Feeds

Home Office promises proactive powers for info commissioner

Surveillance to police the surveillance society

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
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
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.