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ICO insists on scrutiny for laws invading privacy

Er, isn't that the ICO's job?

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ICO boss Christopher Graham has rejected the accusation that he sent "Keystone Kops" to investigate Google and has called for more scrutiny of laws which infringe on privacy.

Despite having his investigators labelled "Keystone Kops" by a Tory MP for clearing Google's Street View data snoop, then changing their minds, Graham said most of the job was not technical but legal.

He told the Telegraph: “Most of the job that we do isn’t about technology – it’s applying [data protection and] freedom of information act legislation, and so you need to be an expert in that rather than a geek.”

Graham said: “We’ve done a lot - we’ve achieved a lot. Getting Google to accept that the ICO has a right to audit their compliance with the UK data protection act is a huge achievement that the ICO ought to get some credit for.”

Graham added that many people wanted a privacy czar, but that was not the job of the information commissioner.

Graham is calling for any new laws which have privacy implications to be closely looked at after they've been passed.

In a report handed to the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday Graham recommends private companies also consider the privacy implications of new products and services before rather than after launch.

Graham said: “Many of the new laws that come into force every year in the UK have implications for privacy at their heart. My concern is that after they are enacted there is no one looking back to see whether they are being used as intended, or whether the new powers were indeed justified in practice.

"One example of this is the use of covert CCTV surveillance by local councils to monitor parents in school catchment area disputes under powers designed to assist in crime prevention and detection." ®

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