UK Media on the New ICO Surveillance Report

There has been some good coverage (and some less good) coverage of the new ICO surveillance update report, to which we (founder-members of the Surveillance Studies Network) contributed the background research.

There are national press stories in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, in regional papers like The Yorkshire Post, and in trade publications like Computer Weekly, The Register, and Public Service.

Although some of the reports get things wrong, and The Daily Mail’s in particular is a masterpiece of selective quotation and context-removal, the response has generally got the main points that we intended to get across. These include the points that the change of government in Britain with its rhetoric of rolling back surveillance doesn’t necessarily affect a great deal of what the state does beyond those headline measures like scrapping ID cards and the National Identity Register; and, even more importantly, both transnational data sharing between states and surveillance by the private sector are intensifying and spreading regardless. We do highlight some particular surveillance technologies and practices but these are largely emblematic in this report – it was not a large survey like the 2006 orignal – so although we talk about drone cameras, Google Latitude and Facebook Places, ubiquitous computing, e-borders and new workplace monitoring practices, we are not trying to say that these are the only games in town.

New ICO Surveillance Report

The UK Information Commissioner is reporting to Parliament on the state of surveillance, based on an update report on developments since 2006 authored by Surveillance Studies Network members (including me).

On Thursday 11th November, Christopher Graham, the UK Information Commissioner, sent his report on the state of surveillance and recommendations for action to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee. His report includes the SSN-authored ‘An Update to a Report on the Surveillance Society’, on which it is based.

The update report, co-authored by Charles Raab, Kirstie Ball, Stephen Graham, David Lyon, David Murakami Wood and Clive Norris, was written in the first half of 2010. It features a review of UK surveillance since they wrote the 2006 ‘Report on the Surveillance Society’ for the Information Commissioner’s Office. The new report focuses on developments in information collection, processing and dissemination, and on the regulatory challenges posed by these surveillance developments.

The Commissioner’s overview and recommendations, and the SSN update report, can be viewed here. I’ll put something up about what I think about his recommendations later after I have had a chance to read them…