Feeds

Home Office promises proactive powers for info commissioner

Surveillance to police the surveillance society

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Home Office has promised to give the Information Commissioner powers to make spot inspections on people's databases to determine if they have complied with the Data Protection Act.

Reporting to the first hearing of the Home Office Select Committee into the surveillance society today, Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said: "The Home Office have accepted in principle that we should have the power to go in and inspect.

"We have got the government to agree we should have that power - if not in the statute, in the code of practice," he said.

However, he later told the hearing that though his office had been lobbying the Home Office, the Lord Chancellor, and the Department of Constitutional Affairs, he still couldn't be sure he would actually get inspection powers.

"They smile and say they will do it when they can, but we haven't yet had a firm commitment that they will change the law," he said, adding that the European Commission had also waded in to support the idea.

Thomas said his office's brief presently required it to get the consent of the data controller before inspecting someone's data to assess whether it was fairly managed - unless it had enough evidence of criminal behaviour to get a judge to sign a warrant.

He was unhappy that while other regulators were allowed to make spot inspections, he wasn't: "To know that the regulator can step in has a very sharp deterrent effect on organisations."

Thomas said it had also "been broadly accepted" that he would regulate public sector access to private sector databases.

"We need a framework to make sure the legitimate purposes of the police and law enforcement bodies are served by accessing this data, that it's not a free for all - they can go and and look at everyone's data and just make merry with it - it's got to be proportionate, for a defined purpose," he said. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.