A European spying agency will soon get powers to access a vast range of
personal information, including medical data, criminal records, emails
and website visits, a media report said Sunday.
The European Network
and Information Security Agency (ENISA) will co-ordinate a network of
specially created security agencies in each EU member state who will
have unprecedented powers to demand data from public bodies and Internet
companies, the Daily Mail reported.
British privacy laws have
till now protected citizens from intrusion into their personal lives,
but MPs and privacy-rights groups have warned that such new powers may
pose a threat to individual security.
"This represents a dangerous
escalation in the way that cyber security is being justified as a
reason to monitor us all," Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil
liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, was quoted as saying.
spokesman for Britain's information commissioner said: "Any measures to
improve cyber security should not be at the unnecessary expense of
Britain's own draft bill for surveillance of
citizens, the Communications Data Bill, has come to a halt in the face
of fierce opposition.
Now, information on National Health Service
trusts, police forces, councils, Google and Facebook could be shared
with other European agencies.
Under the European proposals, agents
will be able to force disclosure of personal data where they suspect a
company or public authority has been the victim of or is unable to
prevent online hacking or any other cyber crime.