Excellent privacy article on The Register

Hat-tip to @privacyint for the pointer to this excellent piece on The Register.

The article, which cites respectable sources such as the Earl of Erroll (cross-bench peer), Prof. Ross Anderson (Cambridge University Computer Science Dept and FIPR), Chris Huhne (LibDem MP) and James Brokenshire (Conservative MP), concerns the efforts of a South London fetish club to mitigate attempts to capture disproportionate amounts of personal data from patrons.

There are several very pertinent comments about privacy – for instance:

  • [The proliferation of one-off security databases spells] “the death of the right to private association” (Ross Anderson);
  • “A blanket approach to installing ID scanners in clubs raises serious privacy concerns. Introducing these measures where there is no history of criminal activity is disproportionate and likely to breach data protection requirements.” (ICO spokeswoman);
  • “we could be taking real risks by putting vast amounts of personal information in the hands of people at best incompetent and at worst malicious.” (Chris Huhne)
  • “Privacy is being eroded bit by bit, not some single killing blow, but death by a thousand cuts.” (Lord Erroll)

The article ends by quoting Lord Erroll’s view that “that the entire age-checking industry [is] a Trojan Horse for ID”, and his intention to raise this issue with ministers and the Home Office.

The Register deserves an extra fillip for stating that “senior politicians from all parties take up an issue first highlighted by The Register“, while restraining itself admirably from any “senior politician”/”S&M” cracks.

On the other hand, my reputation for maintaining good taste is so strong that I have no hesitation in predicting that Lord Erroll’s lobbying signals the start of a… back lash?