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Information Commissioner: monitoring plans will dominate Queen's Speech interest

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Two county councils fined by ICO over 'serious email errors'
Two county councils fined by ICO over 'serious email errors'

The proposed Government surveillance plans are expected to stand out in the Queen's Speech next month.

Talking to SC Magazine, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said he expected that next month's Queen's Speech would not have "an awful lot else in it" and the surveillance plans would thus dominate.

He said: “Obviously this will be quite big and I have been working with the Home Office on their Communications Capability Review under both the last government and the current government. Our position is consistent with our response to the last government's consultation.

“There are core decisions still to be made, around limiting the intrusion into people's privacy, to be sure it is compliant with the Data Protection Act on safeguarding people's data. We'll have to wait and see what is in the Queen's Speech and my role is to look at the details and suggest where there need to be changes.”

Graham said it is not the role of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to take a view on the politics but to look at proposals in detail.

The announcement of plans to monitor and store the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK by the Home Office a the start of this month caused outrage.

A statement from an ICO spokesperson at the time said that the information commissioner's role in the Home Office project, both under this government and the last, was to press for the necessary limitations and safeguards to mitigate the impact on citizens' privacy.

“We will continue to seek assurances, including the implementation of the results of a thorough Privacy Impact Assessment. Ultimately, the decision as to whether to proceed with the project is one which has to be taken by Parliament,” it said.

It added: “There will need to be key safeguards as to who has access to data and where it is stored. If there is not deep packet inspection, what is there? There needs to be guidelines to the honeypot of information.”

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