Prevent Watch

Prevent and the Pre-Crime State: How unaccountable data sharing is harming a generation

This report by Open Rights Group, supported by Prevent Watch, reveals the extent of unaccountable data sharing through Prevent.

Through real cases and analysing responses to freedom of information requests, this report gives a comprehensive overview of how data is being acquired, retained and shared across multiple databases, and the potential harms of this on a generation.

It’s key findings are that:

  • Prevent referrals are stored within a national Prevent database, regardless of whether they meet the threshold for Channel.
  • Data is held for a minimum of six years but can be kept for up to 100 years. The rationale for this minimum retention period is to consider the possibility of “re-offending” – even though Prevent referees have not in fact committed a crime.
  • If there is no policing purpose for retaining data, this retention could be unlawful.
  • Individuals are not necessarily informed that their data is being stored nor whether their data has been deleted after the six-year period or further retained.
  • There appears to be a lack of oversight and parliamentary scrutiny over data sharing, processing and storage of Prevent referrals that are inappropriate for Channel interventions but which are managed by police-led partnerships.
  • The data of some Prevent referees is being shared with airports, ports and immigration services.
  • 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.

Read the full report on the ORG website.

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