HL Deb 12 February 2004 vol 656 cc174-5WA
The Earl of Northesk

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Given the conclusion of their "Respecting Privacy and Protecting the Public from Crime" consultation and the views of respondents on the desirability of a wider public debate about the issues raised, how they propose that such a debate be arranged. [HL1156]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

The summary of responses to the privacy chapter of the consultation paper,Access to Communications Data, has been published on the Home Office website.1 The summary makes clear that the Home Office wants the public to continue to have the opportunity to be involved in debating confidence and trust in the use of surveillance powers by public authorities, and invites their views.

In addition, officials are engaged in research projects, being undertaken by Liberty and by the Office of the Information Commissioner, that are reviewing issues around the balance between respect for individual privacy and protection of the public. The Home Office welcomes these initiatives and is committed to engaging constructively in them. Together with the Home Office's own initiatives described in the summary of responses, they provide a foundation for broader public dialogue using a range of approaches from public meetings to online discussion groups.