The peers say Britain has constructed one of the most extensive and technologically advanced surveillance systems in the world in the name of combating terrorism and crime and improving administrative efficiency.
The report, Surveillance: Citizens and the State, by the Lords’ constitution committee, says Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV, with an estimated 4m cameras, and in building a national DNA database, with more than 7% of the population already logged compared with 0.5% in the America.
The cross-party committee which includes Lord Woolf, a former lord chief justice, and two former attorneys general, Lord Morris and Lord Lyell, warns that “pervasive and routine” electronic surveillance and the collection and processing of personal information is almost taken for granted.
Finally, a group in government says something definitive about privacy and the surveillance state. It’s a start.