Sunday, March 08, 2009

UK Police Under Fire in New Database Row

Phil Muncaster writes on

Just a day after the Information Commissioner raided a firm for possessing a covert database of construction workers’ personal information, it emerged that the police force is keeping a potentially illegal database listing the details of political activists and journalists.

In a Guardian newspaper investigation, the Metropolitan Police force, which is said to have pioneered surveillance techniques at demonstrations, was accused of storing details including names, photographs, political associations and video footage of protesters and reporters.

The information is stored on CrimInt, a centralised database used by all police to catalogue criminal intelligence, the report said.

The information was obtained by the paper via Freedom of Information requests, court testimony, an interview with a senior Met oficer and police surveillance footage.

According to reports, the data is held by the police for up to seven years, and reviewed each year, so it is unclear whether the ICO will decide to investigate possible breaches of the Data Protection Act.

However, the storage of details belonging to people who have not been convicted or accused of a crime could contravene the Human Rights Act.

More here.


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