GKB: Geodemographics Knowledge Base
A Surveillance Society - Public Perceptions: Qualitative Research Report

This report prepared for the COI on behalf of the Information Commissioner's Office is based on a qualitative research survey involving a series of discussion groups in different parts of the UK.  It examines the extent of public awareness and the concerns felt about surveillance, data sharing and other privacy and data protection issues.

Big Brother Watch

Big Brother Watch was set up to challenge policies that threaten personal privacy, freedoms and civil liberties, and to expose the true scale of the surveillance state. Founded in 2009, it researches the erosion of civil liberties in the UK, looking at the dramatic expansion of surveillance powers, the growth of the database state and the misuse of personal information.

Big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data protection

This discussion paper looks at the implications of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for data protection, and explains the ICO’s views on these. The main conclusions are that, while data protection can be challenging in a big data context, the benefits will not be achieved at the expense of data privacy rights; and meeting data protection requirements will benefit both organisations and individuals. Six key recommendations for organisations using big data analytics are set out.

Data Protection Guide - UK

This is a link to a key page of the Information Commissioner’s website.  It provides full details of the Data Protection Act, codes of practice and technical guidance notes, as well as links to other relevant sources such as the National Audit Office report on managing information risk.

Data Protection Guides - European Commission

Developments of a frontier free Internal Market and of the so called 'information society' have increased the cross-frontier flows of personal data between Member States. In order to remove potential obstacles to such flows and to ensure a high level of protection within the EU, data protection legislation has been harmonised. The following page sets out what are your rights as an EU citizen.

Dialogue on Data : Exploring the public’s viewson using administrative data for research purposes

This report describes the findings from a public dialogue on administrative data commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The overall objectives were to explore public understanding and views of administrative data and data linking.

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

An Act to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and make other
provision in connection with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Guidance Note for the Research Sector: Appropriate use of different legal bases under the GDPR

EFAMRO and ESOMAR created a report to  provide a framework to researchers:Understand the basic principles of the new GDPR framework focusing on the data processing and collection principles; determine the appropriate legal grounds to collect, process or further process personal data for all types of research, the conditions that need to be followed and the associated data subject rights; and assess the implications of the different legal grounds for statistical and/or scientific research.

GUILD: Guidance for Information about Linking Data sets

Record linkage of administrative and survey data is increasingly used to generate evidence to inform policy and services. Although a powerful and efficient way of generating new information from existing data sets, errors related to data processing before, during and after linkage can bias results. However, researchers and users of linked data rarely have access to information that can be used to assess these biases or take them into account in analyses. As linked administrative data are increasingly used to provide evidence to guide policy and services, linkage error, which disproportionately affects disadvantaged groups, can undermine evidence for public health. We convened a group of researchers and experts from government data providers to develop guidance about the information that needs to be made available about the data linkage process, by data providers, data linkers, analysts and the researchers who write reports. The guidance goes beyond recommendations for information to be included in research reports. Our aim is to raise awareness of information that may be required at each step of the linkage pathway to improve the transparency, reproducibility, and accuracy of linkage processes, and the validity of analyses and interpretation of results.

ICO Annual Report 2012-2013

The Information Commissioner’s Office annual report includes a brief section on the work done by the ICO with regard to in-vehicle telematics. It describes how the ICO engaged with this issue in its early stages to ensure that safeguards were designed in from the outset, meeting with the Association of British Insurers and insurance companies to discuss developing industry guidelines.

New research finds data trust deficit withlessons for policymakers

Research for the Royal Statistical Society carried out by Ipsos MORI reveals that the media, internet companies, telecommunications companies and insurance companies all come at the bottom of a “trust in data” league table. Only between four and seven per cent say they have a high level of trust in these organisations to use data appropriately, compared with 36% trusting the NHS, and 41% trusting their GP.

Newstatesmen: How Theresa May’s “hostile environment” created an underworld

December 2017 article
In March 2017, a pregnant woman in her 20s went to the Metropolitan Police to report being kidnapped and raped. She was herself arrested, interrogated on suspicion of illegal entry into the UK, and eventually released pending a decision on her case.

This is Britain under Theresa May’s flagship “hostile environment” policy, of which she laid the foundations as Home Secretary, as far back as 2013. Doctors, social workers and teachers are forced to act as border guards. Every job application and health emergency could end in arrest, detention or summary deportation.

PASC demands that Government stats are presented with "the whole truth"

In a Report on Communicating Statistics released on Wednesday 29th May 2013, entitled “Not Just True, but Also Fair” the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) recommends that departmental press officers and government statistics staff should work together much more closely to ensure that press releases give an accurate and meaningful picture of the truth behind the figures. Read the full report here:

PASC Reports on Public Trust in Government Statistics

In a recent report, the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) concluded, despite the positive steps implemented by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, there remain issues and concerns about the way government statistics are produced and disseminated which remain a genuine risk to public confidence in the statistical system and must be addressed. Visit the website below for access to the article and supporting reports:

Privacy in peril

This article by Paul Peachey in the Independent Newspaper reports the warning by the Government’s Surveillance Commissioner that the public face “a very real risk” to their privacy from the huge roadside surveillance network that captures millions of motorists every day.

Privacy International

Privacy International’s mission is to defend the right to privacy across the world, and to fight surveillance and other intrusions into private life by governments and corporations. Its vision is a world in which privacy is protected by governments, respected by corporations and cherished by individuals. PI was founded in 1990 and is the oldest international privacy organisation in the world.

Privacy under pressure

A series of three programmes on BBC Radio 4. Steve Hewlett describes the extraordinary amount of information which can be gleaned from our online behaviour and smartphones. Is new technology, he asks, having a profound effect on our notions of privacy?

Public confidence in official statistics

NatCen Social Research has today published the results of a survey of public confidence in official statistics, commissioned by the UK Statistics Authority. 

Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee

The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee examines the policy merits of statutory instruments and other types of secondary legislation that are subject to parliamentary procedure.

SiliconValley siphons our data like oil. But the deepest drilling has just begun

This 2017 Guardian article by Ben Tarnoff explains how personal data is to the tech world what oil is to the fossil fuel industry and that’s why companies like Amazon and Facebook plan to dig deeper than we ever imagined. He speculates that one of the reasons for Amazon’s recent acquisition of bricks and mortar retailer Whole Foods is to extend the powerful analytics of its online world into the analytics of offline retailing by using electronic tracking and surveillance in the bricks and mortar stores.

Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007

An Act to establish and make provision about the Statistics Board; to make provision about offices and office-holders under the Registration Service Act 1953; and for connected purposes.

Survey Reveals Consumer Mistrust of Businesses over Identity Fraud

This survey by YouGov for identity fraud prevention specialists GB found that only half (52%) of consumers in Great Britain trust their high street bank or building society to protect their personal details from identity thieves.

The Code of Practice for Statistics

This Code produced by UKSA and The Office for Statistics Regulation aims to provide the framework to ensure that statistics are trustworthy, good quality, and are valuable – that they measure the things that most need to be measured.

The Guardian: NHS will no longer have to share immigrants' data with Home Office

May 2018 article
Ministers have suspended controversial arrangements under which the NHS shared patients’ details with the Home Office so it could trace people breaking immigration rules.

The Guardian: Royal Free breached UK data law in 1.6m patient deal with Google's DeepMind

July 2017 Article
Information Commissioner’s Office rules record transfer from London hospital to AI company failed to comply with Data Protection Act.
London’s Royal Free hospital failed to comply with the Data Protection Act when it handed over personal data of 1.6 million patients to DeepMind, a Google subsidiary, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The Guardian: The Cambridge Analytica Files

March 2018 article
Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

The re-indentification of Governor William Weld's medical data

A Critical Re-examination of Health Data Identification Risks
and Privacy Protections, Then and Now

The 1997 re-identification of Massachusetts Governor William Weld’s medical
data within an insurance data set which had been stripped of direct identifiers
has had a profound impact on the development of de-identification provisions
within the 2003 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Privacy Rule. Weld’s re-identification, purportedly achieved through the use of a
voter registration list from Cambridge, MA is frequently cited as an example that
computer scientists can re-identify individuals within de-identified data with
“astonishing ease”. However, a careful re-examination of the population
demographics in Cambridge indicates that Weld was most likely re-identifiable
only because he was a public figure who experienced a highly publicized
hospitalization rather than there being any certainty underlying his reidentification using the Cambridge voter data, which had missing data for a large
proportion of the population

The UK Statistics (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

This instrument addresses deficiencies in retained EU law relating to statistics arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The UK’s 19 most infamous data breaches 2015

Globally, the UK currently ranks a distant second behind the US for data breaches. Software vulnerabilities, lost hard drives and CDs, malicious insiders, poor security - the UK's most important data breaches reveal just how many ways data can be put at risk.

The ‘Five Safes’ – Data Privacy at ONS

Jan 2017 article
Pete Stokes discusses how ONS makes data available for research, while protecting confidentiality at all times

Trust and Public Confidence in Official Statistics

A series of reports from a project run by ONS and the Statistics Commission. Improving trust and public confidence in official statistics - demonstrating that they are produced to the highest standards and are free from political interference is a key objective of National Statistics. The aim is to better understand the nature of this trust by exploring peoples’ views on statistics and what those views are based on.

UKSA: Privacy and Data Confidentiality Methods

A National Statistician’s Quality Review
The rapid increase in the detail, volume and frequency of data collected, alongside the diversification of data sources available, presents a real opportunity for the statistical community to innovate. This richer detail will provide better statistics that deepen our understanding of society and better support decision making.

On the other hand, making more data available raises new concerns and new challenges to protecting privacy and confidentiality of personal information. In this challenging and rapidly changing landscape, the statistical community has a legal and an ethical obligation to protect the confidentiality of data, while at the same time striving to meet evolving user demands for more detailed and helpful statistics.

Understanding Society: The power and perils ofdata

The Power and Perils of Data focuses on the potential for data to improve the way people live their lives, as well as exploring public views on some of the risks this greater reliance on data brings.

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