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Privacy: Lib Dems plan to introduce bill of digital rights

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will introduce a bill of digital rights if they find themselves as part of a coalition after the coming election.

The bill is intended to bring the current civil and human rights of the UK into the digital sphere.

The Lib Dems have released a public consultation paper on the proposed bill. Within, the paper's highlights include: providing compensation for consumers in instances when companies use deliberately misleading terms and conditions online; prison sentences for companies that involve themselves in large-scale data theft and illegally selling personal data; and more powers to the information commissioner when inspecting companies in connection with data laws.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has announced on 8 April the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) broke electronic marketing rules.

An investigation in UCAS was launched by the ICO after the Guardian published an article in March 2014 showing UCAS had been selling data on over a million teenagers and students to companies such as Vodafone and Microsoft.

The ICO's investigation specifically focused on a part of the UCAS application form where students have the option to opt out of receiving marketing from commercial companies; however, the opt out option would mean they would also miss out on important information concerning their career and education.

The US Electronic Privacy Information Center is calling for an investigation of Samsung over claims that its voice-recording 'smart' TVs breach privacy laws, The Guardian reports.

An independent non-profit research centre in Washington DC is pushing for a federal investigation of Samsung over privacy concerns relating to its voice-recording 'smart' TVs.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) claims that Samsung smart TVs record the private conversations of users without informing them and is calling for a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation over privacy concerns.

The Belgian Privacy Commission has found that Facebook's new privacy policy continues to breach European data protection and privacy laws, The Guardian reports.

Despite a recent update of its privacy policy, social media giant, Facebook, remains in breach of European data protection and privacy laws, according to a report commissioned by the Belgian Privacy Commission.

The report, prepared by the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT and Intellectual Property Rights at the University of Leuven in Belgium, concludes that Facebook's privacy policy update last month does not present new policies and practices, but merely expands on older versions.

A new report published by the UN has stated the surveillance of the internet by government intelligence agencies may undermine international law, reports the Guardian.

The report, written by Ben Emmerson QC, a specialist on counter-terrorism, was released as a response to the Edward Snowden revelations concerning the extent to which government agencies were spying on the public via digital channels.

The report focuses on Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, where it is stated: "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home and correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour or reputation."

Rumours have emerged implicating New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, of acting unlawfully by breaking privacy laws, reports the BBC.

While John Key denies any wrongdoing, an American investigative journalist claims that Mr Key was planning an undercover national surveillance operation and had even begun tapping into phone lines before being granted the legal authority to do so.

'The report was based on information disclosed by former US National Security Authority (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, who said the government had planned to exploit new spying laws', reports the BBC.

Information: Government to share private data for the first time

The government is planning to share the private data of millions of citizens across Whitehall databases for the first time, without seeking prior approval from the individuals concerned, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The government is planning to link access to databases containing reams of personal information in order to make the sharing of information within local and central government easier.

It is understood that the proposals will see private information shared between councils, schools and the police. The Telegraph speculates that the sort of data involved could include driving licence information held by the DVLA, police criminal records, and information stored by your local council.