Privacy laws fall flat in today's 'surveillance society'
The UK today is a ‘surveillance society’ and better regulation is needed to protect people’s privacy, argued ex information commissioner Richard Thomas CBE at an address to the ICAEW this week.
If the recent WikiLeaks scandal proved anything it’s that privacy – in the traditional sense of the word – no longer exists.
The concept of anonymity has been turned on its head over the last decade, explained Thomas, not because of any failure to control privacy, but because the idea of privacy itself has changed. The old controls are no longer able to contain or to manage the ways in which we share information.
In the past the UK has had a culture of sloppy data protection and management (the HMRC lost CD-ROMs incident being a prime example), but Thomas said he was optimistic that the next generation and data controllers will be better educated in understanding risk.