EXPERT VIEW: how to respond to shawcross on data privacy rights

This is based on the People’s Review of Prevent: Response to the Shawcross Review

The Shawcross Review recognises that data on individuals are being gathered and stored and that this could be a potential harm, especially since no offences have been committed.

It should also be borne in mind that data collection begins at the pre-referral stage.

Prevent case evidence shows that this is not simply a matter of storage on police data bases, and data can be shared between different agencies.

Shawcross’s recommendation that “Counter Terrorism Police should investigate removing referral data for cases that did not make it to Channel, categorised as ‘no further action’, after three years instead of the current six” demonstrates his lack of knowledge about the situation that currently applies.


More than data retention is at stake

Data, even if it is of cases of “no further action”, are not deleted after six years; rather they are ‘reviewed’ after six years and considered for deletion using criteria that are currently unknown.

Given that the category under which Prevent data is stored is that of terrorism, there is potential to retain an individual’s data for up to 100 years. This is even the case with children.

Furthermore, the recommendation suggests that it is justifiable to retain the data for longer in cases which do proceed to Channel.

This is despite the fact that the individual may be a minor, and/or they have not committed an offence, nor formed an intention to do so.

This is a blatant violation of children’s rights and data privacy rights.

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