Over 40 human rights organisations have opposed the Home Office’s introduction to a 24-hour GPS monitoring system of immigrants on bail.
The new policy is a change from previous radio frequency monitors to round-the-clock GPS trackers, enabling the Home Office to collect, store and access data indefinitely in an attempt to increase surveillance capabilities.
Rudy Schulkind, at Bail for Immigration Detainees, stated: “This is effectively an extension of immigration detention beyond the physical walls of the detention centres and prisons”.
“It is no wonder the government did not formally announce it and has tried to evade scrutiny.”
“Victims of human trafficking sometimes commit crimes as a result of their being trafficked, […] and face deportation and GPS tracking as a direct result,” Schulkind warned.
Liberty’s policy and campaigns officer, Jun Pang, said: “Standing up for our human rights has and should never entitle the state to surveil our entire private life. This policy is unprecedented and has worrying implications for everyone’s ability to uphold their rights.”
A digital rights campaigning organisation, Open Rights Group, stated the introduction of GPS surveillance was part of a coordinated attack on the privacy rights of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.
The group’s immigration policy manager, Sahdya Darr, said: “The pervasiveness of these measures speaks volumes about the need to ensure that migrants are in a position to exercise their data rights.”
A spokesperson for the Home Office stated: “Foreign criminals who commit crimes should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them”.
“GPS tracking is widely used across the criminal justice system and allows us to use the latest technology to maintain contact with offenders, deter absconding and prevent further crimes being committed”
“We make no apology for keeping the public safe and clamping down on those who have no right to be in the UK.”
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