House Of Lords Report Warns Of "Big Brother" Britain

A report published by a group of lawmakers from the House of Lords has revealed the extent of the "surveillance society" that the United Kingdom is sleep-walking into as our country comes first in CCTV and DNA Profiling.

The report entitled "Surveillance: Citizens and the State" and written by the Lord' constitution committee found out that Britain has more than 4 million cameras - one for every 15 Britons in the land - and a national DNA database that accounts for one in every 14 citizens in the country.

The committee chairman, Lord Goodlad warned that "There can be no justification for this gradual but incessant creep towards every detail about us being recorded and pored over by the state", adding that the levels of surveillance in the United Kingdom could well threaten the current democratic ecosystem.

The Lords evaluated existing government data collection ventures such as the National DNA Database (NDNAD), the NHS Data Spine for electronic health care records, the children's database, and the National ID card project, most of which have attracted scorn from a wide range of vocal critics.

Fears that the society could turn into a carbon copy of George Orwell's 1984 "Big Brother" surveillance state are further exacerbated by the fact that the report, which provides with 44 recommendations, is not a binding document.

The document comes as individual privacy and liberties in the UK have been subjected to unprecedented pressure with a number of projects initiated by the current government promising to make things even more critical.

Coincidentally, the report has been published on the same day that the first UK Government ID cards are released, without a reader.

Go To Page 2 for our comments and more related links

Our Comments

The government has already plans to spend £12 billion on a central database that will track all emails, phone calls and browsing sessions. The National ID card project is already in its last stages and the national DNS database has already had its first issues; The European Court of Human Rights decision has already asked the government to remove DNA details, from its criminal database, of people who haven't been convicted of any crime.

Related Links

Surveillance: Citizen and State report

(UK Government - PDF Report)

House of Lords warning on Orwellian Britain

(Techradar)

Britain's surveillance culture undermines democracy

(Theinquirer)

Peers warn on privacy protection

(Epolitix)

Data privacy and the surveillance state - have your say here

(Computing)

Government is "undermining" the right to privacy, say Lords

(Computing)

Privacy in U.K. Undermined by Rise in CCTV, Cameras (Update1)

(Bloomberg)

Threats to privacy are everywhere

(Publicservice)

Lords want Big Brother state repealed

(Computerweekly)

Homeowners spied on by councils 'should get compensation'

(Telegraph)

Lords hit out at surveillance culture

(Politics)