[Sir John Butterfill in the Chair] — A Surveillance Society?

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:50 pm on 19th March 2009.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 3:50 pm, 19th March 2009

The hon. Gentleman made an interesting point about some of the techniques that are being established. People suddenly wake up one morning to find that their house can be searched for on something like Street View, which they did not even know about. Equally, they do not know that there is a facility to have their house removed from such searches. From my discussions with Google, which has been very clear about this, that kind of picture can be removed if someone is concerned about privacy issues.

The issue extends further than that: for example, to social networking sites. Our debate about the surveillance society is dominated by discussion about the Government. However, we must look at what is happening in not only the commercial sector but in people's interaction with each other. What are the social mores and norms? Is it right and proper to post a video on YouTube of someone one has never met and does not know? What are the take-down procedures, and who makes such decisions? Those are delicate and difficult challenges that this House must address quickly.

I do not intend this afternoon to set out a manifesto on specifically how those issues should be dealt with, because they require careful consideration, as does defining what we are trying to do.