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Privacy and surveillance society in the UK

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  1. Individual Privacy and the State: Privacy vs Security
  2. Private Companies and the Workplace: When Monitoring Goes Too Far
  3. The Danger of Data Transfer Abroad

"We live in a surveillance society ". This is the opening sentence of the Report on the Surveillance Society for the Information Commissioner published in September 2006. It states that Everyday life in the U.K. is monitored through the use of credit card, mobile phone, travel cards, loyalty card information, telecommunications, CCTV etc. The report reminds us that "surveillance is two-sided" and warns against a loss of privacy. A specific right in relation to the protection of personal data had however already been granted to UK citizens under the Data Protection Act 1984. These rights were largely expanded by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998 hereafter). However, in a surveillance society increasingly obsessed with fear of terrorism, prevention of crime, productivity and consumerism, daily surveillance remains the norm, and the data subjects are legitimately led to wonder whether they are sufficiently protected by their rights to privacy.

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