Posted by Sam Fenny - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 2 May 2024

Pistols drawn as UK surveillance state duels with rights groups

As the UK pushes forward with digital surveillance projects, the chorus of voices weighing in on the legal, ethical and practical aspects of its approach grows louder. Having scrapped its Office for the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner with the implementation of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, the government now finds itself wading in a quagmire of evangelism, objection and piecemeal oversight. For now, it remains in the shallows. But it does not appear to be heading toward the shore.

Is this the IPA? I thought it was the UK
In a feature for TechRadar, writer Chiara Castro puts the spotlight on the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) of 2016 and an amendment that would broaden digital surveillance capabilities, ostensibly in the interest of public safety. The King has approved the act, but tech watchdogs and privacy advocates have not: a letter signed by 26 rights groups, including Open Rights Group, Privacy International, Liberty, Big Brother Watch, and Index on Censorship, says the Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill “weakens safeguards when intelligence services collect bulk datasets of personal information, potentially allowing them to harvest millions of facial images and social media data.”

Robin Wilton, director of the Internet Society, tells Castro that “from a civil society perspective, the IPA and its amendments are a problem because they enable suspicionless mass surveillance.” Language in the amendment would expand the definition of Bulk Personal Datasets (BPDs) to include a new category of personal data, which law enforcement can collect when “the individual has low to no reasonable expectation of privacy,” as in the case of public CCTV cameras or social media accounts.

There is also a somewhat counterintuitive requirement for tech companies to seek approval from the Home Office before adding new security or privacy features.

Wilton says that “for the Government to be weakening the safeguards for personal data, in an era when we know that data mining and machine learning are constantly finding new ways to interpret and act on personal data, is irresponsible, and dangerously short-sighted.”’

I wanna be FRT: facial recognition roils sport, retail, rights groups
The use of facial recognition technology is proving to be a particularly contentious subplot of the larger surveillance story. With face biometrics gaining traction for large event use cases, UK police recently alerted Tottenham Hotspur football club of a potential live facial recognition deployment to monitor the public highway on match day. Representatives of the team and its fans raised concerns with police and were told that the high volume of attendance expected for the North London Derby match with Arsenal prompted the deployment.

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