Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Reply from MP on Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill

 I got a response from my MP, Layla Moran, relating to concerns about the Investigatory Powers Amendment Bill, now Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Act 2024. It's boilerplate generic which, given Ms Moran's personal concerns on the terrible circumstances in Gaza, is understandable.

"Dear Ray 

Thank you for writing to me about the Investigatory Powers Bill.

In a changing world we rely on our intelligence services to help keep us safe. And we need a police force (National Crime Agency) that can cope with the internationalisation of crime. Liberal Democrats support the services that seek to do this.

These vital tasks have to be balanced against the freedoms and liberties at the heart of our country’s values. Every new power must be weighed in that balance.

Liberal Democrats are concerned about how these changes could undermine the privacy of everyone.

We have particular concerns about reductions in judicial scrutiny, and the possible use of available medical, genetic and legally privileged data.

For all its powers our police and security services need resources to take on the multinational cartels that prey on our people and threaten national security. Liberal Democrats will continue to push for resources to target these threats to our way of life.

Thanks again for writing to me about this incredibly important issue.

Best wishes, 


Layla Moran
Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Oxford West & Abingdon

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Note via ORG to local councillors on PREVENT programme

At the request of the Open Rights Group I have written to my local councillor, drawing their attention to the excellent report ORG have published on the Prevent programme, Prevent and the Pre-Crime State: How unaccountable data sharing is harming a generation.

"I am writing to bring to your attention to a recent report by the Open Rights Group, revealing concerning issues related to the UK's counter-terrorism Prevent programme. Prevent operates in the pre-crime space, in which no offence has taken place, but rather people are surveilled and viewed as suspicious. It operates by extracting data and policing information that further securitises the spaces of marginalised and vulnerable communities.

I believe it is crucial for us to ensure that the implementation of such programmes by our local authority aligns with the principles of transparency, accountability, and respect for individual rights.

The report highlights widespread data sharing and retention of Prevent referrals, even when marked 'no further action.'

Thousands of Prevent referrals are made each year, and most of these referrals concern children. The majority do not meet the threshold for a Channel intervention. Despite this, the data of Prevent referees can be retained for at least six and up to 100 years, raising potential privacy and civil liberties concerns.

Key findings from the report include:

- Referrals are stored within a national Prevent database, irrespective of whether they meet the threshold for a Channel panel review.

- Data is retained for a minimum of six years, with the possibility of being kept for up to 100 years, even when a case is marked no further action. This potentially violates individuals' rights if there is no policing purpose for retention.

- It is very difficult for individuals to exercise their right to erasure and request data is removed because many will not know that they have been referred to Prevent. Even when they do know, the lack of transparency about data sharing makes it very difficult for individuals to find out all the different places that their data is being held.

-ORG is calling for local authorities, police departments and individual institutions subject to the Prevent duty to ensure maximum transparency around referrals, data processing and data sharing practices, including the systems used and in as clear detail as possible.

- Data of Prevent referees is being shared with airports, ports, and immigration services, leading to real-life harms on people' lives.

- Particularly concerning is the impact on children, who make up the majority of Prevent referrals, whose data is being shared with children's services and retained for an extended period.

Given these findings, I am reaching out to request that this report and its recommendations are considered by the local authority. Could you please request it is placed on the agenda of an appropriate meeting.

It is essential to ensure that our community's rights and privacy are respected, and that the program's implementation strikes the right balance between security measures and protecting individual freedoms.

The report also includes case studies of children experiencing harms as a result of being referred to Prevent, underlining the urgency of addressing these issues.

As a Councillor with a commitment to our community's well-being, your involvement in reviewing and potentially advocating for improvements in the local handling of Prevent would be highly valued.

I understand your time is precious, but I believe that your attention to this matter can contribute to fostering a safe and just community. If you are open to it the report can be downloaded and read at the following website address -

Thank you for your dedication to serving our community, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this important issue.

Yours sincerely,

Ray Corrigan"

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Note to MP on DWP algorithm targeting disabled people for fraud investigation

At the behest of Foxglove, I have written to my MP, Layla Moran, about a discriminatory DWP algorithm being used to falsely accuse disabled people of benefit fraud.

"Dear Layla,

I’m very concerned about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) use of an algorithm that targets disabled people for benefit fraud investigations.
Disabled people describe being flagged by the algorithm for no obvious reason and cast under suspicion of benefit fraud. They are then subjected to a lengthy, aggressive, and invasive investigation process.

I understand that UK law requires the DWP to test for and ensure safeguards are in place to address bias and discrimination in all its automated technologies. Despite that, the DWP has chosen not to test this algorithm(s) for potential impact on individuals with disabilities.
This is very concerning and there have been too many reports of innocent disabled people subjected to unfair, humiliating, distressing and invasive investigations because of this algorithm. This is particularly concerning after the Post Office Horizon scandal.

Please can you seek answers from the DWP? I would like you, as my MP, to write to the minister in charge and ask them:
· to explain in full how the system works
· what the DWP are doing to ensure it's not discriminatory.
I think if they can’t prove it’s not harming innocent people, then they should stop using it.  

Yours sincerely

Ray Corrigan"


Monday, January 08, 2024

Reply from MP on face recognition technologies

Layla Moran MP has responded to my concerns about the expanding deployment face recognition technologies :

22 December, 2023

Dear Ray,

Thank you for writing to me, and for your patience as I needed to focus on urgent matters in Gaza.

I have written to the Chief Inspector to raise your concerns, as you can read below. When I receive an update I will pass that on to you.

In general, I am deeply concerned by any laws that unnecessarily erode civil liberties which is why we want to:

  • End the bulk collection of communications data and internet connection records. 
  • Immediately halt the use of facial recognition surveillance by the police. 
  • Introduce a Code of Ethics to govern the use of personal data and artificial intelligence to ensure it is unbiased, transparent and accurate, and respects privacy.

Thank you again for raising this concern with me, let’s see what the Chief Constable says.

Best wishes,


Layla Moran
Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Oxford West & Abingdon


Dear Chief Constable,

Facial Recognition Technology
My constituent, Ray Corrigan, has expressed his concern about the use of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) being used locally by Thames Valley Police.
In particular, Ray asks how widespread the deployment of FRT is in the Abingdon and Oxford areas. Ray tells me he is concerned about the risk to privacy, particularly of private citizens being tracked as they go about their lives.
Could you please outline your policy, and how it accounts for this concern. Could you also outline the intended benefits of any FRT being used, and what alternatives were considered.
Thank you for your attention on this matter.
Best wishes,


Layla Moran
Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Oxford West & Abingdo

She had a response from Thames Valley Police: 

5 January, 2024

Dear Ray,

Happy New Year, I hope you had a restful holidays?

I have received a response from Thames Valley Police regarding Facial Recognition Technology being used in our area. I hope this reassures you that powers are not being abused and that there are no unacceptable intrusions on our privacy via FRT

Best wishes,


Layla Moran
Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Oxford West & Abingdon

From: Chief Constable TVP
Sent: 27 December 2023 15:11
To: "MORAN, Layla" <>
Subject: RE: Facial Recognition Technology (Case Ref: LM62195)

Dear Layla

I hope you have managed to enjoy a good Christmas break so far.

In regards to the below enquiry on behalf of your constituent Mr Ray Corrigan, I hope I am able to assist by responding on behalf of the Chief Constable, to avoid an unnecessary delay.

In terms of Facial Recognition we are only making use of the Police National Database facial search facility (Retrospective Facial Recognition), something available to other Forces.

We have no other facial recognition facility in use across any of the Force area.

The below link provides an explanation of the national solutions available but, other than the Police National Database facial search option detailed in the first section, currently we have not adopted any other elements of this capability:

Police use of Facial Recognition: Factsheet - Home Office in the media (

I hope this enables you to provide the necessary response to your constituent.

Wishing you a safe and prosperous 2024.

Yours sincerely



[Embedded Image] [Embedded Image]


On behalf of Jason Hogg, Chief Constable




+: Thames Valley Police HQ

Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 2NX

protecting our communities


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Note to MP on Face Recognition Technologies

At the behest of Privacy International, I have written to my MP, Layla Moran about the expansion in the deployment of face recognition technologies.

Dear Layla,

 A recent survey of over 100 MPs, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Privacy International, indicates that 70% of MPs don’t know whether facial recognition technology (FRT) is being used in public spaces in their constituency. I would appreciate it if you could investigate how widespread the deployment of face recognition systems is in the Abingdon area, specifically but also in our wider Oxford West & Abingdon constituency.

 The Home Office, on the orders of policing minister, Chris Philp, is making plans, in blatant breach of the UK GDPR, to use FRT on the UK passport photo database and immigration records to identify individuals. There are also reports of closed door meetings between Mr Philp and the FRT company, Facewatch. In the wake of those meetings, the minister has demanded increased the use of FRT across retail spaces and the Home Office issued a warning to the Information Commissioner’s Office that their investigation into Facewatch should produce a positive outcome, otherwise they would be getting a complaint from the minister.

 Widespread and unchecked use of facial recognition tech, building on the infrastructure of mass surveillance that has grown exponentially in the 21st century, is creating a surveillance society where everyone is identified and tracked everywhere they go. This poses serious threats to our human rights; not only the right to privacy but our right to protest and freedom of expression. All this is taking place within a democratic vacuum. Successive UK governments, for the past three decades, rather than deploying legislative checks and balances against this mass surveillance, in the public interest, have, too often, encouraged and exploited these developments for their own short term political ends and to undermine fundamental rights.

 Face recognition tech is not the route to more effective or enlightened policing. Palestinians have long suffered oppression facilitated by technologies of mass surveillance. The Palestinian territories are one of the most intensive spaces for the testing of military and surveillance technologies that are then exported all round the world. Yet that intensive surveillance did not prevent the mass killings by Hamas of 1200 Israeli citizens on 7 October.  Nor did it stop the Netanyahu government from reacting brutally to those murders, indiscriminately and repeatedly bombing civilians while cutting off access to all basic necessities, killing and maiming thousands in the process.

 Mass surveillance is never the answer, with or without FRT but when it comes to the deployment of face recognition technology, the public have a right to know if it is being used in their local area and in public spaces. So, I would really appreciate you and your staff making representations to obtain the following information:

1. Is FRT is being used in the Abingdon area and if so how, where, by whom, with what authority, when, for what purposes and for how long do they retain the images/video collected.

2. Ask the local retail consortium and/or the largest local retailers and event spaces if they are using FRT in this constituency;

3. Ask Thames Valley Police Chief Constable, Jason Hogg, about the local police force’s deployment of FRT, or upcoming plans of deployment, in our local public spaces.

 Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Ray Corrigan