ICO sounds caution over Government snooping plans
The Information Commissioner has warned the Government that it will push for privacy safeguards in its controversial plans to snoop on internet communications.
Reports leaked over the weekend suggest the Government will revive plans to collect data on citizens’ internet activity, email and telephone calls. The proposed scheme would, for example, allow police to check who you’ve been in email contact with, without first obtaining a warrant.
However, a statement sent to PC Pro suggests the Government might face opposition from within, in the form of the Information Commissioner.
“The Information Commissioner’s role in this Home Office project, both under this Government and the last, has been to press for the necessary limitations and safeguards to mitigate the impact on citizens’ privacy,” the ICO statement reads.
“We will continue to seek assurances, including the implementation of the results of a thorough Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA).”
Yet, despite the warning shot, the Information Commissioner’s Office concedes it cannot prevent the legislation from being passed. “Ultimately, the decision as to whether to proceed with the project is one which has to be taken by Parliament,” it adds.
The proposed legislation may also face stronger opposition than the Information Commissioner. Even Conservative MPs, such as the former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, have stated their opposition to the plans.