Select Committee on Home Affairs Fifth Report



6  What role does surveillance play in the work of the Home Office and the fight against crime?

Introduction

198.  We have attempted to examine the benefits of various forms of surveillance alongside the risks involved. Our conclusion is that any decision to collect information about people's activities should be taken only after an appropriate balance is struck between the potential harm, including intrusion of privacy, and intended benefit of the project. In considering databases and other forms of surveillance with a direct relevance to the fight against crime striking this balance is particularly important.

199.  The benefits to the police and other security and law enforcement agencies in their work to prevent and investigate serious crime and protect the public can far exceed those of surveillance for other purposes. But the consequences of decisions made on the basis of inaccurate information or wrong assumptions or of a leak of information are more serious. Moreover, where surveillance has to be carried out without the consent or knowledge of the individual, it is more intrusive.

200.  The Information Commissioner compared the risks associated with the collection of information by the private sector and surveillance carried out by the Government:

I think there are commercial and other pressures impacting on the private sector which I see being taken very seriously indeed. The state has a monopolistic and often a mandatory power over citizens and it can do things without their consent, without their agreement, without their involvement for perfectly good reasons. The state has, if you like, greater potential but also can cause greater harm if people are wrongly labelled, if they are wrongly identified, if mistakes are made. Also the state tends to have larger numbers. The databases run by the state are much, much larger, so if things go wrong within a public sector database the effects would be multiplied many times more.[190]

The Commissioner's view, "broadly speaking", was that surveillance in the areas of responsibility of the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice represented the "most difficult challenge":

for understandable reasons, people are collecting and using information. But this is where there are the most coercive powers against the citizen, and that is where ... sometimes the importance of upholding liberties means that an independent commissioner has to say things which may be unpopular in the short term.[191]

Home Office responsibilities in relation to the collection and sharing of information

CCTV or camera surveillance: proving the benefits and practising restraint

201.  Reaction to the development of camera surveillance technology and proliferation of cameras themselves has come to represent the debate on surveillance in general: whilst its use and further development is accepted without question and welcomed in some quarters, to others it symbolises the worst excesses of a surveillance society.

202.  The Information Commissioner told us that "the population like cameras and cannot get enough of them".[192] We did, however, hear evidence of some concern amongst the public about the use of cameras and about the regulation of the circumstances in which surveillance cameras are used. R.A. Collinge wrote to us to argue that "criteria need to be developed to decide how and when both public and private surveillance of this nature is essential and has real value".[193]

203.  The Information Commissioner has sought to provide guidance on responsible use of camera surveillance. His CCTV code of practice (revised and reissued in 2008) is designed to help organisations comply with the Data Protection Act and to help them assure the public that they are using CCTV responsibly.[194] The Assistant Information Commissioner told us that the decision to install surveillance cameras should not be taken lightly:

the actual assessment procedure, in deciding whether to establish a scheme, should be very, very rigorous. It should not just be on the basis of public popularity, or the technological capability to do it, or the financial capability to do it.[195]

Dr Ian Forbes of the Royal Academy of Engineering said that at present camera surveillance is used principally by those who want to "prevent, monitor and sometimes punish certain behaviours". This led, he believed, to "serious concerns", both about general invasions of privacy, and about the specific problems associated with predictive profiling of some sectors of the community.[196]

The case for camera surveillance

204.  The Surveillance Studies Network noted the findings of a Home Office research study that the 13 CCTV schemes it assessed had "little overall effect on crime levels" and queried levels of investment by the Home Office in CCTV installation. The Surveillance Studies Network's report said that 500 million of public money had been invested in CCTV over the last decade and that during the 1990s the Home Office spent 78% of its crime prevention budget on installing CCTV.[197]

205.  The Home Office stated in its written evidence for our inquiry that "Police experience and research studies show that CCTV has considerable crime detection potential, when used as part of a wider strategy".[198] Technological developments in camera surveillance increase this potential. Chief Constable Peter Neyroud of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) told us that in certain contexts facial recognition techniques could be "very effective in narrowing down the identification" of suspects and that "behavioural matching, the ability to pick out odd behaviours in a crowd" "might be particularly powerful in the case of counter-terrorism or a variety of street crimes".[199]

206.  Assistant Chief Constable Nick Gargan of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) told us that he thought that the case for CCTV cameras was "compelling". He argued that CCTV material provided an "indispensable investigative tool":

very often the first investigative action, or one of the very first investigative actions that takes place in virtually any serious crime inquiry or missing person inquiry or many other types of inquiry would be to conduct a trawl of CCTV evidence and see what that tells us.[200]

Chief Constable Neyroud said that whilst his view was that not enough research on the effectiveness of CCTV in the investigation of crime had been done, his "guesstimate" was that "we are getting almost as many detections, either directly or indirectly, from CCTV as we are getting from DNA and fingerprints". He also told us that CCTV was "crucial" in helping the police to find vulnerable missing persons.[201]

A lack of evidence?

207.  The effectiveness of camera surveillance in the prevention of crime in particular has been called into question by the Surveillance Studies Network and the Royal Academy of Engineering amongst others. Professor Ross Anderson of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) referred to work undertaken in connection with FIPR's report for the Information Commissioner on children's databases, which looked at a range of crime reduction initiatives:

Yes, there may be some placebo effect from having large numbers of closed circuit television cameras around, but the analysis of the crime statistics which we cite tends to show that although they are good at reducing crime in car parks they are not so good at reducing crime in town centres and there is a very serious question about whether far too much money has been spent on these and not enough money on other crime reduction initiatives.[202]

208.  Assistant Chief Constable Gargan said that it was "amazing how little impact" cameras seemed to have on "the behaviour of all but a very few individuals who are very conscious of the cameras and play up to those cameras. Chief Constable Neyroud argued that whilst it was a benefit "often missed in the studies", there was "quite reasonable evidence" that cameras:

encourage people to use public space ... create a capable guardianship of that space simply by their presence.[203]

The Minister of State for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing, Rt Hon Tony McNulty MP shared this view. He acknowledged a paucity of evidence on the effectiveness of camera surveillance in the prevention of crime but was convinced of its value:

Can I point to a definitive national study that quantifies in any way its success as a deterrent? No, I cannot, but I am sure everyone can come up with significant local and anecdotal evidence to suggest that, as part of an array of other measures, it is successful, not just as a deterrent, not just in terms of bringing public spaces back into public use but also, crucially, as an investigatory tool for the police.[204]

209.  In May 2008 comments made at a Conference by Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville of the Metropolitan Police's Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido), received a great deal of media attention. DCI Neville is reported to have said that although "billions of pounds has been spent on kit", "only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV": how the police would use the images captured and how they would be used in court were not issues that had been considered and there was no "fear of CCTV" because people thought that "the cameras are not working".[205]

Making camera surveillance more effective and increasing transparency

210.  Much of the material captured by CCTV is currently of limited use to the police. Assistant Chief Constable Gargan confirmed that anecdotal evidence gathered by ACPO and the Home Office suggested that that "over 80% of the CCTV footage supplied to the police was far from ideal".[206]

211.  In October 2007 the Home Office and ACPO published a National CCTV Strategy with 44 recommendations—on aspects such as standards and governance; registration, inspection and enforcement; training; storage volume and retention; and emerging technologies—on which it was felt that progress was needed "if we are to realise the full potential of CCTV across a varied range of uses and continue to receive the support of the public".[207]

212.  Assistant Chief Constable Gargan told us that the strategy focused "specifically and particularly" on the 30,000 local authority-operated street cameras in England and Wales. He underlined the strategy's aim of bringing about a "gradual upgrading of facilities and a convergence of facilities towards a technical standard" so that more CCTV material could be useful to the police. Endorsing the assertion that the only people who should fear CCTV were those who engaged in criminal activities, Assistant Chief Constable Gargan called for CCTV material to be made more readily available to the police "because everybody knows it is there and we should not be hampered in our use of it".[208]

213.  Chief Constable Neyroud argued that concerns about CCTV could be addressed by the development of standards, as part of an effort to increase the transparency of procedures relating to camera use:

It is all part of the piece of being able to explain what it is there for, what its effectiveness is, how we are looking after it, whether the standards are moving on, the techniques that we are applying and who is applying them.[209]

214.  Others who gave evidence to our inquiry called for a more participatory role for those under surveillance, giving a degree of control to individuals by allowing them to participate in the process of surveillance. The Foundation for Information Policy research argued for "equality of arms" in access to data:

At present it is very easy for the police to get hold of CCTV data or ANPR data to prove that you did something bad, but it is a lot more difficult for you to get hold of it to provide that you did not, to establish an alibi.[210]

Jonathan Bamford, Assistant Information Commissioner, told us that transparency about where and how cameras were being used was important but that it could be difficult to achieve, particularly for motorists:

Maybe we need to be slightly more creative there in trying to actually come up with solutions which help the public work out who is involved in the surveillance. One simple solution might be to create a website which has the road network on it; we are all used to mapping technology now, route planning; and you could click on that and actually find out who is involved in the surveillance at a particular point in time.[211]

215.  The Royal Academy of Engineering's report on surveillance argued that making footage from CCTV cameras freely available to the public through the creation of "community webcams" would redress the imbalance of power between those in front and those behind the cameras by making organisations and individuals who use the information as accountable as those being filmed:

Community members could object if they felt particular cameras were unnecessary or unnecessarily intrusive. This would limit the potential for voyeuristic or prejudicial misuse of surveillance.[212]

216.  During our visit to the United States we discussed the use of camera surveillance in the state of Maryland. We heard from Governor Martin O'Malley and his staff that police in Maryland sought to engage the public in their work. Each police commander responsible for the installation of cameras was required to produce a public strategy and to work with the public before, during and after the installation of cameras. Steps such as setting out the aims of installation, inviting people to control centres to sit alongside police officers and watch the footage, and consulting with community leaders, could help to allay fears that the Government was simply 'watching' the public. Having won the trust of the community in this way, the police would rely on local people as a valuable source of intelligence.

217.  Dr Ian Forbes told us that whilst the message sent out by the proliferation of cameras—"we are watching you, do not misbehave"—was "incredibly negative and critical",[213] attention should be paid to the positive uses of surveillance technology. Ordinary citizens should be given "an active stake and a determining say in the processes and practices of camera surveillance", to enable "new and socially beneficial uses of these surveillance technologies". He proposed that:

The right to conduct surveillance should generate reciprocal rights for those under surveillance

Purposes, placement, conditions of use, operating practices and personnel should, by law, be subject to consultation, agreement and challenge by those under surveillance.[214]

218.  We put some of these proposals to our police witnesses. Chief Constable Neyroud made a distinction between cameras "we are overtly telling the public about because they are the cameras that are surveilling public space" and cameras on the road network which "are designed to catch people who are doing things that are illegal". He told us that whilst he had "less difficulty" with public access to the first kind of camera, he could not support "from a counter-terrorist point of view, providing Al Qaeda with a camera-free route map" which would diminish the effectiveness of the network of cameras on the roads.[215] Assistant Chief Constable Gargan said that public access to fixed cameras giving views of particular locations was "fine" but that local authority-run CCTV cameras were "quite a different story":

If, for example, the camera in Warwick High Street is focused on a jewellers half way down the High Street, it is probably doing that for a reason, and that information could be very valuable to the criminal who is thinking about robbing that jeweller later this morning.[216]

Ground rules for camera surveillance: data minimisation

219.  When we challenged the Minister on the amount of information gathered from different sources, including cameras, about individuals, he argued that a great deal of data captured by cameras was "very temporary":

The notion that somehow every product of an ANPR camera or a CCTV camera or any other aspect of government databases are all in some huge warehouse or shed somewhere with a live feed going in on a realtime basis, accessible to anyone across the State, central or local, simply is not the case. In many cases many of the CCTV cameras you are looking at and observing on the high street are on a sort of digital loops that will last days, no longer. Some go to live feed.[217]

In any street you go down at least half the cameras or more will be private rather than public anyway, and many of those in the public domain will be on a very short feed, and the notion that they are just storing up all of this data at the end of the day, shipping it off to MI5, the police or anything else is profoundly wrong and not the case. Were that the reality then I would share some of the concerns of those who talk about a surveillance State, but it is not, so I do not.[218]

The Minister insisted that data protection concerns and "the rules and regulations surrounding what we do and how we do it" were "uppermost in the Government's mind" in relation to CCTV and "all aspects of surveillance".[219]

220.  However, the Information Commissioner shared with us his concerns that developments in surveillance camera technology might lead to more information about individuals' activities being collected. Although he acknowledged that CCTV could provide "public reassurance" he told us that he resisted attempts to move beyond the collection of images:

There is a debate starting now as to whether there is a case for the authorities to place microphones on the streets, and our instincts are very, very hostile to that idea. We think that would be unacceptable.[220]

221.  Under camera surveillance in public spaces, individuals have very little control over whether or not their images and movements are captured and over how they are stored and used. This lack of choice intensifies the obligation on camera operators and regulators to behave responsibly and to deploy surveillance technology only where it is of proven benefit in the fight against crime and where this benefit outweighs any detrimental effect on individual liberty.

222.  We acknowledge the popularity of CCTV schemes and do not underestimate the potential effect on crime levels of successful attempts to encourage people to use public spaces. However, as the Minister told us, it has been difficult to quantify the benefits of CCTV in terms of its intended effect of preventing crime. We recommend that the Home Office undertake further research to evaluate the effectiveness of camera surveillance as a deterrent to crime before allocating funds or embarking on any major new initiative. The Home Office should ensure that any extension of the use of camera surveillance is justified by evidence of its effectiveness for its intended purpose, and that its function and operation are understood by the public.

223.  We welcome the drive to create standards for the use of camera surveillance in order to enhance the value of the images captured in the fight against crime. We recommend that the Home Office work with the police to increase public awareness and manage public expectations of camera surveillance.

224.  Whilst we share the reservations of the police about unfettered public access to surveillance cameras, we endorse the Information Commissioner's calls for greater transparency in relation to camera surveillance and recommend that the Home Office take steps to facilitate access to footage in certain circumstances, for example where an individual is seeking to eliminate him or herself from police enquiries.

225.  The continued value and popularity of CCTV depends on continued public confidence that camera operators are acting responsibly and that the Government, in regulating CCTV schemes, is mindful of concerns about privacy. We note that the Minister saw the fact that much CCTV footage is held for a limited period of time as a barrier to the development of a surveillance state. In designing camera schemes operators should consider how long images need to be stored and the Home Office should support a principle of data minimisation in this respect.

226.  We acknowledge that technological developments have significantly increased the potential of camera surveillance in terms of crime detection. However, the Government should evaluate the impact of each major development for its effect on individual liberty. In particular, the Home Office should give its assurance that it will not countenance schemes such as those which involve the use of microphones attached to cameras, and in effect apply the techniques of directed and intrusive surveillance to the general public. Such measures impinge on the degree of privacy individuals expect to be able to enjoy in public spaces and the Home Office must take responsibility for guarding against this kind of constraint on individual liberty.

Identity cards: reducing the risks

Purpose of the scheme: the prospect of 'function creep'

227.  We did not set out in this inquiry specifically to follow up our predecessor Committee's work on identity cards,[221] but rather to explore selected strategic issues in the context of concerns about the collection, storage and use of personal information by the Government. The Home Office told us that the National Identity Scheme—identity cards and the National Identity Register which is to underpin the card system—is "not designed as a surveillance tool" but rather that its purpose is to:

protect individuals' identities from abuse and provide a secure way for people to prove their identity more reliably, helping to tackle illegal immigration, crime and terrorism as well as improving public services.[222]

228.  In announcing the publication of the National Identity Cards Scheme Delivery Plan the Home Secretary reiterated these benefits:

The Government's National Identity Scheme means that for the first time UK residents will have a single way to secure and verify their identity. We will be able to better protect ourselves and our families against identity fraud, as well as protecting our communities against crime, illegal immigration and terrorism. And it will help us to prove our identity in the course of our daily lives—when travelling, for example, or opening a bank account, applying for a new job, or accessing government services.[223]

The Delivery Plan lists security controls for the Scheme and emphasises similarities between the information to be recorded on the National Identity Register and that stored on the passport database.[224] In an evidence session on data security issues in relation to identity cards, Meg Hillier MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State told us that:

The information on the identity card will be much the same as the information that is on the current passport, the readable zone. The information on the database will include National Insurance number, update of address and a log of who has ever looked at the record. I think it is just worth nailing, Chairman, as it was raised, this idea that there is going to be a lot of different information. This information is routinely provided by people to government and it is just going to be held in one place.[225]

229.  During our inquiry we heard evidence from those who took issue with the scheme on the grounds that identity cards would serve to increase the Government's capacity for surveillance and that, as another Government collection of data, the National Identity Register would serve to increase the risk of a security breach. The LSE's Political Science Identity Project asserted that the ID Cards scheme is designed to maximise the surveillance capabilities of identity cards, arguing that "the process of enrolment into the Scheme involves bringing together data from a dispersed set of existing databases".[226]

230.  The Project pointed out that a great many countries have made "very different design decisions about the collection and use" of the kind of personal data to be included in the National Identity Register. France, for example, has introduced a central database for ID cards but it is limited only to the delivery of the card system and German law prevents the creation of the kind of central database envisaged for the UK. Information is stored locally and destroyed after cards are issued.[227]

231.  Several of our witnesses raised concerns about that 'function creep' would expand the ambitions of the National Identity Scheme beyond the purposes set out by the Home Office. Dr Chris Pounder's evidence charted the development of the Scheme and its links with the Citizen Information Project, which evaluated how public money could be saved, and services to citizens improved, by increasing the sharing of basic citizen information (contact details such as name, address and date of birth) across central and local Government. Dr Pounder argued that the Identity Cards Act made provision for extension of the uses of the information held on the National Identity Register. Specifically s1(4)e of the Act provides for the Register to be used for a general public administration purpose, and more generally, Dr Pounder told us:

legislative powers which impact on the processing of personal data are often needed to provide flexibility as to how the processing of personal data is to occur, or to allow for the use of the techniques or technology not yet designed...To introduce a degree of flexibility, widely drawn powers are defined and this exacerbates the risk of function creep or use of powers by a future Government in a different context.[228]

Liberty also objected to the National Identity Register on these grounds:

If the NIR comes into existence then it is likely to make logistical, financial and political sense to increase the purposes it serves. If, for example, the NIR had been in operation at the time of Ian Huntley's conviction for the Soham murders, the mood of public outrage was such that there would have been political pressure to place details of convictions or 'soft' non conviction police intelligence onto NIR entries. The experience of the previous World War II identity cards suggests that extra purposes would be found as that scheme saw an increase in uses from three to 39 in 11 years.[229]

232.  The Information Commissioner told us that his office had had "some dialogue" with the Home Office and the Identity and Passport Service about the implementation of the National Identity Scheme. He told us, however, that he had not been made aware of an important change to the National Identity Register (the use of information from the Department for Work and Pensions) until it was publicly announced.[230]

233.  We asked the Minister specifically about the intended benefits of the National Identity Scheme in relation to crimes such as terrorism, illegal immigration and e-crime, in the context of the Government's argument that the introduction of identity cards represented an effective way of preventing identity fraud. Whilst Mr McNulty said that there was no "quintessential, comprehensive, all-singing, all-dancing, quantitatively, mathematically robust, cost-benefit analysis" of these functions of the National Identity Scheme, he was confident that "significant cost-benefit analysis work" on the intended benefits of the Scheme in relation to crime had been "put into the public domain" "over the course of time".[231]

234.  The Information Commissioner acknowledged that the holding of information on separate databases (managed by the Department of Work and Pensions and the Identity and Passport Service) provided some safeguards for individual privacy but warned that collecting more information increased the risk that a comprehensive picture of an individual's activities could be developed:

Whether using the National Identity Register or by other means, as you go down this route of drawing all the threads together then incrementally the big picture builds up ... the Government talks about public services being more citizen-centric, and that is welcome, but is anyone seeing it from the point of view of the citizen in terms of all this information being collected and shared about them? The National Identity Register could—I emphasise, could—undermine public confidence in this collection of information.[232]

235.  The information collected for the National Identity Register will include National Insurance numbers, addresses and "a log of who has ever looked at the record".[233] This log, intended to regulate access to the information on the Register, could also serve, the Information Commissioner told us, to track individuals' activities:

We have always expressed anxieties about what is called the data trail. It can be an audit trail. We recognise that there is a tension there, but the more that information is kept about every transaction with your card, every time your details are searched, the greater the risk in surveillance terms for individuals. That does begin to build up a very comprehensive picture, available to the state about your activities, which people may not be at all comfortable about.[234]

The Commissioner also voiced reservations about the "quality of imported data" from the Department for Work and Pensions, which, he said, "has not had what one might call a completely clean database in the past".[235]

236.  We have not sought in our inquiry to revisit the debate on the merits of identity cards. We are concerned, however, about the potential for 'function creep' in terms of the surveillance potential of the National Identity Scheme. Any ambiguity about the objectives of the Scheme puts in jeopardy the public's trust in the Scheme itself and in the Government's ability to run it. Whilst we accept the Government's assurance that the Scheme will not be used as a surveillance tool, we seek the further assurance that any initiative to broaden the scope of the Scheme will only be proposed after consulting the Information Commissioner and on the basis that proposals will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny in draft form.

237.  We recommend that the Home Office produce a report on the intended functions of the National Identity Scheme in relation to the fight against crime, containing an explicit statement that the administrative information collected and stored in connection with the National Identity Register will not be used as a matter of routine to monitor the activities of individuals.

Securing the National Identity Register

238.  In its Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme the Home Office said that "the success of the National Identity Scheme in delivering its benefits relies on public confidence, especially in the accuracy and security of the information held in the National Identity Register".[236] The Plan outlined a range of security measures for protecting information, including the decision that the different types of information to be recorded and linked by the National Identity Register—biographical details, biometric information, and administrative data such as details of the card issued to an individual—will be stored separately, on the Department for Work and Pensions Customer Information System (CIS), and existing Identity and Passport Service systems.[237] The Scheme is to be overseen by an Identity Scheme Commissioner, who will make reports (which will be laid before Parliament) to the Home Secretary.

239.  Following the loss of child benefit data from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Members of both Houses asked questions about the security of the National Identity Scheme. Lord West of Spithead told the House of Lords that:

Her Majesty's Government remain committed to the implementation of the National Identity Scheme, including the issue of identity cards and establishing a National Identity Register. The National Identity Scheme will be security accredited to the highest standard necessary and, as the National Identity Register is not yet in place, we will be able to learn any lessons from the HM Revenue and Customs incident.[238]

Ministers rejected the suggestion that the National Identity Scheme should be delayed or abandoned in light of concerns raised about the Government's handling of personal information following the data loss incidents in 2007 and 2008. The Government's arguments focused on the use of biometric information to verify identity and prevent identity fraud.

240.  In a debate in Westminster Hall Meg Hillier MP emphasised the biometric element of the National Identity Scheme and alluded to a link between the collection of information and trust:

Once we have identity cards that lock a biometric fingerprint and a facial image into a digital chip which can then be checked to prove that the person is who they say they are, and by protecting the data we will have a much more secure system. We will no longer have to rely on trust, which we have—unfortunately—relied on happily for a long time. Trust is no longer enough to protect against identity fraud.[239]

When we took evidence on data security in relation to identity cards, the Minister, Meg Hillier MP, argued that "there are quite big differences between that data [lost by HMRC] and the National Identity Register" and outlined the safeguards for information held on the Register, emphasising their basis in established practice:

The National Identity Register, essentially, will be a secure database; it will not be accessible online; any links with any other agency will be down encrypted links. The only physical transfer, for the most part, will be for disaster recovery, just as we do currently with the Police National Computer, just as we do currently for the passport database, for example, and there will be very, very limited access to other jurisdictions within Europe, but, again, the sort of thing we are currently doing.[240]

241.  The Minister later acknowledged, in noting that the data loss by HMRC had been caused by "a human error", that limiting access to the information on the Register was a key factor in securing it:

we are assessing the risk and are taking proportionate action to make sure that human error potential is as limited as possible by having fewer than 100 people with access to the actual database, just as with the Police National Computer—there are very few there.[241]

The Minister noted that biometric and biographical information would be held on separate databases and that the link would be made when an individual "allows verification of their identity". She told us that this step amounted to "putting the power ... in the hands of the individual".[242]

242.  Individuals who allow verification of their identity, however, do so on trust: they rely on the Government to secure the biometric data they have given to the National Identity Register. Our predecessor Committee and more recently the UK Borders Bill Committee have heard evidence on the efficacy and security of large databases of biometric information. Ross Anderson, Professor of Security Engineering at Cambridge University, told the UK Borders Bill Committee:

There is a fundamental security engineering problem with biometrics as opposed to, say, the cryptographic keys in your chip and PIN card. Once your biometrics become compromised, you cannot revoke them; it is not practical to do eye or finger transplants. Therefore, once you start using biometrics on a very wide scale, for all sorts of everyday transactions, the mafia—for want of a better word—will also have your biometrics. You do not know which shops are owned by the mafia, but if you end up having to put your fingerprint on the glass every time that you buy a can of Coke, sooner or later the mafia will have the biometrics of millions of people.[243]

243.  Doubts have also been raised about how effective—if registration on the National Identity Register becomes compulsory—a means of identification biometrics will provide for the entire population. According to Professor Daugman of the University of Cambridge, owing to the false match rate associated with fingerprints, a fingerprint-only database could not "deliver the goal of one citizen, one identity, because it cannot survive so many comparisons without making false matches—so there will be false claims of multiple identities".[244]

244.  Iris scans produce more accurate results and are more difficult to forge than fingerprints. However, Meg Hillier told us that although the Government was not "ruling out iris technology for ever", it would not form part of the "first generation" of identity cards or biometric passports. In discussing the security of databases of biometric information, Tony McNulty argued that a key factor was the introduction of the National Identity Scheme in "very incremental fashion":

both the security of it and the efficacy of the IT software access and all the other elements will be learned and relearned on an evaluative curve and feedback loop at each stage. We have quite deliberately eschewed the notion—not least I would guess in passing because the most lamentable of government IT projects are those that are Big Bang and you switch from one system to another straight away and not least because of the importance of security and other aspects—of going full on for introducing things in one big hit, so there will be incremental lessons learned on security, on access, on the architecture and on the efficacy at every stage of the implementation of the programme.[245]

The Minister told us that the Government did not plan to publish any sort of privacy impact assessment for the Scheme unless "any subsequent move to a compulsory registration" was made.[246]

245.  We note the distinction drawn by the Minister between the National Identity Scheme and "the most lamentable of government IT projects" and agree that staged implementation provides a degree of protection against security breaches. Nevertheless, the Home Office must plan for security breaches and in particular it should examine the consequences of theft of the biometric information which forms part of the NIR.

246.  Taking into account the effect of recent data loss incidents on public confidence in the Government as a guardian of personal information, we recommend that the Home Office submit more detailed plans for securing the NIR databases and a broad outline of contingency plans to be implemented in the event of a loss or theft of biometric information from databases managed by the Identity and Passport Service, for comment by the Information Commissioner.

247.  Recent data loss incidents have involved failures not of technology but of policy in that those who had access to the information in question did not observe proper procedures for the handling and sharing of data. The Minister's assurances that the Government has learned lessons, though welcome, are not sufficient to reassure us or, we suspect, the public. Access to NIR databases should be strictly limited and governed by clear protocols, which should be developed in consultation with the Information Commissioner. We recommend that the Home Office publish a detailed account of its plans for NIR access procedures.

248.  The Home Office should address the Information Commissioner's concerns about the administrative information to be collected as part of the NIR. We accept that the Government's intention is to create an 'audit trail' to regulate access to NIR databases, but we are concerned about large stores of information about individuals' transactions and activities, particularly if registration is to become compulsory.

249.  We recommend that the Home Office publish its plans for collecting and retaining administrative information as part of the NIR and that it commit to a principle of data minimisation for the National Identity Scheme. We seek assurance from the Home Office that it has taken full account of the potential of advanced privacy-enhancing technologies to reduce the amount of information it is necessary to collect in order to authenticate transactions and prevent fraud and unauthorised access.

250.  We note that the Home Office has no plans to publish any specific privacy impact assessment of the National Identity Scheme. In terms of the design of the Scheme it is much too late for such an assessment to serve the intended purpose of integrating privacy considerations with the Government's plans to collect and store information. We recommend that on proposing any change in policy on the collection, storage, sharing or use of National Identity Register data, the Home Office make a report to Parliament on the implications of the change for an individual's privacy. The report should address the following questions: how much extra information will be collected? For how long will it be stored? How many more people will have access to it? For what new purpose will it be used?

National DNA Database

251.  The National DNA Database (NDNAD) is a publicly owned police intelligence database. It is governed by a Strategy Board chaired by ACPO with membership from the Home Office and the Association of Police Authorities. The Custodian of the NDNAD is accountable to the Board in ensuring, amongst other duties, that all profiles added to the NDNAD are reliable and compatible. The standards and procedures for the supplier laboratories are set by the Custodian.

252.  Companies which analyse DNA samples and produce profiles for the NDNAD have to be accredited under the International Quality Standard for Testing Laboratories, ISO 17025. The companies store DNA samples and profiles on completion of analysis in case they need to be re-examined in the future and are required to store this material in a secure environment. The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has a "key role in maintaining and ensuring the integrity of the data entered and the use of the data in the investigation of crime".[247]

253.  Section 64 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) provides that fingerprints, DNA profiles and samples taken in connection with the investigation of an offence may only be used for purposes related to the prevention or detection of crime, the investigation of an offence, the conduct of a prosecution, or the identification of a deceased person or of the person from whom a body part came. The Act, including provisions on DNA profiles and samples, is currently under review.

254.  Before 2001, the police could take DNA samples during investigations but had to destroy the samples and the records derived from them on the Database if the people concerned were acquitted or charges were not proceeded with. The law was changed in 2001 to remove this requirement, and changed again in 2004 so that DNA samples could be taken from anyone arrested for a recordable offence and detained in a police station. Once taken, DNA samples and profiles are normally retained indefinitely. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is currently considering a case (S and Marper v United Kingdom) in which the applicants have challenged the policy of retaining fingerprints and DNA from those acquitted or where no further action was taken. In a consultation exercise separate from that to be conducted on the PACE review, the Government will set out proposals on the retention of biometric data "in light of the ECtHR Judgment and comments received on this issue in response to the PACE Review process".[248]

255.  The UK's database is the largest of any country: 5.2% of the UK population is on the database compared with 0.5% in the USA. During 2005-06, 715,239 new subject sample records were added to the NDNAD, an increase of 37.25% on 2004-05.[249] On 31 December 2007, there were an estimated 4,264,251 individuals on the NDNAD.

256.  A discrepancy between the number of DNA profiles and the number of individuals on the NDNAD has caused concern about the accuracy of information on the database.[250] A profile may be loaded on to the NDNAD on more than one occasion, creating "replicates". On 31 December 2007 there were an estimated 656,452 replicate profiles on the NDNAD: 13.3% of the total number of profiles. The NPIA told us that replication could occur "for example, if the same person provided different names, or different versions of their name, on separate arrests, or because profiles are upgraded".[251]

257.  Meg Hillier MP told the House that replication rates were being reduced, "partly because in the early days of new DNA testing police forces took extra samples to meet higher evidential standards" and that "much work has gone on to educate police forces in taking DNA samples".[252] The NPIA's work to address the problem of replication includes the national implementation of Livescan, a system of automatic fingerprinting terminals located in police custody units.[253]

258.   By the end of 2005, about 200,000 samples had been retained that would have been destroyed before the 2001 change in legislation. 8,000 of these samples matched with DNA taken from crime scenes, involving nearly 14,000 offences. These offences included 114 murders, 55 attempted murders, 116 rapes, 68 sexual offences, 119 aggravated burglaries and 127 offences of supplying controlled drugs.[254]

Assessing the benefits of the NDNAD

259.  In 2005-06 45,000 crimes were matched against records on the DNA Database, including 422 homicides (murders and manslaughters) and 645 rapes.[255] In 2006-07 41,148 crimes were detected in which a DNA match was available or played a part and 452 homicides, 644 rapes and 222 other sexual offences were among the offences detected, the Home Office has said, "thanks to the help of DNA".[256]

260.  The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), which works in conjunction with the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers on policy in relation to DNA, set out the benefits of the National DNA Database in terms of its contribution to the work of the police:

The benefits of the NDNAD lie not only in detecting the guilty but in eliminating the innocent from inquiries, focusing the direction of inquiries resulting in savings in police time and in building public confidence that elusive offenders may be detected and brought to justice.[257]

261.  According to the Home Office Forensic Science and Pathology Unit of the Home Office:

the annual number of DNA detections more than doubled from 8,612 in 1999-2000 to 19,873 in 2004-05

in 2004-05 a further 15,732 crimes were detected as a result of further investigations linked to the original case in which DNA was recovered

on average the Database provides the police with around 3,000 matches a month

DNA also helps by eliminating innocent persons from criminal investigations

Serious offenders are often caught because they are arrested later for a relatively minor offence

DNA helps to solve past crimes. A 'cold case review' programme has identified 215 serious offences dating back to 1989 for which DNA crime scene stains are available: 25% of these cases have been matched with an individual or another crime scene and 34 named suspects have been identified

DNA scene-to-scene matches help identify patterns of criminal behaviour that may help solve past, existing and future crimes.[258]

262.  Police witnesses and the Minister both highlighted the value of the NDNAD in solving 'cold cases' including, the Minister told us, "murders, rapes and the most serious of crimes." According to the Minister the NDNAD was the "root" of the solution of recent high-profile murder cases.[259] The NPIA highlighted the 21,199 'indirect detections'—crimes detected as a result of further investigation linked to the original offence—made in 2006-07, giving as an example of these circumstances those in which "an offender on being presented with DNA evidence of his involvement in an offence also confesses to other offences".[260]

263.  Others who gave evidence to our inquiry, however, questioned the efficacy of the NDNAD in certain circumstances. Genewatch UK told us that its analysis of Home Office data shows that collecting more DNA from crime scenes has made a significant difference to the number of crimes solved, but keeping DNA from increasing numbers of individuals has not. Since April 2003, Genewatch UK told us in March 2007, about 1.5 million extra people had been added to the Database, but the chances of detecting a crime using DNA had remained roughly constant, at about 0.36%.[261] Genewatch UK acknowledged that "occasionally" the DNA of someone arrested for a minor offence is matched with DNA from a serious past crime, "arguably justifying taking DNA from relatively large numbers of individuals". It did not accept, however, the assertion that the NDNAD provided an effective method of eliminating innocent people from police investigations:

A DNA database is not required to provide evidence of guilt or innocence when there is a known group of suspects for a specific crime: a DNA profile can be obtained from each individual and compared directly with a crime scene profile. For the same reason, a database of individual DNA profiles is also unnecessary to exonerate an innocent person. The 'added value' of putting individuals on a database is only to introduce new suspects into an investigation.[262]

Weighing up the risks associated with collecting and retaining DNA

264.  The Human Genetics Commission acknowledges the NDNAD "as a powerful criminal intelligence tool" but warns that its value could be undermined if the risks involved are not properly evaluated and public trust in the Government's intentions is undermined:

there is a danger that its value in terms of crime detection and reduction could be used to justify the erosion of important freedoms, without prior analysis of the risks and benefits as to the likely good that may accrue from breaching privacy in the short term against the loss to society in the long term, as a result of citizens withdrawing their cooperation.[263]

265.  Genewatch UK distinguished the collection and use of DNA from other forms of surveillance, pointing out the sensitive nature of the information DNA can yield and the consequences of its disclosure:

DNA can ... be used to investigate biological relationships between individuals (including paternity and non-paternity). A person's DNA also contains some other private information about their health and other physical characteristics. Some of this information (such as carrier status for a genetic disorder and non-paternity) may be highly sensitive and/or unknown to the individual.[264]

266.  In its written evidence for our inquiry the Home Office sought to address concerns that the NDNAD could be used in an attempt to develop genetic profiles of those likely to offend. The DNA profile of an individual on the NDNAD, the Home Office told us, consists of a code number which represents the person's gender and ten markers from areas of DNA which do not play an active role in determining personal characteristics:

The NDNAD therefore is not and will not be used in any attempt to correlate particular genetic characteristics with propensity to commit crime.[265]

267.  Another risk to public confidence in the NDNAD is the perception that it could have a discriminatory effect in relation to particular groups. During our inquiry into Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System we heard from the then Minister Baroness Scotland that three-quarters of the young black male population would soon be on the DNA database:

The implications of this development must be explored openly by the Government. It means that young black people who have committed no crime are far more likely to be on the database than young white people. It also means that young white criminals who have never been arrested are more likely to get away with crimes because they are not on the database. It is hard to see how either outcome can be justified on grounds of equity or of public confidence in the criminal justice system.[266]

268.  Chief Constable Neyroud told us that the NPIA was "just finalising" work to assess the equality impact of the NDNAD, undertaken in response to the Committee's Report. He argued that addressing inequalities required examination of "the processes which finish with the DNA database" and the "whole system":

The issue comes back to how people initially come into contact with the police, and the decisions that police officers make at street level about who and who not to [Stop and Search or arrest], not about the DNA database.[267]

Chief Constable Neyroud said that removing from the database records on individuals who were arrested but not subsequently charged would not reduce the overrepresentation of young black people on the NDNAD. In removing these records, he argued:

all you do is take that total proportion of people off the database; you do not affect the overall equality of the database itself.[268]

Debate on the scope of the NDNAD

269.  One of the most controversial aspects of the debate on the National DNA Database is the issue of the retention of the DNA of individuals who have been arrested but not subsequently charged with an offence. Noting the over-representation on the database of Afro Caribbean males and the retention of the DNA of "thousands of young people under 16 with no criminal conviction or caution", Liberty accepted that there was "a need for a limited database of those convicted for certain offences (generally involving violence or sexual assault)" but that DNA was "irrelevant in most criminal cases and the vast majority of entries on the register will be of no use in solving crimes".[269]

270.  Genewatch UK called for "a return to taking DNA on charge rather than arrest, except where it is needed to investigate a specific offence" and a system of time limits on how long Database records are retained "so that only DNA profiles from people convicted of serious violent or sexual offences are kept permanently".[270]

271.  Police witnesses and the Minister disagreed with such proposals. Chief Constable Neyroud told us that:

Many of the 450-odd murders that DNA contributed to [solving] have arisen from relatively minor offences—theft, ... driving offences of that nature, that have been committed by offenders either before or after.[271]

In his response the Minister referred to:

the cold cases and others that we have since solved—murders, rapes and the most serious of crimes—by having someone's DNA ... perchance on the database when originally it was only on the database because of very minor offences.[272]

272.  We also asked our witnesses about suggestions that the NDNAD should be expanded in terms of the number of samples collected and the functions of the database. Chief Constable Neyroud said that in relation to a reported suggestion that the NDNAD should include samples from children who exhibit certain behaviour indicating future criminal activity, "there is a level of knowledge and detail now about criminal career history, which would indicate that there are some people who are more likely to offend". He stated:

There would be no way that I would suggest we move ahead in any of that direction without the Independent Ethics Committee and, indeed, some of the recommendations out of the Nuffield Report in this territory informing that debate.[273]

273.  Dr Eric Metcalfe of JUSTICE argued that the limits on the use of DNA samples taken for the Database were so broadly drawn that researchers could seek to explore links between genetic characteristics and criminal behaviour:

Obviously the police DNA database has its own regulatory framework and there are high ethical standards in relation to medical research, but I am not going to say it is impossible. I know that medical searches have already been approved in relation to it.[274]

The NPIA pointed out that DNA profiles are sequences of numbers obtained by analysing parts of samples which "do not contain genetic information".[275]

274.  The Minister rejected suggestions that inclusion on the NDNAD carried implications of criminality:

we will look at retention criteria and other matters very seriously, but I do not accept the starting premise that somehow this informational and investigatory tool is counter civil liberties because it is not a database that is about the guilty, or, in the State's terms, the potentially guilty, that is why they are on. That is not the case at all.[276]

275.   The Minister told us that "broadly where we are now, notwithstanding the PACE review, is where we should be ... we are roughly in a reasonable place in public policy and civil liberties terms given the nature of the database". He was "not convinced" by the notion of a 'universal' DNA database and "fairly agnostic" about proposals that samples should be taken from those suspected of non-recordable offences, although he "would probably lean towards not doing so rather than otherwise."[277]

Maintaining confidence in the database: practical considerations

276.  In giving evidence on the idea of expanding the NDNAD Chief Constable Neyroud stressed the need for transparency in relation to the functions and administration of the database:

I think the most important thing with the DNA database is being really clear with the public what the purpose of the database is, what its effectiveness is, how well it is being managed and the custodianship of it, how well and independently the research processes are being done, so that the public can continue to have confidence in the way in which biometric data is being managed.[278]

Chief Constable Neyroud set out how individuals (such as victims and witnesses) who gave samples on a voluntary basis negotiated "two layers" in consenting to the collection of their DNA, choosing either to have it matched against the database for the purpose of a specific crime, or to have it added to the database.

277.  The NPIA has worked to improve the information it provides about the NDNAD. According to Chief Constable Neyroud:

much clearer leaflets ... will be available to people so that the consent is not just informed but people are clear about what they have signed up to and what the process is.[279]

Chief Constable Neyroud said that "the majority of people" seemed "quite relaxed to have their data on the database":

Relaxed as in they have had it explained to them that the database is not a surveillance database, it is an intelligence database that will only match you to DNA if it comes out of a crime scene ... and most people seem quite happy, in those circumstances, to provide their data to the database on a voluntary basis.[280]

278.  Several Members of Parliament have made representations on behalf of constituents who wish to have their DNA removed from the National DNA Database.[281] When we challenged Chief Constable Neyroud about the concerns of those who wished DNA samples taken from them to be destroyed he said:

There is a small group of people who are very concerned about it, not least of which we have not, in my view, explained effectively what the linkage is, for example, or the non-linkage, between DNA and vetting and that connection. There is not a connection.[282]

The Minister's view was that:

If we are coming up with a much clearer retention policy, a much clearer criteria for retention, and a much clearer process for the general public should they want to come off the database and to at least have that avenue explored, I think that would be better all round and go to supporting the integrity of the DNA database.[283]

Whilst Mr McNulty hoped that the review of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act would achieve these aims he had earlier noted that:

others, and it may be an area we should look at, my mind is not settled on the matter, are less than happy that PACE is really the statutory core of the existence of the DNA database rather than more formally put on primary legislation.[284]

279.  LGC Laboratories Ltd, one of the two main suppliers of expert forensic services to law enforcement agencies, supported the system of oversight of the NDNAD, deeming it to be "extremely effective". It also identified, however, several issues concerning:

the transfer and security of data and samples where we think that appropriate design of future systems could minimise the potential risk of inappropriate access to or use of information.[285]

LGC argued that the laboratories do not need all of the data about the donor which is provided to them in order to be able to process the samples and rectify errors, and raised questions about retention of the data:

In practice, it is accepted that any system involving large-scale sample and data collection and transfer can be prone to error, such as occasional inadvertent 'sample swaps', so some additional data is of value in case it is necessary to resolve a discrepancy. However, this could be limited to a less specific identifier than a donor's name, for example a date of birth.

The residual samples are retained in case rework is required, including reprocessing for quality assurance. The ability to re-profile samples is of undisputed value, but storage of samples, containing the full DNA of donors, has raised issues of security, access and approval for use.[286]

280.  Genewatch UK also queried the need to retain DNA samples. It noted that in some other countries—such as Germany—individuals' samples are destroyed once the DNA profiles used for identification purposes have been obtained, and argued that:

Only temporary, not permanent, storage is necessary for quality assurance purposes and a new sample can always be taken from the suspect if a DNA profile requires checking or upgrading.[287]

281.  We recognise the National DNA Database as a valuable investigative tool, particularly in relation to police efforts to solve older cases. But the sensitive nature of the information which may be yielded by DNA heightens the degree of responsibility borne by the Government. The Home Office must work with the National Policing Improvement Agency and the police to set and observe a regulatory framework which protects individuals from unnecessary invasions of privacy and loss or unauthorised use of their genetic material and information gleaned from it.

282.  The Home Office should actively support the NPIA in its efforts to reduce the rate of replication on the NDNAD. Inaccuracies in the information on the database must be corrected to enable the police and the public to reap the full benefit of the NDNAD.

283.  We welcome the Government's assurance that the National DNA Database will not be used in any attempt to correlate particular genetic characteristics with propensity to commit crime. We recommend that the Home Office renew this assurance in conjunction with the Government's conclusions on the review of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. We recommend that the Home Office make public at the earliest stage any plans to revisit this issue.

284.  The Government's consultations should help to clarify the purposes and processes of DNA collection and retention. We endorse the views of the NPIA and the Minister that these purposes and processes must be transparent in order to maintain confidence in the database as a proportionate response to crime.

285.  There have been calls for an expansion of the National DNA Database to include profiles connected with non-recordable offences and for a 'universal database' and for the Government to reconsider its policy on retaining the profiles of those who have been arrested but not charged. In order to facilitate a full debate and an appropriate level of Parliamentary scrutiny we recommend that alongside any conclusions of the PACE review the Government introduce primary legislation to replace the current regulatory framework for the National DNA Database. We recommend that this legislation provide for a more accessible mechanism by which individuals can challenge the decision to retain their records on the Database.

286.  The Government should reconsider the ways in which National DNA database information is collected, handled, stored and transferred. In particular we recommend that in order to minimise the data held, the Home Office and the police should review the identifiers used for samples and the policy of retaining samples.

The potential of other public and private sector databases for use in the fight against crime

287.  The Data Protection Act contains exemptions relating to law enforcement and national security, which remove the obligation on data controllers to observe all the rights normally afforded individuals in respect of their personal information. Data controllers may disclose information for the purposes of prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

288.  During our inquiry the Information Commissioner's Office stressed that in these circumstances protecting privacy and individual liberty remained important. The Deputy Information Commissioner, David Smith, also called for the relative severity of different crimes to be assessed when contemplating any collection or use of personal information which might impinge on privacy:

Terrorism is, if you like, the highest in the scale, but there is still a question, even with terrorism, as to how far you go in intruding into the private lives of everybody in the country in order to fight against terrorism. In everything there is a question of proportionality. A greater degree of intrusion is proportionate in fighting terrorism than is proportionate in fighting shoplifting.[288]

The Information Commissioner told us that "sometimes, when the threats are the greatest, the need for safeguards is the strongest". He added:

Yes, the fight against terrorism is paramount, but, even there, there has to be some framework to make sure the authorities do not overstep the mark.[289]

Information-sharing and data-matching

Access by public agencies to private databases

289.  The potential of private databases in respect of the fight against crime raises new challenges for governments in balancing the right to individual privacy with the need to protect the public. The Royal Academy of Engineering argued that if individuals consent to their data being recorded on a database for a given purpose, that data should not be used for purposes for which consent has not been given; in general, "public agencies should not be allowed access to private databases". The need to investigate crime could provide a justification for permitting access to such databases but, the Royal Academy of Engineering argued, "there must be good reason for allowing that access, in the form of significant reason for suspicion of fraud or other financial crime".[290]

290.  We asked the Information Commissioner's Office about the potential use of information from private sector databases, such as those used to manage loyalty schemes. The Deputy Information Commissioner told us that the police had accessed store card information in the course of investigations. He said that "narrowing down what you need" was the appropriate course to take, as opposed to speculative access to "lifestyle information" which would amount to "fishing".[291]

The Serious Crime Act

291.  The Audit Commission's National Fraud Initiative (NFI) is a data-matching exercise carried out every two years as part of the statutory audit of local authorities and NHS bodies (under the Audit Commission Act 1998). The NFI matches datasets including the audited body's payroll, student awards and loans, housing benefits, housing rents, the blue badge parking scheme for the disabled and single person council tax discounts to identify possible anomalies that could indicate fraud or erroneous overpayment.[292]

292.  The Serious Crime Act provides a legislative gateway for public authorities to share information for the purpose of preventing fraud through a designated anti-fraud organisation. It creates a route by which public and private sector bodies can contribute their data to the Audit Commission for the purposes of undertaking data-matching in order to prevent or detect fraud. It also makes the contribution of data for such purposes mandatory for some bodies (in particular local government and NHS bodies). This measure, the Commission told us, would "enable government departments and agencies to use the NFI as a conduit for data sharing to address local and national fraud risks in a controlled, secure and well regulated environment".[293]

293.  During the passage of the Bill the Information Commissioner highlighted the importance of limiting access to data and information-sharing powers:

We need a framework to make sure that the legitimate purposes of the police and the law enforcement bodies are served by accessing this data, but it is not a free-for-all; they cannot just go in and look at everyone's data and just make merry with it; it has to be targeted, proportionate, for a defined purpose.[294]

Liberty also raised concerns about the Bill's proposals to extend the Audit Commission's power to "mine data in order to identify potential fraudsters".[295]

294.  The Ministry of Justice told us that it had worked with the Home Office and the Information Commissioner to ensure that provision for information-sharing to prevent fraud matched the demands of putting in place "sophisticated" arrangements and "complex" protections:

There was a lot of discussion between the two departments and with the Information Commissioner on exactly what was the best way of achieving the policy objective. As the legislation went through Parliament there were a number of changes made, particularly the introduction of the requirement for a Code of Practice. It is a good example of spotting the issue, working together between departments and with the Information Commissioner to find the best way of addressing that issue, making sure that we have the right powers in place to do it and also listening to the views of Parliament and being prepared to make amendments as the legislation goes through.[296]

Transport databases

295.  We heard evidence on police use of transport data, such as images captured by camera surveillance, for the purposes of crime detection. Steve Burton from Transport for London told us that in total TfL received 300-350 requests a month for data including information captured on the Oyster system, relating to individual journeys. In comparison with the three and a half billion journeys taken on the TfL network every year, Mr Burton told us, this was "a fairly small number of requests".[297]

296.  The Department for Transport told us that automated number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras used by the Highways Agency for traffic flow control "would not help the Police" because vehicles passing the ANPR camera sites could not be accurately identified or cross-referenced against other databases.[298]

297.  Chief Constable Neyroud of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) argued that in order to secure benefits from the sharing of bulk ANPR data the police's efforts had to be properly focused:

You will throw up an awful lot of matches otherwise, without the ability to resource it ... It is not just about joining up the data, we have to join up the back office techniques that mean that we are focused and effective and we are picking the right targets. The work that we have done in that territory around, for example, the Birmingham ring-road with the combined motorway patrol group there linking the ANPR shows that we can be many times more effective with that type of data, we can be getting very high levels of hit rate as vehicles go out, but, of course, if you have to follow through into the offences brought to justice, we, the NPIA also have to streamline the paperwork for summary cases, the back office support, the case and custody system, so that we are not dragging police officers off the street as we get more hits.[299]

The Minister told us that ANPR had proved "very useful, not least in terms of serious crime and some particular terrorist cases" and that he was keen for the law in respect of sharing ANPR data to be "in a far more settled position than it is now".[300]

Profiling to predict criminal behaviour: patient data and children's databases

298.  The Information Commissioner has sought to raise awareness of the exploration and use of profiling techniques developed in the private sector—which help companies to predict customers' preferences and target their marketing—by public agencies. The Commissioner warned that automatic compiling and searching across databases to detect patterns of behaviour and predict future behaviour could "build up images of people which may take you in the wrong direction":

If you are trying to identify children who will commit crimes later in life—I understand that the Cabinet Office is doing a lot in this sort of area—I understand their motivations and I understand what they are trying to achieve, but if they get it wrong—if they label that youngster as someone who is going to be a criminal in 10 or 15 or 20 years' time or that family as a problem family—it needs our intervention. Technology can take you a long way but it is not going to be 100% effective. When we raised concerns about profiling we raised concerns about social sorting. It is to signal the risks involved without the human intervention. Machines can do a lot to gather and to help you inform your decisions but without the human intervention I think there are grave dangers.[301]

299.  The Commissioner did not suggest a ban on profiling by the public sector but urged the Government to proceed with caution:

if public bodies embrace the potential of the technology too literally and too enthusiastically it will undoubtedly create the sort of climate of suspicion, lack of trust and real problems. It will only take a handful of star examples which get splashed over the newspapers to destroy all the good work that the health authority, the social services, the education [services] and all the other people are trying to do to use information intelligently.[302]

300.  Dr Ian Forbes argued that predictive profiling effected a shift from monitoring a person's potentially criminal behaviour to labelling that person a criminal:

They are scanned through your profiling system and then they are labelled ... They are then treated as if they are equivalent to that label. It is just as lazy as stereotyping.[303]

We asked Dr Forbes about the potential of profiling in terms of helping the police to concentrate their efforts. In response Dr Forbes set out the risks posed by this approach:

past experience shows that the targeting of the efforts often runs out to be discriminatory in practice on the ground, so that its use is complicated. It may well be that there was more crime amongst a certain group but why is that? It may be because that group is already targeted and more crimes were picked up.[304]

301.  Professor Simon Wessely also told us—in responding to a suggestion that patient information might be used to profile people whose behaviour might threaten the public—that predictive profiling was dangerous. Any action taken on the basis of such profiling might well be based on incorrect assumptions and would therefore represent a disproportionate response in relation to the risks associated with not taking action:

The problem is that it is incredibly inaccurate. It is okay for a large group of people and so you can make predictions about large samples in populations, but when it comes to the individual, it is incredibly inaccurate. The risk of hazard and detriment to that individual being deprived of their liberty for things that they are not going to do is very high as opposed to the one person who is going to commit a serious offence.[305]

Professor Wessely also pointed out that use of sensitive patient records in this way would be "destructive" to the care of patients and management of health services. He told us that any such development would "just be quite an appalling future".[306]

302.  Professor Carol Dezateux said that whilst the development of an index of children for child protection purposes constituted an "advance", attempting to use such a database to predict criminal activity would be risky for the same reasons:

just because certain factors are associated with an increased likelihood of a behaviour, it does not mean that just because they are present in an individual that they are behaving in this way.[307]

Home Office perspective on information-sharing and the fight against crime

303.  Taking into account the disappearance of technological and cost barriers to sharing information and searching across databases, we asked the Minister whether or not the Home Office was in favour of the convergence of the stores of information held by Government. Mr McNulty responded:

For some of the more substantial databases it is appropriate that they are shared across government more and more, and in the light of the reviews and everything else that we are undertaking we can be very clear on the civil liberty side as well as data protection, data security and others.[308]

304.  On being pressed about a Home Office interest in health-related or children's databases the Minister rejected the idea that the Government wanted to "go fishing every time there is a database":

If you go back to the example of ANPR, where that is used in an investigative fashion, it is around very strict search criteria and is not going fishing just for the sake of it. I do not think there is any efficient way or policy that would dictate the Government just want to go fishing because we are nosy into assorted databases or the product of other data streams.[309]

Mr McNulty did not accept suggestions that the DNA database be expanded to include records for primary school children deemed likely to display criminal behaviour in future:

We are then getting into the realms of ... the sort of potentially guilty or the future guilty, and I do not accept that at all.[310]

305.  In its use of databases and other means of collecting, storing and using personal information the Home Office should explicitly address these questions: in the context of the fight against crime where should the balance between protecting the public and preserving individual liberty lie? How should this balance shift according to the seriousness of the crime? What impact will this have on the individual and on our society as a whole?

306.  Even as society confronts its most serious threats it must protect its liberties. The fight against crime in general does not provide sufficient justification for information-sharing which might have an impact on privacy. It is vital that before information is shared for purposes other than those for which it has been collected those purposes are subjected to the closest scrutiny.

307.  Information-sharing must only be carried out in the context of a robust statutory framework which incorporates tests of proportionality and mandates the securing of consent where possible. The effectiveness of information-sharing should be assessed at the stage at which a new project is proposed, in order to prevent unnecessary sharing and retention of data. We recommend that where the sharing or matching of information held by the Home Office or its agencies is proposed, the Information Commissioner should act as a consultee and mediator on the same footing as the Ministry of Justice.

308.  Exemptions from the Data Protection Act notwithstanding, in giving consent and choosing services individuals are better informed about how their information is used and shared in the private sector than they are about how it might be used and shared by the Government. We recommend that the Home Office work with the Information Commissioner to raise awareness of how information generated in the private sector—such as details of retail purchases, or information posted on blogs or social networking sites, for example—might be used in the investigation of crime.

309.  We welcome the Minister's reassurance that the Government is not interested in "fishing" for information about individuals. However, we do not underestimate the lure of new technological capabilities and new ways of sharing and matching information from a range of sources, which might appear to offer benefits in the fight against crime. The Home Office should exercise a 'self-denying ordinance' in relation to its use of technological capabilities and its power to collect personal information.

310.  We would be particularly concerned by any attempt to use patient data or information held on children for the purposes of predictive profiling for future criminal behaviour rather than child protection: the Home Office must not undertake or sponsor work of this sort.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act

311.  In our inquiry we have focused on the growth in potential for surveillance—and the associated benefits and risks—which has come about as a result of an increase in the collection of personal information in databases, rather than on the directed and covert surveillance carried out by the police and security services. However, we did take evidence on some aspects of this work—predominantly authorisation and oversight and the recent increase in requests for communications data—and we took the opportunity offered by this inquiry to question police and Home Office witnesses on the implications of Sir Christopher Rose's report on the covert recording of conversations at HM Prison Woodhill.

312.  The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) provides the legislative framework for the use of methods of surveillance and information-gathering used in efforts to prevent crime, including terrorism. RIPA makes provision for:

The interception of communications

The acquisition and disclosure of data relating to communications

The carrying out of surveillance

The use of covert human intelligence sources

Access to electronic data protected by encryption or passwords

The appointment of Commissioners and the establishment of a tribunal with jurisdiction to oversee these issues.[311]

313.  In a report for the period 1 January 2005 to 31 March 2006 the then Interception of Communications Commissioner, Sir Swinton Thomas, noted that since he had taken up his post in April 2000 the number of organisations that he was required to inspect and oversee had grown. At the request of the Home Secretary he had undertaken the inspection of interception in prisons, and on 5 January 2004 Chapter II of Part I of RIPA had come into force, enabling named organisations approved by Parliament to acquire communications data (the records—but not the contents—of communications traffic such as mobile phone calls and emails). At the date of his report the organisations that the Interception of Communications Commissioner was required to inspect and oversee—795 in all—were as follows:

The nine Agencies empowered lawfully to intercept communications under section 6 of RIPA

52 police forces

12 other Law Enforcement Agencies such as the Royal Military Police and the British Transport Police

139 prisons

475 local authorities authorised to acquire communications data

108 other organisations, such as the Financial Services Authority, the Serious Fraud Office, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service who are authorised to acquire communications data.[312]

314.  RIPA powers are used by a wide range of public authorities which have:

necessary and proportionate requirements to engage in conduct that can interfere with individuals' rights for legitimate purposes whether to safeguard national security or to prevent and detect crime.[313]

315.  Oversight is carried out by the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner.

Authorisation and oversight of RIPA powers

316.  The Home Office outlines the system of oversight in place for RIPA:

Conduct [under the Act] may be undertaken only when necessary for a legitimate aim and proportionate to that aim and is subject to strict independent oversight by the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, by the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner—all of whom report to the Prime Minister and to Parliament. RIPA also provides access for complainants to an independent tribunal—the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.[314]

317.  Liberty argued that "the scope of those able to use RIPA powers is wide with a huge range of public bodies having access to them" and that:

RIPA powers are often self-authorising with lower level communications data powers being authorised internally and even the highest level interception powers only requiring the authority of a government minister.[315]

In a case which has received a great deal of attention in the media, Poole Borough Council used powers under RIPA to establish whether or not a family had lied about living in a particular school catchment area. The family's movements to and from school were tracked, satisfying the Council that the family's application for a school admission was valid. The mother of the family was reported to have regarded the incident as "a huge infringement" of her liberty and to have said that her daughter was now afraid of "a man outside watching us". The Council's action was been criticised by Liberty as disproportionate and intrusive; the Home Office's reported response was that RIPA legislation did not appear to have been used inappropriately.[316]

318.  Liberty drew a distinction between the operation of RIPA and the US surveillance process which requires a warrant from a court for surveillance of a US citizen. The use of "National Security Letters"—rather than warrants issued by a special Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance court—to intercept communications to the US, has been deemed unconstitutional by the US Federal Court.[317]

319.  JUSTICE also drew international comparisons, stating that the UK was "virtually alone" among common law countries in allowing the interception of telephone calls, emails, letters and faxes by authorisation of the Home Secretary rather than by a judge:

In our view, the power of the Home Secretary to issue interception warrants for both intelligence and law enforcement purposes should be replaced with a scheme for judicial authorisation of interceptions. This would bring the UK into line with the practice of virtually every other common law country.[318]

JUSTICE compared the "detailed, open and transparent reports" produced by the Canadian and United States federal governments on the use of electronic surveillance with the "paucity of information" made available by means of the published reports of the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner.[319]

320.  The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) worked with the Home Office on a joint review of RIPA, which reported in 2006. ACPO emphasised the importance of RIPA powers in the investigation and prosecution of serious crime, and in enabling the police to take swift action in an emergency. It argued, however, that:

the regime that has developed around RIPA has become unnecessarily bureaucratic and has been characterised by a risk-averse approach that has proved wasteful and has hampered investigations.[320]

321.  ACPO has also called on the Government to explore the establishment of a single Commissioner for activities governed by RIPA. It also argues that whilst the police are required to "have a high level of authority" before accumulating data about individual's private life, private sector organisations "appear to be able to do so with impunity".[321]

322.  Assistant Chief Constable Gargan, representing ACPO, told us that whilst a risk-approach requiring detailed risk assessments and authorisations had its place "when you are dealing with techniques that really do risk infringing on people's liberties"—such as covert investigative techniques, powers under the Police Act, intrusive surveillance under RIPA and long-term directed surveillance—there was a case for reassessment where:

we are effectively dressing up routine law enforcement activity as covert surveillance and over-authorising in those circumstances.[322]

Assistant Chief Constable Gargan gave as examples of such activity turning a CCTV camera to focus on a parade of shops or offering the victim of racist graffiti a camera in his or her home to film people offending.[323] Whether or not the adjustment of surveillance cameras in this way required authorisation under RIPA was "a moot point".[324]

323.  Since the report of the RIPA review was published, ACPO has referred to the Home Office those issues—relating to bureaucracy—on which ACPO and the Surveillance Commissioners could not agree.[325] These included a number of scenarios on which ACPO's view was that authorisation should be the exception rather than the rule.

Communications data

324.  The Minister stressed the distinction between interception of the contents of an individual's telephone calls and emails and access to communications data: "just the traffic; not the content". Mr McNulty accused the media of "quite deliberately" conflating the two:

You will have all seen press coverage saying seven or eight hundred authorities all bugging your phone and looking at your emails and everything else, which is completely wrong—and quite rightly wrong.[326]

325.  We asked the Minister about levels of public awareness of the wide powers granted by RIPA to permit access to communications data. Mr McNulty said that "The more people are aware the better, and they can always be more aware than they are" and went on to assert that "if people are involved in entirely legitimate activities then they do not have to worry about RIPA at all".[327] The Minister defended the right of local authorities to request that communications data be collected in order to tackle crimes in their areas:

If someone with a significant track record for fly-tipping or whatever else in a local area persists and the local authority under its statutory duty wants to see if he has been phoning the fella on the other side of town who is in the middle of a construction site and no one knows where his rubbish is going, that is perfectly legitimate.[328]

Report by Sir Christopher Rose on the HMP Woodhill case: the Wilson Doctrine

326.  On 4 February 2008 the Secretary of State for Justice told the House that he had asked the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, Sir Christopher Rose, to investigate the circumstances relating to visits to a prisoner—Babar Ahmad—at HMP Woodhill in May 2005 and June 2006, to establish whether the visits were subject to any form of surveillance and if so by whose authority and with whose knowledge.[329] Sir Christopher's report was laid before the House on 21 February. He found that the monitoring had been carried out lawfully under the legislation and that it was properly authorised and fully documented.

327.  Sir Christopher noted that the surveillance he had been asked to investigate did not appear to him to be within the scope of the Wilson doctrine, which relates to the tapping of Members' telephones and applies to all forms of interception subject to authorisation by the Secretary of State: monitoring of conversations at HMP Woodhill is not interception as defined by the legislation and did not require such authorisation.[330]

328.  At the end of his report, Sir Christopher said that there was "manifest scope for confusion in the minds of officers of public authorities and MPs as to the correct inter-relationship between the Wilson doctrine and the legislation" and that he believed that "clarification of this inter-relationship would be welcomed by everyone".[331] In her statement on Sir Christopher's Report, the Home Secretary told the House that:

the Government will review the statutory codes of practice, and in particular ... we intend to clarify that, as regards covert surveillance, conversations between Members of Parliament doing their constituency business and their constituents should be considered as "confidential information", and treated in the same way as other confidential information, such as conversations between a person and their lawyer or minister of religion. That will more clearly give such conversations additional protection.[332]

329.  Assistant Chief Constable Gargan told us that very few "ACPO colleagues" were aware of the Wilson doctrine at the time of the initial media coverage of the recording of the conversations in question. He made four points in response to Sir Christopher Rose's report:

it was helpful to clarify that the Wilson doctrine applied only to those covert activities requiring ministerial authorisation and not to property interference and intrusive surveillance, when carried out by police forces

ACPO believed that adequate provision existed within RIPA to ensure that an individual's privacy was respected and that "considerations of necessity, justification, proportionality, collateral intrusion, et cetera" were taken into account when authorisations were made

ACPO broadly supported the suggestion made by the then Interception Commissioner in 2006 that the Wilson doctrine should be abolished and if necessary provided for in legislation or in a code of practice

the discussion had uncovered a "technical defect" in RIPA in that it made no mention of confidential information: this served to strengthen the case for a revisiting of the legislation and a revision of the Act.[333]

330.  When we asked the Minister to indicate the lessons learned by the Government from the incident he told us that in looking at "all the assorted statutory codes of practice that prevail around the whole issue of surveillance and intercept, not least in the context of Wilson":

we should get to a stage where confidential discussions between an MP and his or her constituents in the broadest sense should be as sacrosanct as a legal discussion between an appointed legal representative and an individual.[334]

The Home Office intends to publish draft codes of practice for consultation over the summer of 2008 and to lay revised codes before Parliament in the autumn.[335]

331.  We recognise the distinction drawn by the Minister between the degrees of intrusion caused by the interception of communications and access to communications data. In our view, however, access to communications data by a relevant authority has a significant impact on an individual's privacy. We note the increase in requests for access to communications data in recent years and the large number of organisations empowered by RIPA to make such requests. Whilst communications traffic continues to increase and diversify, the provisions of RIPA in respect of communications data are not well understood. We recommend that the Home Office use the opportunity afforded by the latest review of RIPA codes of practice to take steps to raise public awareness of how and why communications data might be collected and used.

332.  For each new organisation authorised under RIPA to request access to communications data, the Home Office should produce a statement setting out the purposes for which the data will be used and evidence that access to communications data represents a proportionate response in terms of the problem to be addressed and the impact on individual privacy. Any assessment carried out by the Home Office should apply a test of proportionality: a potential intrusion which might be justified by the need to investigate terrorism would not be justified by efforts to tackle minor crimes such as littering.

333.  We note in the context of debate on the application of RIPA authorisations, the range of views on whether or not actions such as adjusting CCTV cameras constitute surveillance as defined by the Act. We also have serious concerns about the deployment of surveillance in relation to less serious crimes, which have been raised by—amongst other things—the use of RIPA powers to establish the validity of an application for admission to a school. The Home Office should undertake a public consultation on the levels of authorisation which should be required for various surveillance activities and the purposes which would justify different levels of intrusion.

334.  We are concerned by the implications for Members of Parliament of the events investigated by Sir Christopher Rose. Constituents must be able to speak freely to their Members of Parliament without fear of intrusion by the state. We reserve the right to return to this issue in due course.

 


190   Q 78 (Richard Thomas) Back

191   Ibid. Back

192   Q 24 (Richard Thomas) Back

193   Ev 129 Back

194   Information Commissioner's Office, CCTV Code of Practice: Revised Edition, 2008 Back

195   Q 24 (Jonathan Bamford) Back

196   Ev 241 Back

197   Gill and Spriggs, Assessing the Impact of CCTV (London: Home Office Research, Developments and Statistics Directorate, 2005), pp 43, 60-61; Surveillance Studies Network, A Report on the Surveillance Society: Full Report: revised with a new Postscript, March 2007, p 19, para 9.5.3 Back

198   Ev 192 Back

199   Q 454 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

200   Q 444 (Assistant Chief Constable Gargan) Back

201   Q 456 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

202   Q 231 (Professor Anderson) Back

203   Q 457 (Assistant Chief Constable Gargan; Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

204   Q 506 (Rt Hon Tony McNulty MP) Back

205   "CCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police", Guardian, 6 May 2008 Back

206   Home Office/ACPO, National CCTV Strategy, October 2007, p 12 Back

207   Home Office/ACPO, National CCTV Strategy, October 2007, p 6 Back

208   Qq 447-50 (Assistant Chief Constable Gargan) Back

209   Q 455 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

210   Q 232 (Professor Anderson) Back

211   Q 24 (Jonathan Bamford) Back

212   Royal Academy of Engineering, Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance: Challenges of Technological Change, March 2007, p 49 Back

213   Q 261 (Dr Forbes) Back

214   Ev 241 Back

215   Q 460 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

216   Q 460 (Assistant Chief Constable Gargan Back

217   Q 495 Back

218   Q 509 Back

219   Ibid. Back

220   Q 24 (Richard Thomas) Back

221   Home Affairs Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2003-04, Identity Cards, HC 130 Back

222   Ev 193 Back

223   "National Identity Scheme Delivery Plan published", Identity and Passport Service pres release, 6 March 2008 Back

224   Home Office, National Identity Scheme Delivery Plan, March 2008, p 13 Back

225   Evidence taken by the Committee on 26 February 2008, HC 365-I, Q12 Back

226   Ev 135 Back

227   Ev 137 Back

228   Qq 317-318 (Dr Pounder); Ev 113 Back

229   Ev 189 Back

230   Q 39 (Richard Thomas) Back

231   Q 540-1 Back

232   Q 40 (Richard Thomas) Back

233   Evidence taken before the Committee on 26 February 2008, HC 365-i, Q11 Back

234   Q 39 (Richard Thomas) Back

235   Q 39 (Richard Thomas) Back

236   Home Office, Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme: Safeguarding your identity, December 2006, p 13 Back

237   Home Office, Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme: Safeguarding your identity, December 2006, p 11 Back

238   HL Deb, 7 January 2008, col 181WA Back

239   HC Deb, 5 December 2007, cols 279-80WH Back

240   Evidence taken before the Committee on 26 February 2008, HC 365-i, Q1 Back

241   Ibid., Q 17 Back

242   Evidence taken before the Committee on 26 February 2008, HC 365-i, Q 1 Back

243   Public Bill Committee, 1 March 2007 (afternoon), Q 215 Back

244   "ID cards will give 'false' data", BBC News Online, 31 July 2007 Back

245   Q 548  Back

246   Q 546 Back

247   Ev 265 Back

248   Ev 272 Back

249   National DNA Database Report for 2005-06, National DNA Database Strategy Board, September 2006 Back

250   See for example "DNA database chaos with 500,000 false or misspelt entries", Independent, 26 August 2007 Back

251   Ev 270 Back

252   HC Deb, 21 April 2008, col 1032 Back

253   Ev 265 Back

254   Ev 272 Back

255   http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/science-research/using-science/dna-database/ Back

256   HC Deb, 21 April 2008, Col 1032 (Meg Hillier MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office) Back

257   Ev 265 Back

258   Home Office, DNA Expansion Programme 2000-2005: Reporting Achievement, October 2005, pp 4 and 15 Back

259   Q 498 Back

260   Ev 272 Back

261   Ev 182 Back

262   Ev 180 Back

263   Ev 204 Back

264   Ev 180 Back

265   Ev 193 Back

266   Home Affairs Committee, Second Report of Session 2006-07, Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System, HC 181, paragraph 33 Back

267   Qq 483-84 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

268   Q 485 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

269   Ev 190 Back

270   Ev 179 Back

271   Q 476 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

272   Q 498 Back

273   Q 469 (Chief Constable Neyroud); Nuffield Council on Bioethics, The forensic use of bioinformation: ethical issues, September 2007 Back

274   Q 286 (Dr Metcalfe) Back

275   Ev 271 Back

276   Q 501 Back

277   Qq 488, 501 Back

278   Q 469 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

279   Q 471 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

280   Q 473 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

281   On 15 October 2007, for example, Mr Stephen Crabb raised this issue during Home Office questions: HC Deb, Cols 544-545 Back

282   Q 474 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

283   Q 499 Back

284   Q 497 Back

285   Ev 162 Back

286   Ev 163 Back

287   Ev 182 Back

288   Q 31 (David Smith) Back

289   Q 31 (Richard Thomas) Back

290   Ev 164 Back

291   Qq 53-54 Back

292   Ev 132 Back

293   Ev 133 Back

294   Q 21 (Richard Thomas) Back

295   Q 284 (Mr Russell) Back

296   Q 403 (Clare Moriarty) Back

297   Qq 383-4 (Steve Burton) Back

298   Q 367 (Dr Stephen Hickey) Back

299   Q 459 (Chief Constable Neyroud) Back

300   Q 507 Back

301   Q 76 (Richard Thomas) Back

302   Ibid. Back

303   Q 272 (Dr Forbes) Back

304   Q 274 (Dr Forbes) Back

305   Q 275 (Professor Wessely) Back

306   Q 276 (Professor Wessely) Back

307   Q 276 (Professor Dezateux) Back

308   Q 495 Back

309   Ibid. Back

310   Q 503 Back

311   Home Office, Security: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. Available at: http://security.homeoffice.gov.uk/ripa/ Back

312   Report of the Interception Communications Commissioner for 2005-06, HC (2006-07) 315, p 3 Back

313   Ev 194 Back

314   Ev 194 Back

315   Ev 190 Back

316   "Council uses criminal law to spy on school place applicants", Guardian, 11 April 2008 Back

317   Ev 190 Back

318   Ev 214 Back

319   Ev 213 Back

320   Ev 214 Back

321   Ev 217 Back

322   Q 418 (Assistant Chief Constable Gargan) Back

323   Q 416 (Assistant Chief Constable Gargan) Back

324   Q 419 (Assistant Chief Constable Gargan) Back

325   Evidence taken by the House of Lords Constitution Committee on 16 January 2008, Qq 128-9 Back

326   Q 514 Back

327   We note the concerns raised by the Information Commissioner's Office in response to media reports that the Government intends to amend RIPA to provide for a centralised database of communications data which would contain details of every telephone call, email and internet site visited by members of the public. See, for example, "'Big Brother' database for phones and emails", Times, 20 May 2008 Back

328   Q 518 Back

329   HC Deb, 4 February 2008, cols 660-661 Back

330   Report on two visits by Sadiq Khan MP to Babar Ahmad at HM Prison Woodhill: report of an investigation by the Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose, Chief Surveillance Commissioner, Cm 7336, February 2008, p 2 Back

331   Report on two visits by Sadiq Khan MP to Babar Ahmad at HM Prison Woodhill: report of an investigation by the Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose, Chief Surveillance Commissioner, Cm 7336, February 2008, pp13-14 Back

332   HC Deb, 21 February 2008, col 538 Back

333   Qq 428-30 (Assistant Chief Constable Gargan) Back

334   Q 525 Back

335   Ev 174 Back

 
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