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Activists raise alarm over insidious creep of surveillance in the UK

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Daniel Martin
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Report calls for government data 'firewall', spy-free schools, up-to-date laws

Campaigners have sounded a fresh alarm against the normalisation of surveillance across the UK, the effects the “nothing to fear, nothing to hide” rhetoric, and unchecked experiments with public data-sharing.

The warnings come in Big Brother Watch’s latest report, The State of Surveillance 2018 (PDF), which brings together opinions from various activists and targeted groups.

Among the demands made in the report, and at the launch event, are that the government create a “firewall” to stop excessive data-sharing between civil service departments.

Pointing to the controversial use of patient data or school children’s records for immigration enforcement, Gracie Bradley of Liberty condemned bulk information sharing that risked damaging public trust.

“Creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear damages people’s trust in public services,” she said in the report, and agreements to pass along data will undermine people’s right to access public services.

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