Theresa May has announced plans to ban predictive policing, an initiative that has been criticised as an attempt to police the internet and use it to enforce her political agenda.
The Prime Minister, who took office on Thursday, has said the measure is needed to protect the public from “snooping” and is “necessary” to protect British businesses from online scams.
“There is no doubt that predictive policing will have an impact on criminals,” she said in a statement.
The announcement came after a report by the independent watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which found the UK was using predictive policing to tackle online fraud and online crime. “
It is a vital part of our efforts to build a digital society in which everyone can access the information they need.”
The announcement came after a report by the independent watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which found the UK was using predictive policing to tackle online fraud and online crime.
It called on the Government to review how the policing of online content is managed, which will help protect users.
“Predictative policing aims to create an environment where the Government can control the use of the internet, so that only relevant content and relevant users can access it,” said the ICO’s chief executive, John Grant.
“We hope that the Government will now review how this works in a way that protects both the public and the economy.”
The ICO’s findings came after months of criticism from MPs and politicians over the effectiveness of the controversial policing scheme, which has seen hundreds of thousands of UK businesses reported for suspected fraud.
The scheme, called the Personal Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act, was launched in April.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, Labour MP Jess Phillips called it a “fiasco” that could “lead to more widespread snooping”.
She also accused the Government of not doing enough to stop the scheme being used by criminals.
“In the wake of this scandalous development, it is not clear whether the Government has any plan for the future of the law-enforcement system, which relies on the data of millions of ordinary people to investigate and prosecute crimes,” she wrote.
“If the Government really cares about the safety of British citizens, it should ensure that predictive-crime-fighting policing remains as safe as possible.”
The Government has so far declined to explain how it plans to enforce the legislation.
The ICO report also said the government should consider introducing a bill to regulate the use and distribution of personal data.
It said there were “many potential consequences” to the law, including the “possibility that it could be used to discriminate against individuals who have been identified as criminals”.