UK plans to use drones to spy on British homes: report | world | Hindustan Times
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UK plans to use drones to spy on British homes: report

Britain plans to use unmanned spyplanes like those used to track al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists in the restive areas of northern Pakistan for surveillance operations in the UK, a move likely to spark a row with liberals and human rights activists accusing the Labour government of expanding the ‘Big Brother´ state.

world Updated: Feb 26, 2009 11:43 IST

Britain plans to use unmanned spyplanes like those used to track al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists in the restive areas of northern Pakistan for surveillance operations in the UK, a move likely to spark a row with liberals and human rights activists accusing the Labour government of expanding the ‘Big Brother´ state.

British intelligence reports have earlier warned that UK is a prime target of al-Qaeda-linked extremists. Counter terrorism measures for a “Big Brother” giant database were first announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in February last year under the ‘Intercept Modernisation Programme´.

Plans to introduce the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is outlined in the Home Office’s Science and Innovation Strategy. The British Home Office has suggested that the remote controlled drones could be used to help security forces track criminals, and gather evidence without putting officers at risk, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The miniature aircraft could be fitted with cameras and heat seeking equipment, allowing security forces to carry out surveillance operations on British homes from a control room.

However, their use is likely to provoke opposition from people sceptical of Britain’s increasing use of surveillance equipment, who fear they represent yet another example of the expansion of a ‘Big Brother´ state, the report in the British daily said. There are also safety concerns over the devices.