Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date

2011

Subjects

United Kingdom; Privacy; Human rights

Abstract

This report for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission) examines the threats to information privacy that have emerged in recent years, focusing on the activities of the state. It argues that current privacy laws and regulation do not adequately uphold human rights, and that fundamental reform is required. It identifies two principal areas of concern: the state’s handling of personal data, and the use of surveillance by public bodies. The central finding of this report is that the existing approach to the protection of information privacy in the UK is fundamentally flawed, and that there is a pressing need for widespread legislative reform in order to ensure that the rights contained in Article 8 are respected. The report argues for the establishment of a number of key ‘privacy principles’ that can be used to guide future legal reforms and the development of sector-specific regulation. The right to privacy is at risk of being eroded by the growing demand for information by government and the private sector. Unless we start to reform the law and build a regulatory system capable of protecting information privacy, we may soon find that it is a thing of the past.

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