The project, known as Project Alpha, allows the Metropolitan Police to collect “children’s personal data” from social media sites to identify offenders and secure the removal of videos showing stabbings and shootings from social media platforms such as YouTube, the report said. The police could also be gathering data on much younger children, but police officers are under no obligation to document the ages of the individuals they are targeting. Human rights organizations raised concerns over the police potentially violating data laws and disproportionately targeting children from racial minorities, such as the Human Rights Act, the Equality Act and the Data Protection Act, the Liberty advocacy group told the newspaper.The police told the newspaper it was not using collected information to profile people despite the expansion of surveillance in 2023. Some 7,000 records have been created by the police under the project, with the youngest age recorded as 13, the newspaper reported, citing data obtained by the Point Source research group. Each record might include online content, social media account details, age and ethnicity of those monitored.Both the police and the Home Office declined to comment on measures to make sure that the activities under Project Alpha were not racist or discriminatory, the report noted.
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