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UK Media on the New ICO Surveillance Report

November 12, 2010

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.

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