If you are still one of the few individuals doubting that the United Kingdom is increasingly becoming a surveillance state, a recent report from the Interception of Communications Commissioner, Paul Kennedy, may just make you change your mind.
In 2008 over half-a-million requests were made for phone records, email records, and other forms of internet communication – with about 1.5% of the adult population being targeted. The requests predominately came from police and security services, however the report states that 123 councils also filed requests for private data.
“We have sleepwalked into a surveillance state but without adequate safeguards” stated Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrats home affairs spokesperson. The range of reasons for the requests also went beyond what many may expect – with some of the requests being for investigation into individuals putting their bins out too early, or allowing their dogs to defecate on the public pavement.
The reported number does represent a decrease on 2007 levels, however it is still a 40% increase on the number of requests recorded in 2006. Obviously there is a need for more scrutiny on just how our supposedly private information is being used by our government and its departments, particularly given the current state of social paranoia and heavy-handedness that is prevalent.
What do you all think? How much surveillance should be accepted by us and for what reasons?
You can find the entire report here, and I definitely recommend having at least a quick read through as it is a vitally important aspect of our social liberties and lifestyles that we all need to pay attention to.