Critics warn against Government’s web dispute plans

The Government is considering setting up a mediation system to help people get personal details removed from websites.

Critics warn against Government's web dispute plans

The plans follow dismay expressed by the minister responsible for culture and broadband, Ed Vaizey, that people have been unable to easily get their houses removed from Google’s Street View images.

“Essentially it will look to work with industry to see if the complaints process can be improved,” a spokesperson for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills told PC Pro.

“Ed Vaizey wants to set up a meeting with the ISPs and other industry players to discuss the issue and look at the various different options.”

The proposal was announced in the wake of a highly-charged Westminster debate last week that discussed repeated privacy failings by web giants such as Google and Facebook and how the public needed to be protected from their lack of controls.

However, privacy campaigners suspect the plans are a smokescreen aimed at diverting attention from the UK’s current ineffectiveness in dealing with problems such as Google’s Street View debacle.

Following last week’s meeting, the Information Commissioner’s Office came under fire for failing to take action against Google after it collected Wi-Fi data during its nationwide photo trawl.

“It doesn’t seem well thought out and there’s been no consultation on the process – it’s really not well developed,” said Jim Killock, chair of the Open Rights Group. “It might have a place, but the Government should really be looking at the existing privacy rules on this that are failing.”

“It needs to give the ICO the correct level of power and a correct definition of privacy, so it can take action when appropriate.”

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