PRIVACY is a right enshrined in European law. But it seems to be eroded more and more by the authorities.

From national agencies tracking people’s Internet activities to councils using terror legislation to monitor those suspected of benefit fraud, we seem to be watched more than ever.

So the news that Oxford City Council has been photographing people’s homes from the sky will come as a further concern.

The local authority’s motivation for using the spy plane – that it wants to crackdown on people being housed in sheds and other outbuildings – is fair enough.

The “beds in sheds” problem is a growing one as the pressure on housing in the city shows no sign of letting up. People deserve to live in habitable buildings but questions need to be asked why the scheme was carried out before anyone knew. If the council was worried announcing it would allow people flouting the law to avoid being caught, then surely it would have acted as a deterrent?

Instead our privacy has been invaded and it is unclear what the council will do, and perhaps more importantly can do, with the photos. The public must be consulted on these issues before further flights are made.

Or we will be yet another step towards Orwell’s Big Brother state.