Big Brother Watch
|Big Brother Watch|
Big Brother Watch is a British civil liberties and privacy pressure group founded in 2009 to "fight injustice and campaigns to protect our civil liberties and personal freedoms". The group campaigns on a variety of issues including the rise of CCTV, freedom and privacy online, local authority spying under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers act, the protection of personal information and wider data protection issues.
The campaign is headquartered in Westminster, within easy reach of the Houses of Parliament and the BBC, ITV and Sky News television studios.
Reports and campaigns
The group joined Wikipedia in shutting down its website in protest at SOPA/PIPA, warning that similar plans may be proposed in the UK.
Local Authority Data Loss Exposed
Research uncovered more than 1,000 incidents across 132 local authorities, including at least 35 councils who have lost information about children and those in care.
NHS patient confidentiality breached 5 times every week
The group's research found how between July 2008 and July 2011 there were at least 806 separate incidents where patient medical records were compromised.
Police Databases: How over 900 staff abused their access
In July 2011, Big Brother Watch uncovered the true extent to which Police abuse their access to confidential databases. The report was especially timely, following allegations yesterday that former Downing Street Head of Communications Andy Coulson paid the Police in order to receive privileged information. The report concluded that between 2007 and 2010: 243 Police officers and staff received criminal convictions for breaching the Data Protection Act (DPA), 98 Police officers and staff had their employment terminated for breaching the DPA and 904 Police officers and staff were subjected to internal disciplinary procedures for breaching the DPA.
Who’s knocking at your door?
In May 2011, Big Brother Watch released a report exposing the extent to which councils use debt recovery agents such as bailiffs to recover unpaid council tax and parking fine debts. Across the 320 local councils who responded to their Freedom of Information request, almost six million (5,939,003) cases have been passed to bailiffs for the late payment of council taxes and parking fines.
The price is wrong
Big Brother Watch conducted the first study of the true cost burden of CCTV to local councils in the United Kingdom. Of the 342 local councils who responded to Big Brother Watch’s information request, a total of £321,331,453.18 was spent on installing and operating CCTV cameras during the 2007 to 2010 period.
Big Brother is Watching
In December 2009, Big Brother Watch released its first report detailing the number of council controlled CCTV cameras in Britain. The report revealed that in less than 10 years the number of council operated CCTV cameras had tripled from 21,000 to 60,000. The findings were produced with a full regional breakdown and it received extensive national and local media coverage.
In December 2009, the group also published their second report which detailed the number of officers in local councils who were able to enter private property without requiring a warrant or police escort. The conclusion was that at least '14,973 officers in 73% of local councils in Britain held such powers'.
Lifting the Lid
In March 2010, the organisation released a third report revealing that the number of councils installing microchips in bins had risen by 62% from the previous year. The research conducted indicated that 68 local authorities in Britain and Northern Ireland had installed microchips in rubbish bins of at least 2.6 million homes.
The Grim Ripa
In May 2010 Big Brother Watch released its fifth major report, investigating the uses and abuses of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. The research revealed that 372 local councils in England, Scotland and Wales had authorised 8,575 Directed Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Source authorisations under the RIPA and RIPSA in the period 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2010.
In July 2010 BBW published an investigation into council use of CCTV Smart cars. The figures revealed that 54 CCTV Smart Cars operated in 31 local councils in Britain, caught and fined at least 188,000 motorists between April 2009 and March 2010.
In November 2009, Sandwell Council issued Vanessa Kelly a fixed penalty notice of £75 for feeding ducks. Miss Kelly refused to pay the fine and Big Brother Watch offered to represent her in court unless the charge was revoked. The case was reported in the media and several days later the council apologised to Miss Kelly and withdrew the charge.
- David Davis - and Tony Benn - speak at the launch of Big Brother Watch http://playpolitical.typepad.com/uk_conservative/2010/01/david-davis-and-tony-benn-speak-at-the-launch-of-big-brother-watch.html
- Who We Are http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/who-we-are#.Txw0GEoc9sU
- Daily Mail - Council snoopers watch us on 60,000 CCTV cameras http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1236748/Council-snoopers-watch-60-000-CCTV-cameras.html
- Evening Standard - 8,000 CCTV cameras are watching you http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23785583-8000-cctv-cameras-are-watching-you.do
- Daily Telegraph - CCTV cameras trebled in a year http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/6833727/CCTV-cameras-trebled-in-a-year.html
- Guardian - Britain's wasteful mania for CCTV http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/dec/18/britain-wasteful-mania-cctv-surveillance
- Daily Mail - The 20,000 snooper army: Vast number of town hall bureaucrats get power to enter your home without a warrant http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1238800/The-20-000-snooper-army-Vast-number-town-hall-bureaucrats-power-enter-home-warrant.html
- Guardian - Waste watchers? UK group fears trash bin spies http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8978747
- Guardian - Councils carry out over 8,500 covert surveillance operations http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/may/24/councils-covert-surveillance-operations
- Times http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7134529.ece
- Daily Telegraph - Council spy cars rake in £8 million a year in fines http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/7876672/Council-spy-cars-rake-in-8-million-a-year-in-fines.html
- Independent - Cameras on cars raise £8m in fines http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/motoring-news/cameras-on-cars-raise-1638m-in-fines-2021142.html
- Daily Mirror - Mum is fined £75 for feeding ducks http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/11/13/quackers-115875-21818199/