A committee of the UK House of Lords last week issued a report recommending a sharp reduction in the overwhelming and growing tendency of governments and corporations and institutions of all kinds to spy on Britons.

To put it more simply, Lord Goodlad, Chair of the Lords Constitutional Committee, observes UK residents are now surveiled by more than 4 million ‘security’ cameras nationwide. But the spying issue has many other dimensions.

For a start, the UK’s National Identity Register and National Health Service (NHS) hold detailed personal information on almost every British adult.

At the same time, Goodlad notes, businesses are gathering a staggering amount of data on their employees and customers via surveillance cameras in stores, offices and other establishments, as well as mining customer relations management databases and other records. Now, the Lords notes, the government wants to access corporate data as well.

“Every time we make a telephone call, send an email, browse the internet, or even walk down our local high street, our actions may be monitored and recorded,” the report charges.

“There can be no justification for this gradual but incessant creep towards every detail about us being recorded and pored over by the state,” Goodlad said, in a statement.

The Lords’ report recommends that any future surveillance programs or systems proposed by the government should first undergo rigorous scrutiny by ‘a dedicated parliamentary body’ and the national Information commissioner before being implemented.

The Lords also said the UK government should act swiftly to comply with The European Court of Human Rights to remove the DNA records of people who have not been convicted of a crime from the UK national DNA registry, which currently holds records on more than 4.5 million people. An estimated 850,000 of those records would be deleted under the EU order.

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