Lords recommend PETs

6 February 2009

The house of Lords Constitution Committeehas just published a report on Surveillance: Citizens and the State as well as the evidence they heard. As part of their recommendations they push Privacy enhancing Technologies to be part of the procurement process of government projects. In particular they say:

485. We recommend that the Government review their procurement processes so as to incorporate design solutions that include privacy-enhancing technologies in new or planned data gathering and processing systems. (paragraph 349)

They also push, albeit in an indirect way, for privacy enhanced identification schemes and ID cards, citing the example of Austria. This is basically a recommendation to implement selective disclosure credential technologies:

478. We recommend that the Government’s development of identification systems should give priority to citizen-oriented considerations. (paragraph 268)

Which refers to:

268. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) drew attention to the use in Austria of a system of identification numbers that allows access to information in different databases “without the need for a single widely known personal identification number that may be misused.” (p 5) The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) explained that it is possible for individuals to fulfil their legitimate need or desire to maintain multiple roles or identities in transactions with state or other organisations and to avoid the possibility of those organisations needlessly correlating them. The technology involved in identification can be developed to suit an individual’s preference to keep domestic status and work life separate, where the protection of identity is necessary to avoid abusive relationships or stalking, or where witnesses and children need protection.118 We recommend that the Government’s development of identification systems should give priority to citizen-oriented considerations.

This is all good news! It is indeed at the procurement phase that such requirements for PETs should be specified and entrenched in the delivery contracts. Negotiating PETs for complex surveillance technologies will also make the cost of recording data just-in-case visible.


One Response to “Lords recommend PETs”

  1. Bipliesee said

    hmm.. interesting ))

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