, market operating, taxi driving or a personal
licence to sell alcohol.
Commission then crosschecks the information with information that other public bodies have about citizens. These public
bodies include the National Health Service, other local authorities, government
departments, Age Concern, Council of Mortgage Lenders, National Association of
Pension Funds, Trades Union Congress (TUC), UNISON, Passenger Transport
Authorities, Police Authorities, Fire and Rescue Authorities, National Park
Authorities, Waste Authorities, and non-government organisations, such as
pension schemes and housing associations.
The use of data by the Audit Commission in a data
matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in
Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998 and does not require the consent of
the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.
national Customer Relationship Management project (CRM), which was launched by
the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2003, has led to councils
integrating personal data such as council tax, housing and electoral register
information on one system.
The Database State report warns that the development of
integrated databases and the joining-up of existing data �raises the
possibility of information being available in new ways, without the citizen
being properly informed about them, and to council and other staff to whom it
was previously not available.� The authors added that two-thirds of the
population no longer trust the government with their personal data. The
report also claims that 11 databases, including the National DNA Database, the
National Identity Register and the Department for Work and Pensions cross
departmental data sharing programme are illegal under human rights or data
investigation of minor offences, UK local authorities are continuing to
illegally spy on individuals, said the chief surveillance
commissioner in a report published in July 2009. Sir Christopher Rose
said it was of �significant concern� that councils conducted covert surveillance of individuals for non-criminal
offences -- an action banned under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
to a report by the Interception of Communications
Commissioner, Sir Paul Kennedy, also published in July 2009, requests by the
police and other officials for information on people�s phone calls and e-mails
averaged 1,381 a day between 01 January 2008 and 31 December 2008. A total of
504,073 surveillance requests to telephone and Internet companies were made in
2008. The report states that most requests came from the police and that there
were also requests from the intelligence services and local authorities.
Local authorities in the UK have used RIPA laws to
investigate dog-fouling, spy on workers who claimed to be sick, monitor the
misuse of disabled parking badges, investigate fly-tipping, and to check if
residents were putting their rubbish out on the wrong day.
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