UK may soon infringe upon individual’’s privacy rights

February 25th, 2009 - 6:28 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb.25 (ANI): Privacy rights of innocent people will have to be sacrificed to give the security services access to a sweeping range of personal data, one of the architects of the government’’s national security strategy has warned.
Sir David Omand, the former Whitehall security and intelligence co-ordinator, has set out a blueprint for the way the state will mine data - including travel information, phone records and emails.
According to The Guardian, Omands paper provides the most candid assessment yet of the scale of Whitehall’’s ambitions for a state database to track terrrorist groups.
It argues that while the measures are essential, public trust will be maintained only if such intrusive surveillance is carried out within a strong framework of morality and human rights.
“Modern intelligence access will often involve intrusive methods of surveillance and investigation, accepting that, in some respects this may have to be at the expense of some aspects of privacy rights,” he writes in a newly published Institute for Public Policy research paper.
“This is a hard choice, and goes against current calls to curb the so-called surveillance society - but it is greatly preferable to tinkering with the rule of law, or derogating from fundamental human rights, he says.
Although Omand left the senior civil service in 2005, his views continue to reflect thinking at the highest levels of Whitehall.
In the paper - National Security Strategy, Implications for the UK Intelligence Community - he says that a growing amount of intelligence to remove extremists and disrupt potential terrorist attacks is now derived from “protected information” - known in intelligence circles as “Protint”.
Omand says that the significant challenge facing the intelligence community is how to access the full range of personal data in a way that is timely, accurate, proportionate, legal and acceptable in a democratic and free society.(ANI)

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