UK DPA Issues a Warning to the Home Office for Using 24/7 GPS Trackers on Migrants

On the 1st of March 2024, the UK Data Protection Authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), issued a warning to the Home Office for failing to adequately assess the necessity for GPS monitoring for migrants. This pilot scheme consisted of placing ankle monitors to track the constant location of up to 600 migrants in the UK. Concerns about this were raised by Privacy International.

According the GDPR, only strictly necessary data may be collected, and the data subject must be clearly informed on how their data will be used. Before any such data may be collected, an assessment must be performed to measure how necessary it is to collect the data. The Home Office failed to sufficiently assess the impact of the privacy intrusion on the migrants, and did not communicate to the migrants how their data would be used.

Another concern of this scheme was the fact that, although this pilot scheme was stopped in December 2023, the collected data still has the potential to be used – not just by the Home Office itself, but by third parties. It is highly concerning that an individual’s 24/7 movements and locations might be passed onto parties the individual does not even suspect.

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