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Databases Privacy United Kingdom

UK Police Database Abuse 'Hugely Intrusive' 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
twoheadedboy writes "Police database abuse has been branded as 'hugely intrusive' after a report showed over 900 officers and staff had breached the Data Protection Act over the last three years. Furthermore, 243 police officers and staff received criminal convictions for breaking laws set down by the DPA. 'Our investigation shows that not only have police employees been found to have run background records checks on friends and possible partners, but some have been convicted for passing sensitive information to criminal gangs and drug dealers,' said Daniel Hamilton, director of the Big Brother Watch."
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UK Police Database Abuse 'Hugely Intrusive'

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  • by boristdog (133725) on Friday July 08, 2011 @10:15AM (#36694144)

    You have nothing to fear from the authorities!

    Right? Right? Helloooo?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Call me a cynic, but people are people.

      Communism, Socialism, Corporateism, police state, etc. If it can be corrupted or misused in time it will be. The trick is mitigating the corruption and weighing the benefits against the possible downsides.

      • Undoing mod - went to select insightful and somehow ended up with redundant, sorry about that Anon.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      Actually, I *do* have something to fear from the authorities even if I've done nothing wrong.

      Besides the rampant possibilities of being joe jobbed or falling victim to plain incompetence, I'm not keen on having my precious tax dollars wasted on innocent me when there are REAL CROOKS out there to go after.

    • Like that bald headed pantload Dr Phil said "People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing". As a trite little saying (he's full of those) it seems innocuous, but when you put a little historical perspective on it you see that it is yet another door way into absolute dictatorship!

  • And, perhaps, tabloid reporters? Or is that the same thing?

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      And, perhaps, tabloid reporters? Or is that the same thing?

      Please, don't insult gangbangers

    • by geniice (1336589)

      Strangely no. For some years the police database has been the one database the tabloids won't touch. Everything else up to and including medical records is fine but going for the police database has historically resulted in the police carrying out investigations and no one wants that.

      See Nick Davies's book flat earth news for details.

  • 1) if you collect data the data will be used.
    2) reread 1. until you get it.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday July 08, 2011 @10:26AM (#36694320)
    You mean that when all those people were warning us about how all that surveillance could be abused, how all the increases in police power could wind up being a problem, they were right? WOW!
  • Weird - I would never have suspected something like this would be going on.
  • Dem Cops (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Man, you Americans should really rein in your abusive cops. Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. Its like you are living in a police state. You should stop voting for idiots who let this happen.

    Oh, wait. Not Americans?

  • ...custodiet ipsos custodes?
    • yes, who DOES watch the latin teachers?

      (always thought they were the real suspicious ones...)

    • by Pax681 (1002592)

      ... Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      fixed that for you

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday July 08, 2011 @11:37AM (#36695342)

    Back in college, I had a friend in an undergrad pre-med program who was doing some sort of work in the local hospital. He actually told me, unsolicited, that if I was interested in a girl he'd look her up to see if she had any STDs (I never took him up on the offer). He also wasn't shy about pointing out who had what whenever he spotted people in public. At the time, I just thought it was creepy but I wonder if that was illegal 15 years ago?

    • by Pax681 (1002592)

      Back in college, I had a friend in an undergrad pre-med program who was doing some sort of work in the local hospital. He actually told me, unsolicited, that if I was interested in a girl he'd look her up to see if she had any STDs (I never took him up on the offer). He also wasn't shy about pointing out who had what whenever he spotted people in public. At the time, I just thought it was creepy but I wonder if that was illegal 15 years ago?

      i would imagine the fact that pretty much everywhere medical files are labelled "Medical in confidence" would suggest that yes it was very much breaking the rules... certainly always has been here in Scotland anyways

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Strange, how cattle always wonder about if it is "illegal" and never about if *they* think it's right or wrong.

      No, those are not the same, but more and more drift into becoming polar opposites.

  • ...and, make sure your employees KNOW that their attempts to access records are logged. Continually cross-reference that info with relevant investigations.

  • I keep having this discussion with people again and again.

    It does not matter what social, organizational, or legal controls your put in place -
    It does not what technical controls, acls, encryption, strong identity validation, etc you put in place -

    At some point any information stored will be either abused to facilitate some originally unintended purpose or will be leaked and subsequently abused or published by another party.

    -The take home needs to be "think before you store" and we need to tell our politici

    • by Shotgun (30919)

      The problem here, though, is that you can't control what OTHER people write down.

      Unless your high is of high enough profile to have Nancy Grace talking about it, being accused of a crime is enough to have you convicted or bankrupted in most cases.

    • by mickwd (196449)

      "I keep having this discussion with people again and again".

      Perhaps you should write it down?

  • The system works. Access is logged and monitored, and the villains do get caught at it. They're not the sharpest truncheons in the box, to be honest.
  • to see that at least they are actually detecting and disciplining breaches, since I was already assuming the worst.

    If they were to have the right security and ethical culture, it's not implausible that they have a high detection rate when running a full access log, hopefully cross-referenced to some sort of case allocation log, in which case 900 out of ~242k [telegraph.co.uk] is less than 0.4% of staff in a 3 year period. On the other hand it is possible the 900 is only from audit sampling, in which case since the sample siz

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