TechnologyAccounting SoftwareGovernment’s ‘Big Brother’ plans slammed

Government's 'Big Brother' plans slammed

Government snooping of electronic communications has come under fire in the Information Commissioner's annual report.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth France said the government’s increasing use of the terrorist attacks in the USA as justification for increased monitoring of people’s email and internet usage was of ‘continuing concern’.

Just last month the Home Secretary was forced to rethink plans to allow a wide range of non law enforcement public bodies access to monitoring data held by Internet Service Providers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

‘These include not just the prevention and detection of general criminality, but also matters relating to public health and tax collection,’ said France. ‘The potential for access, for these much wider purposes, to information that is on the face of it retained only for safeguarding national security causes us real concern.’

France warned that any legislation that forces ISPs to retain billing and traffic data for law enforcement purposes must be used for just that.

‘We must be careful to analyse properly the case made for retention whether, as it once was, based primarily on addressing the use of the internet by paedophiles or, as is now the case, based on the use of the internet by terrorists,’ she said.

Elsewhere, the report reveals complaints to the Information Commission about the misuse of personal data are up almost 50% from 8875 last year to 12,479 this year. Data protection awareness by data controllers is also up, however, from 78.7% to 83%.

The number of offences that led to prosecution rose from 23 to 66, resulting in 33 convictions.

The Commission is also in the first year of a two-year £5m programme to modernise its IT systems, which will include a new IT infrastructure, connection to the government’s secure intranet, BS7799 security accreditation, and an electronic notification system for data controllers.

France will be leaving her post as Information Commissioner after eight years to become the Telecoms Ombudsman in October.

Related Articles

Accountancy in the digital age: Flexibility, agility, efficiency

Accounting Software Accountancy in the digital age: Flexibility, agility, efficiency

2w Pegasus Software | Sponsored
Sage purchases Intacct in its largest ever acquisition

Accounting Software Sage purchases Intacct in its largest ever acquisition

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

Accounting Software 5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
UK behind foreign markets in digital accounting, but gap is narrowing

Accounting Software UK behind foreign markets in digital accounting, but gap is narrowing

7m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
The rise of the progressive accountant

Accounting Software The rise of the progressive accountant

7m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Making Tax Digital: Revolution or revolt?

Accounting Software Making Tax Digital: Revolution or revolt?

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Making Tax Digital: Is HMRC’s recent system fault a cause for concern?

Accounting Software Making Tax Digital: Is HMRC’s recent system fault a cause for concern?

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Four reasons why SME owners should switch to cloud accounting

Accounting Software Four reasons why SME owners should switch to cloud accounting

9m Emma Smith, Managing Editor