Libraries rebuff police surveillance of asylum seekers

Libraries rebuff police surveillance of asylum seekers

Written by: Arun Kundnani

Police in Plymouth have asked local libraries to log internet activity by asylum seekers in the city, following an unfounded terrorism scare. But library bosses have told police that they are unwilling to violate the public’s right to privacy.

Recently, a member of the public called the police after seeing a foreign student using a public-access computer in one of Plymouth’s libraries to access a website which appeared to show ‘tall buildings’. It turned out to be the logo of an internet radio station. But that did not stop police from issuing a request to Plymouth Library Services asking that they record all internet activity by asylum seekers on public library computers. Head of Plymouth Libraries, Chris Goddard, refused the request on data protection grounds.

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National Civil Rights Movement (South West)

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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