STOP Sadiq Khan giving an Orwellian surveillance network to the Met

by Open Rights Group

STOP Sadiq Khan giving an Orwellian surveillance network to the Met

by Open Rights Group
Open Rights Group
Case Owner
Founded in 2005, Open Rights Group (ORG) is a UK-based digital campaigning organisation working to protect our rights to privacy and free speech online.
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Open Rights Group
Case Owner
Founded in 2005, Open Rights Group (ORG) is a UK-based digital campaigning organisation working to protect our rights to privacy and free speech online.
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Your card will only be charged if the case meets its target of £30,000 by Sep. 02, 2022, 10 a.m.

The privacy campaigning organisation, Open Rights Group (ORG) and the prominent London Assembly Member Sian Berry AM have united to put the breaks on the mass surveillance of Londoners by the Metropolitan Police. 

What's at stake?

In 2014, the Mayor of London granted the Met Police ‘limited access’ to textual data in Transport for London (TfL) Automated Number-Plate Recognition road cameras. In May 2022, Sadiq Khan decided to expand the scope of this data sharing to include enhanced contextual imagery data from road cameras, i.e. photos including the colour and make of vehicles, images of drivers, and potentially also pedestrians, and the boundaries of ‘sensitive’ buildings such as schools, hospitals, and places of worship. This could even get worse. Proposals to expand the ULEZ zone from the end of 2023 will cover the whole of Greater London, which means every single car and driver in Greater London will potentially be subject to future surveillance by the Metropolitan Police. This was done with a stroke of a pen, without any meaningful public consultation.

Even the members of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) on Automated Number-Plate Recognition (ANPR) road cameras have called Sadiq Khan’s plans as a “gargantuan increase of surveillance in London” and have questioned the legality of it.

We believe that this expanded and enhanced data sharing between TfL and the Met Police is unlawful and in violation of millions of people’s basic privacy rights. But we were not given an opportunity to give our views because the Mayor decided to bypass the necessary public consultation. That is why we have written to the Mayor to put him on notice of our claim.

Only over the past few weeks: 

  • The Metropolitan Police has been placed into special measures by the Police inspectorate due to ‘systematic’ failings.
  • The Metropolitan Police has been found to be ‘institutionally corrupt’ by the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel, and the police watchdog has described their approach as ‘not fit for purpose’.

An ‘institutionally corrupt’ organisation which is in special measures due to ‘systemic failings’ – and also has a documented history as an institutionally racist organisation – must not be handed over an Orwellian surveillance network which potentially violates the basic privacy rights of millions of people.

Our legal challenge 

We are working with the well-known law firm, Bindmans LLP, who have specialist public and data law knowledge, to put the breaks on this expanded and intrusive surveillance regime.  

London is already the most surveilled city in the world outside of China and India. If this measure is not stopped, London’s place as the surveillance capital of the western world will be cemented and irreversible. 

We must not allow Sadiq Khan, TfL and the Metropolitan Police to abuse a clean air initiative like ULEZ to set up a mass surveillance network in London.

We need to raise £30,000 to pay for our legal costs. Help us now to put the breaks on the mass surveillance of millions of Londoners. You can make the difference. You can STOP Sadiq Khan handing over an Orwellian surveillance network to the Metropolitan Police. 

Further reading:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/28/met-police-placed-special-measures-series-scandals

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60832186

https://www.statista.com/chart/19256/the-most-surveilled-cities-in-the-world/

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