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Most Britons believe we live in a 'surveillance society'

UK Daily Mail | September 14, 2007

Nearly six out of 10 people believe Britain has become a "surveillance society", according to a new survey.

The online poll for the civil rights group Liberty also found only 17 per cent of Britons trusted the authorities to keep their personal details completely confidential.

Liberty claimed people in the UK are losing their right to privacy in the wake of crackdowns connected with counter-terrorism.

Spokesman Gareth Crossman said: "In times of heightened insecurity we quite rightly compromise some of our privacy for public protection, but if we don't pause for thought right now our children will grow up without any sense of the value of privacy."

Last week Liberty won a six-month battle with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary to have the DNA of an innocent 13-year-old boy removed from the National DNA Database.

The boy had been falsely accused of writing graffiti and was one of about 100,000 innocent children whose details have been stored on the archive.

Liberty's report there was growing use of CCTV and databases, unprecedented phone tapping and massive expansion of the DNA database.

The group called for new laws to introduce tighter regulation of CCTV and more power and resources for the Information Commissioner, Britain's privacy watchdog, to investigate potential breaches.

Judges must also be allowed to review the way interception of email and phone calls is handled, the group added.

The YouGov poll surveyed a representative sample of 2,510 adults online, which found 57 per cent agreed Britain had become a surveillance society, while 19% disagreed and the rest were "don't knows".

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