Anti-terror Government snooping will harm web

Government snooping will harm online content, claims ex Big Brother producer
Government snooping will harm online content, claims ex Big Brother producer

Ex-boss of Big Brother producer Endemol, Peter Bazalgette, has slammed the government for web-snooping, warning that it will have a negative impact on web content.

In a speech at the London School of Economics organised by thinktank Polis this week Bazalgette said: 'We have to be confident [personal data] will not be passed to every Tom, Dick and minister.

"Ambitious plans from the home office to capture online and mobile data may be intended to combat terrorism but will destroy consumers' confidence in online transactions."

Pay with personal data

"But broadband advertisers want to know a lot about us so they can target their message precisely and judge its effectiveness. So we'll pay for the likes of Coronation Street and The X Factor in future with our own personal data," Bazalgette told the assembled hacks and privacy campaigners.

"But we have to be confident it is secure and not passed on to every Tom, Dick and minister."

Bazalgette claims there is a policy vacuum that urgently needs addressing.

"While media buyers do not give privacy a high enough priority. Public policy needs to square this circle," adding that "so-called 'behavioural advertising' is at the forefront of this debate, where companies such as Phorm can now track our online movements and interests to serve us more targeted adverts.

"Google products, like personalised search and gmail, also scrutinise our activities in return for better services."

"In the past few days we've had Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, calling for ISPs and mobile platforms to keep data longer. But Google has responded to privacy campaigners to reduce its data retention down to nine months. This is a mess."

Adam Hartley