Responding to plans to reform the Investigatory Powers Act, Silkie Carlo, director for Big Brother Watch said:
“The King’s Speech revealed plans to add yet more spying powers to the Snoopers’ Charter. The government says it will give them the power to veto private tech companies’ privacy and security features. Such powers would be more extreme than even the world’s most despotic regimes.
This would be yet another Bill that would exert extraordinary control to treat private companies as extensions of the state in order to conduct mass surveillance of millions of law-abiding citizens. It would be a major blow to the population’s security.”
Responding to plans to introduce new welfare surveillance powers, Silkie Carlo, director for Big Brother Watch said:
“Everyone wants fraudulent uses of public money to be dealt with, whether it’s the billions in COVID contracts fraud or welfare fraud, and the government already has powers to review the bank statements of suspects. However, the government should not intrude on the privacy of anyone’s bank account in this country without very good reason, whether a person is receiving benefits or not. People who are disabled, sick, carers or looking for work should not be treated like criminals by default. Such proposals do away with the longstanding democratic principle in Britain that state surveillance should follow suspicion rather than vice versa and it would be dangerous for everyone if the government reverses this presumption of innocence. Information processing in the welfare system is notoriously bad and the state rifling through millions of people’s bank statements is highly likely to result in serious mistakes. As the government is overseeing a cost of living crisis it should be investing public money to help people out of poverty, not to spy on them.”
Spokespeople are available for interviews. Contact Big Brother Watch’s 24h media line on 07730439257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find more information regarding welfare surveillance in our report: Poverty Panopticon: The Hidden Algorithms Shaping Britain’s Welfare State (published in July 2021)