ICO concern over blanket collection of comms data

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has expressed ‘concern’ over the collection of all communications data for crime-solving.

Aug 13, 2009
By Paul Jacques

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has expressed ‘concern’ over the collection of all communications data for crime-solving.
In a statement, the ICO said it recognises the value that communications data has for the prevention and detection of crime and the prosecution of offenders but the Commissioner added: “However, this in itself is not a sufficient justification for mandating the collection of all possible communications data on all subscribers by all communication service providers (CSPs).
“The ICO is concerned about the distinction being made between traffic data and content data and our response also highlights that there may be gaps in the current regulatory regime that not only have the potential to affect the rights of individuals and their avenues of recourse, but also the clarity of roles and responsibility of CSPs.
“Despite these concerns, the ICO is pleased that the Government has rejected the idea of storing all of the proposed additional data in a single database, held by government or a central agency. The Government has kept the ICO informed about the development of the Interception Modernisation Programme and we look forward to continuing a constructive dialogue on this issue.”
The ICO has appointed a team of consultants to undertake a three-month research project to explore the methods in implementing business processes, procuring information systems and the role and value of personal information for organisations in both the public and private sector.

 

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