Bad Internet data requests led to 6 wrongly held or accused in UK

To prevent such errors from happening, authorities will make sure all details are double checked, the data watchdog said

By Loek Essers, IDG News Service |  Networking

Liberty, a U.K. rights organization, is concerned about the findings in the commissioner's report. "Cardinal Richelieu promised to be able to hang most honest men with just 'six lines' written by their hand. Imagine how easy it is with thousands of text messages, emails and web-site visits to make each and every one of us look like a criminal. So much for the innocent having nothing to hide and so-called 'communications data' not being an intrusion on our privacy," Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said in an emailed statement on Friday.

Measures have been taken to prevent such errors from happening again, the report stated. They include ensuring that all details are double checked. A reminder was issued to relevant staff outlining the procedure to be followed and reiterating the checking process and potential consequences of errors.

Moreover, some of the public authorities have also put procedures in place to ensure the applicant also provides the source documentation with their application to resolve an IP address. This will enable those responsible to double-check the IP address, date, time of access and any time-zone conversions.

"I am satisfied with the measures put in place by these public authorities," Kennedy wrote, adding that this will hopefully prevent recurrence. "Fortunately errors with such severe consequences are rare," he said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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