UK cops' tracking software slammed in parliament

The use of tracking software by police to collate information on protestors has come under fire in the House of Lords.

Discussing amendments to the Police Reform and Social Responsibilty Bill, Baroness Miller expressed fears over the “worrying” use of Geotime software to build a case against protestors.

The controversial software, which can be used to build a three dimensional picture of a suspect’s movements, was snapped up by the Met police last month.

The news was inevitably followed by an outcry from privacy campaigners worried that the software would be used for tracking ordinary civilians.

It had initially been claimed that the Met would only be trialling the software, but it appears that fears in government over its use on the public are not going away.

Baroness Miller questioned the way that the police are classifying protestors as “domestic extremists”, with a lack of legal definition, meaning that anybody could be targeted.

She demanded that the wording of the Bill is changed to stop targetting those who are “about to” participate in illegal protest behaviour.

“How will the police know that the person is about to do a prohibited activity? Is the policeman a mind reader?” she asked.

This led to Baroness Miller highlighting the “acquisition of suspect-mapping software”, Geotime, which “can take account of the activity done by domestic extremists in their everyday lives.”

“It can follow social networking when they use their sites, as well their mobile use, cash withdrawals and sat-nav use,” she continued.

“The police can build up thus an entire picture of somebody who is not a criminal or somebody who has been convicted of anything but someone who is classed as a domestic extremist, for which, as I say, there is no legal definition.

“It is quite worrying.”