East Lothian Council has adopted the policy of using fake Facebook profiles enabling council employees to spy on law-abiding resident.A new policy has enabled investigating officers at East Lothian Council to use false Facebook identities to befriend targets and? scour social media pages not protected by privacy settings.
The nine-page surveillance through social media policy agreed by officials has been branded beyond creepy by critics who have questioned whether it infringes privacy rights.
Human rights lawyers and civil liberties groups have blasted the move, describing it as a sign that powers normally only used by police were spreading into other areas.
Daniel Nesbitt, research director of Big Brother Watch, said the council needs to say why these tactics are necessary, why they think they are proportionate and what safeguards will be in place. He added:
For years now councils have been criticised for using heavy-handed snooping tactics, and a nine-page document simply isn’t good enough.
Jason Rose, who stood for the Greens in the East Lothian constituency in last year’s Westminster elections said the? policy was beyond creepy :
I cannot believe our councillors have agreed this policy. It speaks volumes that a council which is so poor at communicating with the public and does not make its meetings available to view online agrees a covert surveillance policy in such a secretive way.