Europe rights commissioner condemns UK database plan

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London, Dec.31 (ANI): Critical comments by Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, has reportedly prompted Britain to rethink plans for a database holding details of every email, mobile phone and internet visit.

Hammarberg said that the UK proposals for sweeping powers to collect and store data would increase the risk of the "violation of an individual's privacy".

Plans for the database of emails, phone calls and Internet visits are to be published by the Home Office in January.

These proposals have already been described by the Government's own terrorism-law watchdog as "awful" and attacked by civil liberty groups for laying the basis of a Big Brother state.

Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, told The Independent that surveillance technologies are developing at breathtaking speed.

In a direct criticism of Britain, he said: "It is therefore worrying that new legislation proposals intend to expand the authorities' power to allow personal data collection and sharing. Although safety measures are foreseen, the adoption of these measures would increase the risk of violation of individuals' privacy.""The retention and storing of data is delicate and must be highly protected from risk of abuse. We have already seen what a devastating and stigmatising effect losing files or publishing lists of names on the Internet can have on the persons concerned. This is particularly relevant to the UK, where important private data has been lost and ended up in the public domain," he added.

The commissioner was critical of the way the UK collects and keeps DNA from people cleared of any crime.

Last month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the indiscriminate collection of DNA was illegal. (ANI)

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