Digital Privacy

Information Commissioners annual report

Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, has published his annual report. The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s independent public body set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information.

“Never before has the threat of intrusion to people’s privacy been such a risk. It is no wonder that the public now ranks protecting personal information as the third most important social concern.”

“What is the right balance between public protection and private life? How long, for example, should phone and internet traffic records be retained for access by police and intelligence services fighting terrorism? Whose DNA should be held, and for how long, to help solve crime? What safeguards are needed for commercial internet-based tracking services which leave no hiding place?”

“In our annual survey on information rights, protecting people’s personal information was highlighted as one of the top three issues of social importance, with 80 per cent of individuals saying that they were concerned about the use, transfer and security of their personal information. Organisations do recognise that good information handling makes good business sense, with the vast majority telling us it improves customer trust, information management and risk management.”

Annual Report 2005 – 2006 – Information Commissioner’s Office

The report also singles out ID cards, children’s databases and spam as worthy of mention.