HC Deb 04 March 1996 vol 273 c12
12. Lady Olga Maitland

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans she has to introduce legislation to protect personal privacy from media intrusion. [16362]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

There are no present plans to do so.

Lady Olga Maitland

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the deep concern of many people that personal privacy is being persistently abused by the media? I refer in particular to the unauthorised use of material from overheard telephone calls, notably on mobile phones, which is published in the press. I also refer to snooping photographs, which are taken of people in their homes and without their consent. Will my right hon. Friend consider legislation in that regard? It would be a great tragedy if we allowed technology to abuse and kill our freedoms.

Mrs. Bottomley

My hon. Friend speaks for many in the House when she describes her profound concern about intrusions into privacy. She will be aware that interception of private calls can be a criminal offence—it is a matter for the police to investigate. The Press Complaints Commission has warned newspapers that the publication of any material achieved as a result of an intercepted call might be a breach of clause 5 of the code.