Local authorities

Key Resources

This guide is for anyone concerned about their social media accounts being monitored by public authorities, but it’s especially targeted at people from minority and migrant communities who may be disproportionately affected by various forms of surveillance.

Long Read

This article presents some of the tools and techniques deployed as part surveillance practices and data-driven immigration policies routinely leading to discriminatory treatment of peoplee and undermining peoples’ dignity, with a particular focus on the UK.

Explainer

In the UK, Local Authorities (Councils) are looking at people’s social media accounts, such as Facebook, as part of their intelligence gathering and investigation tactics in areas such as council tax payments, children’s services, benefits and monitoring protests and demonstrations.

This has particular consequences and a disproportionate negative impact on certain individuals and communities.

Long Read

UK Local Authorities are looking at people’s social media accounts as part of their intelligence gathering and investigation tactics.

Report

The UK Chief Surveillance Commissioners have repeatedly raised concerns about local authorities using the internet as a surveillance tool and suggested they conduct an internal audit of the use of social media sites. 

Privacy International sent Freedom of Information requests to local authorities in the UK to dig deeper into what's going on.

Long Read

In October 2019 Privacy International sent Freedom of Information Act requests to every Local Authority in Great Britain in relation to their use of social media monitoring. You can find our report here

The Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC) and subsequently the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) regulate and oversee how public authorities use the investigatory powers available to them under existing law.

Below is an extract from the Office of Surveillance Commissioners Guidance - Covert surveillance of Social Networking Sites (SNS) - Note 289

Long Read

In October 2019 Privacy International sent Freedom of Information Act requests to every Local Authority in Great Britain in relation to their use of social media monitoring. You can find our report here

A number of policies and guidance documents developed by Local Authorities which have been disclosed to Privacy International in response to the Freedom of Information Act requests relating to social media monitoring, cite the Home Office Covert Surveillance and Property Interference Code of Practice, August 2018. 

Below are the relevant extracts from the Home Office Covert Surveillance and Property Interference Code of Practice, August 2018 which relate to social media monitoring conducted by Local Authorities. 

Long Read

In October 2019 Privacy International sent Freedom of Information Act requests to every Local Authority in Great Britain in relation to their use of social media monitoring. You can find our report here

Below are extracts from the annual reports of the The Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC) and Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) which relate to Local Authorities use of social media monitoring. 

The Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC) and subsequently the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) regulate and oversee how public authorities use the investigatory powers available to them under existing law.

 

Report

Concerned about the increasing use of social media monitoring by Government authorities and in particular use by local government authorities, on 7 October 2019, we sent a Freedom of Information Request to 251 local authorities in Great Britain using the platform What Do They Know.

This methodology outlines what we did and the results we found, which informed our report