The Guardian – 40+ organisations call on the Government to drop mass bank spying powers

Big Brother Watch Team / March 4, 2024

Over 40 charities and campaign organisations, including Big Brother Watch, Age UK, Disability Rights UK, Liberty and Mind, have come together to demand that the Government scrap new plans to monitor millions of bank accounts under the premise of tackling welfare fraud in a joint-letter to the Government.

The new powers, which will be given to the Department for Work and Pensions, compel banks to monitor all account holders to find and then flag people who meet certain criteria to the government directly. Flagged accounts will then be subject to further investigation.

Commenting, Susannah Copson, Legal and Policy Officer at Big Brother Watch said:

“The Government’s proposals to snoop on bank accounts en masse would be a hammer blow to privacy in the UK, with the effects felt hardest by some of the most vulnerable in our society.

“The plans will impact all of us, but none more so than those in the welfare system. That’s tens of millions of innocent and vulnerable people – people who are disabled, on the poverty line, elderly, are sick, or have young children. They should not be treated as criminals simply for receiving state support.

“This intervention by organisations from across civil society in the UK is the biggest call yet for the government to ditch these plans. The message is clear: these powers have no place in the UK. It’s time that the Government now listen to the voices who will be affected by these intrusive plans and scrap them for good.”

The Guardian – Scrap plans to scan accounts of benefit claimants or risk new scandal, MPs told