Millions Of Mobile Phone Users Info Offered To Police, Corporation
The data of 27m mobile phone users has been offered for sale to the Metropolitan police, private companies and other bodies, enabling them to track users’ movements.
Ipsos Mori, one of Britain’s biggest research firms, has been caught offering text and call records for sale.
The company has claimed in meetings that every movement by users can be tracked to within 100 metres. This weekend the Met, which has been in talks with Ipsos Mori about paying for some of the controversial data, shelved any deal after being contacted by The Sunday Times.
Documents to promote the data reveal that it includes “gender, age, postcode, websites visited, time of day text is sent [and] location of customer when call is made”.
They state that people’s mobile phone use and location can be tracked in real time with records of movements, calls and texts also available for the previous six months.
The data, obtained by Ipsos Mori in an exclusive deal with EE, Britain’s biggest phone operator, goes beyond anything that the police can get without an application order under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
Experts said that it offered a similar level of data access as the government’s proposed “snoopers’ charter”, which ministers shelved after an outcry over privacy invasion.
Police forces, councils, big businesses and Google are among potential clients for the data. Bernard Hogan-Howe, the police commissioner, is understood to have met representatives from Ipsos Mori on March 22 to discuss the data.
Another meeting was held last Thursday at Scotland Yard and was attended by Mark Rowley, the assistant commissioner in charge of public order and major events for the force.
However, within hours of being contacted by The Sunday Times the Met said it was abandoning the internet research proposal, even though sources said officers had been enthusiastic about the potential for tracking users of pay-as-you-go phones.
By Lorena J. Dawson
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