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UK privacy laws might need a technology reboot, says top UK judge

Laws should keep pace with advances
Wed Aug 27 2014, 10:53
Lord Neuberger has mooted a privacy laws update

UK SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT Lord Neuberger is pushing for an update to UK privacy laws.

Neuberger was speaking in Hong Kong when he turned to the topic of privacy laws in the light of technology advances. He said that technology leaps forward while the legal system shuffles. He suggested that because of this, some sort of overhaul to UK privacy laws will be necessary.

The judge spoke of the "astonishing advances" and "enormous challenges" presented by technological progress and the need to make adjustments before real problems occur.

He said that technology developments have radically changed how content moves around, and how easily it can be transmitted, recorded and manipulated.

"These developments may make it inevitable that the law on privacy, indeed, the law relating to communications generally, may have to be reconsidered. It undermines the rule of law if laws are unenforceable," he said. "There is no doubt that these technological developments give rise to enormous challenges for people involved in the law and people involved in the media."

Privacy laws are more than a little complicated. While the government probably would like to whittle them down, through things like the the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, end users - or the general public, are concerned that their privacy has already been eroded.

Efforts like the European Court of Justice 'right to be forgotten' ruling can be viewed as intended to support citizens' privacy, but its rollout has been blighted and marred by controversy. Meanwhile we can easily see that outfits like the NSA and GCHQ have very little respect for privacy anyway. µ


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