Human rights group Justice has called for greater powers of supervision and enforcement for the Data Protection Registrar, to balance a proposed increase in government control of personal data.
In its response to government.direct, the Green Paper on providing central government services electronically to the public, Justice calls for adequate safeguards to protect individuals' privacy.
It says: "We note the promise to consult the Data Protection registrar during the development of the new strategy. We are concerned, however, that such a general assurance is no substitute for giving the registrar a statutory role in monitoring proposed changes in law and administration which she does not currently possess."
Justice is concerned about proposals to increase data sharing between government departments and to electronically match data from different sources to detect fraud.
The response criticises the paper for being "not entirely candid in its enthusiastic presentation of the advantages to the citizen" and adds: "We have an underlying concern about a possible erosion of the principles of the Data Protection Act, ostensibly in the interests of the citizen, but in practice as a means to greater State control."